Ngorongoro Crater is in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The crater is a volcanic caldera, created when a volcano exploded and then collapsed, some two to three million years ago. Is about 610 m (2,000 ft) deep and about 20 km (12 miles) across. There are between 20,000 and 30,000 wild animals living in the crater.

The lake in the center of the crater is a salt lake, it doesn't have fresh water. I saw many of the large animals. There is a good population of African Bush Elephants (Loxodonta africana, german: Afrikanischer Elefant, french: Éléphant de savane d'Afrique) in the crater. I even did see a Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis, german: Spitzmaulnashorn, french: Rhinocéros noir), but it was very far away. There are no Giraffes in Ngorongoro.

The highlight of the crater tour was watching a Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus, german: Streifengnu, french: Gnou bleu) give birth. The process took over ½ hour. It then took the newborn 7 minutes to get on its feet, and another 10 minutes to get to the milk.

Blue Wildebeest all calve within a period of about three weeks in February. There are on the order of 500,000 births in the Serengeti area in that time period. Synchronized calving helps to ensure survival of enough calves. The young calves are vulnerable to predators, but since there are so many of them at the same time, the predators can't get them all, so sufficient numbers can grow up.

Grant's Zebras (Equus quagga boehmi, german: Steppenzebra, french: Zèbre de Grant) too calve all at the same time; their time is in December. I saw many young zebras as well.

There is a large population of African Buffaloes (Syncerus caffer, german: Kaffernbüffel, french: Buffle d'Afrique) in the crater. I watched a couple of males have a fight. The buffaloes are pretty fierce looking. It is disconcerting that they always intently stare at you. They can be pretty dangerous because they are quite aggressive.

There are Grant's Gazelles (Nanger granti, german: Südliche Grant-Gazelle, french: Gazelle de Grant) and Thomson's Gazelles (Eudorcas thomsonii, german: Thomson-Gazelle, french: Gazelle de Thomson) in the crater, but no Impala. I did see some Common Eland (Taurotragus oryx, german: Elenantilope, french: Éland), the largest antelopes.

Of the predators I did see Lions (Panthera Leo) and Spotted Hyenas (Crocuta crocuta, german: Tüpfelhyäne, french: Hyène tachetée), but no Leopards or Cheetahs.

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.

