The Ngorongoro Conservation Area spans vast expanses of highland plains, savanna, savanna woodlands and forests. Established in 1959 as a multiple land use area, with wildlife coexisting with semi-nomadic Maasai pastoralists practicing traditional livestock grazing, it includes the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest caldera. The property has global importance for biodiversity conservation due to the presence of globally threatened species, the density of wildlife inhabiting the area, and the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra, gazelles and other animals into the northern plains. Extensive archaeological research has also yielded a long sequence of evidence of human evolution and human-environment dynamics, including early hominid footprints dating back 3.6 million years.
There is much variation in climate within Ngorongoro Conservation Area, mainly because of the altitude differences. There is a dry season from June to October and a wet season from November to May. The dry season holds its own beauty due to the fact that animals are concentrated along permanent water sources. The wet season is divided into the “short rain” (Nov-Dec) and the “long rains” (Feb- May). It is often cloudy on the highlands and in summer it rains almost every day. Game viewing and the scenery during rainy season is superb as most animals congregate on the short grass plains.
Visitors to Ngorongoro can stay in luxury lodges, Simba A public campsite, community campsites, special campsites and permanent tented lodges within Ngorongoro. Camping is permitted at the designated sites such as Ngorongoro crater rim, Ndutu, Lemala and Empakaai crater rim.