Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Conservation Area experiences a similar climatic setting like that of Serengeti national park which is characterized by short wet seasons in which the conservation area of Ngorongoro receives about 900mm or 35in-1400mm or 85in of rainfall which comes in the 2 seasons from October-December and between March- May and long dry spells. The dry season is experienced in the months of January- late February or early march and June- September. The average minimum temperatures here are between 14-16oC or 57-61oF while the maximum average temperatures are between 26-29oC or 79-81oC.
Ngorongoro conservation area was named after the famous caldera called Ngorongoro crater which is the biggest caldera in the world as it spans over a distance of 260sqkm or 100sqmi with a depth of 610ft or 2000ft. This caldera was formed as far back as about 2-3 million years ago when a big volcano range which is believed to have had an altitude of about 4500-5800ft or 14800-19000ft in other wards it was in the same range with ranges such as mt Kilimanjaro and/or mt Rwenzori exploded and collapsed on itself hence forming this big crater as we know it today. This crater lies at an altitude of 1800m or 5900ft above sea level. The Ngorongoro crater was chosen as one of the seven natural wonders of Africa by the seven natural wonders group in a ceremony that was held in Arusha Tanzania in February of 2013.
What sets Ngorongoro conservation area apart from the rest of the pack, is its wide range of bio-diversity that consists abundant wildlife species such as mammals like 4out of 5 Africa’s big 5s which include elephants, lions, black rhinos, and cape buffaloes with only the leopard missing of the big 5s other animals include zebras, giraffes, gazelles, wild dogs, golden cats. Ngorongoro is also important to human history as it hosts the olduvia gorge which is home to the remains of the earliest species in form of human beings called to the hominids who graced these lands about 3.2million years. Due to its variations in land scape, Ngorongoro conservation area has a variation in vegetation types present and different vegetation that exist here include short grass plains, highland catchment forests, savanna woodlands, montane long grass plains and high open moorlands. This area is one of Serengeti’s intact eco systems which has a large number of mammals and also acts as a migratory route for the annual wildebeests’ migration in which over 1 million mammals especially wildebeests and zebras make a journey that gets them from southern Serengeti plains to the Masai Mara reserve in southern Kenya.
Conservation in the Ngorongoro crater started can be traced back from 1928 when game hunting was restricted on land that lies within the crater rim of Tanzania. 1951, being part of the Serengeti national park, it came under conservation when Serengeti national park was formerly gazatted by the passed national park ordinance that had been passed in 1948. The creation of Serengeti national park caused clashes between the indigenous Maasai people and the park authorities and this led to the separation of Ngorongoro conservation area from the grater Serengeti national park in 1959. The Ngorongoro conservation area authority was created in 1976 to conserve and protect the Ngorongoro area and in 1979, the Ngorongoro conservation area became a UNESCO world heritage site under various criterions i.e. IV, VII, VIII, IX and X.
Attractions in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Being richly gifted with a wide range of wildlife bio-diversity, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a host of a variety of attractions and these include: 4 out of 5 Africa’s big 5s ie lions, elephants, cape buffaloes and black rhinos, other animals include blue wildebeests, zebras, giraffes, gazelles, wild dogs, golden cats. It I a host to the cradle of humanity in olduvia gorge which was a home to the early hominids from whom we evolved and of course the Ngorongoro crater which is the world’s largest crater.
African golden cat; The African golden cat is quite a small animal with a body length of range between 61-101cm or 24-40in. The tail is 16-46cm long while its shoulder height is 38-55cm or 15-22in and an average body weight of 5.5-16kg or 12-35ib and it exhibits sexual dimorphism as males are larger than females. The African golden cat resembles the caracal but this golden cat is shorter with untufted and rounded ears, longer tail and shorter in body length. The fur of the African golden cat is either chestnut, reddish-brown, greyish brown or dark slaty and some of these cats have spots that are of a faded tan color or black. The underbelly, throat, cheeks, eyes and chin have a light shade of color that’s almost white. This cat can be identified by its whorled ridge of fur in front of the shoulders and in this ridge the direction of fur changes. This cat is almost double the size of the domesticated cat.
