Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area
Top Attractions in Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area
Ngorongoro conservation area, for lack of better words to describe its magnificence has been dubbed Africa’s eighth wonder of the world a prestige reserved for the likes of the mighty river Nile. Hence, an accolade well awarded to it by its ardent visitors whom it unreservedly showers with plentiful unrivaled authentic wildlife scenery far more than their expectations and wildest imaginations making it the best safari destination in Africa.
This pristine park was initially established in 1951 as part of the Serengeti national park which was split later in 1959 establishing Ngorogoro conservation area to mitigate the local community “maasai” strife since they had been displaced by the establishment of Serengeti national park whereby they were now allowed to mutually live with the wildlife in the ngorongoro conservation area.
The park which is laden with splendid wildlife, geological and archaeological magic is an extension of the Great eastern rift valley of East Africa hidden in the far northern Tanzania approximately 90 kilometres west of Arusha and its sandwiched by the obviously famous Serengeti national park in the north and the overwhelmingly beautiful lake manyara national park in the south. The park is one of the last intact ecosystems in the world spreading over roughly 8,300 square kilometres and because of variations in latitude, landforms and climate numerous stunning overlying ecosystems and divergent habitats are in place in form of savannah woodlands, savannah grassland, mangrove, lush catchment forests, montane forests, high open moorlands mountains, volcanic craters, rivers, lakes and swamps a size equivalent to Sicily or Rwanda.
The park has many glorious features littered all over its rich magical belly. However, the unparalleled one of all is the marvellous world renown geological grandeur ngorongoro crater since there are just a handful of craters in the world but ngorongoro acing all of them because it’s the worlds largest intact crater that hasn’t turned into a lake just yet. This heavenly pristine bowel has a depth of over 620 meters and a diameter of well over 270 kilometres with its own ecosystem and its mineral rich flat floor comprising of several habitats that include lush forests, swanky grasslands, juicy springs, marshy swamps.
Lake Makat (meaning salt in the masai dialect) that is fed by river munge all which sustains an impressive Africa safari wildlife paradise slice for an extraordinary number of herbivores and predators alike that make it to the caldera and never make it out because of the plentiful water , vegetation, salts and mates coupled with the steep slopes of the crater. The caldera’s rim at an altitude of 2,200 meters has its own climate different from the bowels flat floor and from some of its vantage points one can view shapes of various animals far-flung below on the crater floor going about their natural business in their natural habitat. Because of the suitable conditions in the heavenly wildlife bowel all the safari big five are present with a remarkably healthy population of black rhinos in town and because of over inbreeding the intriguingly black maned lions in the bowel paradise have inferior genes since they never leave the caldera and they kill all the new entrants to the caldera thus no new gene pools are admitted in the caldera. The lakes, rivers, springs, forests and swamps attract a titanic number of birds to the wildlife bowel paradise hence making the ngorongoro conservation area an undoubtedly the best safari destination in Africa.
Beyond the ngorongoro crater in the ngorongoro conservation area is the inactive volcanic empakasi Crater Lake that is filled with salty water and is a home to the large drove of pink flamingos that beautifully line its shores painting the lake in a beautiful pink reflection from the flamingo plumage. The majestic olmoti volcano mountain ranges and Gol mounain in the area also are inhabited by abundant amazing fauna and flora.
A visit to ngorongoro conservation area is not complete without visiting the archaeological sites at Oldupai gorge and Leatali which are also encompassed in the conservation area with all the sites having museums documenting works done by the legendary archaeologist Dr. Leakey.
Since ngorongoro conservation area is a multipurpose establishment that is, it is a mutual home to the masai and wildlife but the ngorongoro crater areas and empakasi crater areas exclusively reserved for the wildlife and the rest shared by the wildlife and masai. The masai are proactively encouraged to cultivate the land which is not a typical activity of the nomads they are but the management of ngorongoro conservation area insists they do so because it controls unwanted intruding flora species in the conservation area as well as well controlling sporadic bush fires meaning the masai are a part and parcel of this wildlife jewel so a visit here involves an immersion in the vintage cashless way of life of the mystic regal masai folks.
Ngorongoro conservation area gets its name from ngorongoro crater which was christened duly so by the masai pastoralists who grazed their animals in the area and could hear echoing sounds of cow bells (ngoro ngoro) of stray cows from the wildlife mineral rich volcanic floor of the paradise bowel.
Top things you simply must do in Ngorongoro Crater CA
Family Wildlife Game Drives
Ngorongoro conservation area is a world renowned ecosystem with the greatest concentration of large mammals in the world with all the big five resident here and in absolutely healthy numbers throughout the year since the animals especially in ngorongoro caldera don’t migrate once in the beautiful bowel since the area has a lot of food and water for the animals as well as the steep slopes, ngorongoro conservation areas extraordinarily vast number number of herbivores is directly proportional to the extremely high number of predators a fact that makes ngorongoro conservation area a favourite safari destination in Africa. And the famous black maned lions are intriguingly fearless as they disregard human presence since they will come hunting not far away from the tourist vehicles and after an exhausting hunt will even come and take shade in the cars shadow. Several other animals are found in this enclose in large numbers with a surprising exception of the giraffe and impala a fact attributed to a lack of browsing species of trees and open woodlands that they blossom on. Ngorongoro conservation area lies in the endemic bird areas an equally boasts of a large number of them with 500 registered bird species that include over 20,000 aggregations of water birds, 6 vultures and 34 raptors like the helmeted guineafowl, tawny eagle Aquila rapax, rufous-tailed weaver Histurgops ruficauda, avocet Recurvirostra avosetta, ostrich Struthio camelus etc.
