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Ngorongoro Conservation Area/The Ngorongoro Crater

Description of Ngorongoro Conservation Area/The Ngorongoro Crater

The vast protected area of Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area stretches from Lake Natron (the breeding ground for East Africa's flamingos) in the North-East, to Lake Enyasi in the south, and Lake Manyara to the East.

The Ngorongoro Crater is often called ‘Africa’s Eden’ and the ‘8th Natural Wonder of the World,’ within the crater rim, large herds of zebra and wildebeest graze nearby while sleeping lions laze in the sun. At dawn, the endangered black rhino returns to the thick cover of the crater forests after grazing on dew-laden grass in the morning mist. Just outside the crater’s ridge, tall Masaai herd their cattle and goats over green pastures through the highland slopes, living alongside the wildlife as they have for centuries

History of the Ngorongoro Crater

Eight million years ago, the Ngorongoro Crater was an active volcano but its cone collapsed, forming the crater that is 610 meters deep, 20 kilometers in diameter, and covers an area of 311 sq. km. Spectacular as it is, the crater accounts for just a tenth of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Wildlife in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area/The Ngorongoro Crater

The crater is home to many species of wild game and birds. With the exception of impala and topi (due to fierce competition with the wildebeest) and the giraffe (because there is not much to eat at tree level), almost every species of African plains mammal lives in the crater, including the endangered black rhino, and the densest population of predators in Africa. A strange thing is that the crater elephants are mainly bulls. The birdlife, which includes the flamingo, is mainly seasonal, and is also affected by the ratio of soda to fresh water in Lake Magadi on the crater floor. Views from the rim of the crater are sensational. On the crater floor, grassland blends into swamps, lakes, rivers, woodland and mountains. You can descend to the floor of the crater in a four-wheel drive vehicle. Only 4WD vehicles are allowed into the crater and game rangers are compulsory for all.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area/The Ngorongoro Crater an d the Olduvai Gorge

Ngorongoro Conservation Area/The Ngorongoro Crater is home to Olduvai Gorge, where the Leakeys discovered the hominoid remains of a 1.8 million year old skeleton of Australopithecus boisei, one of the distinct links of the human evolutionary chain. In a small canyon just north of the crater, the Leakeys and their team of international archaeologists unearthed the ruins of at least three distinct hominoid species, and also came upon a complete series of hominoid footprints estimated to be over 3.7 million years old. Evacuated fossils show that the area is one of the oldest sites of hominoid habitation in the world.

Olduvai Gorge is a canyon carved by water through the southern part of the Serengeti Plain. The gorge is about 50 km long and in some places 90 metres deep. It drains the slopes of the nearby mountains plus the Serengeti Plain. Its chief claim to fame is the rich treasure-trove of human and animal fossils that it has yielded. Olduvai, more accurately called Oldupai after the wild sisal in the area, is situated near the Ngorongoro Crater and is the site of some of the most important finds of early hominid fossils of all time (made famous by the work of the Leakey family) - The "Nutcracker Man" or Australophithecus boisei who lived 1.8 million years ago. There is a small informative museum located at the visitor center. The gorge is a treasure trove of archeological sites filled with fossils, settlement remains and stone artefacts. Lecture tours are offered

The Ngorongoro Crater and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are without a doubt some of the most beautiful parts of Tanzania, steeped in history and teeming with wildlife. Besides vehicle safaris to Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, and surrounding attractions, hiking treks through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are becoming increasingly popular options. Either way you choose to visit, the Crater Highlands are an unforgettable part of the Tanzanian experience.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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