The Ngorongoro Crater is East Africa’s ultimate ’Big Five’ destination. Heavy-tusked elephant bulls haunt its groves and swamps, while a precious herd of black rhino is regularly seen in more open terrain, and dense populations of lion, leopard and other predators gorge on abundant herds of buffalo and other grazers. The relatively high traffic density within the crater is a downer for some, but the wildlife is exceptionally habituated as a result, allowing for a rare opportunity to observe unselfconscious animal behavior at close range.
Even without the wildlife, this crater at the heart of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area would rank among Africa’s most compelling scenic attractions. The relic of an extinct volcano which once stood taller than Kilimanjaro does today, this is the world’s largest intact caldera, and the view from the forested rim, across 260km2 of enclosed savannah, defies superlatives.