15 Nov 2023

What Are the Differences Between Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater?

Post By Conservation Safaris

Tanzania, a land of unparalleled natural beauty and captivating wildlife, offers travelers the opportunity to explore two extraordinary safari destinations Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. While both hold the promise of incredible experiences, they each have their own unique characteristics. In this comparison, we’ll take a closer look at what sets these two iconic Tanzania destinations apart and help you decide which one aligns best with your Tanzania Safari Vacations.

Geography and Size

Serengeti National Park is located in northern Tanzania. It encompasses a vast area of approximately 14,750 square kilometers (5,700 square miles), making it one of the largest game reserves in Africa.

The Serengeti is also known for its wide, sweeping plains, savannahs, acacia woodlands, and scattered rock outcroppings.

Ngorngoro Crater is located in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, also in northern Tanzania.

  • In comparison to the Size Of Serengeti National Park, the crater is much smaller, covering around 8,300 square kilometers (3,200 square miles).
  • This is a volcanic caldera with a unique, self-contained ecosystem, including grasslands, forests, and a central soda lake.

Wildlife and Animal Encounters

Serengeti National Park ishome to a wide range of wildlife species, including the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhinoceros), cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, and more.

  • You can witness one of the world’s most iconic wildlife events as herds of wildebeest and zebras cross the Serengeti.
  • The Animals Of Serengeti is also considered its predator-prey interactions. This aspect is making it an ideal destination for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers.

Renowned for its high population of animals, the Ngorongoro Crater offers an excellent chance to see the Big Five in a compact space.

  • The crater’s self-contained ecosystem ensures diverse wildlife, including black rhinos and a variety of bird species.
  • The natural structure of the crater allows for closer wildlife encounters, making it an ideal location for up-close wildlife photography.

Cultural Interactions

Serengeti National Park offers limited opportunities for cultural interactions with local Maasai communities.

  • Some lodges and tour operators in the area may organize Serengeti Cultural Tours to visit Maasai villages.

On the contrary, Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to Maasai communities, and cultural visits are more readily available.

  • You can experience Maasai traditions and gain insights into their way of life.


Serengeti National Park is easily accessible through several airstrips, with scheduled flights from major Tanzanian cities like Arusha and Dar es Salaam.

  • Serengeti National Park is easily accessible through several airstrips, with scheduled flights from major Tanzanian cities like Arusha and Dar es Salaam.

If we talk about the Ngorongoro Crater, it’s accessible by road from Arusha or other nearby towns.

  • While there’s no airstrip within the crater, some lodges provide shuttle services from Arusha or Lake Manyara airstrips.


Serengeti National Park Accommodations offers a wide range of options from luxury lodges to budget-friendly campsites.

  • The park’s sheer size means accommodations are distributed across various regions, affording you the freedom to select your preferred location based on wildlife activity.

Accommodations in Ngorongoro Crater are limited within the park due to its compact size.

  • The options include a few lodges and camps, which often provide stunning views of the crater.

Game Drives and Safari Experiences

Serengeti National Park Game Drives deal for those looking to explore the vast savannah, diverse landscapes, and follow the Great Migration.

  • Game drives can be long and adventurous, covering extensive areas within the park.

Game drives can be long and adventurous, covering extensive areas within the park.

  • It offers incredible opportunities for close wildlife encounters, making it excellent for wildlife photography.

Best Time to Visit

Serengeti National Park features an equatorial climate with well-defined wet and dry seasons.

  • The Best Time To Visit Serengeti National Park is from June to October (Dry Season) when the wildebeest and zebra herds are in motion.

On the other hand, Ngorongoro Crater is generally cooler due to its higher elevation, offering a mild and temperate climate.

  • Game drives can be enjoyed year-round, but wildlife activity peaks during the dry season, from June to October.

So, Which One Is Right for You?

Choose the Serengeti National Park Safari, if you want to witness the grandeur of the Great Migration and explore extensive landscapes with diverse wildlife.

  • It is ideal for those who appreciate open spaces, vast views, and a more extensive safari experience.

Consider the Safari To Ngorongoro Crater if you prefer close wildlife encounters within a unique volcanic crater.

  • This option is great for travelers who want to see the Big Five and various other species without covering vast distances.

Serengeti vs. Ngorongoro: A Comparative Safari Exploration

Both the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater offer incredible wildlife experiences, but their unique characteristics cater to different safari preferences. The Serengeti dazzles with its vast landscapes, the Great Migration, and diverse wildlife, while the Ngorongoro Crater captivates with its compact, diverse ecosystem and unique geological formation.

As you plan your Tanzania Safari Vacations, consider the park that aligns better with your interests and expectations. To make the most of your adventure and ensure a memorable and responsible experience, consider partnering with Conservation Caravan Safaris.

Ombeni Samson Maka Conservation Caravan Safaris brings with it more than 20 years of experience in travel. We are driven by the need to overdeliver and determined to push the boundaries of conserving and expanding the reach of safaris

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