UNESCO protected World Heritage Site,
the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is situated some 190 km.
west of Arusha, between Lake Manyara and Serengeti National
Parks. Covering approximately 8,288 square km, the Ngorongoro
Conservation Area consists of the Ngorongoro Crater itself,
the Olduvai Gorge, the Empakai crater and the Oldonyo Lengai
Mountain. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a pioneering
experiment in multi-purpose land use where the diverse interests
of wild animals, plants and people are being integrated. Wild
animals are protected as in the National parks. The craters
of Ngorongoro and Empakai are reserved exclusively for wildlife,
while the rest of the Conservation Area is shared by wildlife,
people and livestock. The Maasai, the main residents of Ngorongoro,
are pastoralists who move widely with their herds of cattle,
sheep, goat and donkeys in search of pasture and water. In
recent years the Maasai have been encouraged to work on the
land and supplement their traditional diet of milk, blood
and meat. The Ngorongoro Crater, which is the central attraction
in the area, is the largest Caldera in the world that has
its walls intact. The Ngorongoro Crater floor lies 610 metres
below the rim and has an area of 265 sq. km, with a diameter
of 16 km to 19 km. The sight of the Ngorongoro Crater is simply
stunning. There is nothing with which to compare. It
is one of the wonders of the world
Professor Bernard Grzimek. The crater floor is covered with
plains animals, including wildebeest, zebra, gazelles, elands,
rhino, and a large predator population of lions, hyena and
jackal which can all be viewed at close quarters. Cheetah
and leopard can also be seen here. The rainy season is between
November and May. The crater rim is about 2286 metres high
and is chilly during the evenings.
Ndutu area is located directly in the path of the Wildebeests
migration. From January to April, the southeastern plains
of the Serengeti ecosystem and the open woodlands around Lakes
Ndutu and Lagaja become the centre of activity of the migratory
animals which can be seen in the thousands.
The Olduvai Gorge, also known as THE CRADLE
OF MANKIND is the site where in 1959, Dr. Louis
LEAKEY discovered the Zinj Skull. Zinjanthropus is believed
to have lived 1.7 millions ago. According to Dr. Leakey, Homo
Habilis, the Nutcracker man, had a brain and hands capable
of making tools.
Covering an area of 14,763 sq. km, Serengeti National
Park is the largest National Park in Tanzania. The park is
located some 320 km to the northwest of Arusha, lying in a
high plateau between the Ngorongoro highlands and the Kenya/Tanzania
border, and extending almost to Lake Victoria to the west.
Aptly named endless plains by the
Maasai people, you immediately experience this vastness as
you enter the southeastern plains of the park from Ngorongoro.
a protected area in 1921 and gazetted as a National park in
1951, Serengeti is the oldest National Park in Tanzania and
undoubtedly one of the most famous wildlife sanctuaries in
the world. The principal features of the Serengeti are the
short and long grass plains in the south and east, the acacia
Savannah in the central areas, the hilly and densely wooded
areas in the north and the extensive woodland in the west.
There is a variety of scenery, which include the plains, lakes,
hills and the rock outcrops called kopjes. The main game drive
areas in the Serengeti are the Seronera Valley, the Western
Corridor, and Lobo. In the Seronera Valley, animals that can
be seen are lions, buffaloes, impalas, hippos, water-bucks,
elephants, cheetahs and the leopard. From December, when the
long rains start, to May, eastern Serengeti plains provide
the best opportunities for game viewing as hundreds of thousands
of the migratory animals are concentrated in this part attracted
by the short palatable grass. Between May and June, when drought
sets in, Serengeti is the site of one of the most breathtaking
events in the animal kingdom - the migration of thousands
of wildebeest heading southwest, north or west in search of
water and greener pastures. The Lobo area remains rich in
wildlife during the dry months of July to October when most
of the game has moved from the grass plains in the south.
This is also true of the Western Corridor towards Lake Victoria
when the migration usually arrives between June and July.
Serengeti provides sanctuary to the highest concentration
of plains animals in the world. Survey estimates indicate
an animal population of about 4 million including 3,000 lions,
1,600,000 wildebeests, 500,000 zebras. There are over 400
species of birds in the Serengeti.