Ngorongoro Crater and Conservation Area

Along with the breath-taking experience that is the largest unbroken caldera in the world, there’s also a beautiful gorge and other natural features in the surrounding landscape. This UNESCO World Heritage site is about 20 kilometers across and 600 meters deep. Along with the Olmoti and Empakaai Craters, the Ngorongoro Crater that was created about 2.5 million years ago when large craters collapsed was named a national park in 1959.  
Seasonally, there is a large salt lake that is fed by the Munge Stream is located in the center of Ngorongoro Crater. The floor of the crater, especially on the north end, is the Lerai Forest. On the east side of the crater are many small springs. Part of the Ngorongoro Crater is made up of plains containing the Oldupai or Olduvai Gorges, where some of the earliest humans may have lived.  
There’s a ton of wildlife in this protected area. This includes lions, rhinoceros, zebra, wildebeest, and hyenas. The crater is one of the few places on earth where black rhinoceroses can be viewed. Animals, like rhinoceroses, elephants, and waterbuck, tend to live closer to the swamp where long fibrous grass is more plentiful. In other areas, short woody plants serve as a food choice for zebras, gazelles, and elands. Some animals like wildebeest and zebra are often found only in the rainy season that lasts from March through May. 
Lake Magadi is home to thousands of flamingos, while pelicans are also frequently seen. This lake is the lowest point in the Rift Valley. Lions within the crater are often inbred as the males tend not to let other male lions enter the area. This has led to a sharp decline in their numbers as sickness has spread throughout the pride.  
One of the fascinating times to visit is during the annual ungulate migration, which occurs twice annually, over 1.7 million wildebeest, 260,000 zebra, and 470,000 gazelles move through the park. Scientists are not sure why the movement occurs. Some feel that the animals can feel the rain causing grasses to grow up to 50 miles away and start moving towards the new-growth grass. Others argue that the migration is imprinted on the brains of these animals when they are born.  
For more than 100 years, the Ngorongoro Crater has been home to Maasai tribes. Many of these residents were moved to this national park from other areas of Tanzania. They practice some minor growing of crops, but their main livelihood is raising cattle that they drive from one fertile area to another. 
You can visit the Ngorongoro Crater on a safari. Look for options that include an introduction to the Maasai culture.