Grants gazelle; Grants gazelles. the grant gazelle has a beige orange on its back and a white belly, they also have lyre shaped horns that are stout at the base and have clear rings on the horns. These horns have a length of41-81cm or 18-32in. the grant gazelles live in short grassed plains so as to have clear visibility of predators which stalk them for prey. The female grant gazelle weighs 35-50kg or 77-110ib while the male gazelle weighs 50-80kg or 110-180ib with an average standing height of 75-95cm or 30-37in. Unlike most of the subspecies that graze towards or around water sources, the grant gazelles graze going further away from the water sources that are usually roamed by predators. The gazelles have adapted to live without water for long days and they get most of their water from the pasture they graze on. The gazelles are territorial animals and males herd territories with many females mainly for mating. Mature gazelles will settle conflicts with superiority displays hence physical interactions are quite rare among these animals. Grant gazelles reach sexual maturity at 18 months of age. The male gazelles will test by smelling on the urine of the female to ascertain whether she in oestrus and when the female is ready to mate, it lifts her tail signaling the male to mount her. These animals have a gestation period of 198days after which, a single fawn is usually born. The fawn is usually born while its still very weak and can’t move but it will be able to so in a few days’ time and it will follow the mother to the herd where it starts fraternizing with other fawns. The fawn is weaned after 6 months but might stay with the mother until it reaches adolescence.
African bush elephants; African elephants are the largest land mammals in the world with a male elephant weighing in at 4,700-6,048kg or 10,362-13,334Ib and a shoulder height of 3.2-4.0m or 10.5-13.1ft while their female counterparts weigh in at 2,160-3,232kg or 4,762-7,125Ib and a shoulder height of 2.2-2.6m or 7.2-8.5ft. these land giants have 24 teeth in their mouths and usually lose their teeth 4-6 times in their life time which lies between 60-70 years. What sets these land giants apart from the rest of crowd is their elongated tusks which are in fact their second set of incisors. This means that the tusks are very strong as they are used to up root trees and also as weapons they use while fighting. The tusks weigh between 23-45 kg or 55-99Ib with a length of 1.5-2.4m or 5-8 ft. elephants usually live in groups called families which comprise of 10 or more closely related females with their calves and each of these families is led by an older female called a matriarch. Elephants have the ability to distinguish and communicate with each other using low frequency infrasonic calls. With a body mass that is compared to nothing else on land, African elephants have to feed on an average of 450 kg or 992Ib of foliage to sustain their huge bodies and also drink to over 50 liters of water per day. In fact, these elephants have the ability to smell water to up to 20 km or 12miles away. Elephants have an exposed skin so in order to control over heating of their body, they flap their big ears so as to carry away the heat or bathe in water ponds. It is believed that when an elephant flaps its ears, it can lose about 10oF of heat hence always staying cool even in the hottest temperatures. They also employ their elongated trunk to carry water and pour it over their ears to try and cool themselves. These land giants have very thin hairs around body parts such as eyes and noses and these are mainly for ensuring that germs and other bacteria don’t find it easy to enter the elephant’s body through these parts. The elephant trunk is a master piece of creation as it is equipped with 40000 muscles which is way more than an entire human body has at only 639 muscles. This makes the trunks a very strong and agile part of the elephant that can do many things. The elephant trunk is also used for breathing, snorkeling and also as an extended arm for holding, lifting or pushing anything they want to carry. A female elephant reaches sexual maturity at the age of 10-12 years and can reproduce after every 3-6 years throughout its lifetime. All elephants have a very poor metabolism and that’s why they eat a lot of food but ¾ of it will come out of the elephants undigested as dung. Due to the poor metabolic system, elephant calves have been recorded doing something bizarre and that is eating dung that has been passed out by their mothers but this is all because elephant calves can’t process raw grass hence, they have to resort to eating pre-processed food that has been passed out as dung. They have a gestation period of up to 22 months being the longest in all land mammals. Just like humans and apes, elephants are also highly intelligent species with a brain that weighs about 5kg or 11Ib which about 4 times heavier than that of human making it the heaviest brain of any land mammal. With such a brain, these land giants are believed to exhibit character traits like grief, learning, sense of humor, compassion, self-awareness, a very strong and vivid memory, play and use of tools and possibly a language.
