The Ngorongoro Conservation Area stretches from the Serengeti National Park to the Great Rift Valley in the east. The protected area encompasses more than 8,000 km2 (3,200 sq. miles). The Ngorongoro Crater, Ndutu, Olduvai Gorge, Empakai, Olmoti Crater, and Oldonyo Lengai Mountain are all part of it. A diverse range of creatures live in the mix of forests, valleys, savannah, craters, lakes, and marshes.
HISTORY OF THE NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA
The earliest humans lived in the region three million years ago, according to fossils discovered in the Olduvai Gorge. After these early hominids, the region was governed for more than 2,000 years by pastoralist tribes like the Mbulu and Datoga. In the 1800s, a group of people known as the Maasai arrived from Sudan. Upon doing so, they expelled the Datoga and Mbulu to far-flung regions of the reserve.
Oscar Baumann traveled to the region for the first time in 1892. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area was a part of the Serengeti National Park when it was established in 1951 until it became independent in 1959. After being evacuated from the Serengeti National Park, the Maasai pastoralists were first permitted to graze freely in the area, but the 2009 Ngorongoro Wildlife Conservation Act further dispersed them. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority gave them permission to stay, but with further limitations. The general management of the region is the responsibility of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority.
NATURAL WONDER: NGORONGORO CRATER
The famed Ngorongoro Crater is the most prominent feature of this location. The massive volcano blew up and erupted two to three million years ago, collapsing on itself. As a result, the crater developed, which led to the development of a distinctive ecosystem and a diverse range of plants.
The crater now supports the greatest number of species in Africa. Zebras, buffalo, warthogs, baboons, elephants, flamingos, ostriches, and hippos reside there. Predators including lions, hyenas, jackals, cheetahs, and leopards can be found in large numbers. The Ngorongoro Crater’s Big Five — the buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhinoceros — are also a major draw. This crater, which is 600 meters (2,000 feet) deep and 20 kilometers (12 miles) wide, can accommodate all of them. Enjoy the variety of wildlife and stunning landscape colors. Incredible views of the crater bottom may be seen from the rim of the crater. The crater is one of Africa’s Seven Natural Wonders due to its natural splendor.
The Serengeti grasslands and the Ngorongoro Crater are separated by the Olduvai Gorge. Due to the discovery of the earliest known human bones, archaeologists believe this region to be the birthplace of humanity. Thousands of tourists come to Olduvai Gorge to learn about the work of the Leakey family and to comprehend how the first humans evolved. The location has a tiny museum where fossils from roughly 3 million years ago are kept.
It is also feasible to travel to the Maasai tribe while on The Ngorongoro safari tour. They are permitted to allow their animals to graze here. We advise you to schedule a Maasai boma tour if you are serious about learning more about the customs and way of life of this fascinating tribe.
THE MOST COMMON ANIMALS IN THE NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA
- Grant Gazelles
- Thomson Gazelles
- Highland Antelopes
- Ngorongoro crater floor with its unique habitat and wildlife
- Ngorongoro Highlands
- Olmoti Crater and Empakai Crater
- Tropical rainforest
- Olduvai George, the earliest place of human existence on earth
- The Museum Laetoli Footprint has the oldest known footprints of early humans.
EXCURSIONS AND ACTIVITIES IN THE NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA
- Mountain bike tour of Lake Manyara
- Visit a Maasai village.
- Visit the Hadzabe tribe
- Hot Air Balloon Safari
- Walking safari/Nature tour
- Bird watching
- Camping safari
- Cultural tour Mto wa Mbu
TOURISM WITHIN THE NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA
One of the top locations in Africa to see wildlife is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Additionally, it ranks among Tanzania’s most popular tourist destinations. The major activities in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area include game drives around and inside the crater, camping along the crater’s rim, walking safaris to see wildlife from the rim (which can take up to 6 hours), and visiting the nearby Maasai settlements. The Hadzabe Tribe can be visited, along with other sites including Lake Magadi, Lerai Fever Tree Forest, Olduvai Gorge, the Shifting Sands, the Gol Mountains, the Olmoti Crater, the Empakai Crater, Ol Karien Gorge, Nasera Rock, Salei Plains, Oldeani Mountain, Lake Natron, and Ol Doinyo Lengai.
Lesser and bigger flamingos both like to live in the shallow, alkaline Lake Magadi. Because of its isolation, saline waters, and profusion of algae, the lake is a favorite among flamingos and other birds. Hyenas and jackals, among other species, frequent the lake to add salt to their diets. An uncommon variety of thin, yellowish acacia trees can be found in the Lerai Fever Tree Forest. Rhinos, bushbucks, elephants, elands, hyraxes, and birds all adore these trees.
Sands are shifting as a result of ash emanating from the Ol Doinyo Mountain. Tourists who happen to be in the region will enjoy seeing the ash as it slowly spreads across the huge plains. In addition to the Ngorongoro crater, the region is home to the huge Olmoti and Empakai craters. The Maasai shepherds tending to their domestic animals may be seen in these two craters, which are great for nature treks. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area’s main draw is the secluded and unspoiled Gol Mountains. Thousands of zebras and wildebeest use this area as a main migration route to and from the Serengeti grasslands.
Nasera Rock contains an ancient shelter uncovered by the Leakey family during one of their digs. The griffon vulture breeds in the Ol Karien Gorge between March and April, making it a great place for bird watching. The Ol Doinyo Lengai Mountains are to the northeast, close to the Kenyan border. The main lava-filled crater draws daring trekkers to these inaccessible highlands because they are still active. Visit the Maasai settlements or the Hadzabe Tribe, who live close to Lake Eyasi, for an interesting cultural trip in Tanzania. These Bushmen still rely on foraging and hunting to make ends meet. Most of the sounds they use to communicate are whistles and clicks.
The Datoga and Mbulu, who subsist off of farming and pastoralism, are nearby the Hadzabe. Our 3-day Serengeti and Ngorongoro safari package may be of interest to you if you intend to visit the Ngorongoro Crater shortly.
TRAVEL TIME TO THE NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA
- 3 hours from Arusha to the Ngorongoro Conservation Reserve
- The driving time from Serengeti National Park to Ngorongoro Conservation Area is two hours.
- Ngorongoro Conservation Park to Lake Manyara: 1 hour’s drive
- It takes two hours to get from Ngorongoro to Tarangire.