Ngorongoro’s Crater floor supports a resident population of some 20,000 to 25,000 large mammals. They are not confined within the Crater’s walls, yet they stay because the conditions are favorable. Since most of the Crater floor is grassland, grazing animals predominate: gnu, zebra, gazelle, buffalo, eland, hartebeest and warthogs. The swamp and forest provide resources for hippo, the rare black rhino, elephant, waterbuck, reedbuck, bushbuck, baboons and vervet. The Crater’s steep inner slopes provide a habitat for dikdiks and the rare mountain reedbuck. The walls of The Crater as well as its floor are covered with towering euphorbias, and the fever tree and fig tree forests give shade to a completely different array of creatures. All these animals in turn support a large number of number of predators; lion, leopard and scavengers such as hyena and jackal.
Birdlife depends greatly on the season you visit, because there are resident and migrant birds. Ostriches, bustards and plovers are seen all year round. In the wet season they share the Crater with their European migrant visitors such as the White Storks, Yellow Wagtails, and swallows. Local migrants also come along such as the flamingo, stork and duck. Other birds you might see while visiting the Crater are Stonechat, Anteater Chat, Schalow’s Wheatear, Fiscal Shrike. Augur Buzzards, Verreaux’s Eagle.
Just Beyond The Crater
Lake Ndutu and Lake Masek form shallow basins where water accumulates from the nearby areas of slightly higher altitude.
Located just outside the NCA, to the north-east near Lake Natron, this Volcano, whose Maasai name means ‘Mountain of God’,
The Shifting Sands
This remarkable black dune, composed of volcanic ash from Oldonyo Lengai, is being blown slowly westwards across the plains, at the rate of about 17 meters per year. Some 9 meters high and 100 meters long in its curve, it can be found to the north of Oldupai Gorge.
The Gorge is ecologically important because it is a vital nesting site of the Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture. The best time to visit Olkarien Gorge is from March to April when the vultures are breeding. This coincides with migration when there is plenty of food available