My Ngorongoro experience
Before I begin, let me clarify that I have been to Ngorongoro before, but the trip was a blur because I was about 7 years old, and this was back in 2003. Obviously I couldn’t really grasp and capture the experience. 16 years down the line everything has changed and its unlike anything I remembered, Id be lying though if I say everything felt new. I could still remember the paved mountain path road climbing to the crater view top after the game drive. I recall that was where I had my first migraine (but you don’t care about that so lets just proceed).
My journey to Ngorongoro began in the morning of 29th September 2019, at around 6:30 am. I had an overnight stay at a lodge called Bougainvillae in Karatu. Woke up pretty early because I had a long day ahead, thought it was just an intuition but it really did turn out to be a crazy busy day. The lodge I stayed over night was quite warm and chilled. Got my basics, a comfortable bed, a fireplace and I also loved the fact that they had a mosquito net and an anti-bug spray which was super convenient. Had a light breakfast of bacon, eggs and coffee, checked out and headed back to the road.
The drive from Karatu to Ngorongoro wasn’t long at all, took less than 30 minutes to get to the entrance gate. Along the way to Ngorongoro, the driver who was also my guide gave me a briefing about the place and why it is known as a conservation area. He stated that this is due to the interactive habitation of both humans and wild animals thus making it a conservation area and not a national park. There is over 1000 Maasai people living in the area.
There is an entrance fee holding different prices for locals, foreigners and children. because I’m a local my entrance fee was 1500 Tanzanian shillings, but just for the heads up, the entrance fee for a foreigner costs around 50$. For children between the age of 5 and 16 the entrance fee is 10$, while for locals its 500 Tshs. Children below 5 whether residents or non-residents the entrance is free. You can get a better description by visiting their website.
Entering Ngorongoro, we were welcomed by a totally different weather, it was cold and foggy and I genuinely regretted my choice of attire. I wore a loose traditional Tanzanian woolen shirt and it really messed me up especially when I came out the of the car to view the crater. NOTE! Please carry a jacket, sweater or anything heavy with you when visiting the crater. I learned that the hard way.
I guess that impending ”cant breathe, too cold! I’m gonna die!” sensation was soothed upon viewing the crater. There are few things that I have seen in my short life that compares to the beauty of the Ngorongoro crater. Took me about a minute to just take it in before I started taking pictures. Just a little fact about the Ngorongoro crater is that it is the largest unbroken caldera in the world that hasn’t changed into a lake. The crater itself holds over 25,000 wild animals, so that’s about 7,000 wildebeests, 4000 zebras, 3000 elands, 3000 gazelles, 600 hyenas, 200 to 300 elephants, 60 lions and 30 rhinos. That reaches a total of 25000 animals overall. I’m not really good when it comes to being descriptive, but believe me when I say the crater is something that should be in your bucket list. There are no words to describe its beauty. That’s why we have pictures.
After the crater view we descended inside the crater for a game drive. Its really interesting because you can literally start seeing animals before you completely descend inside. I think one of the first animals I saw was a buffalo and a gazelle on the side of the road. The game drive took around 3 hours. We made so many stops to take pictures of the animals.
Ill take the fun away from you if I describe each and every single thing I saw and did during my trip. But to summarize the two most breath taking sceneries is the crater itself and the game drive. Lions can be harder to spot but not impossible. Our tour guide made sure we don’t leave the crater rim without seeing a lion. We saw five.
Oh I almost forgot! Make sure you visit the picnic grounds. Its a beautiful green covered area with a large body of water filled with dozens of hippos, you could see their cute little heads and backs bulging out in the water surface. Looks like rocks if you don’t do a double take.
Here are some photos and a video of the picnic area.
Felt cute. Might delete later.
Plan your next trip to the Ngorongoro with Karibu and we will make sure you have an authentic safari experience. Leave all the boring booking stuff to us. Your job is to sit back, inhale the dry savannah air and enjoy. Hope to hear from you soon. Take care!
From your rafiki blogger.