The African  big 5 of Ngorongoro crater

The African big 5 of Ngorongoro crater is one of the key attractions that attract thousands of tourists to the golden crater. Ngorongoro crater is an attraction found in Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area. It’s the world’s largest broken caldera which was formed by the forces of Volcanicity. Its formed when the standing mountain submerged underground hence leaving behind the large broken caldera. Its part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area which is one of the premium protected areas found in the Northern tourist circuit. The Northern tourist circuit is composed of for parks those are: Tarangire national park, Lake Manyara national park, Serengeti national park and Ngorongoro crater.

The Ngorongoro Crater floor is 304 square kilometers in size, with a circumference of 19 kilometers and a steep drop of 610 meters below the crater rim. The Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtaking sight. “It is hard to provide a proper account of the Crater’s magnitude and beauty since there is nothing to compare it to. Professor Bernhard Grzimek once wrote, “It is one of the World’s Wonders…” Thousands of plains species, including wildebeest, zebra, gazelles, elands, and a huge predator population of lions, hyenas, and jackass, live on the crater bottom.

The popularity of the crater made it to be voted as one of the seven natural wonders of Africa. Its located in the Northern part of the tourist city Arusha along Arusha –Serengeti highway.  The deep large caldera has a crater lake in the middle that drains the entire crater throughout the year. Its because of this availability of water that the ever green caldera has attracted a wide range of animals including the African big 5. The only missing animals inside the crater are the giraffes but they can be seen outside the crater in the conservation Area.

The crater has a good population of All the African big five (Lions, Leopards, Buffaloes, Elephants and Rhinos) Apart from the big 5 the crater is also the birding paradise with large population of bird species. All the animals at the crater are permanent residents hence making tourist activities to be done throughout the year while on Serengeti safaris.

Below are the African big 5 of Ngorongoro Crater:


Lions are one of the African big five species found in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation Area. A group of lions also called a pride is referred to as “the king of the juggle”, Its feared as one of the most dangerous animal in the wild. To the game rangers lions are considered to be the most peaceful and generous animals. They don’t attack any how only when provoked and they like taking much of their times resting. Ngorongoro crater has the highest concentration of lions per capita in entire Africa.

Lions leave in groups or pride headed by the adult male, they hunt their prey in groups. The unique thing with lions is that they are fearless and brave. This is why they are capable of attacking the large prey doubling their size. Hunting is mostly done by the female lions but the male lion would be the first to eat after the female kills the prey.  In the Ngorongoro Crater there are over 65 lions within that small space of the crater. The difference between the female lions and male is that Female lions do not have manes.


Elephants are the largest animals on land and it’s the largest in all the African big 5. Ngorongoro crater hosts a good number of Elephants inside. At most the Elephants are found at the swampy area of the crater especially during the hot times of the day. During your game drive you have to extend deep at the swamp near the borders of the crater that is where you find more Elephants. Elephants are also social animals and move in groups except if the young beats the elder and chases it out of the family.

Unlike lions and other big cats, Elephants are typical grazers who only survive on grass. Ngorongoro crater habits over 300 African Elephants that are easily seen roaming freely at the open glass lands of Ngorongoro crater. They are much easier to see among all the African big 5 of Ngorongoro crater. They are more friendly and free to humans than other members of the big 5. Early morning game drives are recommended  The African elephants are herbivores and they also play an important role in the ecosystem by digging up dry water beds with their tusks which creates watering holes where wildlife species can drink up from.

The African  big 5 of Ngorongoro crater
Elephants in Ngorongoro


Leopards are the most elusive and rare of the Big 5 in the Ngorongoro crater. They are fearful, dangerous creatures who spend the most of their time in trees. Unless they are mating, they forsake single life in which case you will be coupled with them. To observe the leopards, the driving guide must be senior as sighting them takes a keen eye. Leopards have cheetah-like markings but are more muscular than cheetahs so getting close to one is rare unless it’s on the hunt. Their front legs are stronger helping them to pull prey up into the tree which may weigh up to twice as much.


Buffaloes are the most frequent of the Big 5 in the Ngorongoro crater. Huge herds of buffalo roam the area, grazing on the crater lake’s dry lakebeds. Buffaloes can be seen cooling down along lake banks and in water pools during the dry season. They graze in huge groups each with a dominant male in charge. Buffaloes look to be simple creatures, yet when they charge, even if it takes a long time, they are very ferocious.

The African  big 5 of Ngorongoro crater
Buffalos in Ngorongoro Crater

Black rhinos in Ngorongoro crater

Black Rhinos are the rarest Rhino species in the world but Ngorongoro crater boasts as it hosts the species. The shy Rhinos are always seen during the cool time of the day. They are not easily got close to but can be seen easily. Ngorongoro crater is among the few places where tourists have more hopes of seeing the Rhinos during their safari game drives. The size of the crater favors the guests to have greater chances of seeing them.

Big 5 in Ngorongoro crater is an ultimate tourist attraction that most guests wish to see when they are on their safari to Ngorongoro Crater.

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