The Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site encompassing 8,292 km2 (~3,202 sq mi) of diverse landscape in Tanzania, including savannah, forest, bushland, the 14 km (~9 mi) long Olduvai Gorge and the world famous Ngorongoro Crater.
With a rim of up to 600 m (1,968 ft) high and the floor covering 260 km2, the crater is the world's largest unbroken and unfilled caldera. It is a natural enclosure for over 25,000 large mammals, including most of the animal species found in East Africa. Black rhinos, hippos, elephants, lions and great herds of wildebeest and zebra have made the crater home; though with no tall trees for grazing, giraffes are absent. In the middle is a seasonal salt lake, Lake Magadi, which is regularly frequented by flamingos.
The crater has its own distinct weather patterns with the forested rim often covered in cloud, while sun shines on the grassland beneath.
Seeing big game will be high on the agenda for tourists, and safaris take in the sights of Ngoronogoro as well as the wider Serengeti Plains and Lake Manyara.
The Conservation Area was set up as a multiple land use area where animals and the indigenous people can co-exist in harmony; the interests of both wildlife and humans being safeguarded by careful management. Tourists are able to see this first hand by visiting a traditional boma where they can witness the tribal lives of the Masai people living in the Caldera. Luxury lodges on the rim offer spectacular views, although some visitors may prefer to rough it a little by trekking in the areas around the rim of the crater and sleeping in one of the 16 camp sites where you might have the possibility of a close encounter with some of the wildlife.