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5-Day Ngorongoro Crater Safari Tours

I would always rank Ngorongoro Crater among my top five safari destinations anywhere in Africa. It has a feel like no other place, and I get a real thrill of excitement every time I go down into the crater in the early morning light: it always feels like entering a lost world. My love affair is partly about the wildlife (sightings are much easier here than in many other parks), and about the unusual landscape (there are very few volcanic craters that are this beautiful and accessible). But I also love Ngorongoro for the land that surrounds it, from the Crater Highlands to the Maasai homelands that should form a central part of your experience here.

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5 Questions About 5-Day Ngorongoro Crater Safaris

 
 

5 Questions About 5-Day Ngorongoro Crater Safaris

Answered by Anthony Ham

Which parks can I visit on a 5-day Ngorongoro Crater safari?

“You could spend 5 days just at Ngorongoro, but you’d be missing some of the other attractions nearby that really should form a part of your tour. Although 2 days down in the actual crater would be a wonderful experience, most travelers and tours only spend 1 day exploring the crater floor. It’s worth considering a further exploration of the Crater Highlands: Olmoti Crater, for example. And spending time, without hurrying, in a Maasai village is another must-do. With 5 days in total, when it comes to national parks, you could easily spend some time in Lake Manyara National Park on your way to Ngorongoro (if you’re coming from Arusha, as most travelers do). With 1 day at Lake Manyara, and another 2 days in and around Ngorongoro, you’d still have time for a couple of days in Serengeti National Park (provided you fly out on the fifth day).”

1

Am I likely to see the Big Five on a 5-day trip including the Ngorongoro Crater?

“Ngorongoro is one of the best places to see the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) in East Africa. Usually it’s the rhino that is most difficult to see, but black rhinos are commonly seen in the crater. Elephant, lion and buffalo should also be no problem. The only tricky one might be the leopard: they are present but can be elusive. If your 5 days on safari include time in the Serengeti (especially the Seronera region in the center of the park), then leopards are much easier to see there. Remember that seeing the Big Five (a phrase coined by early 20th-century hunters to describe the animals that were most dangerous to hunt) is only one wildlife highlight among many here. There is so much else – cheetah, spotted hyena, golden jackal, wildebeest, zebra and more – also on offer.”

2

What are the accommodation options on a safari which includes the Ngorongoro Crater?

“There are superb accommodation choices across most budgets on your 5-day Ngorongoro safari. All of the options lie around, or close to, the crater rim: no one, not even the Maasai, are allowed to spend the night down on the crater floor. Encircling the crater, especially along the southern edge of the rim, are numerous lodges, tented camps and campsites. Many of these (including a couple of the budget campsites) have stunning views out over (and down into) the crater. These are the most sought-after choices, but most (apart from the campsites) are expensive. Also up on the rim, although set back from the edge and without crater views, there are places to stay in all budgets; some of these have delightful forest settings. The other option is to stay in one of the places off the road between Karatu and Ngorongoro. The better ones inhabit farms and coffee estates, and some are surrounded by forest and come with great views. Most are just off the road before it climbs up to the crater rim from the southeast.”

3

How can I avoid the crowds when visiting the Ngorongoro Crater?

“Ngorongoro is a popular year-round destination, and for most of the time you’ll just have to accept that there will be quite a few other travelers around when you visit. At the same time, the crater is large, rarely feels crowded and you can generally avoid the crowds for much of the day. Exceptions include Ngoitoktok Springs, where many tours stop for a picnic lunch, and wherever there’s a lion on the hunt or on a kill. The busiest months coincide with the high season, which runs from July to March. Late March, April, and much of May can be quieter, but they’re also when you’re most likely to encounter rains which turn many Ngorongoro trails to mud. Late May or, even better, June can be a good time to visit, although the crowds are already starting to build in June.”

4

How much does a 5-day Ngorongoro Crater safari cost?

“The cost of a 5-day Ngorongoro safari varies greatly from one safari operator to the next. As a starting point, you will pay from US$150 per person per day for the cheapest, budget camping tour. This includes the US$50/10 per adult/child per day entry fee for the Ngorongoro Conservation Authority. At the higher end of the price scale, expect to pay at least US$500 per person per day, although this could go much higher if you factor in air transfers and some of the pricier, luxury accommodation. Apart from the accommodation, the different kinds of safari on offer also impact the cost of your safari. If you choose a private safari (which means you pay to have the vehicle, driver and guide all for yourself), you will pay a lot more than you will for a group or self-drive safari. It can also be cheaper to go in low season, although that’s less of a factor in Ngorongoro than it is in other East African destinations.”

5

Ngorongoro Crater Reviews

4.6/5 511 Reviews
Expert
Sue Watt  –  
United Kingdom UK

Sue is an award-winning writer who specializes in African travel and conservation. She writes for national newspapers, magazines, Rough Guides and Lonely Planet.

Life in the Caldera
5/5

I felt completely spellbound on my first trip to Ngorongoro Crater. The rim was shrouded in cloud but as we descended the 600 metres down to the crater floor, this vast caldera opened up before our eyes absolutely teeming with animals – a...

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Expert
Harriet Nimmo  –  
South Africa ZA

Harriet is a zoologist with more than 20 years’ experience. She has the privilege of working with the world’s top wildlife photographers and photo-guides.

Top of the Bucket List
5/5

It was my childhood dream to see the Ngorongoro Crater, and I feared it would not live up to my expectations. However, it spectacularly exceeded them – truly taking my breath away. I realise this is a well-worn phrase, but the Ngorongoro...

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Laura Ligthart  –  
Netherlands NL
Reviewed: Jun 5, 2024
5/5

we drove by before we went to Serengeti, so we already experienced the few. The day we drove in the crater we saw a rhino! the landscape in de the crater is already so diffrent from what we saw the days before. it was really surprising....

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Silke  –  
Germany DE
Reviewed: May 27, 2024
Many impressions with the Big Five and more.
5/5

Price-performance was great! Everything was very well organized. In two days in Tarangire National Park and Ngorongoro Crater I was able to see the Big Five and more. The leopard first thing in the morning and the large herds of elephants...

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Whitney Bunts  –  
United States US
Reviewed: May 12, 2024
5/5

Omg, Ngorongoro was amazing, there were animals everywhere. After being in the natural habitat of the wild life, I will never visit another zoo. I recommend for everyone to go to a safari once in their life and do it with Vision Safaris

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Maazen  –  
Saudi Arabia SA
Reviewed: Apr 12, 2024
5/5

We came during the long rainy season. Good thing about it is that prices are lower and the crowds are smaller. We saw many animals at close range including lions and nice and strange birds like the marabou stork. The scenery is so...

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