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Located in the northern crater highlands area of Tanzania, the Ngorongoro conservation area is a protected game area registered under the prestigious world heritage sites. The conservation area is overseen by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority.


Winding back the hands of time a few thousand years ago, these lands are believed to have originally been occupied by hunters and gatherers.  Rolling forward several years on, the native communities were invaded by the migration of the pastoralist communities of Mbulu and Datooga. In the 1800’s, the larger Maasai communities drove out the native and migrant communities to then dominate these lands.

Named after an imitative harmony resembling a cowbell of the Maasai pastoralists that live alongside the wildlife on these lands, the Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest intact – unflooded and unbroken – volcanic caldera. Forming a spectacular bowl of about 265 square kilometers, with sides up to 610 meters deep; it is home to an approximate 30,000 animals at any one time. The Crater rim is over 2,200 meters high and experiences its own climate. From this high vantage point it is possible to make out the tiny shapes of animals making their way around the crater floor far below. Swathes of cloud hang around the rocky rim most days of the year and it’s one of the few places in Tanzania where it can get very chilly at night.

The Ngorongoro Volcanic complex consists of 8 extinct shield volcanoes within the Eyasi Half-graben, the eastern boundary marked by the Gregory Rift Western Escarpment. The Lake Eyasi escarpment bounds the half-graben on the southwest. Within the complex, 5 volcanoes are dome-shaped cones, while 3 have calderas. Ngorongoro Volcano is primarily basaltic trachyandesite. The caldera is fed by the Munge and Oljoro Nyuki Rivers, while the Ngoitokitok hot springs feed into the Goringop swamp. Lake Magadi is a shallow, 1.7 meters, alkaline lake. Other volcanoes within the complex include Olmoti, Empakaai, Loolmalasin, Sadiman, Lemagrut, and Oldeani. The northwest portion of the conservation area consists of the Serengeti Plains, the Salei Plains, the Oldupai Gorge, and the Gol Mountains inselbergs.

Ngorongoro is home to lush green, rain-watered vegetation, as well as desert plants. The area has uncultivated lowland vegetation, arid and semi-arid plant communities, abundant short grass used for grazing, and highland forests.

Scrub heath, grasslands, high open moorland, and the remains of dense evergreen forests cover the steep slopes of the crater, while highland trees including Peacock Flower, Yellow-Wood, Kousso (Hagenia abyssinica), and Sweet Olive can also be found. There are also extensive stretches of pure bamboo on Oldeani Mountain, and Pencil Cedar on Makarut Mountain to the west. Dove- weeds dominate the lower slopes, while the upland woodlands contain Red Thorn Acacia and Gum Acacia that are critical for protecting the watershed.

The crater basin is covered by open short grass plains with fresh and brackish water lakes, marshes, swamps, and two patches of Acacia woodland. The Lerai Forest is home to the acacia or Yellow Fever tree while Laiyanai Forest has Pillar Wood and Acacia Lahai. The undulating plains to the west are grass-covered with occasional Umbrella Acacia and Commiphora Africana trees. Blackthorn Acacia and Zebra wood dominate in the drier conditions beside Lake Eyasi. These extensive grasslands and bush are rich, relatively untouched by cultivation, and support very large animal populations.

The crater floor consists of numerous habitats that include grassland, swamps, forests and a central soda lake. All these varied environments attract wildlife to drink, wallow, graze, hide or climb. Although animals are free to move in and out of this contained environment, the rich volcanic soil, lush forests and spring source lakes on the crater floor combined with fairly steep crater sides tend to confine both grazers and predators to remain throughout the year. With very few exceptions, practically every species of African plains mammal can be found on the crater floor, including large herds of wildebeest, zebra, gazelles and buffaloes as well as hippos and the rare black rhino. Predators including the illusive black-manned lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas and jackals also lurk in the plains.

An impressive array of thriving birdlife is also a wonder of keen interest for guests in the crater ranging from the small lovely Blue-capped Cordon-bleu and Kittlitz plovers to the larger kori bustard, greater and lesser flamingos, golden crested crane to the majestic African ostrich among innumerable others. Nearly three million years old, the ancient caldera shelters one of the most beautiful wildlife havens on earth.

A bit further west of the Ngorongoro crater, sits what is undoubtedly the most famous archeological location in East Africa. In its antiquity, 3.6 million years old hominid footprints are preserved in volcanic rock in Laetoli. Buried 100 meter deep within the Oldupai gorge, archeological excavations have yielded four different kinds of hominid with indications of gradual increase in brain capacity and use of ancient tools. The significance of this area in studies related to the human origin and evolution have branded the Ngorongoro Conservation Area the cradle of mankind

Sited within the crater highland areas, Ngorongoro Conservation area is defined by subtropical climate. At the rim of the Ngorongoro crater, temperatures are identifiably cooler as compared to the crater floor. The warmest months are October – April with an average daily temperature of 16 °C, with the coolest months being June –August with average daily temperature dropping 13 °C. Over the months of May – September it can get quite cold in the nights with temperatures plummeting to below 10 °C. In regards to precipitation, the area is characterized by two main seasons; a dry season that runs from June – September and a wet season that runs other the months of October – May with the wettest month being April.

