Africa,  Travel

Ngorongoro Crater


I had been dying to go to Ngorongoro Crater for years. I was hiking Kili, and I knew I had time to make a day trip there. It’s rather expensive, but I figured I had to take advantage of the opportunity and just do it.

Given that I decided this while I was still on top of Kili, I used Pristine Trails again for this adventure. Pristine was incredible with setting everything up, and ensuring I had a great experience. They were even very transparent about the pricing of the trip, which I really appreciated.

The driver/guide picked me up from Kili and drove me to Arusha for the night. Arusha is about two hours west of Moshi (Kili) and just about three hours east of Ngorongoro. Tourists aren’t supposed to travel at night past 7:30pm in Tanzania, so I couldn’t make it all the way to Ngorongoro before then. The next morning, we started again around 5am and made it to the crater just before 8am.

Crater from above

It takes a good hour to go through the check in points and make your way down into the crater, and once you get there – it is breathtaking. There are zebra and wildebeests everywhere. It’s truly like the Lion King – they’re all just enjoying the land in harmony together. There are dozens of massive hippos in the watering hole. We saw lions, elephants, ostriches, hyenas, buffalos, rhinos. It was so special.

A few things to know before going into the crater. It is the most expensive park fee – around $400 for a group to go in – but I think it is well worth it. On safaris, it can take a lot of time to see different animals. It involves patients and searching. But, at Ngorongoro, all the animals are there, in a rather small area, so it’s pretty easy to see them all in just an afternoon.

We ended up spending about three and a half hours in the crater before driving back to Moshi. Again, it was a very expensive day, but it was worth every penny. I will never forget the feeling of standing up, through the roof of the jeep, having the wind blowing in my face, and looking out at the most gorgeous scene filled with wild animals.

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  • Lisa

    I loved my experience in the Ngorogoro Crater when I visited. It’s a wonderful place, and full of wildlife. Reading your post brought back great memories for me, and wonderful photos too!

    • Rachel Gabrielle

      Hey Anne! It’s to protect tourists, but Tanzania has gotten much safer over the years – so not to worry!

  • Nicole Anderson

    What a fantastic experience this would have been! I have always wanted to go on a safari adventure to see the wild animals in Africa and the photos you have shared here really make me want to go more. That shot you took at the top of the crater just shows the massive size of this region and it would have been so great to explore the park with experienced rangers.

  • Nicola

    Looks like you had an amazing experience! I didn’t make it there when I was in Tanzania unfortunately (due to money) but I have heard such great things! Maybe I will have to go back some time.

  • aareeba

    Wow this place looks full of wild life which makes me want to plan a trip . I loved the way you have put everything together in this blog and your pictures are amazing

  • Aditi

    I have never been to such a place ever and thinking about rising a crater excites me so much. There is so much around the world to explore that one can never have enough and these unusual and unique experiences sound truly fun.

  • Kate

    What an amazing view of the crater!! I’d love to visit for the photography opportunities alone–seeing so much wildlife so close together is such a gift. Your photo of the zebras is gorgeous!

  • Denny George

    While I’m aware Ngorongoro is quite unique, I was reminded of my own escapade to the Masai Mara in Kenya after going through the photographs. Wildlife experiences in Africa are truly unlike those in any other place. I really enjoyed the photo with all the Hippos in the water.

    • Rachel Gabrielle

      Thanks Denny! It’s funny you say that. That’s actually why the crater is a conservation area and not a national park – because the Masai Mara live in the area.

  • Aisha

    Wow your photos speak volumes about the beauty of this special place! You said it was a pricey excursion but clearly it was totally worth it! I myself am a budget traveler but I don’t at all mind splurging when the result leads to something as amazing as this!

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