The Ngorongoro Crater was formed when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed on itself some two to three million years ago. The caldera is about 600m deep and covers 250sqkm. It hosts about 30.000 large animals including some of the Tanzania’s last remaining black rhinos. Thanks to anti-poaching patrols the number of black rhinos is about 25 now. Most of the animals stay in the crater year around, because water supplies never dry out. You will find hippos, hyena, jackal, cheetah, lions, ostrich, elephants, warthog, eland and hartebeests there, as well as huge herds of Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles.
Even leopards find their home in the trees and forests, surrounding the crater, but are rarely seen. The landscape around the Crater the “Ngorongoro Conservation Area” (NCA) is made famous by large herds of giraffes and the migration of millions of wildebeest, zebras, eland and endless numbers of gazelles from Serengeti to NCA and back each year. You will also find them on your way to Olduvai Gorge and further towards Serengeti. The NCA covers more than 8.300sqkm and is bounded by Lake Eyasi in the southwest and the Gol Mountains in the north. The NCA boasts some of the finest landscapes, wildlife, people and archaeological sites in Africa. 1979 it was declared as “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO.
The multiple land use philosophy in the area is to maintain the peaceful co-existence of human and wildlife in a natural and traditional setting. Pastoralism, conservation of natural resources and tourism are the three, main components that are given equal consideration in policy shaping decisions. The NCA aims for the historic balance of people and nature in a way which has not been possible in many parts of the world. At stake are the rich bio diversity and ecology of the Serengeti Plains and The Ngorongoro Highlands, the major palaeontological and archaeological sites and important water catchment areas. Tourism is a vital element in raising revenue and has been encouraged and developed with a respect for culture and without damaging the environment. Man and his ancestors have lived in the Ngorongoro eco-system for more than three million years. By careful research and continuing management, the fragile balance between man and nature will be successfully maintained. Also to safeguard and promote the interests of Maasai citizens of the United Republic engaged in cattle ranching and dairy industry within the Conservation Area
Getting there: A 3 hours drive from Arusha