Ngorongoro Crater

Written by | Adventure, Africa, Tanzania

Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Tanzania,

Blindly following the dirt track, the thick veil of cloud slowly thinned as we crept to the edge of Ngorongoro Crater. Other vehicles eventually came into focus as we started to descend to the bottom of the basin in an ant-like convoy.

Ngorongoro Crater, also known as the cradle of life is the place to visit if you want to see a lot of Africa’s wildlife in one place. Perfect for those on tight time budgets like us.

We decided to leave our camp early to catch the sunrise over Ngorongoro Crater, but failed to realise that the top of the crater would be immersed in cloud. The magnificent views from the viewpoint area were obstructed by a wall of white.

Once we hit the crater bottom, the sun was starting to peek through the clouds and the sheer scale of the crater was revealed. It wasn’t a small area; this crater was a whole world.

Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Tanzania,

From above

Since we had already seen four of the ‘Big Five,’ today’s adventure focused on seeing the elusive black rhinoceros. We headed for the area where other guides had seen one earlier that morning, combing through the forests, anticipation in the air.

Unfortunately we didn’t spot any rhinos so we moved on to a different part of the reserve and promptly bumped into two ostriches who were in the mood for love.

Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Tanzania,

The male’s mating display made us dizzy just watching. He took a couple of steps then lowered himself to the floor to flinging his head and neck from one side of his body to the other. Gradually getting closer, the female sat down and waited. As did we. Eventually he sat on top of her and continued his display. Then suddenly he walked off, and that was the end of that.

Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Tanzania,

Zebra crossing – I couldn’t help myself!

Over the next hill, we were halted by a zebra crossing, literally. They stood there in the road looking at us nonchalantly and swinging their tails. It was almost as if they were waiting in line, taking it in turns to roll around in the dust.

Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Tanzania,

Dust bath

We stopped by the lake for lunch and parked up with a great view of the hippos. It was a lovely spot to settle down, but I think the entire park had the same idea. The local birds knew this was a hotspot, and Tim almost had his roast chicken whisked away by a hungry Red Kite.

Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Tanzania,

Lunch set up

One of our worries before we touched down in Africa, was that we wouldn’t see any animals. We needn’t have fretted.

Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Tanzania,


As you can see there were wildebeest and zebra scattered around everywhere. A huge dust cloud rose nearby so we ventured over to see what was happening. A hyena had started to chase down all the wildebeest, I’m not entirely sure what the end goal was, since our guide told us that the wildebeest could out run him anyway. He seemed to be enjoying the thrill.

Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Tanzania,

Hyena on the chase

As the day started to draw to a close, we had almost given up hope of seeing a rhino when we pulled over by a couple of vans filled with excitable passengers. We searched the direction that everyone was pointing and still couldn’t make out what we were ‘seeing,’ even through the binoculars and telephoto lens. Our driver reversed slightly to get closer to the crowd and from behind a tree, a black rhinoceros came into view. He was very far away but we could still make him out! We were suddenly as giddy as all the people we were sharing this sight with. There turned out to be not one but three rhinos there! Can you see them all?

Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Tanzania,

Black Rhinos

So there you have it, Ngorongoro Crater was a mini-adventure in itself and held the last piece to our puzzle.

If you’re interested in visiting Ngorongoro Crater we’d advise you to book with a reputable local safari company such as Napanda Safaris to ensure you have the best experience and see as much as you can whilst you are there.

Last modified: 2nd September 2017

10 Responses to :
Ngorongoro Crater

  1. Therese says:

    Wow. Great experience. Love the photos. So pleased you got to see your rhino. I remember going to Zimbabwe a long long time ago (about 25yrs ago) and we saw a rhino on one of our game drives. There’s something about seeing these types of animals in the wild that is so exciting.

  2. Carol says:

    Wildlife viewing is such a crapshoot. Mother nature is going to give you what she gives you and she doesn’t read itineraries. But glad that you got to see a rhino- they are so very rare.

  3. Lara Dunning says:

    What an exciting trip! Africa has such amazing wildlife and diversity. This crater looks like a great place to go if you want to see it all. Did you like the tour guide company?

  4. Sarah Ebner says:

    This looks absolutely amazing. What a beautifully written post and the pictures are fab too. So pleased you got to see the rhino, but my favourite is the zebra rolling in the dust!

  5. So dreaming of this trip! Must invest in a good, long lens though. Want to catch those elusive black hippos (and everything else.)

  6. Great words and photos, Rachel and Tim. I’m so jealous of your experience! I’d never actually heard of this crater before. How much did the safari cost?

  7. Wow, what a beautiful part of the world! I love that shot of the zebra taking a dust bath, ha! Thanks for sharing, I had never heard of Ngorongro Crater before. Happy travels 🙂

  8. Aww so so beautiful and thanks for the detailed guide! Couldn’t believe how beautiful the nature is. Lucky you!

  9. Aww so so beautiful and thanks for the detailed guide! Couldn’t believe how beautiful the nature is. Lucky you!

  10. Hi Rachel and Tim,

    Yep; spotted all 3 rhinos 😉 Brilliant stuff. The colors alone, from sky to earth, are magnificent. Then you add in all the wildlife and you have something special. I saw the ostrich love dance a few times on nature shows. Dizzying indeed. I envy their neck flexibility 😉


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