When Is the Best Time
Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most beautiful places on earth for wildlife viewing, utterly exceptional. You can spot wildlife throughout the year. Because of its unique ecosystem, the animals don't leave the crater.
The best time for Ngorongoro and other major National Parks in Tanzania and the Serengeti is June to September/October. Most tourists come for their safari tour in the African winter, the dry season is the busiest time of the year.
Weather and Seasons
The Ngorongoro Crater floor is located on an elevation of about 1.650 m/5.400 ft, whereas the crater rim is on a much higher elevation of about 2.300/7.500ft. The high crater rim creates a microclimate for the caldera floor. It never gets too hot on the crater floor, nor is it freezing in the winter. The lodges are located along the rim, where it is much colder from May to September.
Dry Season - June-October
This is the best time for game viewing with clear blue skies. Of course, it is also the busiest time of the year. Fewer mosquitoes. Downside: Most crowds, highest rates, very busy. Jeeps and spots need to be shared with many others. It is freezing at the crater rim in the morning and still fresh on the crater floor. A softshell jacket is well needed. It is also cold at night. The temperature in the afternoon is pleasant but still below 20°C. First showers start in October, but that does not have a huge impact on your safari.
Wet Season - November-May
In November and December, temperatures become more pleasant above 20°C in the crater but still cool on the rim due to the high elevation. There are frequent showers in the afternoon. The lush and green scenery is breathtaking. The wet season is not as good as the dry season for wildlife spotting, but it is always great here. The grass is higher, and predators are more difficult to spot. Birding is excellent migratory birds are here as well in the warmer and wetter season. Particular months within the wet season are January and February: You might see baby zebra, baby wildebeest and other newborns. Bird watching is also excellent during these months. In general, rain is limited and usually not that bad during the wet season. Overall, November to February are not overrun but still busy.
Decreasing rainfall in May. March to April are the wettest months with heavy rain. I would avoid these months; you may not experience what you expect, and getting there is too expensive and time-consuming. Sometimes it can get challenging to use the roads during or after heavy rain. Although March and April are less busy, I would prefer the dry season.
Malaria is an issue in Africa, and the risk is the highest during the rainy season and at the beginning of the dry season. It is recommended to wear long sleeves, long trousers, and take precautions. It is advisable to take antimalarial in a high-risk time.
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Best Months to Visit
Location and Tips
The crater is such a unique place offering a jaw-dropping setting. Ngorongoro is the largest, unfilled and inactive volcanic caldera in the world. It has an entirely separate ecosystem inside of the caldera. There are more than 30.000 animals inside the crater; therefore, spectacular sightings are guaranteed.
The crater rim and the Conservation Area are located at an altitude of 2.300m up to 3.500m/7.500ft-11.500ft. Keep this in mind; nights are chilly or even freezing in winter at your lodge on top of the crater.
Ngorongoro has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 and is called one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. Arusha airport in the east is the gateway to Ngorongoro, a four hours drive.
9 Facts for Ngorongoro
- The size of the crater is immense; 100 square miles/ 260 square km and more than 600 m/2000 ft deep.
- Ngorongoro is the best place to see the 'big five': buffalo, leopard, lion, elephant, and rhino.
- It's also the best place to see the critically endangered black rhino.
- Game viewing is great almost throughout the year - Usually, you see it all just in one day.
- The game is not only inside the crater also along the rim.
- There are several points where the crater can be accessed.
- The price for a safari is about $300.
- The national park fee itself is $60 plus VAT $70.80.
- The Maasai is the only tribe allowed to live in the crater or other parks of Tanzania.
- The famous Serena Safari Lodge is probably the most stunning and luxurious accommodation within the crater, utterly unique. It offers the most breathtaking views you can get! Otherwise, you can browse for more options here: Ngorongoro Hotels - Lodges
- The nearby village of Karatu (Google Maps) has great lodges as well for lower rates: Karatu Accommodations
You get addicted to such safaris. These outstanding pictures took my friend Chris, a fantastic photographer. He gave me all details for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
If you want to obtain the usage right for some of these images? Contact me, but we will take action against picture theft.