The Ngorongoro Highlands is a dramatic range of volcanic mountains that straddles the Rift Valley escarpment immediately to the south of the Serengeti.

The main highlight is perhaps the most remarkable natural wonder in all Africa … the Ngorongoro Crater, where virtually the whole panoply of game can be seen year round.

Although there are several accommodation options on the rim of the crater itself, we often find that it is generally better to stay either side, in the farmland of Ngorongoro Karatu to the south and in Southcentral Serengeti to the north, visiting the crater on the way through.


The Ngorongoro Crater is arguably the most impressive geological feature in Africa.

Created by the implosion of a massive volcano, this vast flat-bottomed 20km diameter caldera contains a world of safari in miniature, with sightings of many of the major game species virtually guaranteed, including lion, elephant, hippo and rhino, plus excellent birding around the freshwater lakes and flamingos on the central soda lake.

The crater is also a major traffic hotspot, with hundreds of vehicles visiting daily in high season. We therefore tend to recommend that guests treat the crater as a great place to spend a half day driving through on the way north to the Serengeti, rather than to linger longer.

Lodges on the crater rim are generally large and touristy, although Crater Lodge is more interesting but very pricey, whilst Lemala Ngorongoro Camp offers a more outdoorsy alternative.

Our safaris often skip staying on the crater itself and head to smaller lodges in the Karatu area to the south and the Serengeti to the north.

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