Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) was established in 1959. It is located 156 kilometers west of Arusha. Ngorongoro and it coves an area of 8300sq/km. Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) it boasts of the finest blend of mountain landscapes shaped by rifts and volcanoes, wildlife, people and archaeological sites in Africa. The concept of multiple land use in a conservation perspective is a deviation from a traditional approach (National Parks & Game Reserves) of regarding conservation as complete absenteeism of human Interference.
The NCA becomes one of the first program in the world to pioneering experiment in multiple land use for the benefits of both Maasai people and wildlife in a natural traditional setting. NCA is often called ‘African Eden’ and the ‘Eight Wonder of the Natural World’. Traditional African pastoralists co-operate with Tanzania’s government bodies to help preserve the natural resources of the area and to ensure a fantastic experience for Tourists. Ngorongoro is the World Heritage Site and has also been declared an International Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, due to its outstanding wildlife and cultural value.
Ngorongoro is the largest unbroken caldera in the world. It is also known as collapsed volcano, this natural amphitheater have 250 square kilometers and 23 km wide. The crater has very steep walls with an average depth of 600 meters at the altitude of 2,286 m above sea level. The crater alone has over 20,000 large animals (half of them zebra & wildebeest). This includes some of Tanzania’s last remaining black rhino. Animals are free to leave or enter the crater but most of them stay because of the abundance of water and food available in the crater floor throughout the year. One animal lacking inside the crater though is giraffe, who cannot negotiate the steep walls easily.
It was here that Dr. Louis Leakey discovered the remains of Homo habilis or “handy man” regarded by evolutionists as mankind’s first step on the ladder of human evolution. Researchers say that humans have been part of the Ngorongoro landscape for millions of years. The earliest sign of mankind in the conservation area is at LAETOLI, where hominid foot prints are preserved in volcanic rock dated 3,600,000 years old. The story continues at Olduvai (Olduvai) Gorge, a river canyon cut 100 meters deep through the volcanic soils of the Serengeti plains. Buried in the layers are the remains of animals and hominids that lived and died around a shallow lake amid grass plains and woodlands, from perhaps 2,000,000 years ago to the present. The four different kinds of hominids found there show a gradual increase in brain size and in the complexity of their stone tools. But many more fossils have been discovered here including those of prehistoric elephants, giant horned sheep and enormous ostriches. Visitors can learn more details of this fascinating story by visiting the gorge where guides will give on site interpretation of the gorge. Oldupai Museum at the gorge is also very useful for information and education.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) has a number of other stunning features. These are shifting sands, Nasera Rock, Olkarien Gorge, Empakai Crater, Olmoti Crater, Active Oldonyo Lengai volcano, Grassland, Lake Makat, Swamps, Lerai Forest, Acacia Woodlands and Complex Forests.
North of Oldupai Gorge- a little black sand dune marches across the plains, moving 17 meters a year. Blown by a strong steady wind it somehow maintains its size and somehow maintains its size and elegant shape.
People and Livestock
In the past few thousands of years, a succession of cattle herding people colonized this area from the north. The most numerous and recent are the Maasai who arrived about 200 years ago. Their strong insistence on their traditional custom and costume interests many visitors. Today there is over 42,000 Maasai pastoralists living in the area with their cattle, goats and sheep visitors are welcome to learn about the culture of the Maasai and buy their handcrafts only in designated bomas commonly known as “Cultural Bomas”.
Activities in Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the crater:
Game drive, walking safaris (highlands area only, no walking safaris are permitted inside of the crater) and trekking.
Lodges, campsites, guest houses in nearby Karatu town.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area can be also visited as a day trip, although this is stretching the limits a bit. If time does not permit a more relaxed option, this is a destination not to be missed and a day trip should be considered.
We will gladly customize an itinerary to cater to your budget and time allotment but here are samples of some of our most requested itineraries:
Safari 4 Days | Tarangire National Park, Serengeti National Park & Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Safari 3 Days | Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area & Lake Manyara
Safari 2 Days | Lake Manyara National Park & Ngorongoro Conservation Area