Ngorongoro Conservation Area (multiple land use)

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  • Ngorongoro Crater is understandably the most attractive feature of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), and the main focal point of tourist activity. However the NCA has a lot more to offer. Apart from ngorongoro crater, the highland areas of Ngorongoro North and Ngorongoro South generally contain less game and are consequently much less visited but very interesting for a Walking Safaris off the beaten track.

    This wonderful altitude scenery contains some superb hiking and trekking options. Those who have time can explore the less publicised natural features further afield. These include Olduvai Gorge, Olmoti and Empakaai Craters, the Gol Mountains and Mount Lolmalasin Exploring on foot in the company of authentic local native can really enrich the overall safari experience and is not to be missed if you think you can handle the exercise.

    Olmoti Crater

    Olmoti Craters's floor is shallow and covered with tussocks of grass. Besides the Maasai and their livestock you can sometimes see eland, buffalo and reedbuck. The Munge River origins from the waters from the Crater walls, crosses the caldera and plummets down over cliffs, falling some hundreds of metres into the steep-sided ravine below. Returning from Olmoti you can see the depression that is formed where the slopes of Olmoti, Empakaai, Lolmalasin and Losirua volcanoes join with the outer rim of Ngorongoro. this shallow, grassy basin is called the Embulbul depression. Like the similar Malanja depression to the west, it probably collects and provides a sink for a good deal of water that appears lower down at the foot of the mountains.

    Empakai Crater

    From the crater rim you have a fantastic view in the craters' green paradise. The caldera is about 6 km wide and nearly half of its floor is covered by a lake. The water in the lake is alkaline and the depth of the lake is about 85m, unusually deep for soda lakes in East Africa. The steep walls of the caldera, clothed in forest, rise in some places to almost 300m above the floor.

    The views along the trail downwards are spectacular at every point. All along you can enjoy the changing views of Empakai itself. In addition, from the northern and eastern side you can look out to the dramatic cone of the still active volcano, Oldoinyo Lengai. If the day is clear, you can look beyond Lengai to the Great Rift Valley and Lake Natron. Sometimes you can even see the distant snows of Kilimanjaro far on the eastern side of the Valley. On your way downwards to the lake you might see buffaloes or bushbucks, blue monkeys, many birds (like sunbirds and turacos).

    At the shore of the lake are often waterbucks and elands. It is a joy to walk around the lake shore, experiencing the serenity and quiet beauty of this wild spot. Both craters offers you the rare sense of pure solitude and peace, found only in remote, pristine places.

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