Location: Northern Tanzania, 110 miles west of Arusha.
History: The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a conservation area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania. The Ngorongoro area originally was part of the Serengeti National Park when it was created by the British in 1951. Maasai continued to live in the newly created park until 1959 when repeated conflicts with park authorities over land use led the British to evict them to the newly declared Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority is the governing body regulating use and access to the NCA. Based on fossil evidence found at the Olduvai Gorge, it is known that various hominid species have occupied the area for three million years.
Size: 8288 sq km.
Geography / Habitats: Land in the conservation area is multi-use; it is unique in Tanzania as the only conservation area providing protection status for wildlife whilst also allowing human habitation. Land use is controlled to prevent negative effects on the wildlife population. For example, cultivation is prohibited at all but subsistence levels. The Conservation Area is part of the Serengeti ecosystem, and to the northwest, it joins the Serengeti National Park and is contiguous with the southern Serengeti plains. The south and west of the area are volcanic highlands, including the famous Ngorongoro Crater and the lesser known Empakai. The southern and eastern boundaries are approximately defined by the rim of the Great Rift Valley wall, which also prevents animal migration in these directions.
Animals: A population of approximately 25,000 large animals with reputedly the highest density of mammalian predators in Africa lives in the region including the Black Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, Wildebeest, Zebra, Eland, Grant’s and Thompson’s Gazelles, Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Wildebeest, Hartebeest, Spotted Hyenas, Jackals, Cheetahs, African Wild Dog and Buffalo. In summer, enormous numbers of Serengeti migrants pass through the plains of the reserve, including 1.7 million Wildebeest, 260,000 Zebra, and 470,000 Gazelles. Waterbuck occurs mainly near Lerai Forest and Servals can be found on the plains to the west.
Of interest: No trip to the Conservation is complete without venturing into the Ngorongoro Crater!
Accommodation Options: Lodges, fixed tented camp, camping and local options outside of the Park.