From spending a morning in a Maasai village to camping in the Serengeti and seeking out elephants in Tarangire, our trip to Tanzania was full of adventure and nonstop learning. Our last game drive of the trip brought us down into Ngorogoro Crater. Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic caldera (formed by the collapse of a volcano), is recognized by one private organization as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.
When we left the Serengeti that morning, it was dry, dusty, and hot. We all had dust in our eyes and noses and all over our clothes, roads were bumpy, mouths were dry. That all changed when we descended into the crater. It was truly like being in a different world!
The Ngorogoro Crater was cool, lush, with soft air that felt a little misty. It was also incredibly peaceful. The feeling I had when there is hard to explain; it’s a very special place in nature that is not to be missed on a trip to Tanzania.
The crater was absolutely full of wildlife like impalas, zebras, wildebeests, ostriches, warthogs, and hyenas. The strange thing here was that the animals seemed much calmer than the animals in the Serengeti and Tarangire. They didn’t run away or exhibit fear. In fact, they played about, as though they were putting on a show for us. The animals in Ngorogoro get so close that we were warned not to try to pet them if they approached the jeep.
Ngorogoro Crater is known for its old tuskers, elderly elephants who, on their last set of teeth (They get six in a lifetime!) who come here to eat the lush, soft grass. It’s much easier on their teeth because it contains much more water than the vegetation in other areas.
Here in Ngorogoro we also saw an extremely rare rhino. It’s heartbreaking what poachers are doing in Africa. . .
Everything about Ngorogoro Crater felt so relaxed and laid back, including our lunch alongside a beautiful lake that was filled with hippos. The sunshine and air felt amazing, everyone was in good spirits; it was one of my favorite moments of the trip.
The drive out of the crater brought more wildlife like this sleepy lion. It also brought amazing views and some steep roads with huge cliff drops. It was exhilarating to stand on the safari jeep seats with the top open, looking at all of the beautiful greenery and admiring the gorgeous valley below.
Ngorogoro Crater was what I would picture the Garden of Eden to look and feel like. It was a magical place that I would love to visit again. The Crater Lodge might be out of my budget, what with its rooms that cost thousands per night, but it is most certainly on my luxury travel bucket list!