Visiting Ngorongoro Conservation Area – Part 1

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is administered separately from the Tanzanian National Parks with separate fees.  If you are headed to Serengeti, you have to pass through NCA first and pay both sets of fees!  They aren’t cheap either at $50 per foreigner per day.  There is also a fee for the car and driver which are paid at Tanzania rates (unless you come in with a foreign car) and will usually be included with your car hire or safari package.  If you want to go into the crater, it’s another $200 on top!  I had been in the crater back in the 90’s in my backpacking/camping days and I knew the birds would be easily seen up top so we didn’t pay the extra for the crater.  Days are periods of 24 hours so if you enter at 12 noon, you must leave before 12 noon.  Mid-day is the best time to enter as it gives you time to view the crater, have lunch at the picnic area and get to your lodge in time for an afternoon game drive.  Then you have the next morning to do another game drive, have breakfast and get back to the gate before time runs out.

This is where you pay the fees or your driver-guide does it on behalf of all of you.  There’s a small shop, a few displays of animals and clean toilets.


Little Bee-eaters

IMG_6812 IMG_6815


IMG_6813 IMG_6814

There is a nice viewpoint where you can hop out, walk around in the vicinity and get a great view of the crater.  There are also toilets at this area if you need them.  It’s about 20 min from the gate.

IMG_6816 IMG_6817 IMG_6820 IMG_6823 IMG_6824 IMG_6828

The picnic area wasn’t the best, no tables and benches like the one at Tarangire.  These little Weaverbirds kept us entertained while we had lunch.

IMG_6833 IMG_6835 IMG_6839 IMG_6841 IMG_6842 IMG_6843 IMG_6845

Sorry, we don’t have room for hitch-hiking giraffes!

IMG_6847 IMG_6848

There are Masai people living in the NCA and grazing their herds here which is different from the other national parks.


Directions to some of the lodges in NCA including ours – the Ndutu Safari Lodge.


Egyptian Goose

IMG_6856 IMG_6857

After checking in at the lodge (which I will blog about separately), we headed off on a short game drive.  Be sure to check what time you have to be back in the lodge grounds, it will be around dusk but varies according to time of year.


Lilac-breasted Roller

IMG_6902 IMG_6909

D’Arnaud’s Barbet

IMG_6911 IMG_6912 IMG_6913

In the distance, one of my all-time favourites – a Secretarybird poses majestically, then flies off.

IMG_6914 IMG_6918 IMG_6920 IMG_6922 IMG_6925

Superb Starling


Sorry, I can’t find this guy in the bird book but he looks like he got lost on his way to the ski slopes!  I mean seriously, check out those fluffy boots!


Superb Starlings in flight

IMG_6935 IMG_6937

Another group got to the Maribou Storks first.  The land across the lake belongs to Serengeti NP and in some places the border weaves in and out.  You have to be careful to stay inside the park boundaries you paid for!

IMG_6941 IMG_6942 IMG_6945

European Roller

IMG_6948 IMG_6949 IMG_6951

Hildebrandt’s Starling


And the sun sets on yet another wonderful day!

IMG_6952 IMG_6958