Cape buffalo; The cape buffalo is also referred to as the African buffalo and they are a very common sight throughout this park. It is usually mistaken to be a close relative to domesticated cattle but its rather related to actually other bigger bovines. Buffaloes have a coarse black coat unlike their close relatives the forest buffaloes which have a reddish coat. As the male buffaloes grow older, the bases of their horns grows closer and it can even unite forming a feature called a “boss” which is very had to penetrate even with a gun bullet of less 16mm. you can differentiate a male buffalo from a female one by observing the structure of their horns, the male buffalo horns grow while curving outwards while the ones of the female grow while curving inside. The African buffalo is a big animal with a shoulder height of 1.0-1.7m or 3.3-5.6ft. it has a body length of 1.7-3.4m or 5.6-11.2ft and its tail has a length of 70-110cm or 28-43in. An adult male African buffalo can weigh as much as between 500-1000kg but the females usually weigh less than this. Cape buffaloes are usually found in the great plains of African savanna like Murchison falls park. Buffaloes usually stay in large herds that consist anywhere from 5-100 individuals and this is primarily for protection purposes from their predators. Although buffaloes have a very poor eye sight, this is compensated by possessing an acute sense of smell coupled with a keen sense of hearing, in fact, the buffaloes can stop whatever they are doing and stand still for many minutes or sometimes even hours just to listen even to the tiniest of sounds that may be made by any predator that may be stalking them. when buffaloes are attacked, they male buffaloes form defensive wall by being at the flanks of the herd while the females and calves are within the inner part of the herd. the male buffaloes can even sometimes turn and chase the attacking predators They have a gestation period of 11.5 months and a life span of over 25 years in their natural habitats.
Lions; Ngorongoro conservation area has a count of over 70 lions roaming this area hence making a guaranteed possibility to always spot some of the kings of the African jungle going about their business in the Ngorongoro area. Lions are part of the big cate family and are muscular, deep chested with rounded heads. Most of the African lion males can distinguished from their females by the presence of a mane around the necks and heads of male African lions which is clearly absent in females but there quite many cases in Africa where the males also don’t have a mane or have a very short and thin one. The male lions are usually bigger than the females but their sizes vary according to location. In east Africa, adult female lions have a body length of 160-184cm or 63-72in weighing in at 119.5kg or 263Ib on average while the adult males have a body length of 184-208cm or 72-82in weighing in at 174.9kg or 386Ib on average. Lions are social animals who live in groups called prides. A pride is always led by a dominant male and their highly territorial animals controlling vast expanses that are strategic with a lot of prey and water. Male dominant lions are responsible for protecting the pride and they will fight off other male invaders, in case the dominant male is defeated by the invading lions, the victor lions will kill off all the cubs that are off springs to the defeated dominant male as a way of ending its blood lineage. Lions are carnivores and are at the top of the food chain feeding on almost all browsers and grazers within their domain due to their ability to hunt as a pride and carry out well coordinated and planned attacks which enables them to take down prey that can even be between 2-4 times bigger than them such as zebras, elephants and buffaloes. Lions usually hunt at night because of their well-developed sense of sight especially at night where their vision is almost 6 times better than that of humans due to the presence of white patches around their eyes which enable them to absorb even the smallest amount of light available during the cover of darkness. Hunting among lions is an affair carried out by female lions mostly and juvenile males and when a kill has been made by the lionesses in a pride, it’s always the dominant male lion who will eat first up to his fill then the rest of the pride will feed on what has remained after the he has finished eating. They have a gestation period of 97 days and a life span of about 10-14 years.
Wildebeest; The wildebeests are members of the antelope group and belong to the connochaetes genus. In east Africa they are 2 closely related wildebeests and that is the blue wildebeest and the black wildebeest but the blue wildebeest is the most common one in the Serengeti plains. These two species can be identified basing on few things like their coat colors and also on the nature of their horns, the blue wildebeest horns protrude to the side then curve downward before curving upwards as they come to an end, the horns of black wildebeests on the other hand curve forward first then downwards and finally upwards as they come to their tips. The blue wildebeests also bigger than the black wildebeests, the male blue wildebeests weigh about 250kg with a standing height of 150cm, female blue wildebeest stand at 135cm at the shoulders and weigh around 180kg while the male black wildebeest stand between 112-120cm at shoulder height and weigh 180kg and their female counterparts stand in at 108cm at the shoulders with a body weight of 155kg. these wildebeests are famous for their annual migration that takes place from June- august. This migration involves these animals to trek great distances over 1500 of kilometers as they cross from the southern Serengeti plains into the southern parts of the Maasai Mara reserve in southern in Kenya. This migration is majorly done following the rainfall season patterns in the east African region. During these migrations, the wildebeest organize themselves in large herds and trek in this group to areas of new pastures. These animals also show a high level of swarm intelligence as they perform similar function without anyone or anything dictating it to them for example, they can all decide to cross the river from the same spot regardless of whether it is infested with many predators like crocodiles or not.