Large animals

Crocuta crocuta
Scene in Ngorongoro Crater with Spotted Hyenas (Crocuta crocuta, german: Tüpfelhyäne, french: Hyène tachetée), Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus, german: Streifengnu, french: Gnou bleu), and Grey Crowned Cranes (Balearica regulorum, german: Südafrika-Kronenkranich, french: Grue royale). (694k)
Syncerus caffer
Mud wallows with Hyenas in the front and African Buffaloes (Syncerus caffer, german: Kaffernbüffel, french: Buffle d'Afrique) in the back. (803k)
Phacochoerus africanus
Mud wallow with Hyena and a Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus, german: Warzenschwein). The Hyenas are very careful around warthogs. It seems that the warthogs are quite vicious and can injure or kill a hyena. (1191k)
Skull African Buffalo
Skull of an African Buffalo. (950k)
Nanger granti
Sparring Grant's Gazelle males (Nanger granti, german: Südliche Grant-Gazelle, french: Gazelle de Grant). (859k)
Nanger granti
Grant's Gazelle male (Nanger granti, german: Südliche Grant-Gazelle, french: Gazelle de Grant). (836k)
Eudorcas thomsonii
Thomson's Gazelle male (Eudorcas thomsonii, german: Thomson-Gazelle, french: Gazelle de Thomson). (912k)
Eudorcas thomsonii
Close-up of a Thomson's Gazelle male (Eudorcas thomsonii, german: Thomson-Gazelle, french: Gazelle de Thomson). (726k)
Taurotragus oryx
Common Eland (Taurotragus oryx, german: Elenantilope, french: Éland). (641k)
Connochaetes taurinus
Blue Wildebeest herd (Connochaetes taurinus, german: Streifengnu, french: Gnou bleu) with many babies. (997k)
Wildebeest Herd Move Babies
Wildebeest herd on the move. The babies closely follow their mothers. (1076k)
Nursing Wildebeest Baby
Nursing Wildebeest baby. (949k)
Close-up Wildebeest
Close-up of a Wildebeest. (1034k)
Close-up Wildebeest
Close-up of a Wildebeest. (909k)
Equus quagga boehmi
Grant's Zebras (Equus quagga boehmi, german: Steppenzebra, french: Zèbre de Grant). (1000k)
Grant's Zebra Baby
Grant's Zebra with a baby. (1070k)
Grant's Zebra Baby
Grant's Zebra baby. (1152k)
Nursing Zebra Baby
Nursing Zebra baby. (791k)
Close-up Grant's Zebra
Close-up of a Grant's Zebra. (962k)
Phacochoerus africanus
Warthogs (Phacochoerus africanus, german: Warzenschwein) in a wallow. (998k)
Warthog Wallow
Warthog in a wallow. (975k)
Warthog Scratching Rock
Warthog scratching on a rock. (1343k)
Close-up Warthog
Close-up of a Warthog. (869k)
Canis mesomelas
Black-backed Jackals (Canis mesomelas, german: Schabrackenschakal, french: Chacal à chabraque). (977k)
Canis mesomelas
Black-backed Jackals (Canis mesomelas, german: Schabrackenschakal, french: Chacal à chabraque). (1195k)
Chlorocebus pygerythrus
Vervet Monkey mother with baby (Chlorocebus pygerythrus, german: Südliche Grünmeerkatze, french: Vervet bleu). (530k)
Syncerus caffer
African Buffaloes (Syncerus caffer, german: Kaffernbüffel, french: Buffle d'Afrique), as usual, all staring at us. (985k)
African Buffaloes
African Buffaloes. (1077k)
African Buffaloes
African Buffaloes. (834k)
African Buffaloes Mud Wallow
African Buffaloes in a mud wallow. (1088k)
African Buffalo Fresh Mud
African Buffalo, fresh out of a mud wallow, staring at us. (809k)
Fighting African Buffaloes
Fighting African Buffaloes. (900k)
Winning Buffalo Chasing Away
Winning Buffalo is chasing away the looser. (742k)
Crocuta crocuta
Group of Spotted Hyenas (Crocuta crocuta, german: Tüpfelhyäne, french: Hyène tachetée) in a mud wallow. (711k)
Crocuta crocuta
Group of Spotted Hyenas (Crocuta crocuta, german: Tüpfelhyäne, french: Hyène tachetée) in a mud wallow. (1050k)
Spotted Hyena Mud Wallow
Spotted Hyena in a mud wallow. (874k)
Spotted Hyena
Spotted Hyena. (1064k)
Close-up Spotted Hyena
Close-up of a Spotted Hyena. (913k)
Close-up Spotted Hyena
Close-up of a Spotted Hyena. (787k)
Food Spotted Hyena Having
Is there food up there?? Spotted Hyena having a close-up look at me. (621k)
Feeding Spotted Hyena
Feeding Spotted Hyena. (1104k)
Lion Couple Panthera Leo
Lion couple (Panthera Leo). (714k)
Diceros bicornis
Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis, german: Spitzmaulnashorn, french: Rhinocéros noir) in the distance. I didn't get any closer to a Black Rhino. (575k)
Loxodonta africana
African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana, german: Afrikanischer Elefant, french: Éléphant de savane d'Afrique). (905k)

Birth of a Blue Wildebeest

Birth Had Started Few
The birth had started a few minutes before. You can see the legs. (828k)
Wildebeest Laying Standing Again
The Wildebeest was laying down and standing up again and again. (973k)
Resting Bit
Resting for a bit. (964k)
Getting Again More Legs
Getting up again, more of the legs visible. (887k)
Feeding Bit
Feeding a bit. (951k)
Kneeling Bit More Legs
Kneeling down for a bit. More of the legs is visible. (950k)
Newborn Baby
Here is the newborn baby. (1083k)
Baby Immediately Trying Feet
The baby immediately is trying to get on its feet. (1067k)
After 7 Minutes Wobbly
After 7 minutes it was on its wobbly feet. (1086k)
Trying Find Milk Still
Trying to find milk, still on the wrong end. (987k)
Took Baby 10 Minutes
It took the baby 10 minutes to find the milk and start feeding. You can still see the placenta on the mother. (1002k)

Miscellaneous

View Ngorongoro Crater
View of Ngorongoro Crater. (601k)
View Eastern Part Ngorongoro
View of the eastern part of Ngorongoro Crater. (423k)
View Western Part Ngorongoro
View of the western part of Ngorongoro Crater. (702k)
North Side Ngorongoro Crater
North side of Ngorongoro Crater. You can see the migration paths that the animals take in and out of the crater. (628k)
South Side Crater Clouds
South side of the crater. The clouds seemed to flow over the crater rim. (574k)
Danaus chrysippus
Plain Tiger butterfly (Danaus chrysippus, german: Kleiner Monarch, french: Petit monarque). (686k)
Monument Bernhard Grzimek Son
Monument to Bernhard Grzimek and his son Michael, who were instrumental in creating Serengeti National Park with their film "Serengeti darf nicht sterben" (Serengeti Shall Not Die). (1050k)

This page contains 62 pictures with 14 species

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Page last updated on Sat Apr 18 16:41:12 2020 (Mountain Standard Time)


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