Central Plains of Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Central Plains are the ultimate wildlife haven, offering visitors the opportunity to see some of the most impressive animals in Africa in their natural habitat. The area is home to a wide variety of species, including gazelle, buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, elephant, and even the rare black rhino. With so many prey animals, carnivores are abundant, including lions and hyena. Other predators include bat-eared foxes and serval cats. Visitors have a realistic chance of seeing cheetahs hunting on the open plains while the scattered ponds and waterholes are good places to watch lions rest and lie in ambush.

Are you a nature enthusiast, wildlife lover, or a thrill-seeker? Do you wish to witness the awe-inspiring beauty of Africa’s wildlife in all its grandeur? Then pack your bags and head straight to The Central Plains – a 30 square miles expanse of grasslands that dominates the central areas of the Crater in Tanzania, East Africa.

Exploring the Central Plains

Visitors to the Central Plains can explore the area on foot, in a vehicle, or on horseback. Walking safaris offer a unique opportunity to experience the wildlife up close and personal, while vehicle safaris provide a more comfortable and convenient way to explore the area.

The best time to visit the Central Plains is during the dry season, between June and October when the animals congregate around the water sources. However, visitors should be prepared for cool temperatures in the early morning and evening, as well as the occasional rain shower.

The Central Plains are famous for their unique features and are a must-visit destination for anyone looking for an unforgettable wildlife experience. Some of the most striking features of this area include:

Good viewing of the rare black rhino

The black rhino is one of the rarest animals in the world and is classified as critically endangered. However, visitors to The Central Plains have an excellent chance of spotting these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

Frequent lion & hyena hunts

Lions and hyenas are abundant in the Central Plains, and visitors can witness them in action during their hunts. The grasslands provide an ideal location for these predators to stalk and hunt their prey.

Huge masses of animals

The Central Plains are home to a vast number of animals. Visitors can witness the migration of wildebeest and zebras, which is one of the most spectacular sights in Africa.

Habituated Animals – Up Close Viewing

The animals in The Central Plains are well habituated to the presence of humans, which makes it possible to get up close and personal with them. This provides visitors with an intimate and unforgettable wildlife experience.


The Central Plains cover an area of approximately 30 square miles. The area is relatively small, but it is home to an abundance of wildlife.


The Central Plains are characterized by vast grasslands, shallow watercourses, bare areas, and ponds. The topography of the area makes it an ideal location for grazing animals such as gazelles, wildebeests, and zebras.

Main Species

The Central Plains are home to a diverse range of species. Some of the most notable species include:

  • Lion
  • Cheetah
  • Hyena
  • Rhino
  • Elephant
  • Gazelle
  • Wildebeest
  • Zebra
  • Buffalo
  • Warthog
  • Serval Cat

How to Get There?

The Central Plains are located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania. Visitors can access the area by road, and the journey takes approximately four hours from Arusha, which is the nearest major town.

Where to Stay?

There are several lodges and campsites located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Visitors can choose from a wide range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly campsites to luxurious lodges. Some of the most popular lodges and campsites in the area include:

  • Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge
  • Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge
  • Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp
  • Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
  • Rhino Lodge

Grasslands dominate the central areas of the Crater

The Ngorongoro Crater is a massive volcanic caldera that is home to a unique ecosystem, with a range of habitats that support a diverse range of animal species. Grasslands dominate the central areas of the crater, offering visitors a chance to see some of the most iconic animals of Africa up close. Gazelle, buffalo, wildebeest, and zebra are among the species that roam these grasslands in large numbers, while the elephant and even the rare black rhino can also be found here.

Carnivores Abound

With so many prey animals concentrated in the central plains of the crater, it’s no surprise that carnivores are abundant here as well. Lions and hyenas are the most frequently seen predators in the area, and it’s not uncommon to witness a lion hunt or a hyena feeding frenzy. Bat-eared foxes and serval cats are among the other predators that can be spotted in the area.

The Thrill of Cheetah Hunts

One of the most exciting experiences that visitors to the Ngorongoro Crater can witness is a cheetah hunt. These speedy cats are known for their impressive hunting skills, and the open plains of the crater provide an ideal setting for them to show off their abilities. Visitors to the area have a realistic chance of witnessing a cheetah hunt, making it an unforgettable experience.

Lion Ambushes at Waterholes

The scattered ponds and waterholes in the crater provide an ideal place for lions to rest and lie in ambush. Visitors to the area can observe lions from a safe distance as they rest and wait for prey to approach the waterholes. The lions’ natural behavior can be observed without disturbing their habitat, offering visitors an unforgettable wildlife experience.

The main regions of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area

  • Central Plains
  • Eastern Highlands
  • Southern Highlands
  • Northern Plains
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