Ngorongoro Crater

Long touted as one of the eight wonders of the world, this Tanzanian landmark is arguably one of the most valuable jewels in the African crown.

Ngorongoro Crater is lauded as one of “the eight wonders of the world.” Within its rims is housed The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), which covers some 8,300 square kilometers.

The History

Nearly 3 million years ago, Ngorongoro was a mountain whose peak would have rivaled that of Mount Kilimanjaro for the highest peak in Africa. Later, during the formation of The Rift Valley, its volcano erupted, and early stages of the crater were born.

In the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the main rifts are North of Lake Eyasi and East of Lake Manyara and Lake Natron, where the nine volcanoes of Ngorongoro highlands were formed during the past 4 million years. Of these. The only active volcano that remains is Oldonyo Lengai. The ash and dust from various eruptions was carried by the wind to form the rich, fertile soils of the Serengeti Plains.

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Modern Conservation Efforts

Ngorongoro is also a pioneering experiment in multiple land use, as it boasts the finest blend of landscapes, wildlife, people and archaeological sites in Africa.

The concept of multiple land uses within a conservation perspective is a deviation from the traditional approach. Normally, conservation is regarded as the complete absence of human interference.

Because of the enclosed nature of the Crater, it has been left to develop its own unique ecosystem. The Crater houses a vast variety of landscapes, including forests, soda lakes, swamps, and open grasslands.

Ngorongoro Crater has over 20,000 large animals, including Tanzania’s last remaining black rhino, protected within its rim.

There are also herds of various animals, including zebra, wildebeest, Thompson’s gazelle, Grant’s gazelle, buffalo, and tsessebe (often called lopi). Unfortunately, due to the lack of tall trees, giraffes and impala are virtually non-existent within the park.

This rich variety of herbivores makes Ngorongoro one of the most popular destinations to view African predators. These predators include lions, leopards, cheetahs, and spotted hyenas.

The lions, being particularly used to vehicle activity within the crater, are often very comfortable hunting and prowling within mere meters of a safari group.

Source: Tanzania Tourist Board

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