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Daily Daydream: Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Nicknamed the “Eden of Africa,” the Ngorongoro Conservation Area‘s star attraction is the Crater. Home to more than 30,000 animals, the Ngorongoro Crater is teeming with life. When you look down at the Crater from far away, you’ll see clumps of moving black dots in the center; those are are actually thousands of animals. Needless to say, this is one of the best places in the world to see the “big five” of the game world—rhinos, lions (the Crater has the world’s highest density of lions), leopards, elephants, and buffalo. That’s in addition to the exotic birds (ostriches, flamingos, and about 200 other avian species), giraffes, hippos, warthogs, hyenas, and numerous other animals that live here.

The area is also home to humans, as indigenous tribes like the Masaai are permitted to live in this protected conservation area. The only way to explore the area is on a game drive, but if you prefer to go by foot, you can check out the surrounding conservation park with a walking safari. (Ngorongoro also has two other volcanic craters which are worth a look).

Where is it? Northeastern Tanzania. The closest international airport is Kilimanjaro (check prices). Arusha Airport (check prices) is also nearby, but offers very limited service.

Where to stay? Stay at the Crater’s edge, at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. Billing itself as the “eighth wonder of the world,” the lodge is full-on luxury in the middle of nature. Expect opulent touches like chandeliers in the bathroom, dining atop a carpet of rose petals, butler service, and sundowners on the crater rim.

What else should I know? Admission to the conservation area will cost $50 for adults, plus an additional motor vehicle permit of between $40-$300 if you’re driving a vehicle.

Who’s it for? Animal lovers, safari buffs, photographers.

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