The Ngorongoro Conservation was born out of The Serengeti refer to the article Serengeti-the never-ending plains; it came as the government strategy to reduce human activities such as fires and poaching in the Serengeti area. Therefore, they had to resettle the Masai community around the Ngorongoro crater area and gave it the name the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Today the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is an Independent authority separate from the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA)
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority Includes; The Ngorongoro Crater, Maasai villages, Oldupai Gorge, Empakai crater; and By large part, Ndutu area which connects to the southern Serengeti.
The Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest unbroken volcanic caldera. Forming a huge bowl of about 265 square kilometers, with sides up to 600 meters deep; it is home to around 30,000 animals at any one time. The Crater rim is over 2,200 meters high and experiences its own climate. From the viewpoint, it is possible to make out the tiny shapes of animals on their way about the crater floor far below
The crater floor has a number of different habitats that include swamps, grassland, forests and Lake Makat (Maasai for ‘salt’) – a central soda lake filled by the Munge River. All these various environments attract wildlife to graze, drink, wallow, hide or climb. While animals are free to move in and out of this enclosed environment, the rich volcanic soil, lush forests and spring source lakes on the crater floor (assembled within steep crater sides) tend to keep both grazers and predators to remain all through the year.
Ngorongoro Crater is one of the few areas in Tanzania where you are likely to spot the disappearing Black Rhino, as a small population is living in this peaceful and protected environment. Views of Leopard and wonderful black-manned lions are very possible here. Many flamingos are attracted to the soda waters of Lake Makat.
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The Wildebeest Migration
As early as December each year the herds of migratory wildebeest start arriving in the western part of Ngorongoro Conservation Area (Ndutu). The heard remain there through January up to march. Ndutu area has the shortest grass for grazing which has rich nutrients required for raising the herd’s newborns who are mostly born in mid-February each year.
The Masai people and their lifestyle
Part of the aim behind the Ngorongoro Conservation Area was to dedicate the area for the Maasai people who were relocated from the Serengeti Plains. Masai is original pastoralist society and practices traditional livestock grazing; therefore they tended to resettle from time to time depending on where green pastures are available for their cattle; they build short-term villages in circular homesteads called bomas. This situation increased human activities such as fires and poaching in Serengeti, as the result, the government had to come up with the plan to isolate Serengeti National Park from these human activities for the purpose of protecting the park.
In Ngorongoro Conservation there is a typical Masai village which is set purposely for tourists who are interested in this mysterious tribe. In this Masai village, you can see the huts strict pattern of order according to the chronological order of the wives. Masai is proud cattle-herding tribe and has a great history as warriors; and although are no longer allowed to build villages inside the conservation area; they continue to graze their cattle into the conservation area, regardless of the predators nearby.
In Ngorongoro conservation, you will find the archeological work of Louis an Mary Leaky and their famous discoveries about the early Man in about 3.6 million years ago in The Oldupai Gorge Museum
- Established in 1959 as a multiple land-use area where wildlife co-exists with semi-nomadic Maasai pastoralists practicing traditional livestock grazing.
- World-class tourist destination
- The world heritage site is 1979
- The home of “Ngorongoro crater” which is the world’s largest unbroken caldera in the Eastern Great Rift Valley.
- The only conservation in the world where visitors are likely to see all of the Big Five in their natural environment within the span of four hours’ drive.
- The home of the only active volcano in Tanzania The Oldoinyo Lengai which can be seen from the Empakai crater
- Subject to extensive archeological Research; evident of human evolution and human-environment dynamics.
- Where famous archeologist Louis and Mary Leakey yielded four different kinds of hominids.
What to do
- Game drive inside Ngorongoro crater
- Olduvai gorge site seeing
- Visit the Maasai village and get to know their way of living
- Hike Oldoinyo Lengai, it is a six hours hike and done during the night
- Trekking the Crater Highlands
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