If the Northern Circuit Safari has been on your wish list, you certainly want to go to the Ngorongoro Crater; the sixth largest and only Caldera in the world, home to the Big 5 and the tribal inhabitants- The Maasai. Dreaming of a driving safari in this majestic crater? Trust us as we say, this is not going to be your ordinary visit! While you get excited for your adventure to the animal kingdom, let us help you with our insider’s guide on how to plan your Ngorongoro Safari.
It is cold in there
Have you always guessed khakhi pants or shorts and linen shirts are the good to go Safari outfits? No one would tell you, unless you ask, Ngorongoro crater enjoys cool climatic conditions and temperatures can range from 8 to 25 degrees Celsius. Make sure you carry 2-3 pairs of woolen wear for the morning and evening.
Watch out for baboons at the gate
Unlike other national parks, there are hundreds of monkeys ready to welcome you and have a clever intention to dive into your car at any given opportunity to quickly grab some food. This is not unusual or dangerous, but you would always want to keep your food safe and save yourself from monkey adventure. Make sure your windows are always locked, particularly when you step out of your car.
Spot the giraffes outside the crater
You may have seen many pictures with elephants in the carter, and may have missed spotting the giraffe! Surprisingly, you will find no giraffes inside the crater, thanks or no thanks to their long legs that restrict these tall animals to descend the steep crater. You will be lucky enough to spot them around the conservation area munching fresh greens from trees and sometimes also at the roads while exiting.
The best time for a Game Drive
Being one of the Natural wonders of the World, most of the travellers coming for a safari to Tanzania will not miss vesiting the Ngorongoro Crater, hence the Crater can get very busy with many 4 by 4 cars especially during the peak season. If you are a wildlife enthusiast, a photographer and most importantly a first time safari goer to Tanzania, we highly recommend you to start with an early morning game drive by 6:00 am, to capture wildlife action in its undisturbed essence.
Decide where do you want to stay
A Ngorongoro safari can be done as a day trip and if you are on an on-going journey to other parks or returning back, we would recommend you to have stay over. There are mainly two choices to stay inside or outside the park in Karatu. While booking a lodge inside the park is slightly expensive, you will get to enjoy the breath taking crater views, a once in a lifetime opportunity. Karatu, which is only few kilometres outside the park, also has accommodation options of various budgets.
Since a crater tour is for not more than half a day, we would recommend you to come fully prepared with your camera including at least 2 battery packs and memory cards. Make sure the photographer gets a chance to stand close to the pop-up roof to get the best view and angles. Some animals such as rhinos and lion cubs are coy and the pink flamingos appear from a distance so carrying a telephoto lens is ideal.
Ideal picnic spots
If you are staying at the lodge within the carter, we would recommend you to have a fresh hot meal at the dedicated accommodation. Alternatively you can also can also carry packed lunch boxes and enjoy your meal at the picnic spot, however watch out for vultures. A good idea would also be to open your lunch box anytime inside the vehicle and enjoy a meal with a wildlife view.
Time your safari
Most travellers visit Ngorongoro Crater on a half day tour either due to their on-going journey and essentially because all permits are for a maximum six hours. If you have an on-going journey to Serengeti, we would recommend you to start the earliest after breakfast. Make sure you also let your driver guide know if you are interested to see a specific kind of animal/s so you could spend quality time around your favourite animal sightings.
Carry extra food
Once you are inside the park, you will not be able to come out due to entry fee and permit limitations, if you are on a family safari, we would highly recommend you to carry you child/ children’s favourite snacks so that they can enjoy their safari time without being cranky for food. If you are on an on-going journey to Serengeti, we highly recommend to have a good lunch and carry some good finger biting with you.
Look for the rhino
The Ngorongoro Crater has close to 26 rhinos, which are not easy to spot. Due to their coy nature and the vastness of the crater, you will be considered fortunate to have spot this distinguished specie. Use your binoculars and interact with your driver guide who is familiar with their locations and timings. The sightings of the Rhinos are not guaranteed however, many travellers are able to spot them with their great guides.
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