Masai giraffe.; Masai giraffe can be distinguished from other giraffe sub species from their star-like stamped patches which are irregular and become darker especially in males as they age. The Masai giraffe is generally brown in colour with several shades of colour which can range from dried oak to orange and cream. The lower parts of their limbs are sticky like or very skinny but the upper parts of these limbs are study so as to support their massive weight. The giraffes have a unique walking pattern where as they have the ability to move both the front and hind limbs of one side of the body at once and then counter balance it by moving their long neck in the opposite direction. The adult male giraffe has an average height of 4.3-5.7m or 14.1-18.7ft and weighs in at 1192kg or 2628ib while an adult female weighs in at 828kg or 1825ib hence showing sexual dimorphism amongst giraffes. The giraffe also has a long tongue that is measured at an average of 45cm or 18in and it has a purplish black color which is believed to protect it from sunburns. The massai giraffes have the longest tail among all land mammals which measures up to 3.3ft long. Due to their big body mass giraffes also have a massive heart that weighs up to 5ibs so as to pump 60 litres of blood needed to move around the giraffe’s body in just one minute. Giraffes also have the ability to sleep while standing and even when they lie down, they will put their long neck on their hip. The Masai giraffe are completely herbivores and spend their biggest part of the day about 16-20 hours feeding so as to satisfy their big appetites. The giraffe has a gestation period of 14-15 months and the birth period is between 1-6 hours after which a single calf is born and the mother will give birth while standing hence the calf will have to be ready for a rough landing when it comes out. The calves are born almost ready to walk because it takes a calf between 20 minutes – 1 hour to start walking. Masai giraffes have a life span of up to 25 years in their natural habitat.
Grants gazelle; Grants gazelles. The grant gazelle has a beige orange on its back and a white belly, they also have lyre shaped horns that are stout at the base and have clear rings on the horns. These horns have a length of41-81cm or 18-32in. The grant gazelles live in short grassed plains so as to have clear visibility of predators which stalk them for prey. The female grant gazelle weighs 35-50kg or 77-110ib while the male gazelle weighs 50-80kg or 110-180ib with an average standing height of 75-95cm or 30-37in. Unlike most of the subspecies that graze towards or around water sources, the grant gazelles graze going further away from the water sources that are usually roamed by predators. The gazelles have adapted to live without water for long days and they get most of their water from the pasture they graze on. The gazelles are territorial animals and males herd territories with many females mainly for mating. Mature gazelles will settle conflicts with superiority displays hence physical interactions are quite rare among these animals. Grant gazelles reach sexual maturity at 18 months of age. The male gazelles will test by smelling on the urine of the female to ascertain whether she in oestrus and when the female is ready to mate, it lifts her tail signaling the male to mount her. These animals have a gestation period of 198days after which, a single fawn is usually born. The fawn is usually born while its still very weak and can’t move but it will be able to so in a few days’ time and it will follow the mother to the herd where it starts fraternizing with other fawns. The fawn is weaned after 6 months but might stay with the mother until it reaches adolescence.
Cheetahs; Cheetahs are the world’s fastest animals with the ability to accelerate up to 100-120km/hr in short circuits of about 100m or 330ft and this is all possible because the cheetah has its body built for speed in the following ways: the cheetah has a slender body, small rounded head which makes it perfectly aero dynamic with low air resistance, and long thin legs to give it big and quick strides and long tail for stability during high speed chase. The cheetah is the smallest of all big cats and its usually confused with the leopards but here are some striking and distinctive features that separate the 2 cats from one another; the cheetah has small solid black spots on its body unlike the leopard which has large rosettes, the cheetah has black eye streaks or tear marks on its face but the leopard lacks these features on its face. The leopard has a body length 112-150cm or 44-59in with an average shoulder height of 70-90cm or 22-28in and an average body weight of 21-72kg or 46-159Ib. This therefore makes a cheetah taller and heavier than a leopard in terms of body size. The cheetah has its coat colored in a yellowish or rufous greyish white with nearly 2000 solid black spots. The leopards can be distinctively identified using the pattern of their black spots which is unique to each cheetah just like finger prints are in humans. Cheetahs have a set of 8 teeth with mostly canines which makes them a perfect predator for crushing the wind pipes of their prey which usually consists of animals like gazelles, Uganda kobs, kiplisingers and impalas. The cheetahs have a gestation period of about 95days and a life span of 10-12 years in their natural habitat.
Archeology; Within the Ngorongoro conservation area is olduvia gorge, this is a step sided ravine that is rich with fossil remains that are dating as far back as 2 million years ago. While in this gorge, you will have the luxury of seeing and walking on the land and in the footsteps of the earliest human species called the hominids who are believed to have walked for the first time on the planet. This gorge is the proud home to the fossils and tools of the early man which date back to 2 million years ago that were discovered by an archeologist Dr. Leakey. Dr leakey discovered remains belonging to over 60 hominid individuals. Next to olduvia is Laetoli archeological site that has frozen the footsteps for immortality as they have been around for the past 3.2 million hence, they can only belong to the earliest species of humans called hominids.
