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Ngorongoro Conservation Area And National Park. An Introduction

Ngorongoro conservation area otherwise called Ngorongoro National Park has an impressive animal sighting. The crater is home to 25000 to 30000 big mammals including rare black rhinos, the beautiful scenery, phenomenal photography opportunities and local communities. Cultural visits organized through cultural tourism programs at Karatu, Mto wa Mbu and Engaruka. Other attractions in the vicinity include archeological site of Olduvai and Laetoli, Lakes Natron and Magandi and their flamingos, Lakes Eyasi, Ndutu and Maseki, Empakai crater, the active volcano of Oldonyo le Ngai, Gol Mountains, The Highlands Ngorongoro, Laetoli, Shifting sands, Olkarian gorge, Nagera Rock . To the North is Lake Natron, Egasero Gorge and the nearby Ngurman escarpment. Lake Natron is a Ramsar site, the breeding ground of lesser flamingos. The lake contains trona, called Sodium bicarbonate (Na3Co3) or washing powder a chemical essential for glass and detergent manufacturing. The lake's pinkish, reddish coloration (see photo) is attributed to availability of cyanobacteria and other bacteria organism that photosynthesis just like plants. Give Ngorongoro Crater a day, Lake Natron a day or two, Oldonyo Le Ngai 2 days. The local cultures of Masai, Hadzabe, Iraqw and Barbaig tribesmen is a major draw to Ngorongoro.

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Ngorongoro National Park Attractions-A summary

Attractions in Ngorongoro National Park / conservation area comprise of the location or destination Ngorongoro itself, what visitors see, the attractions or objects of tourist gaze within or without the park, what visitors do, cultural, recreational and leisure activities and events on offer, the rich culture of the local people and the visitor experience at various points of contact with the locals and other visitors.

The Richness Of Ngorongoro National Park

During the migration, Serengeti accommodates over 5 millions animals with the resident population of about 2.5 million. The wildebeest population alone stands at 1.7 M during migration. All the 'Big Five' of Africa: Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino, and Leopard are represented in Serengeti National Park. Besides the park has buffaloes, warthogs, zebras, gazelles, impala, reedbuck, oryx, topi, eland. Predators are represented by lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetah and hunting dogs. Recent count has revealed over 1500 elephants, 8000 spotted hyenas and 3000 lions.

Serengeti National Park Location

Size/ Area:

Serengeti is the largest park in Tanzania occupying an area of 14, 763 Km square. The conservation area has been protected since 1929 and acquired park status in 1951.

Ngorongoro National Park Attractions - An Introduction

In summary tourist attractions in Ngorongoro Conervation Area and National Park comprise of what people see, objects that attract the eyesight (attractions) and what visitors do (activities) within the destination. Ngongoro crater with its breathtaking scenery is the main pull. Within the crater is lake Magadi with its pink flamingos, the fever tree forest, and Ngoitoktok spring. East of Ngorongoro crater is the Highlands Ngorongoro with Gol Mountains and Empakai Crater

Ngorongoro National Park Attractions

Ngorongoro crater itself ranks number one among the top 10 attractions in Ngorongoro National Park/ conservation area which are:

  • Ngorongoro Crater
    Ngorongoro has an impressive animal sighting. The crater is home to 25000 to 30000 big mammals including rare black rhinos, the beautiful scenery, phenomenal photography opportunities and local communities. Cultural visits organized through cultural tourism programs at Karatu. Other attractions include archeological site of Olduvai, Lake Natron and her flamingos, Empakai crater, the active volcano of Oldonyo le Ngai. Lake Natron is a Ramsar site, the breeding ground of lesser flamingos. The lake contains trona, called Sodium bicarbonate (Na3Co3) or washing powder a chemical essential for glass and detergent manufacturing. The lake's pinkish, reddish coloration (see photo) is attributed to availability of cyanobacteria and other bacteria organism that photosynthesis just like plants. Give Ngorongoro Crater a day, Lake Natron a day or two, Oldonyo Le Ngai 2 days
  • Wildebeest migration

    Beyong the rolling hills to the west of Ngorongoro lies the Salei plains. A good proportion of Serengeti Mara Migration passes here between December and April. The wildebeest migration spectacle is the never ending milling of over 2.5 million wild animals composed of a about 1.7 million wildebeests, and 800,000 common gazelles and zebras with predators-lions, hyenas, leopards, jackals etc following closely. In this picture add thousands of vultures providing air cover the to migrating animals, the goggling human traffic; the hazardous crossing of crocodile invested Mara and Grumeti rivers and behold your magical wonder of nature.

  • Visitor Activities /What to do in Ngorongoro?

