The Ngorongoro Conservation area, that includes the famous and gigantic Ngorongoro Crater, is the flagship of the tourism industry in Tanzania. Hundreds of thousands of visitors flock annually to this recently declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area has some of the highest concentrations of large mammals, including predators, in Africa, and is the only place in the world that supports human communities living in harmony alongside wildlife.
The showpiece of the conservation area is undoubtedly the Ngorongoro Crater which was created when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 and is the largest intact volcanic caldera in the world.
It measures about 16-19km in diameter, with walls of 400-610m in height. However you measure it, the Crater is a strong candidate for any list of the world’s greatest natural wonders. It is renowned both for its geological splendour, and for being a natural reserve which is home to some of the densest large mammal populations found anywhere in Africa.
Due to the enclosed nature of the Crater it has virtually formed its own ecosystem. Besides the stunning scenery, one of the main attractions of this area is the variety of flora and fauna found in a remarkably compact area all year round. In the South west corner there is the Lerai Forest, which is mainly comprised of yellow fever trees (a member of the acacia family). To the north of the forest is a shallow soda lake called Lake Magadi and to the east you will find Gorigor Swamp and the Ngoitokitok Springs where pods of hippo are to be found. The north of the Crater is, on the whole, much drier and consists of the open grasslands which characterises the Crater floor; this is where the majority of the resident game resides.