The Ngorongoro Crater, at 2,286m above the sea level, and is the largest unbroken caldera in the world. Ngorongoro is 199km away from Arusha town, which is surrounded by very steep walls rising at 600 meters from the crater floor. The crater as been declared a world Heritage Site. Ngorongoro Crater lies within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which covers by Lake Eyasi in southwest and the Gol Mountains in north.
Olduvai Gorge is located within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, it here that Dr Louis Leakey discovered the remains of Homo habilis or “handy Man” regarded as mankind’s first step on the ladder of human evolution. The gorge is about 50km long, and at its deepest, close to where the main archaeological sites, visitors viewing platform and museum are located. It is about 90km deep. To the north of this, the gorge becomes shallower. The best time to visit the crater is throughout the year.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a huge area containing active volcanoes, mountains, archeological sites, rolling plains, forests, lakes, dunes and of course, Ngorongoro Crater and Olduvai Gorge.
The views at the rim of Ngorongoro Crater are sensational. On the crater floor, grassland blends into swamps, lakes, rivers, woodland and mountains – all a heaven for wildlife, including the densest predator population in Africa. The crater is home to up to 25,000 large mammals, mainly grazers – gazelle, buffalo, eland, hartebeest and warthog. You will not find giraffe as there is not much to eat at tree level, or topi, because the competition with wildebeest is too fierce, nor will you find impala. The crater elephants are strangely, mainly bulls. There are a small number of black rhinos here too. The birdlife is largely seasonal and is also affected by the ratio of soda to fresh water in Lake Magadi on the crater floor.
In the northern, remote part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, you will find Olmoti and Empakaai Craters, Lake Natron and Oldoinyo Lengai, Mountain of God, as named by the Maasai. Lake Natron is the only known breeding ground for East Africa’s flamingoes.
The ruins of a terraced stone city and complex irrigation system lie on the eastern side of Empakaai – the Engakura Ruins. Their origins are a mystery as there is no tradition of stone building in this part of Africa