    Ngorongoro National Park activities, what visitors do in Ngorongoro, during the day (diurnal) or at night (nocturnal) are what attracts them to Ngorongoro conservation area. These includes Game drives, balloon safaris, nature walks, night game drives, cultural tours, mice, sundowners, hiking, trekking, mountaineering/ mountain climbing, birdwalking, wining and dining, picnics, bush breakfasts and meals, etc

  • Physical Features
    • Rivers-
    • Mountains/ elevations in the Highlands Ngorongoro/ Crater Highlands
      • Mt Oldeani (3216M)
      • Mt Loolmalassin (3648M)
      • Mt. Noomurata (2781)
      • Oldoinyo Waas (2637)
    • Craters and beautiful water falls in the Crater Highlands
      • Empakai Crater
        300 meters high, 6 km wide, Empakai's fame lies in its natural beauty and spectacular scenery. On a clear day the alluring panorama from the crater rim leaaves one breathless. One enjoys clear views of the surrounding area. Clearly visible are the Riftvalley, snow capped peaks of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt Meru and Oldonyo Lengai. The entire caldera is surrounded by heavily forested steep slopes. ¾ of the crater floor is covered by 85 meters deep alkaline Lake Empakai. Spare fully enjoy Empakai spare a full day. From the crater rim take a rewarding hike down the slopes to the shores of lake Empakai. Watch out for numerous wildlife, monkeys, buffaloes, water bucks, bush bucks and birds. The forest is rich in fauna even ancient strangler figs. The lake shore is rich in birdlife including flamingos.
      • Olmoti Crater
    • Lakes
      • Lake Magadi
      • Lake Empakai
      • Lake Eyasi
      • Lake Ndutu
      • Lake Masek
    • Olduvai Gorge
    • The Ndutu area
      Located to the south Serengeti /Ngorongoro is best explored in combination of Olduvai gorge. Ndutu highlights include archeological site of Olduvai, the Oldeani gorge, the shifting sands, the Olbalbal depression, Mt Makarot, the Selai Plains.
    • The Oldeani gorge
      Oldeani Gorge is world famous breeding ground of Ruppel's griffon (griffin) vulture. In the cliffs are Lamagyyer vultures, Nyanza swallow, klipspringers too. Oldeani is the best place to see authentic Masai morans
    • Mt Makarot
    • Archeological sites
      • Olduvai/ Oldupai
      • Laetoli
      • Engaruka ruins
  • Mammals
  • Ngorongoro National Park has an overwhelming presence of mammals in terms of species and numbers. All the 'Big Five' of Africa: Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino, and Leopard are represented in Ngorongoro. Besides the park has buffaloes, warthogs, zebras, gazelles, impala, reedbuck, oryx, topi, eland. Predators are represented by lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetah and hunting dogss.

  • Profusion Of Birdlife
  • Over 500 species of birds have been recorded in Ngorongoro Conservation area . Among the species to be found are mourning doves, Fly Catchers, Wablers, Pin tailed Whydahs, Eagles (Matial, Verreaux) Storks (Open-billed, Shoe-bill, Gonoreks (Papyrus and black headed), Pelilcans (Great White and Pink-backed) etc. Flocks of flamingoes are resident in the crater lakes.

  • The unique culture the local people -Masai, Iraqw, Barbaig, Hadzabe.
  • Predators in action

What to do in Ngorongoro Conservation Area National Park?

Ngorongoro National Park activities, what to do in Ngorongoro conservation Area? Numerous recreational, cultural and leisure activities are available for visitors to Ngorongoro conservation area. The activities are centered on game drives and cultural tours, mountaineering, climbing, hiking, trekking, bird watching

Activities in Ngorongoro National Park and Conservation Area

The most popular, among the top 20 activities in Ngorongoro National Park include the following:-

