The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the flagship of Tanzania’s tourism industry, it’s located in northern part of Tanzania; lying south-east of the Serengeti National Park and north of Lake Manyara National Park. Its size is 8,300 sq km.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area is regarded as a natural wonder of the world “the 8th Wonder of the World” and is a fine blend of landscapes, people and wildlife. It is one of Africa’s main archaeological sites and has been declared a World Heritage Site. Ngorongoro Crater is a large, unbroken, un-flooded caldera formed when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed some three million years ago. The Ngorongoro crater sinks to a depth of 610 metres, with a base area covering 260 square kilometres. The height of the original volcano must have ranged between 4,500 to 5,800 metres high. Apart from the main caldera, Ngorongoro Conservation Area also has two other volcanic craters: The Olmoti and Empakai famous for its stunning waterfalls, and Empakai holding a deep lake and lush, green walls.
A safari to Ngorongoro Conservation Area will normally include a visit to Olduvai Gorge, one of the most important prehistoric sites in the world. This is where the Leakeys discovered the hominoid remains of a 1.8 million year old skeleton. Some evacuated fossils also go to show that the area is one of the oldest sites of hominoid habitation in the world.
The best time of the year to visit is from December to May. This is when you are likely to experience the spectacular sight of the annual wildebeest migration, which spills over into the Ngorongoro Crater from the Serengeti National Park. However, wildlife viewing in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is excellent all year round.
Wildlife: The crater offers a haven for animal and some people have gone to the extent of describing Ngorongoro as a zoo due to its vast concentration of game undisturbed by human presence around them. The large predators that can be seen include Lions, Leopards, Cheetah, Golden and Black-Backed Jackal, and Spotted Hyena. Other mammals include: Rhino, Elephant, Hippo, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Eland, Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebeest, Buffalo, and Baboon among others.
Birds: Ngorongoro Conservation Area also supports an abundant bird life. The edges of Lake Magadi look pinkish from a distance due to the large flock of Flamingoes. And the pools around Mandusi swamp are rich with water birds such as Waders, Storks, Ducks and Herons. Also present in the other parts of the conservation area are Ostrich, Kori Bustard, Rosy-Throated LongClaw, Augur Buzzard, Crested eagle and the localized Egyptian Vulture.
Empakai and Olmoti Craters: These are two other craters within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which share the ecosystem with the Ngorongoro crater. Best known for hiking and provide breathtaking views from the rim and amazing sceneries like Munge River water fall and caldera.
Olduvai Gorge: It’s a deep erosion scar on the eastern edge of the Serengeti National Park ecosystem. It runs from Lake Ndutu to the Olbalbal swamp and depression just west of the Ngorongoro Crater; a gorge that houses the fossils the earliest living man.
Ol Doinyo Lengai: the only active volcanic mountain in Africa and the only natrocarbonatite lava eruptive mountain in the world bordering Ngorongoro Conservation Area on the northern part.
Cultural tours: You will have a chance to meet with the Maasai people and experience their traditional culture.
How to get there
By road: Ngorongoro Conservation Area is well connected to Lake Manyara National Park, Tarangire National Park, Serengeti National Park and Arusha by roads. A 4×4 land cruiser vehicle is essential while on Tanzania safari.
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