Self Drive in Ngorongoro Crater – Self drive in Tanzania .
Self Drive Safaris are popular in Tanzania and the best recommended Safari places to visit in Tanzania include the best National Parks located in the northern circuits of Tanzania that include ( Lake Manyara, Lake Natron, Tarangire , Serengeti and Ngorongoro) which are visited mostly but have the worst roads in Tanzania.
Ngorongoro Conservation Craters.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area was considered the largest Area established as a separate conservation area in 1959 and covers about 8400 sq km including the volcanic highlands. It extends from Lake Manyara in the east, lake Natron in the northeast and Lake Eyasi in the south. There are four main features including; the crater, lakes, mountains and the forests. The crater includes; the Ngorongoro crater, the Olmoti and the Empakai crater, the lakes include; lake Natron and Lake Magadi soda. The mountains include; the Oldonyo Lengai which is still active. The forests include the famous forested areas of the Olduvai Gorge
is self drive Safari safe in Ngorongoro Crater?
Yes, But bear in Mind that the roads are in sorry state and breakdown is possible any time irrespective of the Car your cruising in the wilderness of Tanzanian Parks.
If self-driving is tour thing, Ngorongoro Conservation Area allows this (unlike most parks in Tanzania). The advantage of this is that you get to manage your own time and have the tour at your own pace. The downsides, however, can be quite plenty.
- One, vehicles for rent can be costly and don’t have pop-up roofs that give you 360-degree views.
- Two, roads are not really very good at all.
- Three, you might not be able to catch the best game and best views.
BUT, if you have an excellent Ngorongoro Crater safari operator, you will be able to experience the best of the area in a superbly comfortable, educational and entertaining way.
What is the budget and time to visit Ngorongoro?
One of the biggest considerations when planning your self-drive safari and trip to the Ngorongoro is when to visit. There are a few different factors that will affect your decision for your self-drive safari.
- Peak Season: The peak season runs during the dry season from June until September. During this season, you can see the iconic Wildebeest Migration from Tanzania to Kenya. Many people dream of seeing the herd at a river crossing, and you can see these at the Grumeti or Mara Rivers. At this time means large crowds and more expensive in terms of accommodations, thus self-drive with a rooftop tent will be the best option to minimize the cost.
- Low Season: Runs during the rainy season, from April and May. Traveling during this season is advantageous because the park is not full of people. The rainy reason is also a favorite with nature photographer who is hoping to capture the lush greens and vivid blues of the Ngorongoro.
Where to stay when visiting the Ngorongoro Crater?
While visiting the Ngorongoro Crater, you have options for where to stay. You can choose to stay on the rim of the crater which offers beautiful views and quick access to the crater itself at the beginning of the day. Simba Public Campsite A is the most affordable option on the crater rim. The rest of the campsites on the rim are a so-called special campsite and largely reserved by private safari who bid on them. As an individual, it will be expensive to stay there. Outside crater Karatu is a nice and affordable place to base yourself when visiting the Ngorongoro.
Stay at Karatu in a nearby Town in the Ngorongoro Highlands and just leave your lodge early to get to the crater in time when animals are still active. In the midrange, you can have a truly unforgettable experience glamping in one of the many tented camps. These camps offer private bathrooms, hot showers, and of course, delicious food cooked up by an onsite chef.
How do I arrange the Ngorongoro entrance permit for self-drive safari?
For the Ngorongoro crater, you need to obtain an entrance quote first. Before you can go to the gate to actually pay for the park entrance, the NCA is based in Arusha and Karatu and open Monday – Friday. It’s not possible to obtain an NCA entrance quote online.
What will you see while on self-drive in Ngorongoro Crater?
These are Africa’s most iconic animals, once recognized for how difficult they were to hunt. The Big Five includes elephants, lions, leopards, rhinoceroses, and Cape buffalo. Since seeing these animals is easier at the Ngorongoro Crater than anywhere else in Tanzania. You’ll want to begin your game drives as early in the morning as possible while the animals are still active. Later in the day, they prefer to hide in the shade making them much more difficult to find. There are bright pink flocks of flamingos that can be seen in the Ngorongoro Crater although they are more common at the nearby Lake Natron. If you opt to visit during the rainy season instead of during the peak season, you may see (and smell) hippos during your safari. Be sure to admire these ferocious animals from a safe distance.
WHY NGORONGORO NATIONAL PARK A MUST VISIT IN TANZANIA
When people plan for their bucket-list adventure in Tanzania, Serengeti National Park always comes to mind first. Sure, there’s the Great Migration and the Lion King setting both fantastic reasons that make ditching the Serengeti impossible. But Tanzania has so much more to offer and it would be a total bummer to miss out on them. Particularly the renowned Ngorongoro Conservation Area. So why is Ngorongoro Conservation Area a must-visit in Tanzania? Here are reasons why.
World Heritage Site
Any avid traveler would want to tick off as many World Heritage Sites as possible especially if the site promises an experience beyond your wildest dreams. Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, is that kind of site. Its main feature is the astounding Ngorongoro Crater which is famous for being the largest inactive and intact volcanic caldera in the whole world. A result of a major explosion and collapse about 2 to 3 million years ago, the Crater was officially hailed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa in 2015. Some also refer to it as “the cradle of humanity.”
An expanse that is truly more than meets the eye, Ngorongoro Conservation Area harbors a wide range of globally threatened species and incredibly dense wildlife. It is also one of the centers for extensive archaeological research for more than 80 years as it shows crucial evidence of human evolution and human-environment dynamics.
Africa’s Garden of Eden
When people say “Ngorongoro Conservation Area,” what most human brain automatically pictures is the world-renowned Ngorongoro Crater. And we really can’t blame you for that.
Ngorongoro Crater, the Garden of Eden of Africa, has a glorious landscape that’s teeming with about 25,000 animals including ungulates, four of the Big Five and other large mammals. It is also one of the best places to spot critically endangered animals like black rhinos, golden cats and wild hunting dogs. Home to one of the densest known population of Masai lions, Ngorongoro Crater guarantees an action-packed, heart-pounding game. In fact, it also supports the largest animal migration on earth, the Great Migration. You see, the Ngorongoro Crater area and Ndutu area are settings of the wildebeest calving season. During this time, you will be able to witness thousands of baby wildebeests being born and a plethora of opportunistic predators on stealth and killing modes.
The splendor of this world wonder makes people say this is like “mini Africa in a bowl.” As one traveler would put it, “Imagine a bowl of an incredible landscape filled with just about every African animal you can think of.”
Think of another place in the world where you can see such a unique setting with diverse scenery, prolific wildlife and birdlife, and an ecosystem like no other. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area covers mountain forests, woodlands, grasslands, lakes, swamps and two major rivers. Not to mention Ngorongoro Crater, Oldupai Gorge and Laetoli.
The Maasai tribe is the original inhabitants of this area. In fact, they named the place “Ngorongoro” which means “gift of life.” They are probably the most famous indigenous tribe if the east and a visit to their village is definitely an experience worthy of taking.
During the visit, you will be able to meet Maasai men and women, enjoy dancing and listening to their native melodies, be entertained with a dramatic enactment, and maybe even try on their red cloaks! What makes this experience enriching is that you get to see an authentic social side of Africa and a glimpse of the rich Maasai culture.
If you love archaeology or you even if you just want to see important paleontological records related to human evolution, Olduvai Gorge is the place to go. It is one of the most important pale anthropological sites in the world and gives us a good understanding of early human evolution.
The main attraction, which is the Crater, is pretty small. It stretches at 8,292 km2 (3,202 sq mi) and goes for about 610 metres (2,000 feet) deep. The great thing is, animals are just in plain sight with nowhere to hide. Hence, you can see it one day. You can even make a quick side trip to Olduvai Gorge if you wish! If you think about it, you get to see A LOT in even just half a day. Every direction you look, you can spot zebras, lions, elephants, wildebeests and if you’re lucky, black rhinos, too! So if you are on a tight schedule, it would definitely be very easy (and wise) to squeeze a Ngorongoro Crater safari in your itinerary.
Amazing sunrise and sunset
Transitions between day and night are often spectacular times go view wildlife and observe their behavior. Aside from this, have we mentioned beautiful sunsets and sunrises? Ngorongoro Crater boasts of a lush landscape with jungles along its crater rim. If you stand or stay at a lodge by the crater rim early in the morning, you will be able to witness the breathtaking movement of the sun as it rises and slowly touches the green grasses of the savannah. If you stay in the middle of the afternoon before the sun sets, you can watch the golden hour and witness one of the most glorious sunsets of your life.
Very near Serengeti
The northern region of Ngorongoro Conservation Area shares borders with the eastern area of Serengeti National Park. In fact, Ngorongoro Conservation Area is one of the places where the must-see wildebeest calving season ensues.
Most tourists in Tanzania target to visit the Serengeti. As a matter of fact, most of them aim to stay around the area. If you want a cheaper accommodation option, Ngorongoro Conservation Area could be your most ideal solution. Aside from being incredibly close to the Serengeti, Ngorongoro promises a Tanzanian view that’s just as majestic as the Serengeti. If accommodation is not an issue, well, then a visit to the conservation area is just really very convenient and timesaving.
Breakfasts and lunches like no other
How do you feel about a picnic in the wild? In Ngorongoro Crater, designated picnic areas await you! Whether you are going to have breakfast or lunch or eating at the hood of the car, splendid views are guaranteed. Plus, wild animals are walking freely around. You might even share that breakfast spread with an elephant!
Ngorongoro Conservation Area is reasonably close to Arusha, the main safari hub of Tanzania’s northern safari circuits. If you want to drive down to Ngorongoro, it will only take you 3 hours from Arusha so anyone who is tight for time may find this seriously convenient. It is also close to major attractions like Serengeti National Park and Lake Manyara National Park. If you wish to have a seamless vacation, check these remarkable Ngorongoro Crater Safari tours. You’ll never regret it.
Arusha Airport: located just outside the town of Arusha, Arusha Airport is the gateway to the Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Lake Manyara and Tarangire but you’ll need to get there via Kilimanjaro International Airport, located about 50km away.
Kilimanjaro International Airport: fly into Kilimanjaro from Dar es Salaam, Nairobi or directly from Europe and transfer to Arusha Airport but note that international flights often arrive at Kilimanjaro Airport late at night, so an overnight in Arusha is usually necessary.
However, as the Ngorongoro Crater is only a 3.5hr road trip from Arusha, many travellers prefer to make the final transfer to their accommodation at the crater or in the nearby town of Karatu by road. Game drives and road transfers in the Ngorongoro Crater region are conducted in open-sided 4X4s.
Are you planning for a self-drive safari to Ngorongoro national park this season? Simply get in touch with us through Car rental Tanzania. Self-drive safari means that you are very much in the driver’s seat. You take the wheel of a vehicle and drive out into the wild on what is typically a no-frills camping safari.