Ngorongoro Crater

May 15, 2016

This is my third wildlife “safari” tour through a total of four parks in Africa, and they have all been a little different, as the terrain is different in Namibia, Botswana, and Tanzania. I have to say that while Etosha National Park in Namibia was impressive, the Ngorongoro Crater, while much smaller, is definitely the most impressive so far. 

The crater floor is around 100 square miles, and is 2,000 feet below the rim of the crater. There are 25,000 large animals in the crater, including Cape buffalo, black rhino, elephant, wildebeest, lion, waterbuck, gazelle, hippos, eland, and zebras. Because there are very few trees in the crater, the animals are easily viewed. 

I spent the night before near the entrance gate to the park, at a place called Panorama Camp. This place has these cool little igloos for rent.

Looks like a beehive from the inside.

The rim of the crater is nearly 8,000 ft (2,400m) above sea level, and climbing up to the rim to enter the crater felt like driving through Jurassic Park. The clouds were thick, and the jungle is dense. I kept waiting for the dinosaurs to step out of the jungle. Eventually the road crests the rim and descends into the crater.

There are few trees in the crater, so the wildlife is out in the open in constant view, allowing for close interaction and photos. 

Looking into the crater from the rim.


Hippos in the grass.











Yes, he really walked that close. Probably six feet from me.



Flamingos. Thousands of flamingos.


Here’s a reminder of why you always have to be alert in Africa. I was taking photos of these really cool yellow birds in this thorn tree….




Then I looked at the base of the tree and saw this…gotta look hard.


Better view from the other side of the tree…


This lake was full of hippos. If you stood and watched they would surface every few minutes then duck under again.

If I wanted to see a lot of wildlife and could only go to one place, I think the Ngorongoro Crater would be it. Due to the lack of trees in the crater, there are no giraffes here, but just about everything else you’d want to see is here and easily viewed. 

12 thoughts on “Ngorongoro Crater

  1. Some of the best photos so far. Love it!
    “Six Feet From a Lion.” Sounds like a good name for your book. They must get plenty to eat. (Hopefully not tourists) The zebras look fat.

  2. The ring of clouds around the rim is again, surreal. Love it.

  3. With each post I read I think to myself that my jealousy has peaked. Then you take it up a notch………..

  4. Currently surrounded by tall buildings here – feeling claustrophobic in NYC – while I look at your beautiful pictures.

    • It’s easier than you think to do this! You don’t even have to take the extreme steps I did of selling everything and quitting your job if you’re not ready. Tons of people in Africa and South America doing it on small rented or purchased Chinese bikes for shorter periods, or “backpacking” and riding buses. It can be done, and cheaply. Keep daydreaming, and planning.

  5. So how did that feel being that close to a lion?

  6. Crater is volcanic or meteor? Must look this up.
    I see 2 books. One of photos and one of your writing.
    And you crossed equator again?

    • Crater is volcanic. It apparently collapsed on itself during an eruption a long time ago, forming the floor of the caldera.
      I am currently sitting at 1 degree southern latitude, so haven’t quite crossed the equator again. Very, very close.
      Lots more photos that I don’t post, of course…the beauty of digital cameras: I took about 200 photos at the crater.

  7. WHAT, So were u riding ur bike while takin pics of these lions or just standing in front of them?

    • I was basically just standing in front of them, but standing on a 4×4 truck platform. Still out in the open, and a cat like that would have no problem jumping in, but they are used to crowds wandering by constantly I think, so for the most part, as long as you’re in the vehicle, and not waving meat at them, they don’t bother you.

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