Africa Tanzania tour Ngorongoro Crater
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Ngorongoro Crater - Best Tours & Trips 2019

The roar of “Africa’s Eden” still resounds within the walls of Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater, a self-contained microcosm that harbors East Africa’s most spectacular wildlife, roaming the crater’s floor freely in unparalleled abundance. How do you get the most out of a journey into this primal savannah, billed as “the Eighth Natural Wonder of the World”? Let Stride be your guide by comparing, choosing and booking a safari that fulfills your dreams of Africa.
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Travel Style

Trip Type Trip Type Classic Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Guided Experiences Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ocean Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Tour Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Independent Package A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ocean Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Itinerary Focus

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

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Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

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Solo Friendly Solo Friendly Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.

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Top Ngorongoro Crater Experiences and Attractions

Top Ngorongoro Crater Experiences

  • Watching a pride of lions cross the grasslands within eyeshot of a herd of Thomson’s gazelles.
  • Braking for a crossing of elephants, the world’s largest land-based animals, as they guide their young across the crater floor.
  • Glimpsing an elephant in tree cover beside the road as your safari vehicle descends through the mists from the crater rim.
  • Toasting the day’s game drive with a “sundowner” from the deck of the lodge’s grill/bar.
  • Picnicking at the hippo pool, with a lunch spread out on the hood of your safari vehicle.
  • Seeing thousands of pink flamingos take flight above the salty banks of Lake Magadi.
  • Spotting a leopard in a forest grove, asleep on a tree limb.
  • Encountering a Masai tribesman dressed in traditional red cloak herding his cattle within the crater walls.
  • Surveying the barren landscape and exposed geological layers of the Great Rift Valley at Olduvai Gorge, where Louis and Mary Leakey discovered the fossilized remains of mankind’s early ancestors.
  • Tracing the movements of a cheetah as it pauses, turns, stretches and weaves its way through the undulating savannah grasses in search of prey.
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Ngorongoro Crater Trip Reviews

180 Ngorongoro Crater Tour Reviews - Summary 99% Recommend

4.7 out of 5
Excellent 131
Great 44
Average 4
Disappointing 0
Terrible 1
Value
4.7
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.7
Lodging
4.7
Transportation
4.7
Meals
4.7

Tour Reviews Write a Review

Great holiday thanks to Zama Tours & Safari

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Normally we book our holidays ourselves but as Tanzania is unknown to us we preferred to ask a local agent to do this for us. We wanted somebody who really lives there and knows the country inside out. We contacted Zama Tours and told them more or less what we wanted a week of safari and a beach holiday afterward. They listened carefully to us and came up with a lovely program. Email exchange went so smoothly so we went for it. And it was a really great experience. Wilson, our guide and driver, was very pleasant and knowledgeable. A nice thing was that we didn't visit only the national parks but we also met local people, the real life there. Accommodations were quite luxury and of an excellent standard. Also on Zanzibar, where we spent some days afterward, where again we were very warmly welcomed by Mussa. We saw amazing things, great wildlife, met wonderful people, enjoyed the food. Thumps up for the team of Zama

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Operator Zama Tours & Safaris

Breathtaking!

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0

Kenya was absolutely breathtaking! The sheer amount of animals we saw on this trip was so much more that what we expected. We were taken aback by how diverse and rich the biodiversity and landscape is. This tour is a gem for those who love animals and is definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

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Operator Indus Travels

Epic Trek to Mount Kilimanjaro & Sensational Safari.

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Our group of seven’s safari experience was nothing short of spectacular!
We cover Arusha, Tarangire and Serengeti National Parks as well as Ngorongoro Conservation Area over a 7 day period. A lot of ground to cover, but what an experience.
Not only did we see the Big 5 but we saw them in spades. We had fantastic looks at some of the large predators like lions, leopards and cheetahs; large grazing herds of wildebeests, gazelles, buffalo and antelopes as well as wallowing hippopotamus, lumbering elephants and stately giraffes.

Our guide worked hard and seemed to have a 6th sense in terms of locating wildlife. Not only were we very close to large herbivores, carnivores and birds but we viewed them in a setting where they seemed quite oblivious to us. They continued to hunt, graze, scavenge, dabble, court and even copulate in a stunning landscape. It was straight out of a National Geographic documentary.
Nothing seemed to escape our guide’s keen eye. He was an avid bird watcher and not only able to spot and identify the many spectacular bird species we saw, but speak to their natural history and behaviour as well. Same went for the mammals large and small, reptiles like Nile crocodiles, lizards and turtles/tortoises. His passion for wildlife was undeniable.

