Ngorongoro Crater is part of Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The crater was formed by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. Now, it is known as the largest intact caldera in the world and the largest permanent concentration of wildlife in Africa. How lucky, the animals have no need to migrate since they get a year-round supply of fresh water.
Everyone knows Africa is one of the best places in the world to see animals in their natural habitat. No wonder tourists from various countries come to visit this crater. Thousands of wildebeest, zebras, eland, gazelles, and buffalo call the crater’s plain their home. Visitors can also spot other animals such as elephants, hyenas, and hippos. The pool is the hippo’s favorite place for enjoying a bath or just sunning. Speaking of the big cats, visitors can spot lions, leopards, or cheetahs during a game drive through the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Since there are only a few tall trees, it can be harder to find the giraffes.
Many bird species also live here, including the heaviest flying bird in the world, the kori bustard. This is also home to the ostrich, flamingos, and other exquisite species. It is a paradise for bird lovers.
The meaning of Ngorongoro is Gift of Life. It comes from the Maasai El-Nkoronkoro. The Maasai people are the semi-nomadic people who moved into areas in and around the Ngorongoro Conservation Area when the Serengeti National Park was established in 1951. Their villages or also called bomas must be set up outside the crater, but they can still graze freely in the crater.
There is a story behind the Maasai people. The first plan was moving them to the west near Lake Victoria into an area occupied by a different pastoral tribe. But the plan was deemed unwise. The Maasai have a tendency to “repatriate” any cattle they come across, which could create conflict, so the plan was canceled. They believe that when God created humanity, he made three men: one had a spear — he became a hunter; one had a hoe — he became the farmer; and the one had a stick — he became a herder. It’s the legacy from their ancestors and thus all cattle belong to the Maasai. That’s why they all carry a stick.
If you’re interested in the Maasai, you can visit several Maasai communities in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The visitors can go to the bomas and experience the culture and traditions of Masaai. These visits are an important source of their income. When you visit them, they will greet you with dance and bring you to the schoolhouse. The children will sing for you and show their other skills. The women of the tribe have the skill to make crafts and sell them to the visitors. Make sure to bring your cash money!
Tips Before You Go
There are plenty of luxury lodges around the crater, but if you want to stay in more affordable accommodations, you can find it by driving for an hour. Safari trips are offered by many operators, you can choose the one that is suitable for you. Some visitors like to combine their trip with a visit to Serengeti National Park, other nearby parks, Olduvai Gorge, or even Mount Kilimanjaro. Plan your trip well and bring your backpack to Africa!
Originally posted 2017-06-09 08:36:11.