The Ngorongoro Crater Safari was our last destination in the five days Northern Circuit Honeymoon Safari in Tanzania. Our guide, Deo from Easy Travel had informed us beforehand that the game drive at the Ngorongoro Crater was our well-deserved dessert after the fantastic starter and main course experience at the Lake Manyara National Park and Serengeti National Park, respectively. Well, I was definitely intrigued by his description of the safaris in terms of a meal.
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The Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area is located between Lake Manyara region and the Serengeti National Park. The crater is one of the largest inactive volcanic caldera, which was formed when a volcano erupted about three million years ago. Ngorongoro Crater is listed as “One of Seven Natural Wonders of Africa” and having done my research well before I left for my trip, I was looking forward to visiting this stunning place.
We got our first glimpse of the Crater from a viewpoint on top of the crater rim, en route Serengeti National Park from the Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge. From the viewpoint we got bird’s-eye view of the caldera and just looking at the sight in front of me, I instantly fell in love with the place. The Ngorongoro Crater viewpoint is a perfect spot to enjoy the gorgeous landscape and also one of the most preferred places for clicking pictures of the crater from the top.
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My husband and I were eagerly looking forward to the safari experience at the Ngorongoro Crater. And after spending two adventurous days in the wilderness of the Serengeti National Park, we were finally back at the Crater. As soon as we started our descent to the crater floor, Deo got a signal from a fellow guide about spotting a Rhinoceros; Deo quickly drove the Land Cruiser to the given location. As we were cruising down the crater I kept my fingers crossed, hoping the Rhino does not move from the spot. This was our only opportunity to spot the hook-lipped (black) rhinoceros as we had not spotted any in Serengeti safari. Spotting the black Rhino would also mean that I could tick off the Big Five in Tanzania list: Lion, Rhinoceros, Leopard, African Elephant, and the African Bush Elephant.
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And voilà, just like that Deo stopped the vehicle midway and handed us the binoculars. At a distance, we could spot the Rhino peacefully grazing completely unaware of us lurking around. Even though it was pretty far away from us, I was delighted to just watch through my binoculars and be grateful of finally seeing these endangered species (it is said that only 26 Rhinos currently exist in the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area).
We hung around the place for a couple of minutes, as Deo told us the reason behind the extinction of these animals and how these harmless animals were destroyed for selfish gains, and it was truly heart-breaking to listen to these stories. I could only pray and hope that people develop a conscience and take responsibility to protect such an endangered species and help them thrive. This also made me realize the true significance of the strict rules and regulations, and constant surveillance at all the National Parks I visited in the past few days.
With mixed feelings we drove around the Ngorongoro Crater passing through the stunning flora, Zebras and wildebeests playing around the grasslands. The clouds were setting over the Crater as we reached a spot where a herd of lions was lounging peacefully along with their cubs. The sight was not very different from what we had witnessed at the Serengeti National Park. However, at one point, as we were driving down a small cliff, we almost came face to face with a lioness, who was sitting on the edge and for a second I feared her jumping on us for invading her space and clicking too many pictures of her. Thankfully, nothing as such happened and we got out unscathed from there.
Just then it started showering and the entire place lit up with lush greenery within minutes. Our drive in the rain brought us again near the fellow Rhino, who was rushing to find shelter I suppose, we followed him around for few miles until he disappeared behind the forest. We took a quick lunch break in the picnic area of the Crater, then proceed to towards the Hippo Pool. Just like in Lake Manyara National Park game drive, the Hippos refused to come out of the water. Even the post-rain cool temperature was not a tempting option for the creatures.
After an hour or so driving through the gorgeous Crater grounds, we decided to call it a day and head to the top of the crater where our hotel, Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge was located. On arriving at our room at the lodge we were greeted by one of the most gorgeous views of the crater from the balcony. This, in my opinion, was the perfect ending to our safari trip in Tanzania before we headed off to Zanzibar for some beach time.
The Ngorongoro Crater safari was unlike any other safari experience and I highly recommend it to everyone who is considering an out of the world safari experience in Tanzania. Combining the Lake Manyara, Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater was indeed an ideal choice for our Northern Circuit safari and I cannot think of a better way than this to experience the African wilderness.
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