A trip to the East African country of Tanzania presents a wealth of opportunities to experience the natural world at its finest.
Almost a quarter of the country is protected by parks and game reserves, including the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the highlands of the country. Formerly part of the Serengeti National Park, this wildlife rich conservation area is the location of the Ngorongoro Crater.
Formed millions of years ago when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed in on itself, the crater is a huge volcanic caldera of more than 100 square miles, which has become a natural enclave for Tanzania's diverse natural species.
A superb safari destination, the crater is home to the 'big five' of rhino, leopard, lion, elephant and buffalo. Wildebeest and zebra provide an abundant food source for the craters population of big cats and other predators, creating an unprecedented spectacle for those lucky enough to visit.
Where is it?
On the western side of Africa's Great Rift Valley, Ngorongoro is in Tanzania's high country.
What is it?
An enormous volcanic crater with rich, fertile grazing grounds that forms a natural sanctuary for the highest concentration of big game anywhere in Africa.
Best time to visit?
As one of the most popular safari destinations on the whole continent, Ngorongoro can get very busy all year round, so if you are happy to put up with a few showers, the April/May rainy season may actually be the best time to go.
The crater is like an enormous, natural zoo, so alongside the stunning vistas and incredible sunsets, just remember to take your camera and binoculars to get the most out of the animal spotting.