Ngorongoro Crater Highlands
The Ngorongoro Highlands are situated within the designated Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which protects the land of the area and the traditional Masaai way of life within it. Of course the Crater itself is the main attraction of the Conservation Area, but equally amazing are the highlands that roll on around the Crater. This is a vast, undulating volcanic landscape, dotted with craters and lakes and oozing minerals and fertile soil. This area should not be missed on a northern Tanzania safari.
As the highlands are not within a national park, the usual national park rules and restrictions do not apply. Therefore, various activities are possible including opportunities for exploring the area on foot with long hikes up into the mountains. From this perspective the expanse of impressive volcanic landscape is mind-blowing, and there is the potential for sighting wildlife, although this is not as game-focused as a typical walking safari.
Olduvai, a misspelling of the Masai word Oldupai, is one of the area's main attractions, and the site of numerous prominent archaeological finds. Made famous by Louis and Mary Leakey, the site has thrown up discoveries which date back nearly 2 million years, giving Olduvai the title of the 'Cradle of Mankind'. Today a small museum gives visitors an introduction to the area and guides are available to walk you into the gorge. Copies of the famous Laetoli footprints, found nearby, are on display.
Ngorongoro Highlands - When to go
This area is not seasonal and you will have a great experience here all year round. The Crater has the big five throughout the year and Manyara remains scenic and picturesque whatever the month, with similar animals at any given time. Activities such as hiking and mountain biking may be affected during the rainy season.
Ngorongoro Highlands - Activities
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area offers daytime game drives and walking in the highlands in certain areas. Lake Manyara National Park allows day game drives, and night game drives from certain lodges. Beyond these areas, typical highlands activities are available such as mountain biking, hiking and plantation visits.