Bird species in Ngorongoro conservation area
African spoonbill; The African spoonbill can be easily distinctively identified given its is all white plumage with strikingly pink red legs. This bird also has a pink black long spoon like bill which is big at the end, slim in the middle and large at the base. This bird has a white eye ring around its eyes. The African spoonbill has a body length of 90-91cm and an average of about 1790g or close to 2kg. this bird habituates in the acquatic areas such as lakes swamps and mashes. It feeds mainly on fish and other aquatic invertabrates like frogs
Augur buzzard; The augur buzzard is another one of those birds you can easily recognize if you are a keen observer given its almost black brown upper parts with a rufous tail that contrasts with the upper parts. It also has white primary feathers while its secondary feathers are off-white. Its chin and throat area is white while the rest of the under parts is of a rich rufous colour. The juveniles of the augur buzzard are mainly brown with both the underparts and tail being of a rufous colour. adult augur buzzards have a body length of 48-60cm or 19-29in and wingspan of 120-149cm or 3ft11in-4ft11in. males weigh around 880-1160g or 1.94-2.56ib while females weigh more than the males at around 1100-1330g or 2.43-2.93bs. This therefore means that these birds have a reversed sexual dimorphism. The augur buzzard is a predatory bird with an incredible hunting ability given its very sharp eye sight and toughened and sharp claws. The augur buzzard can stalk its prey from perches from which it launches a still attack the unsuspecting prey when it least expects it, the augur buzzard can also launch an attack from midflight while hovering or soaring at great heights. This bird mainly feeds on small mammals, reptiles like snakes and lizards. These birds make a voice call with a crow like sound of a kow-a kow-a kow or a aug-a aug- a aug
Capped wheatear; Cape wheatear is another one of the passerine birds. This bird has a black cape, breast band and cheeks which contrasts with a white eye stripe and throat. This bird also has white underparts with a buff color on the flanks and lower belly. Its beak is black together with its legs. The juvenile capped wheatear birds have a brown cape and cheeks with a weak and diffuse breastband. The capped wheatear has a body length of 17-18g and weighs in at around 32g. these birds make a loud melodic wable interspersed with slurred clattering and an alarm call of chik-chik sound.
Eastern double collared sunbird; This is a small bird where the adult male has a metallic green upper parts with dark wings and tail, it also has a red breast and olive underparts. Its beak and legs are black. The adult female on the other hand has an olive brown upper parts with a yellow green underparts and brown wings. These birds are lone feeders or do it in pairs. They feed mainly on nector, insects and seeds.
Egyptian vulture; An adult Egyptian vulture has a body length of 47-65cm or 19-26in. The adult is white with black flight feathers. They have black bill. The facial skin is yellow and un feathered down to the throat. The young Egyptian vultures are blackish or chocolate brown with black and white patches.
Greater flamingo; The greater flamingo has a plumage which is a white pink plumage with red wing coverts and black primary and secondary flight feathers. Their bills are mainly pink with a black strip at the tip and all pink legs. The juveniles are mainly grey with black legs. The adult greater flamingo has a body height of 110-150cm or 43-59in and weigh between 2-4kg or 4.4-8.8ib. these birds are usually found in flood plains with salt water from which they suck in water using their bills but a lot feed on shrimps, blue algae and seeds. In captivity, the flamingos in captivity can have a life span of over 50 years.
Hartlaub’s turaco; This bird has a body length of 43cm and the male species weighs in at 210-270g while the female is slightly smaller weighing 195-275g. an adult hartlaub’s turaco has a rounded forehead with a bushy crest and a glossy blu black nape and a prominent white patch in front of the eye. Male species have a voice call that consists of a series of c.12 loud throaty “kwa” sound and this voice call is usually made in the morning. This bird mainly feeds on fruits berries from chaetacme, elaeodendron and trema tree species.
Hildebrandt’s francolin; The hildebrandt’s francolin have a body length of 34-41cm with males weighing around 600g and females while females average around 450g. these birds have their throats, underparts and necks in a whitish color with very many black spots. Its upperparts and wings have a brown color with profuse darker spots. The legs have an orange color while the beak has a black color on top and a orange color on the lower part of the beak. This bird makes a series of high pitched granting cackles. It feeds on a variety of seeds, tubers and seeds and small insects and their larvae.