Our accommodation and meals during the safari/game drives were great. Three nights in a ‘bush camp’ in a spacious tent with 2 queen sized beds and a three piece bathroom was hardly roughing it. It was quite luxurious actually. Staff were welcoming, friendly and accommodating. A hot towel and cold drink on our arrival offered another touch of class.

Both our guide, Raymond and his brother Lawrence were shining examples of competent, caring and professional entrepreneurs with a small fledgling company. I highly recommend you consider them if you are looking for a safari trip of a lifetime. It was an epic trip for me that I will never forget!

Expect in Africa Safari also organized a 6 day climb up Mount Kilimanjaro. I’m happy to report all 7 ladies in the group made the summit. Our success had everything to do with the care, support and professionalism of our guides, cook and porters. We climb the Marangu route and stayed in rustic “chalets”. Food was hot and plentiful and our cook dropped by every evening during dinner. Our guides actually sang songs to keep us motivated on the final climb to the summit. It was a total grind but we made it. A huge “Thank you” to our devoted entourage of 21 as well as Expect in Africa Safari organizers. Another trip of a lifetime that I can boost about for decades.

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Operator Expect In Africa Safari

7-Day luxury 4 park safari

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

We had a wonderful 7-day, custom tailored safari through 4 parks (Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro Crater) in northern Tanzania. We saw an incredible number of animals and birds, including the big 5. Our guide, Anderson, was so knowledgeable about the wildlife and the environment, and was great at pointing out animals that we would've missed. Anderson really listened to what we wanted to see and was attentive to our needs.

Our accommodations were top notch and the food at each lodge or tent camp was very good. We were pleasantly surprised by the individual attention we were given by the staff at each place we stayed. During the day we traveled in our safari vehicle, just the two of us with our guide, and still the cost was very reasonable. We can't say enough great things about Walter, the owner, Galloping Safaris, and our guide. We have recommended this company to many of our friends in hopes that they will have the special experience we enjoyed. It was the trip of a lifetime for us!

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Operator Galloping Safaris

An unforgettable trip to Tanzania thanks to Ker & Downey

5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Although being used to organising our travels on our own, for this trip to Tanzania we decided to engage Ker & Downey as we wanted everything to be perfect. From the beginning we felt in excellent hands with Rory. He worked everything together making us quickly an exciting proposal fit in with our budget. Until the moment we actually started the trip, he answered always immediately and had an immense patience with all our tiny questions. The team of Ker & Downey managed to not only fulfil our very high expectations but even exceeded them. We had a fantastic experience, wonderful in every way: all the camps, their staff, the food, the car and its equipment, the parks, the nature, the animals, even the weather with only some short refreshing rains, really everything was perfect.

Ker & Downey organised everything with no problem, booking some wonderful accommodations and allowing us to fully enjoy our trip. Our guide David understood immediately our desire to be away from the crowds and with his kindness and calm, his great respect for nature and its wildlife, he made our journey an unique and amazing experience. He made it possible that most of the time we really were on our own, having the feeling that we were in Paradise on Earth with only animals around us. His enormous knowledge about all kind of animals and their habitat has enriched the experience even more. We thank all those involved for setting up such an awesome trip and recommend Ker & Downey without any doubt!

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Operator Ker & Downey Africa

The perfect way to experience African wildlife.

5.0
  • Value 3.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 3.0

This is a luxury small group safari. 12 people, two land rovers. We spent the arrival night in a hotel in Arusha, two of the nights during the safari in hotels, and the rest of the nights in the luxury camp. The hotels were all good. The food was good, not great. The luxury camp is a two room canvas tent containing a queen size bed or two doubles. then there is a dressing area leading to the "bathroom" which is a toilet seat on a box over a hole in the ground. There is a shower stall in which they fill a canvas bag with hot water from the fire. They will not begrudge you a refill if you want to take your time. The day starts early in the dining tent with breakfast. then it is off to the land rovers to begin the safari. The guides from all the different safari's communicate to share where the most sought after animals are to be found. You will absolutely be up close and personal with lions, elephants, giraffes, monkeys, wildebeest, ostrich, zebra, hyrax, and the bird life. You will also see Water buffallo and hippos, but is best not to get close to them. and you will see plenty of Cheetah and some Rhinos, but usually from afar.

Lunch is usually conducted picnic style in the park. Our A&K picnics were the envy of every other group. Then it is touring until sunset.

When you get back to camp there is a camp fire going and the head guide will present a lecture, while everyone enjoys some much needed libations, of which there is great variety and unlimited quantity. Then dinner in the dining tent, and after dinner back to the campfire for more libations, and usually to review everyone's pictures from that day.

The guides are extremely knowledgeable and friendly. You will actually miss them on your last day. I had a great time and heartily recommend this safari and A&K.

