ngorongoro conservation area

NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA

Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) s a protected area and a World Heritage Site located 180 km (110 mi) west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania. The area is about  191 kilometers (two and half an hour driving) from Arusha City. The Ngorongoro crater can be accessed by both a road transport and by air transport with daily flights and scheduled flights available from Arusha airport or Kilimanjaro international airport. The conservation is large and unbroken volcanic caldera. It is one of the most spectacular safari destinations in Africa with incredible scenery and game viewing. The crater is 610m deep and the floor is 260km squared. The steep sides of the crater have become a natural enclosure for very wide varieties of wildlife including most of the species found in East Africa. The area is the home of the vast, volcanic Ngorongoro Crater and “big 5” game (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino). Huge herds of wildebeests and zebras traverse its plains during their annual migration. Livestock belonging to the semi-nomadic Maasai tribe are grazed alongside wild animals. Hominin fossils found in the Olduvai Gorge date back millions of years

The uniqueness of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area lies in the fact that the area is where man (only maasai people), livestock and wild animals live in peace: Maasai cattle can sometimes be seen grazing alongside zebras on Ngorongoro’s grassland. Apart from conserving world heritage, Ngorongoro plays a major role in national development. Ngorongoro Conservation Area is not a national park but a conservation area which means that the Masai people were granted the right to continue to live there with their grazed animals eating together with wild animals. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the volcanic craters which form stunning backdrops to some of the most fertile and richest grazing grounds in Africa. The most famous such crater is without question Ngorongoro, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera and home to the highest density of big game in Africa.

The Best time of your safaris at Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area was created at the south-east of the Serengeti; the climate is subtropical, since it is influenced by altitude. The temperature is mild during the day and cool (or even a little cold) at night, and it’s higher from September to April and lower from May to August, although the difference is not remarkable. The crater’s rim is located at about 2,300 meters (7,500 ft) above sea level: in the Ngorongoro Crater, the average daily temperature is about 16 °C (61 °F) from October to April, while it drops to 13/14 °C (55/57 °F) from June to August; at night, it’s a bit cold, and drops below 10 °C (50 °F) from May to October, but sometimes also in the rest of the year.
Here are the average temperatures of the Crater Lodge, located, as mentioned, at 2,300 meters (7,500 ft) above sea level. Based on the information above, Ngorongoro Crater can be accessed throughout the year depending on travelers’ plans.

The uniqueness of Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Ngorongoro crater has a wonderful floor which consists of a number of different habitats that include grass land, swamps, forests and lake Makati which extracts salts for Maasai living in the area – a central soda lake filled by the Munge river. These entire various environments attract wildlife to drink, wallow, graze, hide and or climb. Although animals are free to move in and out of this contained environment, the rich volcanic soil, lush forest and spring source lakes on the crater floor tends to incline both grazer and predators to remain throughout the year.

Moreover, The Ngorongoro Crater has a population of about 25,000 large animals, including the highest density of mammalian predators living within and alongside slopes of the crater. These include black rhinoceros, hippopotamus which are usually very uncommon in the area. There are also wildebeest, zebra, eland, Grants and Thomson’s gazelles. The crater has the densest known population of lions. On the crater rim are leopard, elephant, mountain reedbuck and buffalo. Lake Magadi, filled by the Munge river in the centre of the crater is, like many in the rift valley, a soda lake supporting flocks of flamingo and a variety of other water birds;. More than a 100 species of bird not found in the Serengeti have been found in the crater including; ostriches, kori bustards, secretary birds, and crowned cranes as well as vultures, egrets, herons and geese. The rainy season lasts from November through to May, with the dry season running from June through to October. June and July are the coldest months of the year. The rim of the crater is often shrouded in a dense cloud that pours over the crater into the vastness below.

Tourism activities in Ngorongoro Crater

Lake Magadi

Being in Ngorongoro crater, you will be exposed to Lake Magadi, a memorable place within the Ngorongoro Crater.  Lake Magadi consists of shallow azure blue, fiercely alkaline from sodium carbonate. It is fringed by hundreds of long-legged pink flamingos. Smaller flamingos distinguished by their dark red bills, which eat blue-green spirulina algae. There are also many greater flamingos within the area with black-tipped pink bills, slightly bent to facilitate sifting shellfish from the rich bottom mud. The lake shrinks conspicuously in the dry season, leaving thick, crystalline salt pans used as licks by jackals, hyena and other animals to supplement their diet. Still, within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, there are many other regions well worth visiting during your trips in Tanzania.

