Ok, haul that geology out of its resting place. Caldera – that central area of the volcano that collapses with the eruption. So you will see this particular feature (the Ngorongoro Caldera/Crater) listed both ways on maps.
The Blurb provided by OAT –
Early this morning, we drive to Ngorongoro Crater. We descend to the floor of Ngorongoro for some game-viewing. The caldera of Ngorongoro marks the ancient walls of a collapsed volcano, which was probably once the size of Mount Kilimanjaro. The circular crater is some twelve miles across, with steep walls of more than 2,000 feet. The crater’s rim is 7,500 feet above sea level, the highest altitude we reach on our trip. Because of a permanent supply of water and a precise balance of predator and prey, most of the wildlife remains here year-round. The forest areas are home to herds of bull elephant, including some large, old “tuskers.” There are several prides of lion, and many packs of hyena and jackal. If lucky, you may spot a bat-eared fox or a pair of cheetah. These predators stalk the numerous wildebeest, gazelle, and zebra. Here thrives a stable population of rhino, as well as herds of buffalo and groups of hippo. The birdlife is equally diverse, ranging from the scavenging vulture and bustard to the magnificent eagle and crested crane.
Apparently what happens is that animals wander down, the eating is good and they don’t leave. But, since there are few trees, you don’t find young elephants or any giraffes at all. Because of the amount of recreational traffic (read here safari vehicles) most of the animals and birds don’t seem to be bothered. This is a conservation area: no one lives here but Maasai are allowed to graze a small portion on one end. That area is grazed down to practically the soil.
Packing and leaving out of the camp this morning
On the way
looking into the caldera and across
we saw …
and the reason for being able to see all the hyenas and jackels had to do with the lions having lunch
at the end of the day we stayed at Ngorongono Valley Lodge