Ever wanted to get away form it all and cut yourself off from the outside world, then the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania, Africa is the place for you. Ngorongoro is not actually a crater but a Caldera. A Caldera is formed when a Volcano collapses in on itself and this happened here millions of years ago.
This massive crater like feature is 20 kms in diameter and 600 metres deep; it is the largest, unflooded and completely preserved caldera in the world. As you peer over this vast expanse from the cliff like edges you would think it is a baron landscape with no life. However pick up a pare of binoculars and take a look around at the floor 600m below and you will see signs of life.
What you may be seeing is Cape buffalo, one of the most dangerous animals in Africa; this will then give you some indication of the scale of the caldera you see before you. The In fact Ngorongoro crater is so large that is generates its own weather system with clouds often surrounding the rim of the crater where there is densely forested areas. Sometimes these clouds are so dense that they spill into and fill up the crater. The weather here can be so strange and localised that one park of the crater could be basking in sunshine, while the other side of the crater is experiencing torrential rain.
The main attraction of the Ngorongoro Crater is the wildlife. Here the animals have a refuge and thrive. There is a surprising amount of big game here including the Black Rhino which are about 30 strong. In the dry season the Rhino are hard to spot as the sleep all day in the long grass, but during the rainy season they are out grazing and litter the crater floor. Ngorongoro is also famous for its Lion population which have been filmed extensively. However these Lions are chronically inbred but the isolation of the crater keeps new Lions and new blood lines from getting in from the Serengeti which is nearby.
The crater has a lake in the centre called Lake Magadi. This is a huge soda lake which is home for at least some of the year to hundreds and thousands of Flamingos. With the exception of the long necked Giraffe due to the steep walls, most of the common animals of Africa are found here. Many of these animals are residents of this amazing place so if you are going to travel Africa you will more than likely get to see some of the big five roaming the crater floor.
Officially the Ngorongoro Crater is open just after dawn and there is a beautiful lodge there called the Sopa Lodge. This would be a great stop on your Africa holidays and I would highly recommend it to anyone, you really have to see it to believe it.