Hildebrandt’s starling; Hildebrandt’s starling belongs to the sturnidae family. It has a bright irrediscent plumage, its head is blue and its wings are bronze green with blue primary feathers. The upper throat and the upper breast are of a glossy purple while its tail is of a glossy blue-green colour. The middle breast and upper belly are of orange
Kenya rufous sparrow; The Kenya rufous sparrow has its cape, ear coverts and cheeks in a blue grey colour, its throat, chin and lores are colored black, the underparts of the Kenya rufous sparrow are of a light grey colour. This bird has brown upper parts with black primary and secondary feathers, its bill is short and black in colour. The keny rufous sparrow makes a loud chreep, chreep sound or an upward in-flected cher-weep sound. This bird feeds on small insects, grains and domestic scraps. This bird has a body length of 13-14cm and weighs between 25-32g.
Verrreaux’s eagle; This is a large eagle and is ranked the 6th longest eagle in the world with the body length of75-96cm or 30-38in from bill to the tail tip. The male and female verreaux’s eagles can’t easily be distinguished as they both have the same color which is jet black with a yellow coloration on the cere, eye ring and eyebrows which make these parts easily stand out of the black color that’s prominent on this eagle species. They also a have a white back, rump and upper tail coverts and parts of the scapulars which form a v-shape which is can easily be seen when this bird is in flight and its partially obscured when the bird perches on a tree. Juvenile verraeux’s eagle have a dark brown color with a rufous or ginger nape and mantle, they also have small white streaks on their foreheads and black streaks on the cheeks, these juveniles have a brown iris and yellowish feet. They attain full adult plumage at about 6 years of age. These birds have a reversed sexual dimorphism with females weighing at 3.1-7kg or6.8-15.4ib while males weigh about 3-4.2kg or 6.6-9.3ib, they have a wing span of 1.81-2.3m or5ft11in-7ft7in and a wing chord in males is between 56.5-59.5cm or22,2-23.4in while in females its 59-64cm or 23-25in.
White eyed slaty flycatcher; This bird has its head, upper mantle, ear coverts, side of the neck, upper body parts, wings and tail in a dark bluish grey. It has an eye ring which is whitish grey. All its under parts are of a lighter shade of grey. These birds have an verage body lenth of 15cm and an average weight of 16-33g. the white eyed slaty flycatcher akes a high pitched thin sweet simple phrase of tsp, swee-oo-sweetoo. They usually habituate at the edge of forests and also perch on trees in villages. They normally feed on grasshoppers, crickets, beetles and mantids.
Namaqua dove; Namaqua dove is mostly grey coloured on its plumage although its tailfeathers are long and black tampered. Its belly is white. The male Namaqua dove has a black face that is visible absent in the female species. The males also have red and yellow colored bill while that of females is red based and grey at the end tip. This bird feeds on roadsides and normally feeds on minute seeds like those of grasses, sedges. These birds have a quite and short double hoo sound.
Kori bustard; This is a mostly grey and brown colored bird with fine patterns of black and white. It has a white under part the legs have a yellow tinge color. The upper parts and wings are largely brown, it has white eye stripe above the eye and a black cape. The whole of its neck is colored in a whitish grey color with black to brown spots. These birds exhibit sexual dimorphism with the female being slim around the neck area and also has thinner legs. The male kori bustard has a body length of 120-150cm or 3ft11in-4ft11in and an average height of 71-120cm or 2ft4in-3ft11in with a wing span of 230275cm or 7ft7in-9ft weighing in at about 7-18kg or 15-40ib. the females on the other hand have a body length of 80-120cm or 2ft7in -3ft11in an average height of 60cm or 2ft, a wingspan of 177-220cm or 5ft10in-7ft3in and an average weight of 5.9kg or 13ib. this bird spends most of time on the ground and in case it gets scared, it will run away with its head held at a low angle of about 40o-60o so as to avoid being detected but if the chase continues it will take to the sky flying with slow wingbeats. These birds are normally silent but they will make a growling bark with a ca-caa-ca sound call. These birds normally feed on insects such as grasshoppers, beetles and locusts.
Activities in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Conservation Area is one of the best places to visit for a truly wild African safari experience. The being a hot bed for a wide range of wildlife bio-diversity, Ngorongoro conservation area is famous for the following activities such as:
Game drives; Are you in need of a perfect game drive experience? Well, Ngorongoro conservation area is here to meet all your African wildlife demands as its home to 4 of 5 Africa’s big 5s which include 3000elephants, 70 lions, black rhinos, and numerous buffalo herds and a multitude of other mammals such as cheetahs, wildebeests, include zebras, giraffes, gazelles, wild dogs, golden cats. All these and more await you to visit and say hello to them on your vsit to the Ngorongoro conservation area.
