Ngorongoro derives its name from the Maasai tribe who are the native peoples of the area. Referred to as the “crown jewel” of the Serengeti, Ngorongoro’s breathtaking views overlook a 2,000-foot drop to its volcanic caldera crater floor formed over 3 million years ago. A caldera forms when the land collapse following a volcanic eruption. Ngorongoro Crater’s caldera is unique. It is the world’s largest caldera with its high elevation at its rim of 10,000 ft elevation and its floor at 5,400 ft elevation Ngorongoro Crater is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
The eruption of the crater deposited volcanic ash throughout the Serengeti which, created mineral rich fertile soil with high concentrations of phosphorous that grows short grasses the wildebeest thrive on, as every cell of their body contains phosphorous. The short grasses that grow on the southern Serengeti Plain during the rainy calving season help the young wildebeest grow strong grazing on them, which prepares them for the migration season ahead.
Ngorongoro’s unique ecosystem is defined by the rim of the Great Rift Valley wall escarpment that makes it difficult for animals to migrate easily from the crater’s natural enclosure. Its unique 100 square mile caldera floor’s eco-culture is home to most of the animal species found in East Africa. The cool breezes at its rim create ideal conditions within the crater to keep it cool during hot days, which encourages animals to enter it. It is inhabited by 25,000 animals. Its diverse species of wildlife drink from Lake Magadi that is on the floor of the crater formed by other water sources in the crater that flow into it. There is a high probability of seeing the endangered black rhinos drinking from its waters. Ngorongoro has 5 different prides of lion in the crater and 3 prides along its rim. There are 7 clans of hyena in the crater of which 3 hunt mainly at night. The hyenas provide 80% of the lions’ food.
The Ngorongoro Crater is an especially good place for photographic safari expeditions, as the animals get close enough to the jeeps for the photographer to click excellent close-ups of the wildlife