Accommodations in Ngorongoro extends from high-end luxurious properties including sumptuous lodges, tented camps, chalets and cottages to midrange shelters of assortment and a bit further to the more economical options for those who are more adventurous including bush camps and public campsites. These shelters can be stratified into lodges, tented camps, country cottages, bush camps and mobile camps. Most high-end and some mid-range lodges and camps are strategically stationed at prime locations with breathtaking views of the Ngorongoro crater floor from high up the rim. Different accommodations offer unique services, products and activities aimed at giving the guest maximum satisfaction and value for their money

  • Day game drives
  • Photographic safaris
  • Cultural visits to the local ethnic group bomas
  • Birding expeditions
  • Nature walks
  • Archeological Museum visits

Ngorongoro Crater is 176 kilometres / 80 miles from Arusha Ngorongoro Crater is 60 Kilometres / 106 miles from Lake Manyara Ngorongoro Crater is 130 Kilometers / 80 from Serengeti BY ROAD:
  • Transfer time to / from Arusha: 3 hours (approx.)
  • Transfer time to / from Manyara: 1 hour (approx.)
  • Transfer time to / from Ngorongoro airstrip: 20 minutes to 1 hour (approx.)
  • Transfer time to / from Kilimanjaro Airport: 4 hours (approx.)
  • Flight time to / from Arusha airport from / to Ngorongoro airstrip: 30 minutes
  • Flight time to / from Kilimanjaro airport from / to Ngorongoro airstrip: 40 minutes

COVID – 19: Nisimulie Africa SOP’s

In light of the world opening up slowly amidst the current pandemic, we have been preparing to welcome tourists back to Tanzania by making changes to the way we provide our services. New SOPs are in place for every touch point and guest experience that characterizes your stay with us as your esteemed hosts. Our SOPs will be updated in line with the Government of Tanzania’s instructions to the tourism and hospitality industry. Our priority is to ensure that we provide the safest possible environment for our guests while providing top-notch safari experiences.


Standard Operating Procedures

1.     To keep social distancing, safari vehicles with 6-window seats will be redesigned to take only 4 people in the passenger cabin. Safari vehicles with 6-window seats will still be available for families wishing to travel together in one vehicle

2.   The driver-guide will be at hand to oversee guests observe the recommended physical distancing at park entry gates, museums, picnic sites, and while checking in at accommodation facilities.

3.   City transfer and safari vehicles will be regularly disinfected before picking up clients, especially the high-touch surfaces and seats

4.   Sanitizers (anti-microbial agents) will be provided in the vehicle for guests' use

5.   The driver-guide will take necessary personal protection precautions at all times. Guests are encouraged to come with their own masks; packaged masks will be available at an extra cost.

6.   Health condition of driver-guides will be monitored for not less than a week before being assigned to take clients on safari, including measuring body oxygen level (recommended 95% and above) and body temperature not exceeding 37.5 degrees centigrade.

7.   There will be three health centers dedicated to COVID-19 rapid response and support network; one center will be in Arusha town (Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre), one in Karatu near Ngorongoro, and the third in central Serengeti at Seronera. Ambulances will be on standby.

8.   For clients needing more medical attention, Nisimulie Africa Tours and Travel will arrange evacuation by Flying Doctors. The Flying Doctors package covers evacuation to a hospital in Nairobi. We can also arrange evacuation to Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam, a fine facility with high rate of recovery for COVID-19 patients. The evacuation to Dar es Salaam will involve some extra charges to be met by the patient. Clients are required to have medical insurance to cover hospitalization expenses. 

9.   The welcome briefing to guests will include details of our safety and hygiene measures in place and what is required of guests during their stay (including the use of masks and gloves and keeping safe distances from other guests).

10. Not limiting these procedures to ourselves, we work with other third-party suppliers who ensure and adhere to the set international standards of travel as defined by the Ministry of Tourism and WHO.


Game drives 

·      A maximum of four people will be permitted per vehicle with the exception of groups that   are travelling together.

·      Guides will wear face masks and gloves on arrival at the airstrip, when in the main area of the airstrip and when handling guests’ luggage.

·      Guests must also wear facemasks at the airstrip; however, this is optional while on the game drive.

·      Once the group has left the airstrip, the guide will remove the face mask and gloves to speak with guests, as the safety risk is greatly reduced outside of the airstrip.

·      Game drives will take place in safari vehicles, as usual, which will be disinfected after each game drive.

·      Hand sanitizer will be available for guests and guides and is to be used on arrival at the airstrip, on boarding the vehicle and throughout the game drive.

·      Guests are asked to sensibly practice social distancing throughout the game drive and if meals are served.


Communal Areas:

·      Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the camps and soap and individual hand towels will always be available in public bathrooms.

·      At the Bar: The barmen will wear facemask and gloves to handle drinks and snacks and serve on a tray. 

·      A staff member is assigned to regular sanitization duties of surfaces (including door handles, metallic surfaces, counters, etc).

·      Social distancing rules apply, and seating will be arranged to ensure at least one-meter distance between guests.

·      Dining:  All surfaces will be disinfected after each meal.

·      Pool water (where available) will be monitored to maintain a chlorine level between 1 to 3 parts per million and a pH level between 6.8 and 7.4 in order to provide a virus free experience.

·      In sitting areas and on sofas:

·      Guests will be encouraged to practice social distancing.

·      Around campfire: guests will be encouraged to practice social distancing.

·      Disposable towels and bins will be placed in strategic areas.

·      In harmony with our vision, our team has had a lot of fun working hard together to put our SOPs in place to ensure the safety of our guests. We are now ready to warmly welcome our guests back to Tanzania.


“Nature took a rest from the usual and is now more exquisite”

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