A nice view to wake up to…
African Safari – Ngorongoro Crater – Getting into the crater
Sunrise over the Ngorongoro Crater is an exciting time as the lower reaches of the crater slowly come to life and the sun’s glow lights up the rim like a big halo. Once we had watched the sunrise and had our breakfast, we readied ourselves for the rest of the day, packed our bags and got into the vans for the long and potentially treacherous steep descent along a narrow switch-back road. An exciting way to start a day.
The 8,300 sq km Ngorongoro Conservation Area is named after its central feature, the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera, and arguably its most spectacular natural arena. Ngorongoro Crater has often been described as one of the wonders of the world, not only because of its inherent geological significance, but also because it serves a quite extraordinary natural sanctuary for some of Africa’s most dense population of large mammals. The Ngorongoro was part of the original Serengeti National Park proclaimed in 1951, but it was made a separate conservation area in 1956 so that the Masai could graze their cattle there. The Ngorongoro Crater became a World Heritage Site in 1978.
Land in the conservation area is unique to Tanzania as it provides protection for the wildlife whilst allowing human habitation. The landscape is made up of a blend of volcanoes, grasslands, waterfalls and mountain forests, where the wildlife is extensive. The southern and eastern boundaries are approximately defined by the rim of the Great Rift Valley, which also prevents animal migration in these directions. The annual ungulate migration passes through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, with wildebeest and zebra moving south into the area in December and moving north in June. The area has healthy resident populations of most species of wildlife.