  • Full day/ half day Ngorongoro crater tour. So far this is the most popular activity in Ngorongoro conservation area. Besides the normal park entry fee of USD 70.8 per person, there is the vehicle crater entry fee of USD 295 per vehicle.
  • Game drives. Game drives are best undertaken in the morning and evening. However you can go opt for a full day game drive with picnic lunches
  • Mountaineering/ Mount climbing is a major activity available to visitors. The Ngorongoro landscape is dominated by twin peaks of Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru
  • Hiking and trekking opportunities are available in the eastern escarpments of Riftvalley popularly known as the Ngorongoro Highlands or the crater highlands. Popular hikes include visits Empakai, Olmoti craters.
  • Full day Empakai crater tour-offers beautiful scenery, specular/ panoramic views of rift valley, Mt Meru, Mt, Kilimanjaro, Ol Donyo Lengai.
  • Full Day Olmoroti crater tour-
  • 2 days tour to Lake Natron
  • Nature walks. Nature walks are conducted by local guides from your lodges
  • Bird walks/ warching
  • Sundowners/ sunset watch meals and drinks - romantic samptous meals served with sparkling drinks in the most scenic locations as the sun sinks in the horizon is an experience never to be missed. Most of the facilities do offer these on request
  • Picnics
  • Night game drives
  • Bush breakfasts/ dinners
  • Camping - camping is available in the public and special campsites. Unlike public campsites, there is nothing special in Special campsites. Special campsites are do it yourself and lack amenities like toilets, showers, kitchens
  • Swimming most of the lodges have fitness centers that feature swimming pools
  • Mice- Meetings, Incentives, Conferences facilities are available in the lodges
  • Cultural tours - cultural tourism programs are organized from Mto wa Mbu, Karatu, Lake Eyasi and Engasero. These helpd visitors to understand better and interact with the local communities - Massai, Iraqw, Barbaig and Hadzabe
  • Wildebeest migration
  • Campfires are meeting or gatherings open to all guests. At the campfire ground is a big fire to keep the guests warm as they dance, tell stories and jokes, drink and exchange contact. Yes most of the campfires feature campfire bar where guests can order drinks. It is a lovely experience never to be missed
  • Health and spa in massage parlours
  • Wining and dining with numerous avenues and opportunities to sample local cuiseine
  • Full day/ Half day tours to nearby Lake Manyara National Park
  • Full day/ half day tour to Tarangire National Park
  • 2 or 3 day extension to Serengeti National Park

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Wildebeest Migration

Every year, in the months of July August and September, over 1.7 million wildebeests accompanied by about 800,000 gazelles and Zebras migrate from Serengeti into Maasai (Masai) Mara and back. The river crossings are particularly dangerous as large crocodile lie in wait of unsuspecting animals, killing and maiming thousands of them. Besides predation, migrating herds have to contend with flooded rivers and disease outbreaks. The wildebeest mate in Maasai Mara and Calve in Serengeti.

The annual wildebeest migration is not about wildebeests migrating per se but rather its influence on the movement patterns of the other animals including human beings. Picture a never ending milling of over 2.5 million wild animals composed of a about 1.7 million wildebeests, and 800,000 common gazelles and zebras with predators-lions, hyenas, leopards, jackals etc following closely. In this picture add thousands of vultures providing air cover the to migrating animals, the goggling human traffic; the hazardous crossing of crocodile invested Mara and Grumeti rivers and behold your magical wonder of nature.

Where are the Wildebeest? Maasai (Masai) Mara or Serengeti? The Migration Cycle:-

The migration follows a clockwise direction dictated by the rain patterns in the Mara/Serengeti ecosystem. The Migration has been going on for as long as our ancestors can remember and where it started is debatable. The best times to view migration in Serengeti is December to Jul. While in Maasai Mara, the best time is August to November. Between December and March, the herds congregate in Eastern Serengeti Plains where carving takes place. Births accounts for over half a million calves annually. April and May still in Serengeti the calves matures and gets ready for migration. June is the month of crossing Grumeti River along the Northern Corridor towards Maasai Mara. In July/August, the herds cross the Mara River into Maasai (Masai) Mara, where mating takes place. By November the succulent grass in Mara is finished and the migrating herds heads for Serengeti where curving will take place and the entire cycle starts all over again.

Ngorongoro National Park Getting There

Ngorongoro National Park Gates

Remember the rule is that you should enter the park through official gates. The gates in Ngorongoro include;

Ngorongoro National Park Accommodation/ Lodges/ Tented Camps and Public Campsites:

There are a variety of accommodation facilities in Serengeti varying from the luxury eco-lodges to basic campsites.-

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OUR SPECIAL SAFARIS

Wildebeest migration safari are organized in bothMaasai (Masai) Mara and Serengeti National Parks. The duration of the safari depends on various factors but mostly on time and budget but also the flexibility of the guest. The all drive 11 days Masai Mara Serengeti/ Ngorongoro/ Manyara Migration Safari commences from Nairobi and returns to the same via Maasai Mara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Manyara, and Amboseli. The 8 days fly drive Wildebeest Migration Safari Masai Mara National Park (Mara Explorer 8 days) is a luxury option. Guests fly from Nairobi Wilson to Masai Mara and return to the same.The 4 days 3 Nights Migration safari combines Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru National Park and Lake Naivasha. The 6 days Best of Tanzania Safari focuses on wildebeest migration in Serengeti National Park. The best time to witness migration in Masai Mara National Park Kenya, is between July to September. Serengeti National Park is best visited between March and May

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