The Ngorongoro Highlands are situated within the designated Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which protects the land of the area and the traditional Masaai way of life within it. Of course the Crater itself is the main attraction of the Conservation Area, but equally amazing are the highlands that roll on around the Crater. This is a vast, undulating volcanic landscape, dotted with craters and lakes and oozing minerals and fertile soil. This area should not be missed on a northern Tanzania safari.
As the highlands are not within a national park, the usual national park rules and restrictions do not apply. Therefore, various activities are possible - including opportunities for exploring the area on foot with long hikes up into the mountains. From this perspective the expanse of impressive volcanic landscape is mind-blowing, and there is the potential for sighting wildlife, although this is not as game-focused as a typical walking safari.
The Ngorongoro Crater rim is over 2,200 metres high, and swathed in cloud most days of the year. By contrast, the crater floor is a unique habitat where the rich volcanic soil and year-round water supply have resulted in a rich and healthy ecosystem supporting approximately 25,000 of Africa's big gamemaking it a must on a Northern Tanzania Saf