NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA
Ngorongoro Conservation Area, created by a giant volcano millions of years ago, transports it’s visitors back hundreds of years as they gaze upon the Maasai tribe living and farming alongside the wild animals. Together with Serengeti National Park and other areas adjoining the Serengeti ecosystem, Ngorongoro supports the greatest concentration of wildlife left on the earth. The famous Serengeti Plains are shared by the NCA and Serengeti National Park. The Ngorongoro Crater itself, and its magnificent Lake Magadi, is home to 25,000 wild animals including the “BIG FIVE”. From June through October the plains are dry, bare and dusty. Lacking surface water, it supports only a few herds of non-migratory wildlife, but in the rainy season, normally in November through May, the plains turn lush and green. From their dry season range in the North and West Serengeti millions of animals flood into this rich pasture. They include wildebeests, zebras, gazelle and elands, along with their predators and other scavengers. Grasshoppers and dung beetles attract countless migratory birds. The best time to see this spectacle is from January through March when the wildebeest calves are born on the open plains. Around the crater rim its cold, thick morning fogs and mesmerizing sunrises, clear to give sight to an ecosystem rich in varying species of birds, prides of lions and families of elephants. The various lakes are home to thousands of flamingos with zebras and wildebeests grazing on the shorelines.
Ngorongoro offers a wide variety of memorable activities throughout the year. Guided walking safaris during the day through untouched wilderness, camping safaris at night, and spectacular game drives searching for the elusive rhinos and hundreds of predators, herbivores and omnivores and bird watching allows people with varying interests to feel connected to nature.
Cultural tourism experiences are available among Maasai and Hadzabe tribes, as well as visits to archaeological findings at Olduvai Gorge. Forest walks along Endoro NatureTrail in the highland forest, near Gibbs Farms & Endoro Lodge, are additional natural highlights
Top attractions in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
1: Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro crater is the largest unbroken caldera in the world. The crater, together with the Olmoti and Empakaai craters are part of the eastern Rift Valley, whose volcanism dates back to the late Mesozoic / early Tertiary periods and is famous for its geology. The property also includes Laetoli and Olduvai Gorge, which contain an important palaeontological record related to human, Ngorongoro Crater spans across vast expanses of highland,savannah,woodlands and forests evolution.
2: Olduvai Gorge Museum
The museum was founded in the late 1970s by Mary Leakey, an archaeologist and paleoanthropologist who conducted research in the gorge for decades. The museum was created to house and showcase paleoanthropological artifacts from the surrounding area. After Mary’s death, the Olduvai Gorge Museum was put under control of the Tanzanian government’s Department of Cultural Antiquities.
3: Empakaai Crater
The Empakaai Crater is a collapsed volcanic caldera which is 300 meters high and has a width of 6 km. The Crater is filled with a deep alkaline lake which occupies about 75% of the Crater’s floor and is about 85 meters deep. You can see Oldonio Lengai, Mount Kilimanjaro and the Great Rift Valley from the Crater’s rim.
4: Olmoti Crater
The Olmoti Crater is one of the hidden gems of the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area in Tanzania. A sunken caldera has formed over the past ten million years, to create the Olmoti Crater which means ‘Cooking Pot’ in the Maasai language
5: Ngoitokitok Picnic Area
Ngoitokitok Picnic Area is a reacreation area where Safari tourists rest during the game drive in the Ngorongoro crater Ngoitokitok is the name for the springs that bubble forth is such abundance that a small lake has formed before spreading into the nearby Gorigor Swamp. A small rock outcrop with a single fig tree adorns the lake edge and offers a wonderful photographic backdrop. The grassy strip around the lake is a popular resting area and a lovely spot for a bush picnic though beware of the large brown hawks that swoop down to snatch unattended food.
6: Shifting Sands
This remarkable black dune, composed of volcanic ash from Oldonyo Lengai, is being blown slowly westwards across the plains, at the rate of about 17 meters per year. Some nine metres high and 100 meters long in its curve, it can be found to the north of Olduvai Gorge