The Ngorongoro Conservation Area covers a large amount of varied terrain between the Serengeti and Lake Manyara parks. It is an area of fantastic natural beauty and contains active volcanoes, mountains, archaeological sites, rolling plains, forests, lake dunes and the famous Ngorongoro Crater and Olduvai Gorge. Ngorongoro was an active volcano whose cone collapsed leaving a sunken caldera of 260sq. km, the world’s largest unbroken caldera. The crater is 610 meters deep.
The spectacular views inside the crater are a major tourist attraction. On the floor of the crater, an incredibly dense collection of wildlife is to be found. There are about 25,000 large mammals in the crater. Huge numbers of zebra and wildebeest are accompanied by animals like the gazelle, buffalo, eland, hartebeest and warthog. Giraffes are not found here because the food supply is inadequate at tree level. Similarly, the topi is not found here because of the fierce competition with the wildebeest. The crater is one of the best sites to view the black rhinos in Tanzania. Some of the other animals found in the park are the lion, including the black-manned males, leopard, cheetah, hyena, elephant, buffalo. There is also a large variety of bird life which, incidentally, is affected by the ratio of soda to fresh water in Lake Magadi on the crater floor. Large numbers of flamingoes turn the lake shores pink with their plumage. Lodges and camps are located on the crater rim, well placed to provide fantastic views of the crater floor. Tourists can observe wildlife from their vehicles (4X4 ones recommended) or undertake walking safaris.