After we left Arusha, we headed strait into the Ngorongoro Crater. It’s not actually a crater left behind by some ancient meteor as some scientists originally believed. It’s actually the world’s largest unbroken, unflooded volcanic caldera…formed when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed on itself some two to three million years ago.
Based on fossil evidence found at the nearby Olduvai Gorge, we known that various hominid species have occupied the area for 3 million years. Aside from herds of zebra, gazelle, and wildebeest, the crater is home to the “Big Five” (rhinoceros, lion, leopard, elephant, and buffalo), which we saw within our first two days! An estimated 25,000 animals live within the crater, almost every known species of East African Wildlife. Notably absent are giraffes, impala, and crocodiles. But it does boast the densest known population of lions, thought we actually saw more later in the Serengeti…which I’ll share when I get to them. 🙂
The Ngorongoro Crater is often called the Eighth Wonder of the World!