What Wildlife can I see in Ngorongoro?
What Wildlife can I see in Ngorongoro Crater Tanzania?
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The Ngorongoro Crater is rich in wildlife, with many species calling this vast area home.
The Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera with a diameter of 16km and a crater wall over 600m high. It is a true Garden of Eden, an extraordinary natural sanctuary for some of Africa’s densest large mammal populations and predators.
Over 400 spotted hyenas exist in the crater (especially on the eastern shore of Lake Magadi), along with lion’s, leopard (spotted on occasions in the swampy areas), and black-backed and golden jackals. The lion population has varied during the years partly due to migration into and out of the crater but mainly because of the vulnerability of the compact population.
Cheetah, although common in the Conservation Area, are scarce in the Crater possibly due to the high rate of competition from other predators. Elephant (especially around the Gorigor Swamp area) and buffalo are regularly seen.
There also exist residential populations and large concentrations of wildebeest (over 10,000 in number), burchell’s zebra (approximately 5,000), and buffalo, tsessebe, thomson’s and grant’s gazelle in the open grasslands of the crater floor. The Ngorongoro Crater is perhaps the best place in Africa to see the endangered black rhinoceros.
At the Ngoitokitok Springs there is a permanent hippo pool (a fantastic stop-off point for a picnic lunch) and waterbuck, bushbuck and eland are best spotted around the Lerai Forest Area, which consists almost entirely of yellow fever trees. Giraffe and impala, both common in the surrounding plains, are notably absent in the Ngorongoro Crater. The lack of suitable food and being incapable of climbing the steep crater walls explain the giraffes absence.
The Ngorongoro Crater has over 500 species of birds. The bird life in the crater varies according to the seasons but the crater floor does offer superb birding. Lake Magadi, a shallow soda lake which has seasonal variations, is home to a large flock of greater and lesser flamingos and Mandusi Swamp is great for spotting water birds.
The grasslands are where the savanna birds are found. Such species include kori bustard, Maasai ostrich, and secretary bird along with endemics such as Fischer’s lovebird, grey-breasted francolin and rufous-tailed weaver.
Schalow’s turaco, golden-winged, coppery-colored bronze, malachite and Tacazze sunbird are just some of the many bird species that exist along the rim of the crater, particularly competing for nectar amongst the flowering Leonotis. Hartlaub’s turaco and eastern double-collared sunbird are just some of the montane specialist forest birds that inhabit the crater rim.