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Ngorongoro Safari Tanzania
Ngorongoro Conservation Area 236123

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to dense bushland and the famous Ngorongoro Crater, a striking caldera formed after the collapse of a large volcano, one of the prime attractions of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. One of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, the Ngorongoro Crater is home to rich wildlife including the big five, and it’s become one of the very best destinations to head on a wildlife safari.

The name Ngorongoro has an onomatopoeic origin. The Maasai pastoralists named the crater after the sound made by their cowbells, “ngoro ngoro.” The crater is around 260 km2 with a circular 610 m escarpment that surrounds it. The Munge Stream and the Ngoitokitok Spring are the two major water sources that bring life to this sunken eden.

The‌ ‌History‌ ‌of‌ Ngorongoro Conservation Area

  • 1892: Oscar Baumann is considered to be the first explorer to visit the Ngorongoro Crater.
  • 1899: Two German ranchers Adolph and Friedrich Siendentoph entered the region and became the first owners of the land and took up ranching.
  • 1916: The Seiendentoph brothers left their land during the onset of the First World War.
  • 1921: Sir Charles Ross, a renowned big-game hunter, visited the region with T. A. Barns and Major A Radcliffe Holmes. Although Sir Charles owned the land, he let it fall into a state of disrepair. The same year, the first game preservation ordinance was passed restricting hunting activities to all but the permit holders in Tanzania.
  • 1928: Ngorongoro Crater achieved the status of a complete reserve, thereby prohibiting hunting within the land.
  • 1951: Serengeti National Park was established following the implementation of the National Park Ordinance of 1948, which led to some issues with tribes inhabiting the area, mainly Maasai.
  • 1959: Due to these prevailing issues, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area was separated from the park. Following this, the Maasai tribe was relocated to the Ngorongoro Crater area.
  • 1976: Marks the establishment of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, which has since governed the park.
  • 1979: Ngorongoro Conservations status was elevated as it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • 2009: The Wildlife Conservation Act of 2009 took legal steps to ensure the land was free of traditional pastoralists.

Wildlife In Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The African big five – buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and black rhino – have a strong presence in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area as well as in the crater itself. It is one of the few places in Africa where you have a high chance of viewing all the big five on a day’s safari trip. Ngorongoro Crater, with breathtaking views, is filled with wonderful wildlife. There are also numerous birds including flamingos and great white pelicans that can be seen on Lake Magadi.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area Premier Attractions

  • Olduvai Gorge: One of the key paleoanthropological sites in the world, Olduvai Gorge has been beneficial in understanding human evolution in its early stages. It is a steep-sided ravine about 48 km long located a few km from Laetoli, an archaeological site of great importance. The Olduvai Gorge Monument and the Olduvai Gorge Museum are popular spots for visitors.
  • Olmoti Crater: Olmoti Crater was formed as a result of volcanic activity and is a part of the Crater Highlands. Its name Olmoti means ‘Cooking Pot’ in Maasai. It is covered in grass and bisected by a river valley presenting visitors with a pretty sight. It also acts as a grazing area for Maasai cattle. You may see augur buzzard cartwheeling and some Verreaux’s eagles flying over the crater. There is a short path from the crater that leads to the Munge Waterfall, created by the river cascading down the crater.
  • Empakaai Crater: One of the most stunning sights in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the Empakaai Crater, is also a part of the Crater Highlands. Formed from a collapsed volcano, the crater now houses a deep alkaline lake that covers almost 75% of the crater area. Surrounded by dry evergreen forests and bushlands, the deep lake paints a forbidding picture. The view from the crater’s rim is spectacular – from Ol Doinyo Lengai to the Great Rift Valley to Mount Kilimanjaro. Visitors often hike down into the crater through the thick mountainous forests, which are teeming with birds.
  • Ol Doinyo Lengai: An active volcano named by the Maasai, Doinyo Lengai translates to the ‘Mountain of God’. While the name and volcano itself gives a sense of immense power, it isn’t the volcano’s best feature. The 10,000 feet tall volcano is currently the only active volcano on the planet to spew carbonatite lava when other volcanoes spew silica. Where silica volcanoes erupt at 1100 to 1200 ºC, a carbonatite lava such as Doinyo Legnai has been known to erupt at 480-590 ºC. Such cool temperatures make the lava appear grey and black most of the time, except for some nights.

When To Visit Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Ngorongoro Crater can be visited throughout the year. There are certain advantages of each season that might help you decide which is the best time to visit the Ngorongoro Crater. In the wet season, you’ll be dazzled by the lush scenery that blankets the crater, whereas in the dry season, you’ll have an easier time spotting the wildlife.

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