Ngorongoro Crater Ecosystem

Ngorongoro Crater Ecosystem : The Ngorongoro Crater is often referred to as the “8th Wonder of the World,” and is among the safari destinations located in the northern part of Tanzania.

This natural wonder consists of various habitats as well as wildlife and bird species which can be seen during tours around the Ngorongoro crater. The crater, which covers an area of more than 260 square kilometers, is one of the most popular travel destinations in Tanzania.

The crater is home to a variety of wildlife species such as zebras, wildebeests, cheetahs as well as the Big Five such as lions, elephants, buffalos, leopards, and rhinos which roam freely in their natural habitat.

In addition to its wildlife species, the Ngorongoro conservation area is also home to the Maasai people who coexist with the wildlife found at the destination. They can be visited during cultural tours around the destination.

Different ecosystems in Ngorongoro Crater

Within the Ngorongoro Crater, the ecosystems consist of unique characteristics and inhabitants which can be seen after descending into the crater which is made up of dense forests, vast savannah grasslands, soda lakes and also swamps.

  • Grasslands and savannah

Grasslands and savannah are two of the most dominant habitats in the Ngorongoro conservation area which dominate a big part of the crater floor.

They include tall grasses, bushes, and acacia trees which cover the savannah plains in the Ngorongoro crater area where wildlife species such as wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles which can be seen grazing in the area.

These herbivores which can be seen around the grasslands of Ngorongoro conservation are preyed on by lions, cheetahs, and hyenas. During safaris at the destination, tourists can enjoy watching the predator-prey action as hunting is done in the savannah grasslands.

When exploring these grasslands, tourists take part in experiences such as guided walking safaris and also game drives at different times of day to see the various wildlife species found in the Ngorongoro conservation area.

  • Woodlands and Forests

The Ngorongoro crater area also consists of forests and woodlands which can be seen around the caldera and the crater rim.

These woodlands consist of tall trees like figs and acacia trees, as well as grasses and shrubs which make up the habitat in the area which act as habitat for many bird species like Hornbills, Turacos, and Sunbirds. Wildlife species like dik-diks and bush babies can also be seen around the woodlands at the destination.

Bird watching and wildlife viewing can be done around the woodlands and forests found in the Ngorongoro conservation area.

  • Wetlands and Lakes

Wetlands and lakes are also found in the Ngorongoro crater which provides home to different birds and wildlife species.

There are swamps, seasonal marshes, and soda lakes, each having a distinct mix of flora and fauna in the Ngorongoro area. Bird species like lesser and greater flamingos, pelicans, and herons can be seen around the wetlands.

Lake Magadi which is found inside the Ngorongoro crater is popular for tourists interested in seeing flamingos during their safaris in Tanzania. Warthogs and hyenas are among the wildlife species can be seen around the area during tours.

Ngorongoro Crater Ecosystem
Mount Bike Safari In Ngorongoro Crater
  • Montane Forests

Ngorongoro conservation is also made up of montane forests which grow along the crater walls and slopes because of the higher, moister, colder temperatures.

A wide variety of tree species, such as junipers, cedars, and olive trees, as well as a dense understory of ferns, mosses, and orchids, can be seen around the montane forests at the destination.  A number of bird species and wildlife species can be seen in these forests and they include duiker.

  • Desert Scrublands

The terrain of the Ngorongoro conservation area is also made up of scrublands in the drier, more arid areas.

These area consist of grasses, low shrubs, and succulent plants that are suited to withstand the severe climate of the African savannah are the distinguishing features of these fragile ecosystems. Desert scrublands are home to a surprising variety of wildlife species, including the fringe-eared oryx and gerenuk, despite their tough environment.

Activities to do around the Ngorongoro crater ecosystem

When exploring the diverse ecosystem of the Ngorongoro crater,, tourists can engage in a number of activities which include the following;

  • Game drives around the Ngorongoro crater

Safaris in the Ngorongoro crater area involves taking part in game drives around the carter floor where the various wildlife species can be seen.

Game drives which are done in the morning or afternoon around the Ngorongoro crater involve enjoying the beautiful views of the area while spotting different animals in the savannah plains and woodlands such as gazelles, topi, waterbucks, elephants, rhinos, buffalos, lions, leopards, impalas, hyenas, warthogs among others.

Throughout the year, game drives can be done at the destination with the best time to see the wildlife species being the dry season around June to October and also around December to February when it is easy to see the wildlife species around the water sources during safaris in Tanzania.

  • Walking safaris around the Ngorongoro crater

Guided walking safaris in the Ngorongoro crater area take place around the crater rim where tourists can make stops at the viewing platforms and view the crater from a distance.

The walks can also be done around the crater area where wildlife species can be seen with guidance of a ranger guide who is knowledgeable about the Ngorongoro crater and its attractions and rich history.

  • Cultural tours

Throughout the year, tourists can enjoy interactions with the locals living around the Ngorongoro conservation area such as the Maasai, the Datoga and the Hadza tribe.

During the cultural tours, the tourists get to know more about the way of life of the locals and engage in activities like visiting the homesteads of the locals, enjoying traditional dance performances, buy local crafts and arts such a beaded jewelry of the Maasai people among other experiences.

  • Bird watching

Bird watching is another activity to do around the rich ecosystem of the Ngorongoro crater which is home to over 500 bird species.

Tourists can enjoy full day birding experiences with knowledgeable guides or half day bird watching tours in search of bird such as lesser and greater flamingos, Ostriches, Montane Nightjar, Alpine Swift, White-rumped Swift, Black Crake, Long-toed Lapwing, African Jacana among others.