Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Conservation Area, home to the famous volcanic Ngorongoro Crater, is located between the Serengeti and Lake Manyara. Other attractions that draw tourists to the area include Embagai Crater, Olduvai Gorge and Lake Masek. Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a Unesco World Heritage site as the largest intact caldera in the world. The crater floor has all the necessities for the thousands of animals that inhabit the area to thrive. The crater is the most popular area allowing for bird watching, photography, walking safaris, and game viewing from a vehicle.Olduvai Gorge, which is in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, makes it possible to see the famous discoveries of remains of early man.
Opening hours: 6am-6pm
The Ngorongoro Crater is the largest intact ancient caldera in the world, nearly three million years old. The Ngorongoro volcano was one of the world's tallest mountains before it exploded and collapsed. The crater is one of Tanzania's most popular tourist destinations and known for excellent wildlife viewing.Thousands of wild game can be seen on the crater floor, including lions, elephants, rhinos, Thomson's gazelles and buffaloes. Wildebeests and zebras account for over half of the estimated 30,000 animals that call the Ngorongoro Crater home. They do not migrate, like their counterparts in the Serengeti, because of the permanent supply of water and grass. Giraffes are not found in the area due to the steep sides of the crater and the lack of food at tree level.Bird watching is superb, especially around Lake Migadi, which attracts flocks of flamingoes to the shallows. Lake Migadi is a soda lake located at the center of the crater. Many seasonal migrant birds and other water birds can be found in and around the lake. Hippos are content to submerge themselves during the day and then graze in the nearby grass in the evening.The Maasai people live within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area around the crater. The Maasai are nomadic herders and warriors, a visit to their traditional, temporary villages "enkangs" is a highlight for tourists. Visiting the Maasai allows a glimpse of their fascinating culture: their bright red robes, ornate beadwork and how they live off the land by utilizing cattle. The nomadic Maasai have grazing rights of the Ngorongoro Crater and treat cattle as a sign of wealth.
Olduvai Gorge is an archeological site within Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Situated on a series of fault lines, centuries of erosion have revealed fossils and remnants of early mankind. As early as 1911, a German professor found some fossil bones while looking for butterflies in Olduvai Gorge. In a later expedition, the Leakeys collected skull fragments and then a skull and bones that are approximately 2 million years old. Tools and hunting weapons from 1 to 1.5 million years ago were also discovered in Olduvai Gorge. Another exciting find were the famous footprints of a man, woman and child at Laetoli, near Olduvai. Old campsites, a possible butchery site, as well as a loosely built circle of lava rocks suggest crude shelters. Hunting weapons, basic tools and remains of dead animals, killed by humans, are other unique findings in Olduvai Gorge. These discoveries provide more evidence to the theory that at least three hominid species were in this region over 2 million years ago.A small museum is housed in a building where the Leakey's stored findings in the 1970s. Displays include casts of footprints, copies of some of the local finds and pictures of what life was like for some of Olduvai's early inhabitants. Skeletons of extinct animals including three-toed horses and giant antelopes are also on exhibit.
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