​Wildlife & Animals – Ngorongoro Crater

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Bradt guidebooks to African destinations, including the guide to Tanzania.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Bradt guidebook to Tanzania.

Philip is the author of the Bradt guidebook to Tanzania.

The Ngorongoro Crater is without a doubt Tanzania’s most productive Big Five destination. The crater floor teems with wildlife, and predator sightings tend to be exceptional. It harbors the world’s densest lion population and spotted hyenas are equally common. Look out for smaller carnivores, such as golden and black-backed jackals and bat-eared foxes. If you’re lucky, you might also see a serval hunting small rodents or birds.

Abundant
Common
Occasional
Rare
None
ElephantCommon
HippoCommon
BuffaloAbundant
ZebraAbundant
WildebeestAbundant
LionCommon
LeopardOccasional
HyenaAbundant

Wildlife Highlights

Most safari heavyweights are well represented in the crater. Black rhino is the star attraction and big numbers of buffalo sweep across the grassy plains. Elephant herds rarely come through, but many lone bulls carrying massive tusks have made the crater floor their home. Although giraffes are common in the greater conservation area, you won’t find any inside of the crater. Presumably the steep walls form a natural barrier for them.

Best Time for Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife viewing is excellent in the Ngorongoro Crater throughout the year, although animals are most easily spotted during the Dry season (June to October). The scenery of the crater is most spectacular in the Wet season (November to May), but at that time the grass might be long in places. This can interfere with seeing some of the smaller animals. March and April are the wettest months.

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