Located in west Arusha about 180 kilometers and approximately 110 miles from Arusha town, the Ngorongoro conservation area is boarded by the Serengeti plains from the south and the rim of the East African Rift Valley wall from the east. Ngorongoro Conservation Area is obviously a must-see destination among the Tanzanian parks. The Park covers an area of 8,292 square kilometers which is approximately 829,200 hectares. The name Ngorongoro was derived from the crater lake Ngorongoro which covers an area of about 260 square kilometers, the name of the crater lake was initially “Ngoro Ngoro.” Which was named by the Maasai people who say the name ‘’Ngoro Ngoro ‘’ was the sound that their cowbells produced. Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a real paradise for animals because it is rich and filled with diverse nature like craters, streams, savanna grasslands woodlands, gorges, forests, lakes, rivers, and many others. United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) also listed the conservation area as a World Heritage Site.
HISTORY OF NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA
Dating back to colonial rule, the area was initially a hunting ground for European hunters up to 1928 when hunting was then prohibited. The Ordinance of Serengeti as a national park in 1951 then made the area to be part of Serengeti national park but then resulted in conflicts with the Maasai people that led to the splitting of the two, Ngorongoro Conservation Area was then separated from Serengeti and established as a conservation area in 1959. The area was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979 and also named an International Biosphere Reserve in 1981. The park’s Natural and cultural enrichment with nature made it also to be listed among Mixed World Heritage Sites in 2010. Ngorongoro Conservation Area also contributed to Tanzania being named the capital of Africa’s New Seven Natural wonders in 2013.
Lake Magadi is a geographical feature worth paying a visit to on your Tanzanian tour. The lake is located within Ngorongoro Conservation Area decorated by numerous long-legged pink flamingoes. The lake is a salty type of lake that gets its water from the saline hot springs which is the reason the lake remains salty all the time. Although the lake reduces in water level during the dry season, the lake is still a spot for bird lovers and never disappoints the bird lovers because birds such as flamingoes, pelicans, and much more feed and nest around the lake area.
Ngorongoro Crater is definitely the biggest and main attraction within the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Covering an area of 264 square kilometers, it makes the crater the largest volcanic caldera in the planet earth. Around the crater are forests, and various wildlife species ranging from birds to animals like wildebeest, jackals, black rhinos’ elephants, warthogs, and many others which makes it reason why United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared it a world heritage site. The crater is a few miles from the main crater’s entrance/gate.
The Shifting Sand
The sand comprises of Black dune, crescent-shaped sand originating from volcanic ash. The dune is being blown slowly by slowly towards the west of the plains at a rate of around 17 meters per year. The shifting sand is about 9 meters high and approximately 100 meters at the curves. The shifting sand is a remarkable attraction to visit when at the Ngorongoro conservation area.
Nasera Rock is around 80 meters from the foot of the Gol mountains. Nasera rock accommodates the mountaineering klipspringers, and numerous species of birds, and baboons which makes it a beautiful and gorgeous safari spot within Tanzania. The rock is also home to Stone Age human shelter. The rock is just an hour from Naabi hill gate and also an hour from Olduvai Gorge Museum
Located within the remote north end of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the Gol mountains to the Maasai are a cultural symbol as they translate the mountain’s name to Mountains of the Gods. to them (Maasai), they believe the mountains have a strong cultural attachment with them. The mountains stand at a height of 915 meters with their surroundings being lush green in color during the rainy season and dusty brown during the dry season. The mountain slopes host wildlife animals like zebras, wildebeests, and many others which makes it a perfect spot for wildlife viewing. Visitors may also encounter the Maasai Herdsmen around the mountains which gives them a better experience of the remote African wilderness.
Lerai Fever Tree Forest
Lerai Fever Tree Forest is among the top attractions in the Ngorongoro conservation area. the forest consists of tall, yellow-barked acacias and slim trees. The forest is usually frequented by wildlife animals like the endangered black rhino elephant, eland, bushbuck, hyrax, and also numerous bird species which makes the forest an attractive spot for wildlife viewing. The lions also use the forest as their hideout while they hunt for prey whereas animals like antelopes, Elephants, and buffalo frequent the forest because of the swamps located within the forest that provide them with water.
Empaaki crater is an alkaline crater that is 6 square kilometers wide and 85 meters deep. The crater was formed as a result of volcanicity with its waters changing color from time to time. The crater also attracts a wide variety of bird species like flamingos, colored sunbirds, and red-crested turaco and animals such as elephants, blue monkeys, buffalos, bushbucks, and waterbucks among others. The views of Mount Kilimanjaro are also clear from the location of the crater so as you plan your Tanzanian safari, plan to reach Empaaki crater as well.
Olduvai Gorge Museum
Olduvai gorge is an iconic archeological site where the first humans were discovered. The discovery of early man fossils was done by Dr. Leakey in 1959. Olduvai Gorge can be arrived at from either the Ngorongoro conservation area or Serengeti national park. Visiting the Olduvai Museum is the best choice as long as you’re planning a Tanzanian tour.
Located within the north end of Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the deep and narrow Gorge covers an area of about 8km in length. Olkarien Gorge which can also be written as Ol Karien is a nesting site for the Ruppell’s Griffon Vultures as they soar, circle, and glide down to their nests. The best period to visit Olkarien Gorge is between March to April when the vultures are majorly breeding. The Gorge is that attraction that adds up your vulture experience as you take on your Tanzanian safari