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Though named after the famous Ngorongoro Crater (the world’s largest unflooded, intact caldera) the crater floor itself only occupies 102 mi² (265 km²) of the entire 3200 mi² (8288 km²) conservation area. Rising 1200 to 1600 feet (365 – 490 m) off its floor, the grasslands, stream-fed swamps and forests of the crater floor can be reached after a 30 minute drive down from the crater rim.
Ngorongoro is arguably the best place to see black rhino in East Africa, but is also good for spotting elephant, waterbuck, leopard, hippo, and reedbuck. Because the crater possesses a permanent water source, game-viewing is excellent year-round. There are about 400 species within and around the crater, including greater and lesser flamingoes (especially in the saline Lake Magadi), kori bustard, rufous-naped lark, rosy-breasted longclaw, superb starling, augur buzzard, golden-winged sunbird, malachite sunbird, tacazze sunbird, Schalow’s turaco, streaky seedeater, black and yellow-billed kites and rufous-tailed weaver.
There are many attractions outside of the crater, including Olmoti and Empakaai Craters, Ol Doinyo Lengai, Gol Moutanins, Nasera Rock, OlKerian and Oldupai Gorge (the latter is the site of some of Mary Leakey’s archaeological discoveries), and the Shifting Sands (formed by Ol Donyo Lengai’s volcanic ash).
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