The Ngorongoro Crater stands as the largest unbroken caldera in the whole world and resulted from a collapsed volcano. In reality, due of the larger numbers of life that live in and neighbor the caldera, it has by many been referred to as Africa’s Eden. You shouldn’t expect to spot people about the crater often because the only people permitted to live in this conservation area are the Maasai of an local tribe.
The Ngorongoro crater is situated 180 km west of the town of Arusha in Tanzania. The Conservation Area seats on the bottom of Africa’s Great Rift Valley. Ngorongoro a local word in the Masai language is a title that which was given to the local warriors who managed to ascend the highlands to fight the enemies. The Ngorongoro area plus the neighboring area was affirmed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1979. This conservation area stretches over an expanse of 8,288 sq km. It is a very large area which comprises of the Olduvai Gorge, highland plains, bushes, forest, the Ngorongoro Crater and scrub.
The area was preserved to safe-guard the animals plus the vegetation cover. Dr. Leakey’s great renowned discovery of fossils that belonged to early man was also done in this area. According to research made on the fossils that were discovered by the doctor, the early-man existed in this very area three million years back in time. Many people have stayed in this area since then and among them, it is believed that hunters were the initial inhabitants to settle hear after which lived herders. Afterwards, the Mbulu people moved into the region and these where trailed the Datoonga people. The two groups were later evicted by the strong Masai people following an extended battle. In the present day, the Masai people are neighbors as well as the only existing people allowed to graze cattle in this conservation area.
The Ngorongoro crater which is a volcanic caldera came to formation following a massive volcanic explosion and it collapsed solitary approximately three million years back in time. The crater stretches over an expanse of 260 sq km and it is 610 m deep. It is supposed to have been bigger than Mountain Kilimanjaro prior to its collapsing.
This Ngorongoro crater is actually the finest destination to enjoy game viewing in the entire country – Tanzania. Its landscape is comprised of swamps, Lake Magadi an alkaline-water lake and marshlands not forgetting the neighboring forest and all these provide a perfect habitat for approximately 40,000 untamed animals. Among the wild animals living in this area are: thousands and thousands of wildebeest, Thomson gazelles, lions, zebras, jackals, elephants, cape buffaloes and hippos. The Ngorongoro crater is a perfect place to catch sight of the uncommon black rhino.
In addition, the Ngorongoro crater is a paradise for bird watching particularly adjacent to the marshland as well as Lake Magadi. Some of the commonly seen species of birds include geese, flamingos, vultures, secretary birds, ostrich, kori bustards, crowned cranes, herons and eagles.
There are different springs that drain into the alkaline lake Magadi especially through the rainy season among which are Lerai, Ngoitokitok and the Munge stream. These streams are a wonderful water source to the resident animals, the grazing cattle as well as to the Masai communities. The wild animals are confined in the crater especially during the wet period as the floor of the crater is rich with grazing pastures. Through the dry season the grass reduces in quantity, so the animals begin moving out of the crater as they search of better pastures.
Through the rainy months, Ngorongoro’s western plains provide sufficient grass to feed the thousands of wildebeest so they migrate into the Serengeti. Additionally, this conservation area is home to approximately 62,000 people with the Masai being the majority.
Today, the Ngorongoro Crater is known as one of the favorite safari destinations in Tanzania and Africa at large. In the crater you will be rewarded with amazing sights of various wild animals among which are the Big Five” – black rhinoceros, elephants, leopards lions and cape buffalo. So as you plan to tour Tanzania’s northern region, you can always add the Ngorongoro crater to your itinerary through your travel agent or guide so that you get a true feel of the thrill and adventure here.