Encompassing three spectacular volcanic craters, the Olduvai Gorge, huge expanses of savannah, forest and bush land, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the flagship of Tanzania’s tourism industry. Had it not become the world’s sixth-largest unbroken caldera, then what is now known as the Ngorongoro crater could have been a towering volcanic mountain, as high as Kilimanjaro .The crater is a large, unbroken, unflooded caldera formed when the giant volcano exploded and collapsed 3 million years ago. Ngorongoro also has two other volcanic craters: Olmoti crater and Empakai, they are famous for their stunning waterfalls and holding a deep lake and lush and green walls.
The legendary annual wildebeest and zebra migration also passes through Ngorongoro when the ungulates move south into the area in December then move out heading north in June. The migrants passing through the plains of the reserve include wildebeest, zebra, and gazelles. The Lake Ndutu area to the west has significant cheetah and lion populations. Over 500 species of bird have been recorded within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. These include ostrich, white pelican and flamingos.
Ngorongoro is home to lush green, rain-watered vegetation, as well as desert plants. The area has uncultivated lowland vegetation, arid and semi-arid plant communities, abundant short grass used for grazing, and highland forests. Scrub heath, grasslands, high open moorland, and the remains of dense evergreen forests cover the steep slopes of the crater, while highland trees including Peacock Flower, Yellow-Wood, Kousso (Hagenia abyssinica), and Sweet Olive can also be found.
Wildlife viewing is superb at all times. However, grass on the crater floor is short in the Dry season (June through September) and this makes animal spotting easier.
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