Birding; Endowed with over 500 bird species this is indeed a hot bed for birds of east Africa and Ngorongoro will leave you amazed about how rich it is when it comes to bird species as you will find numerous bird here like hartlaub turaco, the Kenya rufous sparrow, great white pelican, hildebrandt’s francolin and starling.
Nature walks; The nature walks are the best way to experience Ngorongoro’s wild side upclose and personal. Ngorongor conservation area authority has mapped out and maintained about 6 nature walks within the area to give you a unique and fresh perspective to the Ngorongoro crater, these walks include the following.
Crater rim walk; The crater rim walk starts 5km away from rhino lodge. This trail leads you through patches of forests, thickets then lush grasslands, as you trail this walk you will pass by the olduvia gorge which rich with archeological artifacts about the beginning of human life here on earth which began about 3 million years as per the discoveries made by dr Leakey here in olduvia about 6 decades ago. At the end of this walk your efforts will be highly rewarded with a picturesque view of the biggest part of the Ngorongoro crater and all those that call this crater home as you will be standing right at its edge. This walk can definitely be done by anyone who visits Ngorongoro conservation area regardless of their physical fitness as it only lasts 2 hours or even less for seasoned walkers.
Eyasi view point
Lake eyasi les on the southern border of Ngorongoro conservation area, this nature trail will definitely be done from the southern side of the conservation area. This trail begins from the route to endulen and it winds through magnificent of Maasai kraal communities, there is a real possibity of sighting the massaai doing whatthey know and do best and that’s herding their cattle and goats. As you continue further, you get to climb a range of mt oldeani and when you successfully reach its summit in just about 45minutes, you will blown away by the breath taking view of your new surrounding as the mt ridges will plumet to the ground giving way to lake eyasi emerge from the fall, you will also be in a prime spot to view the western wall of the eastern arm of the great astern rift valley and the Serengeti plains ahead of you. This walk is also easy as it can be completed in just 2 hours or less for seasoned hikers.
Mount oldeani walk; This walk can easily be combined with or done basing from lake eyasi hike. This hike kicks off with an ascent 2700m to about 3200m above sea level but this wont go ascent wont go without any reward as you get to experience a heart warming change in vegetation cover and the bird species as you start having glimpses of high altitude birds. At the summit of mt oldeani, all your sorrows will be surely melted away as you get to enjoy dramatic scenes of lake eyasi and the beautiful Serengeti plains lying to your west, the Ngorongoro crater will be to your north, lake manyara to your south and the crater highlands to the east. This walk can be done in about 4 hours if stops are limited and with a small duration but in case you want it to happen for a bit longer it can be done as an half done tour or picnic with a lunch break while at the summit of mt oldeani.
Empakaai crater; Empakaai crater lies about 1 and ½-hour drive away from the Ngorongoro crater rim, the drive to empakaai is a done through the Maasai communities, so the chance of sighting these long time inhabitants of the area s a real possibility and the various mammals can be sigted along the way to keep you entertained by the African safari feeling. At empakaai crater you will begin your walk that leads you to a 30 minute covering about 300m through a forested area descent to the crater, the empakaai crater isn’t as big as the Ngorongoro crater as its only 6km wide but equally amazing and thrilling and its also not frequented by any visitors hence it’s a good treat if you want to a private tour. While making this walk, as you ascend into the crater, you can keep looking out for the strangler figs that are found here, at the crater floor, you will meet many flamingos depending on the timing of your visit. Other keepers of the crater include leopards, hyenas, buffaloes and baboons whose presence is evidenced by their foot prints they keep leaving behind as they stroll through the crater. This walk lasts about 6 hours and its involves a lunch picnic either at the crater floor or at the rim of the crater as you get to take in sweeping views of mt oldonyo lengai which is still very much active volcano and a gentle breathe to blow your spirit away to everlasting freedom.
Endoro river nature trail; This trail begins and ends near gibbs farm which lies in the north near karatu town. This trail offers you gorgeous views of an array of spectacular attractions such as the elephant caves that are continuously widen by elephants who want nothing else but the mineral salts in these rocks, a refreshing look at the 150m water fall along endoro river will give you unbelievable glimpses into the agricultural farms of the karatu country side. Along this trail, you will meet northern highland forests reserve that are an important water catchment area for the endoro river which is an important source of water for the animals that habituate in these forest reserve such as elephants, cape buffalo, vervet monkeys and a variety of forest birds as well as the local farming communities. This trail lasts only 2 hours and can be done either from or to lake manyara national park as it is found along the route to this manyara.
The other nature trail is to mt makarot and lasts 5-6 hours.
