There is no shortage of amazing attractions on a Kenya and Tanzania safari, yet few capture the might and majesty of the natural world quite as soundly as the Ngorongoro Crater in northern Tanzania.

A part of the larger Ngorongoro Conservation Area, one of three natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites found in Tanzania, the Crater is the remnant of a mighty volcano that collapsed inward upon itself after a mighty eruption between 2 and 3 million years ago. Since that time, the 19-mile-wide caldera that remains has grown into a lush expanse of grasslands wreathed in volcanic rock.

The site provides a natural habitat for a diverse array of big East African wildlife, including zebras, wildebeest, lions, gazelles, hippos, elephants and buffalo. Travelers may even catch a glimpse of the rare and elusive black rhino — this is the easiest place to sot black rhino in all of East Africa. In fact, the only commonly observed safari animal not found in the crater is the giraffe. Game viewing in the Crater is fantastic year round. Since animals have a permanent source of fresh water within the caldera, there is no need to migrate.

As one may expect of a tract of land this size, Ngorongoro Crater boasts a wide assortment of terrains and ecosystems, notably grassland, swamps, forests, Lake Magadi and a soda lake, Lake Makat, which attracts thousands of flamingos and other water birds.

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