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Digital Subscriptions > Travel Africa > January-March 2020 (89) > Pillow talk

Pillow talk

With most visitors to northern Tanzania including a visit to Ngorongoro in their itinerary, we look at the accommodation options available, both on the crater rim and in the wider Conservation Area.

View finder: The iconic andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is renowned for its bold architecture

The Ngorongoro Crater is an iconic and singular wildlife destination. Inside the world’s largest volcanic caldera is a plethora of Big 5 animals; so much so that you could tick off the list within an hour of venturing down it’s 600-metre-high rim. The crater epitomises what one might imagine the Garden of Eden to be like… if Noah’s ark also capsized in it. For anyone considering travelling to northern Tanzania, you simply must see one of Africa’s greatest wonders before you leave.

One of the misconceptions about the Ngorongoro is that the wildlife can be seen only within the crater itself. However, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) spans right up to the southern Serengeti. To the north of the crater, in the Ndutu region (often mistaken for the southern Serengeti plains), the NCA hosts the spectacular wildebeest migration from around January to March every year, as the herds are attracted by the rich fertile volcanic soils in the calving season. And to the south of the crater are the Ngorongoro Highlands, which are less populated with wildlife but are where you can expect to see vibrant Maasai culture and beautiful rolling hills patchworked with coffee plantations.

It is, of course, the renowned crater itself attracts most visitors. Only 20km wide, it is relatively tiny, especially when compared to Tanzania’s other parks. As it is so popular, it can get busy with vehicles and, because of this, park fees and descent fees are expensive. Unsurprisingly, most travellers visit the crater for one (maximum six-hour) day trip, with a night in the area either side.

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