Ngorongoro conservation area is a protected area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Northern Tanzania near the Southern border of Kenya in Ngorongoro district just 180km west of Arusha city in Arusha region. Ngorongoro conservation area includes Ngorongoro crater which was formed when a volcano which was giant almost at the size of Mountain Kilimanjaro erupted against its own weight about 3 million years ago. It’s from this crater where the conservation area got its name. Among the other features in the conservation area include mountains, Olduvai Gorge, highlands, forests and different wildlife. The area was area was part of the mighty Serengeti National park till it became its own in 1959 and it is one of the few wildlife reserves in the Republic of Tanzania that allows human habituation. Expect an encounter with the local people when having a safari at the area since the Maasai herdsmen were allowed to graze around or inside the area especially during the dry season.
Attractions in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Wildlife: Ngorongoro Conservation Area is one of the best destinations to spot the 5 big mammals- lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and buffalos. Other animals to be seen at the area include hippos, reedbucks, jackals, black rhinos, hippos, blue wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, impalas, crocodiles and others. Ngorongoro Conservation Area hosts over 26,000 big mammals thus being the one of the best areas for wildlife viewing.
Ngorongoro crater: This is the main feature and attraction in Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It is the world’s largest, inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera. The crater formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself about 2-3 million years ago. It is 610 meters deep and its floor covers 260 square kilometers and has formed its own ecosystem including swamps, lakes, small streams, and savannah grasslands which attract a number of wildlife.
Bird species: Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a home to over 500 bird species including the kori bustards, crowned cranes, flamingos, African cytrill sights, golden winged sunbirds, forest buzzard, and others. Some of these birds are epidemic while others are endemic birds.
Activities in Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Game drives: This is the best way to view the wildlife of Ngorongoro National Area. On your safari, expect to see the big five mammals, bird species, lakes, forests and the beautiful grassland vegetation of the area. Two shifts are done during this activity that is morning and afternoon game drives.
Visiting the Maasai people: Although they live outside the crater, the Maasai are of the must see attractions when you visit the conservation area. These people were allowed to graze their animals in and around the crater especially during the dry months of the year. Make an arrangement when visiting the area and meet these local people and learn more about their traditions and cultural practices like dances, songs and their stories.
Bird watching: Ngorongoro Conservation Area is one of the best areas for birding in the Republic of Tanzania. The area is home to over 500 bird species which is almost half of all those in the country. Among the birds to sight include kori bustards, flamingos, forest buzzards, golden winged sunbirds, white eyes slaty, African cytrill sights and many others.
Nature walks and hikes: Take part in the guided nature walks in the conservation area and get an opportunity to explore it on foot. The area has got different directions where you can have these walks from for example Empakai or Olmoti craters, Lake Eyasi walks, Crater rim walks and others. Get a chance of getting close to the wildlife and bird species in the conservation area.
Photographic tour: while planning to visit Ngorongoro conservation area, you are advised to move with a camera and extra batteries since it is one of the best destinations for photographic tours due to its beautiful scenery and the abundant wildlife that would definitely catch your eye. Animals to capture during the safari include zebras, waterbucks, rhinos, elephants, lions, wildebeest, cheetahs, and different bird species.