Ngorongoro crater the star attraction of the conservation area is the geological splendour of ngorongoro conservation area dubbed Africa’s eighth natural world wonder is a beauty of legend with tales of it once standing taller and mightier than mountain Kilimanjaro then because of too much bragging the universe had to humble him by creating a volcano eruption that blew its top off emitting magma and it shrunk creating a bowel that made it loose its former glory at just a paltry size of 12 miles wide and 2,000 feet deep but with time and humility it got back all its glory through the ever green vegetation all over the caldera both on the slopes and the floor with springs lakes and swamps beautiful and abundantly placed in it drawing in vast wildlife that never leaves the best wildlife heaven on planet earth. Ngorongoro crater is the largest unbroken caldera in the world which is neither active nor flooded even if its floor contains a small salty seasonal lake called lake makat which is fed by river munge fom the higlands of olmoti craters in the north and the gorigor swamps then there is the lerai river that drains the humid lerai forests characterised by fellow fever acacia trees
It’s a much smaller crater lake which is about a 2 hours’ drive from the ngorongoro crater and its salty lake attracts thousands of flamingos that beautifully line the shores and magnificently paint the lake pink with its plumage pink reflections. The views from above the rim at Ol doinyo and lengai before taking a walk in the caldera are short of divine the best there is out of Africa whereby on a clear day one can even view lake natron and the majestic mountain Kilimanjaro magic is an understatement.
Hidden 45 kms south of Oldupai Gorge in the remote Laetoli where in 1976 Mary Leakey's team discovered a 27 m long trail of an over 3 million year old hominid footprints and here a museum stands with only photocopies of the prints currently visible with the original copies of the prints safely deposited at Oldupai Museum.
Oldupai Gorge Museum
The most important prehistoric site Oldupai gorge measuring over 50 Km is stunningly tucked away in the dusty dry rain shadows of ngorongoro highlands and it gets its name from oldupai meaning wild sisal plant in the masai dialect. The over 3 million year old hominid remains were discovered in the area by Dr. Leakey’s team in the 1950’s and it was dubbed the home of humanity and a museum is erected on the rims of the gorge with original copies of Dr. Leakey’s discoveries and works.
Famous for the nasera rock shelter the Gol Mountains inselbergs are remotely located in the northwest of ngorongoro conservation area and is a part of the Mozambique Belt quartzite and mica schist about and it’s not a so well-travelled place with no well demarcated tracks except the scanty tracks of the traditional herders and wildlife a perfect spot to visit for the adventurer visitors for its rocky tracks are challenging and the bonus is you will interact with the masai warriors going about their daily for they frequent this area for minerals and in search of herbs.
Being home to over 500 registered bird species ngorongoro is a birders paradise with several species of birds spread across different habitatas like at the embakaai crater on the marshy shores of the salty crater lake you will find a thousands of pink flamingos beautifully parading with their pink plumage reflecting beautifully off the lake giving a satisfying next to divine scene, plus other habitats like lake magadi, the swamps on the floors of the caldera and springs spread all over it and the forests where one is assured of meditative sweet bird chirpings and a dye of colourful flock of birds flying overhead to feed or back to their nests, the amazing bird weaving, then the lovely courting at water wells just majestic, be on the lookout especially for the the helmeted guineafowl, tawny eagle Aquila rapax, rufous-tailed weaver Histurgops ruficauda, avocet Recurvirostra avosetta, ostrich Struthio camelus and many more beautiful birds that are resident in ngorongoro conservation area.
After along days drive catch a break to get a bite and drink at one of the most iconic picnic spots in the world like the pristine tranquil ngoitoktok springs with amenities for a perfect picnic like picnic tables & chairs, well-trimmed chilling spots and lavatories. At this spot be ready to be entertained by an amazing 6 senses wildlife theatrical of hippos in water cooling off in pods and other wildlife quenching their thirst in the background of beautiful serene natural sounds from the running waters, trees swaying, chirping birds and remove your shoes, stockings, cap and extra shed of clothes and feel the natural breeze cool you down like it’s comfortingly saying I’m glad you are here today, please come again.
Anthropological Site Visits
Ngorongoro conservation area is the seat of humanity and the most important prehistoric site in the whole world with archaeological sites where hominid fossils were discovered by the Leakey’s, so come walk in the footpaths of Dr. Leakey and absorb the knowledge of human advancement from the source its self with museums at oldupai gorge and leatoli both sights where over a million years old fossils were discovered.
Ngorongoro conservation area offers an opportunity to partake of the timeless cashless way of life of the masai since the masai live within the conservation area. A masai village visit will immerse a visitor in the great ancient timeless authentic great african warriors culture where a visitor will enter circular boma homesteads built in temporary villages and one will observe how huts are built in strict patterns following chronological order of the wives, once in the bomas you will partake of the masai delicacy of fresh blood and milk see how its harvested and later in the evening experience the social night gatherings by the warm fire burning from cattle dung chimney as the warriors dance sing and chart away and tell ancient tales and riddles. The ancient mythic initiation tribal rituals are spine-tingling and you can’t afford to miss out on these spiritual rites of passage plus don’t forget to get yourself authentic souvenirs from the master craftsmen themselves ranging from tribal bracelets, beaded necklaces, multi-coloured masai suukas and several other timeless articles handcrafted by the masai craftsmen to connect with the innate warrior instincts in you.