The best part is being inside the game park all day and night. You really dont want to be going back to a hotel, but to stay out in nature.

Some tips: There is a generator in the camp so you may recharge your electrical items every day. They can also launder your clothes. Things to bring: plenty of strong repellent to deter the horse flies, do not skimp on memory cards for your camera, be sure to have a telescopic lens for your camera, a good pair of binoculars with good magnification, a flashlight, a device to view your photos on, a device to copy your photos onto. Dont forget a sweater, its cold at Ngorongoro Crater. For your digestive happiness, I had good results taking probiotic and charcoal capsules every day. You can see my pictures at https://flic.kr/s/aHsiUJWDur

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Operator Abercrombie & Kent

Ngorongoro Crater Tours and Travel Guide

Ngorongoro Crater Attractions & Landmarks Guide

For nearly four million years, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area on the eastern edge of the Serengeti in Tanzania has been the homeland of mankind’s earliest ancestors—and of the wildlife that continues to draw visitors to East Africa. At its center is Ngorongoro Crater, the largest unbroken, inactive volcanic caldera on earth. The crater’s walls rise steeply to form a unique residence on the crater floor for 25,000 large animals, 90% of which never leave this unique natural ecosystem. (You’ll need some warm clothing no matter when you visit. The crater floor is well over a mile high and the rim, where the lodges are situated, soars to 8,000 feet.)

One Place Fits All

Visitors traversing the hundred square miles of grasslands and forests within the crater have an opportunity to see virtually all the species that lure safari-goers to East Africa. In a single day, in a single place, it’s possible to view lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, buffalo (Africa’s Big Five), plus zebras, hippos and scores of other frontline attractions.

Luxury lodges and camps with extraordinary views line the rim. The descent through misty forests into the crater for game viewing is a rugged hour’s ride down rutted roads. It’s worth the haul. This UNESCO World Heritage Site can be particularly rewarding for lovers of lions. Although the number of lions roaming Ngorongoro Crater is a scant sixty or so, this represents the densest population of lions in the world.

Big Cats

You’re very likely to see lion prides in the grasslands here, often lazing about, paws in the air, perhaps relishing their latest kill, as there’s plenty to feast upon within the confines of the crater. Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles graze nervously, zebras race with their young, wildebeests parade by the thousands, hyenas and jackals stalk the kills of leopards, and even a few cheetah, evading lions, pace these expanses. It’s African wildlife taken to the extreme.

Don’t ignore some of the smaller and rarer creatures, such as serval cats, or the bird life, from the flashy crown cranes to the nest-knitting weaver birds. You’ll look in vain, however, for several animals that don’t thrive in the crater ecosystem at all, including crocodiles and giraffes.

The Masai

There are humans here, too. The Masai tribesmen, clothed in red, are allowed to graze cattle and sheep on the crater floor, but during daylight only. You’ll see their distinctive villages with the round huts as you drive in and out of the crater. Masai number 20,000 within the greater Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and they tend upwards of 275,000 livestock.

The main picnic ground in the crater is at Ngoitokitok Spring, a swampy area favored by hippos and elephants. Lunches are spread out on the hoods of safari vehicles circling the pool, and travelers are free to stretch their legs. Another water stop on the crater floor is salty Lake Magadi, breeding grounds for expansive flocks of flamingos.

For those who dream of Africa, Ngorongoro rings true from top to bottom. Stride offers you a choice of tour operators capable of delivering a once-in-a-lifetime safari into the wildest crater on earth.

Once you’re on your way...

  • Get to the crater floor as near to sunrise as possible, to get a jump on the armada of safari vehicles, to view the animals while it’s still cool and to spend as much daylight as possible game-watching in the caldera.
  • Keep an eye peeled for the movement of lion prides in the distant grasses. The lion population in the crater is denser than in any other animal preserve in Africa, and the lions are well supplied here with game.
  • As a buffer against hour after hour of driving the jolting roads, consider bringing a seat cushion along. Some safari-goers even equip themselves with back braces. Cameras take a beating, too, especially from the dust (protective plastic bags help). As for keeping the camera steady in a safari vehicle, a tripod is best but bean bags (if supplied by your driver/guide) fit easily across the edge of roof openings and reduce shake.
  • If a lunch stop at nearby historic Gibb’s Farm is on your itinerary, be sure to take an hour’s hike through the sloping farmlands, followed up with a bathroom stop. The spacious facilities, with private garden-views, represent the most upscale plumbing in East Africa.

Top Ngorongoro Crater Travel Companies

All Ngorongoro Crater tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.7 for all Ngorongoro Crater trips.

218 trips from 134 tour companies with 180 reviews

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