Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Conservation Area stands on an area of 8,292 square kilometers and was gazette in the year 1959 under the management of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority. Later on, in 1979 it was declared a UNESCO world site to protect the unique features that make it one of the best stopover for tourists on a Tanzania safari in the northern circuit. Ngorongoro Conservation Area is located near other parks in the Northern part of Tanzania including Serengeti national park, Lake Manyara National park, and Tarangire national park thus always very easy to combine all these parks in one safari for an unforgettable experience. Ngorongoro Conservation Area provides habitats for both humans, livestock, and wildlife. Vegetation cover in Ngorongoro Conservation Area comprises of savanna grassland including flowers, shrubs, and short grasses, woodland, wetland including lakes, rivers, swamps, craters and highland such as mountain among others.
Top tourist attractions in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Wildlife species: Ngorongoro Conservation Area thrills with a good population of wildlife species including mammals such as over 25,000 species of big 5 games (Black Rhinos, Elephants, Lions, African Buffaloes, Hippos) other mammals such as wildebeests, Gazelles, Zebras, Oryx, waterbucks, impalas, gazelles, jackals, hyenas, crocodiles, elands and many more making it a true wildlife gem worth a visit while on a Tanzania safari. In fact most tourists combine a Tanzania safari to Serengeti national park with either a stopover or a full day excursion in Ngorongoro Conservation Area to view these wildlife.
Bird species: Ngorongoro Conservation Area thrills with more than 500 bird species including both resident birds, migratory birds and water birds among others. Most of these birds are spotted along the waterbodies such as a huge population of Flamingo birds that are seen along Lake Natron which is situated below mount Oldonyo and Lake Magadi that all harbor flamingo birds, other bird species spotted in Ngorongoro Conservation Area include; Grey Crowned Cranes, Pelicans, Sterling birds, Storks, Ostriches, Egrets, weaver birds and many more.
The Craters and Lakes: Ngorongoro Conservation Area has a very stunning main crater that was formed as a result of eruption about 3 million years ago. This crater later on turned into a caldera which is now a home to several wildlife species and one of the major tourist attraction in Ngorongoro Conservation Area. There are other craters such as Olmoti Crater that is deep and has green walls filled with fresh savanna vegetation cover that attracts several wildlife and there is also Empakai crater that harbors the waterfalls. Apart from the crater, Ngorongoro Conservation Area has a stunning known as Lake Ndutu that is shallow enough with salty water that attracts several species of mammals and Lake Natron that acts as the breeding ground for flamingo bird with the largest population of flamingos born in the entire east African region though after breeding, the flamingo birds normally flock Lake Magadi in Kenya due to the fact that they are attracted by the soda water.
Oldonyo Lengai volcanic mountain and shifting sands: This active volcanic Mountain last erupted in 2007 and is yet a famous attraction in Ngorongoro Conservation Area in a way that it’s the 3rd tallest just after Mount Kilimanjaro which takes the 1st position in both Tanzania and entire East Africa Region and Mount Meru in the 2nd position. On the other hand, the shifting sand are ash like soils which are seen shifting from Mount Oldonyo especially as the wind blows towards the western plains and North of Olduvai gorge. They are amongst the top tourist attractions while on a Tanzania safari to Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Olduvai Gorge and Olkarien Gorge: This gorge is a stunning gem in Ngorongoro Conservation Area that is at least visited by every tourist in the northern part of Tanzania who intend to explore the location where the fossils of the early man were discovered making it a unique tourist attraction worth a visit. On the other hand, Olkarien Gorge is one of the birders paradise and is yet a nesting and breeding ground for Vultures without forgetting that is also a home other wildlife species.
Top things to do /tourist activities in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Conservation Area thrills with quiet a good number of tourist activities that make it a top destination to include on a travel list while planning a Tanzania safari. Below are the top things to do in Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Birding: As mentioned below, Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a home to over 500 species of birds that automatically implies that it’s indeed a birders haven that should be included on every birders bucket list. Be sure of spotting a good population flamingo birds that are always attracted to salty waters and other aquatic birds. The best birding grounds in Ngorongoro Conservation Area include along the crater, along the water bodies where aquatic birds are seen, in the gorge where some bird species breed, with the savanna plains, shrubs and in the forested areas of Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The most seen bird species include the Flamingos, Vultures, ostriches, storks, and many more. All one needs is to determine the best birding season since there are both migratory birds and resident thrilling with in the conservation Area thus I recommend the birders to visit during the rainy months for an opportunity to spot several bird species including both residents and migratory.
Walking safaris: Take a guided walk in Ngorongoro Conservation Area via well designated trails to different attractions including the main craters, other craters, take a walk to the gorges, forest walk and a walk to ascend mount Oldonyo among others. While on the walking safari, tourists are able to encounter with several wildlife species including mammals, birds, butterflies and the entire thrilling flora.
Game drive: Game drive in Ngorongoro Conservation Area is conducted in a 4×4 safari vehicle but is all tourists are supposed to exit the crater before 4:30 pm. meaning there are no night game drives. During the day game dive, you will enjoy the true experience of getting closer to different wildlife species including Lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, buffaloes, and many more without forgetting an encounter with plenty of bird species, butterflies and many other attractions that thrill with in Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Cultural visits: Most of the Cultural tourist in Tanzania take tourists to an encounter with the local Masai people who reside both situated in Tanzania and in Kenya. The Masai are known to be the cattle keepers and the Masai of Ngorongoro Conservation Area live with their cattle in hormone with the wildlife thus a cultural visit enables tourists to interact closely with the Masai learning more about their life style, engage in cattle grazing, milking and learn their local means of preserving milk, buy some crafts made from hides and skins and many more.