Ngorongoro Crater - Best Tours & Trips 2019
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.
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.
Price Per Day
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.
Get Member Savings Sign up to become a member to get access to Stride Select trips. These trips are discounted beyond the tour operator’s best price. Membership is free and only requires your email.
Rivers & Seas
Cities & Attractions
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.
Flights & Transport
Continents & Regions
In order to see Stride Select deals you must sign in. We’ve negotiated with many of the world’s best travel companies to save you money! Get the best experiences, save up to $700 per person, and be a hero to your travel companions!
With FREE membership you:
- Save up to $700 per person!*
- Access private deals and offers
- See personalized trip recommendations
- Save favorite trips
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.
Ngorongoro Crater Trip Reviews
180 Ngorongoro Crater Tour Reviews - Summary 99% Recommend
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.
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.
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.
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.