Cultural encounters; The Maasai are the original custodians of the Serengeti wilderness and the Ngorongoro plains as they have habituated in these lands for the last 400-500 years. The Maasai have a very rich culture that mainly rotates around their pastoral life. From their unique cultural wear, the shukas to the body art modifications, to their brave warriors with their mohawk hair-cut. While out in the ngorongoro wilderness, endeavor to visit some of these Maasai communities and go on a cultural learning adventure as you will be put the mix of Maasai cultural activities like cow herding, milking, blood tapping, a truly rhythmic and high jumping Maasai dance and when the Maasai dance beats and rhythms get to your inner sense of fun, please feel free to join in and groove to the Maasai African music.
How to get to Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Use the Directions button to get there. “Ngorongoro Conservation Area Tanzania ”
Accessing Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro conservation area can be accessed by both road and air transport
Ngorongoro conservation area lies 185km from Arusha town and this leads you a 3-4-hour drive over a dumpy murram road.
There are flights from Arusha airport to lake mayara airstrip in lake manyara national park and from here its only a 1 and ½ -hour drive to Ngorongoro conservation area giving you a perfect scenic view of the African wilderness.
Best Time to Visit the Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The Ngorongoro conservation area can be visited throughout the year but your visit should be timed depending on what you want to see and where you want to see it from. Those who are interested in seeing the wildebeests calving should visit the Ngorongoro conservation area around the months of December- March, If your interest is the general wildlife of Ngorongoro, you can come around during the wet season months of March- May and September- November when these animals all roaming all over the area.
Accommodation/ hotel/ safari lodges in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Angata Ngorongoro camp; About 1 and1/2-drive from lake magadi. Numerous tents with single and double and triple occupancy. All rooms are well spaced with private bathrooms with both hot and cold running water. Restaurant, Well stocked bar, Lounge area, Free wi-fii, Free parking. Price ranges is around 530$
Ngorongoro serena safari lodge; 30-minute drive to lake magadi. Numerous guest rooms with single, double, triple occupancy. All rooms have private bathroom facilities and spacious enough for comfortability. Restaurant, Well stocked bar, Lounge area, Swimming pool, Outdoor dining, Laundry service. Price for a double room ranges around 320$
Neptune Ngorongoro luxury lodge; Karatu district. Numerous luxury rooms on single double And triple occupancy. All guest rooms are fitted with the finest bathroom materials to meet luxury African wild experience. Restaurant, Bar, Lounge area, Outdoor dining, Toiletries, Fire place, Swimming pool, Indoor games. Price range is 450$ for a single room
Ngorongoro wildlife lodge; 30-minute drive to lake magadi. 75 guestrooms in single double and family occupancy. All guestrooms have private bathrooms with bathtubs. Restaurant, Bar, Lounge area, Free wi-fii laundry services. Price ranges around 450$
Crater forested camp; 10-minute drive. 15 guestrooms. All guestrooms have private bathrooms. Restaurant, Bar, Lounge area, Laundry services, Free wi-fii. Price ranges around 225$
St Catherine monastery; 15-minute drive from karatu playground. 15 guestrooms with a single double and family occupancy. All 15 rooms are have private bathrooms. Restaurant, Lounge area, Free wi-fii, Air conditioner. Price ranges from 76-116$
Ngorongoro front safari lodge; 10- minute drive from karatu. 7 guest rooms with single, double and triple occupancy. All rooms have a private bathroom. Restaurant, Lounge area, Bar, Free parking. Price ranges from 76-126$
High view hotel; 10-minute drive to karatu playground. 41 guest rooms with single, double, triple occupancy. All rooms have private bathrooms. Restaurant, Lounge area, Swimming pool, Laundry services, Onsite gardens, Free wi-fii. Price range is 254$ for a superior room
Ngorongoro oldeani mountain lodge; 17-minute drive karatu playground. 50 guests rooms that are well spacious. All 50 guest rooms with private bathrooms and a bathtub. Free wi-fii, Restaurant, Lounge area, Well stocked bar, Private parking, Swimming pool. Price range is 275$
Ngorongoro forest tented lodge; 11-minute drive from karatu playground. 12 forest cottages with single double and family occupancy. All these cottages have a bathrooms. Restaurant, Free parking, Free wi-fii, Laundry services, Bar. Price ranges from 274- 400$
Ngorngoro lodge & camp site; 5-minutes’ drive from karatu playground. 32 rooms with a single double and family occupancy. All the 32 rooms have private bathrooms. Outdoor pool, Restaurant, Lounge area, rooftop terrace, free w-fii, guestroom mini bars, satellite tvs. Price ranges from 76-161$
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