Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site in the crater highlands area of Tanzania. Ngorongoro is located 180km west of Arusha. Ngorongoro derives its name from the Ngorongoro crater found in the area. Ngorongoro, established in 1959, covers a total area of 8,292 square kilometres. Ngorongoro is part of the Serengeti ecosystem, and adjoins Serengeti National Park to the northwest, with the Serengeti plains in the south. The eastern boundaries of the Ngorongoro are defined by the rim of the East African Rift Valley wall.
Ngorongoro is one of the biggest protected areas in Tanzania that attracts a big number of tourists annually. The wildlife, great landscape, birdlife and the various calderas all attract tourists to explore this place that is gifted by nature. The Ngorongoro crater is what attracts tourists the most to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Attractions in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
There are a number of attractions in Ngorongoro Conservation Area that have travellers visiting the area in great numbers every single year. Below are the attractions in Ngorongoro;
Ngorongoro Crater is the largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera in the world 610 metres deep with about 265 square kilometres of a bowl, and one of the most famous areas to have a high density of wildlife. Ngorongoro Crater rewards travellers with some really amazing views. Ngorongoro crater has soda lakes like Lake Magadi which attract more bird species like flamingos and other water birds. Picnics can be made here giving you a sight to marvel at.
Apart from Ngorongoro crater, there are other craters in Ngorongoro that travellers visit in addition to the main one. Olmoti caldera and Empakai caldera are the other volcanic craters that attract tourists to visit Ngorongoro with the former being famous the wonderful waterfalls and the latter famous for holding a deep lake with lush and green walls.
The Olduvai Gorge is a historically prominent archaeological site in East Africa where the first skull of Zinjathropus was found. This historical bit of the Olduvai Gorge has a number of travellers visiting Ngorongoro just to see the old skull and learn of the evolution of man.
Shifting sand is a mysterious occurrence where sand dunes shift from one area to another while maintaining the shape of the dune. This shifting sand is historically believed to have come from the active volcanic mountain of Oldonyo Lengai where for a year the sand dunes move for about 10 metres to a different place.
Wildlife in Ngorongoro is very diverse with a very high number of wildlife species roaming the area including wildebeests, zebras, wild dogs, cheetahs, and reedbucks, gazelles, spotted hyenas, hippos, elands, blue monkeys, among so many others. Most tourists visit Ngorongoro Conservation Area to enjoy game viewing.
The big five can be spotted in Ngorongoro, one of the few Tanzania national parks from where tourists can see all of them in one place. The big five include lions, elephants, leopards, buffaloes and the rhinos. The black rhinos in Ngorongoro Conservation Area are quite unique that many tourists who go on game drives look out for them. Ngorongoro crater has the densest lion population. The Ndutu Lake area in the west of the conservation area has high populations of cheetahs and lions, as well as hartebeests and jackals. Serval cats are widely seen all over Ngorongoro.
Birdlife in Ngorongoro
There are a variety of bird species in Ngorongoro that birders can see while on a bird watching activity. Some of the bird species include yellow wagtails, saddle-billed storks, ostriches, Kori bustards, lesser flamingos among so many others.
Activities in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
There are a number of activities that tourists on a Tanzania safari can do in Ngorongoro. They include game drives, walking safaris, bird watching, visiting Oldupai Museum, cultural visits and picnicking.
Best time to visit Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Conservation Area can be visited all year long, during both the rainy and dry season. During the dry season that runs through May to October, it is the best time to do game viewing for the animals collect in the water areas. During the wet season that runs through November to April, tourists can still visit Ngorongoro Conservation Area to enjoy among others game viewing when the grass is green and much for animals to freely graze with the predators hiding behind them to catch their prey.
How to access Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro can be accessed by both road and air. By road, tourists travel about 160km taking roughly 2 hours to get to Ngorongoro from Arusha. A 4 Wheel drive vehicle should be used. By air, tourists can access Ngorongoro by flying from Kilimanjaro International Airport to any of the airstrips in Ngorongoro area.
There are a number of accommodation facilities in Ngorongoro that tourists can stay in, ranging from luxury, midrange to budget options. All campsites in Ngorongoro except Simba are classified as special where tourists are required to come with all the facilities needed for they are designed for self-sufficient safari goers. Luxury lodges like Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and Ngorongoro Forest Tented Lodge are a great option for those travellers after extreme comfort and excellent service.
Planning a Tanzania safari and wondering what to include and not miss out on some of the most experiential encounters? Ngorongoro Conservation Area is just what you need. Have your preferred tour operator include it on your Tanzania safari tour for an opportunity to cultivate only the best memorable experiences.