Lerai Fever Tree Forest

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area contains The Lerai Fever Tree Forest with tall, slim yellow barked acacias forming an airy, lace-canopied wonderland of glades. These vegetation are much haunted by elephants, rhino, eland, bushbuck, hyrax, and hundreds of birds. This foliage is preferred food by rare, black rhinoceros. Old forests are regenerating slowly because of damage by elephants, which tear off whole branches rather than merely grazing. However, seedlings are spreading through the Gorigor Swamps. This is the home to hippopotamus and wading birds and favored drinking place of thousands of ungulates during the dry season. Fever Tree forest is currently forming new groves at the base of the Ngoitokitok Springs, home ground of the famous Tokitok arrogance of lions, film and television personalities in their own right.

Olduvai Gorge and Laetoli

Ngorongoro Conservation Area contains Lake Ndutu and Lake Masek. These lakes are on the migratory route in the Rift Valley. Mentioned lakes are not far from Olduvai Gorge where the ancestors of mankind began the journey towards evolution with the fabrication of the earliest tools and the building of the first human settlements. At Laetoli, hominid footprints of our genetic ancestors and their relatives have been found in alluvial rock of 3.7 million years old. No Tanzanian safari would be complete without a guided tour of the excavations and modest pale anthropological museum at Olduvai where you can also see evolutionary fossils.

Shifting Sands

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area contains Ash from Ol Dionyo which forms Shifting Sands – a black dune of moving sand hundred meters in length, and nine meters high, which ingeniously moves slowly across the plains at a rate of 15 meters every year.

Olmoti Crater and Empakaai Crater

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area contains the Olmoti Crater and Empakaai Crater. Your Ngorongoro safari with Global Vacanza will hold endless riveting possibilities. You will be exposed to two other nearby craters, Olmoti Crater which is shallow, grassy hollow, very quiet and lovely where Maasai graze their cattle alongside eland, bushbuck, reedbuck and an occasional buffalo. From the south wall of the caldera, the Munge stream forms a delightful waterfall, plunging several hundred meters into the Ngorongoro crater to feed Lake Magadi. Empakaai Crater is half-filled by an unusually deep soda -alkaline lake. From the rim, you can look across a frightening panorama of volcanic craters and depressions towards Ol Doinyo Legai, the Great African Rift Valley and even in super clear weather.

Gol Mountains

To the northeastern zone, the primeval Gol Mountains provide a surreal wilderness environment of stark, pink cliffs, enclosing the Angata Kiti pass, a bottleneck for the annual Great Migration of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra, searching for mineral rich grasses as they return to their ancestral breeding grounds in southern Serengeti and the Ndutu wilderness.

Nasera Rock

Escalating 80 meters from the base of the Gol Mountains, monolithic Nasera Rock is home to mountaineering klipspringers, baboons and varied birds. It is also the location of a Stone Age human shelter, exhumed by the Leakeys.

Oldeani Mountain

Aligned to the southwest of Ngorongoro crater, bamboo-clad Oldeani Mountain feeds the stream that supports the Lerai Forest, whilst seasonal Lake Eyasi is a lodestone for archaeological and cultural safaris in Tanzania.

Hadzabe Tribe

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area embedded Lake Eyasi and other surrounding areas inherited by Hadzabe Bushmen who subsisted entirely from the wild. People of this tribe communicate by clicks and whistles. Mbulu and Datoga pastoral and farming tribes were ousted centuries ago from lands now occupied by the Maasai have now settled there.

Ol Doinyo Lengai & Lake Natron

While moving to the north-east as leading to Ngorongoro center near the border of Kenya, Ol Doinyo Lengai casts its conical gumshoe across the plains from the edge of the Great African Rift Valley escarpment. The name of the mountain “Ol Doinyo Lengai” in Maasai means “The Mountain of God”. This mountain is still active as it last erupted in 2007. Fearless adventurers may climb its lava-encrusted slopes to stare down into its main crater and be dangerously rewarded with sulfur fumes and occasional spurts of lava from smaller surrounding cones. It was featured in the Lara Croft film.  Lake Natron far below, is fed by hot, mineral springs so heavily saturated with volcanic ash from Ol Doinyo Lengai that it provides a toxic, protective moat for Africa’s largest concentration of breeding lesser and greater flamingos. The lake itself shines like a jewel, sometimes green and blue with sometimes blooming red with cyanobacteria and algae which provide their food.

Accommodation

In Ngorongoro Conservation Area, most of the lodges are built high on the crater rim and afford amazing views over and into the crater as well as the perfect location to watch the infamous African sunset

KARIBU TANZANIA – NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA