Ngorongoro is as diverse as its name is difficult to pronounce. The enormous Ngorongoro Crater is the centerpiece of the huge Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which was the second part of my Tanzania safari journey that began in Tarangire and would finish in Serengeti.
After leaving the stunning scenery of Tarangire behind, we traveled to Plantation Lodge to spend one night before our Ngorongoro Crater safari. Just on the outskirts of the park, the lodge was a peaceful oasis where you could relax and unwind. Staying overnight at the Plantation Lodge was part of a nine-day luxury safari experience with Wilderness Travel on their tour: Tanzania Private Safari Journey. It was more than anything I could have expected from the roaring of lions at night near my tent to the extensive knowledge and wildlife-spotting ability of Naiman our guide.
The next morning we made the short drive to the park entrance to begin our safari in the Ngorongoro Crater. We wound up the dirt roads, passing by the lush jungles that reminded me of the lush vines covering the canopies in Papua New Guinea on the Kokoda Track.
At the top of the rim, we had our first chance to see the entirety of the crater, which was far bigger than I expected. The lakes of the crater seemed to disappear into the fog almost like an ocean. I couldn’t wait to reach the top of the rim and head down to explore the crater, excited to see what wildlife we would encounter.
As soon as we began heading down into the crater the wildlife began to appear in every direction. Zebras galloped by in single file while gazelles gathered in the open plains. Flamingos flocked in the lakes as hyenas circled waiting to make their moves. The wildebeest and buffalo moved about in herds as calves leaped enthusiastically as their mothers tried to keep them nearby.
Ngorongoro Crater is one of the best spots in Tanzania to spot a Black Rhinoceros, whose population has dwindled over the last centuries but is currently on the rise.
Ngorongoro Crater was voted as one of the seven natural wonders of Africa due to the biodiversity amidst the unique volcanic caldera. We drove throughout the entire crater before climbing up the rocky roads to reach Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge where we would stay the night.
The next day we drove through the plains of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which is far outside the crater but equally as busy with wildlife. It was here we encountered two lions and also several hyenas feeding on a gazelle from a recent kill.
I reveled in capturing the wildlife and hope you enjoy a selection of my favorite photos from Ngorongoro Crater and Conservation Area.