Africa’s “Garden of Eden” or Ngorongoro Conservation Area is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also a protected haven for all the animals that one would associate with Africa. The park is named after a large volcanic caldera, Ngorongoro Volcano, that was active around 2-3 million years ago and is thought to have collapsed inward after a major eruption. What was left can still be found here today; a vast and unbroken caldera that has barely been altered since the time of its collapse. The volcano is the world’s largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera and it has brought a fascinating and complex ecosystem into the world due to its closed off and self-sufficient environment.
Upon arrival at the national park, you will descend to the caldera’s floor, almost 2,000 feet down and catch your first glimpse of the hugely diverse ecosystem, and concentration of birds and animals here. The floor is primarily open grassland and includes animals such as elephant, black rhino, leopard, buffalo, gazelle, warthogs, wildebeest and the densest population of lions in the entire world. The floor of the crater spans over 100 square miles and contains many animals including the “Big 5”. Nearby Lake Magadi is an excellent spot to see flocks of pink flamingos as the lake is a shallow soda lake ringed by extinct volcanoes. This is also a focal point for animals in the area as it is the perfect place to go and quench their thirst or find prey who are quenching their thirst.
An estimated 25,000 large mammals are resident in this caldera including 6,000 wildebeest, around 26 black rhino and around 70 lions. The crater is one of the most likely places in Tanzania to see the endangered black rhino, as a small population is thriving in this naturally-protected environment. It is also one of the few areas in the world where they continue to breed in the wild. The cheetah moves in and out of the area while the leopard is encountered mostly in the Lerai Forest. Golden and black jackal are abundant and the serval, who is primarily nocturnal, can be seen here during the day! A number of buffalos, zebra and Thompson’s gazelle can also be seen in abundance here.
The local Maasai people also graze their livestock in the crater and you may even see some of the people who have made this place their home. The cows and wild zebra even graze side by side with wild animals and sometimes brave giraffe can be seen wandering right by the homesteads of the Maasai people who live in the area. The Maasai live harmoniously with wildlife and it is taboo to consume wildlife meat or kill animals that are not harmful. Other native tribes that live in the area include the Datooga and the Hadzabe.
The Ngorongoro Area is one of the most fascinating places on Earth and a perfect place for nature enthusiasts to explore. We hope you will come and see its wonders with Discovery Tours.