Ngorongoro Crater – located 4 hours (191 km) west of Arusha, this is a deep volcanic crater, the largest unflooded and unbroken caldera in the world. About 20 km across, 600 meters deep, and 300 sq. km in area, the Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtaking natural wonder. The Ngorongoro Crater is also part of a protected area that also includes the Serengeti Plains and the Nothern Highland Forest Reserve. That entire area was accorded the status of a World Heritage Site, and listed as one of the International Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Reserve Programme.
Due to the enclosed nature of the Crater, it has vitually formed its own ecosystem. Besides the stunning scenery, one of the main attractions of this area is the variety of flora and fauna found in a remarkably compact area all year round. In the Southwest corner, there is the Lerai Forest, which is mainly comprised of yellow fever trees (a member of the acacia family). To the north of the forest is a shallow soda lake called Lake Magadi, and to the east, you will find Gorigor Swamp and the Ngoitokitok Springs (where pods of hippos can be found). The north of the Crater is, on the whole, much drier and consists of the open grasslands, which characterizes the Crater floor (this is where the majority of the resident game resides).