Where in the world can you go to see some of the greatest, fiercest, and friendliest animals on the planet? The Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania!
The Ngorongoro Crater sits just over 100 miles west of Arusha in Tanzania and is a hot spot for tourists wanting to get a dose of wildlife in its natural habitat, as opposed to a man-made zoo ecosystem. There are over 30,000 different species of animals living in the Ngorongoro Crater – about 25,000 of those are large breeds. If you want a taste of wildlife, there’s no better place to get it. Having been desensitized to the intrusion of man and vehicles over the years, you can drive around without scaring off most of the animals, who are are likely to simply watch you go by.
What will you see on your excursion?
While there is no promise that you’ll see one species or another, you will most certainly see something. Some of the most prominent animals can pretty much be guaranteed.
Wildebeest: The Ngorongoro Crater is one area where the wildebeest do not migrate from. Their populations over the years have remained steady, with anticipated rise and declines from natural causes. Finding a herd of wildebeest should be pretty easy, especially around sources of water.
Olive Baboons: In many areas where the olive baboon resides, it is viewed as a menace, often raiding crops and spreading disease, but in the crater, this old world monkey thrives. You can watch its silly mannerisms and be entertained by its clown-like habits.
Zebras: Black and white stripes make the zebra really stand out against the natural greens and browns of the Ngorongoro Crater lands, but it serves as a defence to would-be predators since the stripes tend to create the illusion of grey from a distance, and herds of zebra are often mistaken for one very large animal when their stripes blend in. Fortunately, humans are not so easily fooled and zebreas are a common site throughout the land.
Warthogs: Often ridiculed by their appearance and appropriate name, the warthog is widely misunderstood as a ferocious animal. However, the warthogs prime instinct is to flee in the face of possible danger (with exception to a mother guarding her piglets). Given the density of warthog population in the crater, your chances of seeing one up close are pretty high.
Lions: There just over 50 lions in the Ngorongoro Crater. This small number is actually considered a large pride, but you may have to travel for awhile before encountering them. Keep your eyes open – they tend to lay in the high brown grasses, making it difficult to notice them from a distance.
Hippos: Find a significant source of water and you’re bound to see a herd of hippos. Susceptible to overheating and sunburn, they like to spend the majority of their time immersed in the small, cool lakes within the crater. An adult hippo can hold its breath underwater for up to 5 whole minutes and even rises to the surface to get air when it’s asleep.
There are many other animals you can hope to see in the Ngorongoro Crater. Keep your eyes peeled for hyenas, gazelles, ostriches, and flamingoes. Elephants are less likely seen, but a trip to the rim of the crater will increase your chances of coming across them.