Background information; BY

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) was once part of the Greater Serengeti National Park and was formerly known as South – Eastern Serengeti before it was parceled out from the Greater Serengeti and established in 1959. When Greater Serengeti National Park was established in 1951, South – Eastern Serengeti (currently known as Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) was part of the Greater Serengeti National Park. Subsequently, all the Maasai inhabitants of Greater Serengeti National Park were resettled in the NCAA, and leaving the former Serengeti to wild animals. That was the major reason that has led to the formation of Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority. Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) is not a National Park at all as most people think about it, and instead is a Tanzania’s only multiple land use scheme where human beings (particularly Maasai people) and wild animals co – exist. There are three (3) groups of species co – existing, wildlife, livestock and human beings. Farming is not allowed in any case. Ngorongoro Area prides itself as the cradle of human kind since the oldest remains of modern human kind (Zinjanthropus man) was founded in Oldupai Gorge. Also it is in this area where the famous Ngorongoro Crater(COLLAPSED VOLCANO/ CALDERA/ EXTINCT VOLCANO) is located. Ngorongoro Crater (Collapsed volcano / Extinct/Dead volcano) is the largest caldera in the world, measuring 12 miles across and is home of the largest permanent population of game in all of Africa. Functions of the NCAA include to conserve and develop the natural resources of the Conservation Area, to promote tourism within the Conservation Area, to safeguard and promote the interests of Maasai citizens and to promote and regulate the development of forestry within the Conservation Area.


The Ngorongoro Conservation Area boasts the finest blend of landscapes, wildlife, people and archaeological sites in Africa. Often called an “African Eden” and the “eighth wonder of the natural world”, it is also a pioneering experiment in multiple land use. For the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the idea of multiple land use means to allow humans and wildlife to coexist in a natural setting. Traditional African pastoralists co – operate with Tanzania’s government bodies to help preserve the natural resources of the area and to ensure an experience for tourists. The first view of the Ngorongoro Crater takes the breath away. Ngorongoro is a huge caldera (Collapsed volcano), 250 square kilometers in size and 610 m deep. The crater alone has over 20,000 large animals including some of Tanzania’ last remaining Black Rhino. The Rhino emerge from the forests in the mists of early morning, and their prehistoric figures make a striking impression, surrounded by the ancient crater walls: animals are free to enter or leave the crater, but many of them stay for the plentiful water and grazing available on the crater floor throughout the year. Open grassland covers most of the crater floor, turning yellow with wild flowers in June. The Makat soda – lake is a great attraction for flamingos and other water birds, while predators hide in the marsh to ambush animals that come to drink from river that feeds the lake. Also on the crater floor are swamps, providing water and habitat for elephant and hippos as well as numerous smaller creatures such as frogs, snakes and serval cats. Game viewing around Lake Makat is especially rewarding large antelope like wildebeest and gazelle come to drink, while herds of hippos sunbathe in the thick lake shore mud. The Lerai Forest on the crater floor gets its name from the Maasai word for the elegant yellow – barked acacia tree. Elephants often forage in the forest shade during midday, emerging into the open plains during the early hours of morning and in the evening, as the midday heat abates. The small forest patches on the crater floor are home to leopard, monkey, baboon and antelope such as waterbuck and bushbuck. Humans and their distant ancestors have been part of Ngorongoro’s landscape for millions of years.

Zebras and wildebeests in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

The earliest signs of mankind in the Conservation Area are at Laetoli, where hominid footprints are preserved in volcanic rock 3.6 million years old. The story continues at Oldupai Gorge, a river canyon cut 100 m deep through the volcanic soil of the Serengeti plains. Buried in the layers are the remains of hominids and other animals that lived and died around a shallow lake amid grassy plains and woodlands. These remains date from two million years ago. Visitors can learn more details of this interesting story by visiting the site, where guides give a fascinating on – site interpretation of the gorge. The most numerous and recent inhabitants of the Ngorongoro Area are the Maasai, who arrived about 200 years ago. Their strong insistence on traditional custom and costume interests many visitors. As of today, there are approximately 42,000 Maasai pastoralists living in Ngorongoro with their cattle, goats and sheep, although very recently in 2022 and the years to come, some Maasai people are leaving Ngorongoro together with their livestock to other allocated places in Handeni, Tanga region, whereas the government of Tanzania has given them enough area to accommodate their livestock, with the major aim of preserving Ngorongoro  Conservation in the future due to the presence highest population of Maasai people and their livestock within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.  Their presence is the main difference between the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Tanzania’s national parks, which do not allow human habitation. Cultural “bomas,” or Maasai villages, give visitors the chance to meet Maasai people on their own terms and learn more about this complex and interesting culture.

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