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Ngorongoro Crater is the largest unflooded, intact caldera in the world. Known as the eighth wonder of the world, its vastness and beauty are truly overwhelming. Ngorongoro Crater itself is but a small portion of the 3,200-square-mile Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a World Heritage site that is characterized by a highland plateau with volcanic mountains as well as several craters, extensive savannah and forests. Altitudes range from 4,430 to 11,800 feet.
Ngorongoro Crater is about 12 miles wide and its rim rises 1,200-1,600 feet off of its expansive 102-square-mile floor. The steep descent into the crater along winding roads takes 25-35 minutes from the crater rim. The crater floor is predominantly grasslands (making game easy to spot) with two swamps fed by streams, and the Lerai Forest. The walls of the crater are lightly forested.
Ngorongoro contains possibly the largest permanent concentration of wildlife in Africa, with an estimated average of 30,000 large mammals. In addition, this is one of the best reserves in Africa in which to see black rhino. Large concentrations of wildlife make Ngorongoro Crater their permanent home. Game viewing is good year-round. Because there is a permanent source of fresh water, there's no reason for much of the wildlife to migrate as they must do in the Serengeti.
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