The 260 square kilometre Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania is not only a wonder of nature but also home to some fascinating wildlife.
The dense area of the Lerai Forest, in the southern part of the crater, is a world itself within Ngorongoro. The vegetation provides a habitat for many hungry plant eaters, among which is the elephant. This rainy, elevated location is 1,800 metres above sea level.
The crater is the stomping ground of the Massai who have lived here for several centuries. However, they were forced to move their settlements from the crater to an area outside Ngorongoro, as their herds were a threat to the protected indigenous wildlife.
Some of the most striking animals in the large crater area of Ngorongoro are the zebra, that live in small families of up to 20 members. From a distance, their stripes provide a natural camouflage. Today, around 4,000zebra live in the nature reserve.
Because it is a crater and there are so many animals living within it, the Ngorongoro Crater is often thought of, quite rightly, as a gigantic zoo.