Ngorongoro Crater Activities
The Ngorongoro Crater is home to much more than wildlife safaris in Tanzania, with important cultural and archaeology here too.
Away from the wildlife, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area has other areas of significance. Oldupai Gorge is one of Africa’s most important archaeological excavations where some of the world’s most humanoid remains were discovered.
Inhabitants such as the Hadzabe and Tatoga people, hunter-gatherers and pastoralists, have lived here for thousands of years. Amongst the winding sandy tracks through the open grasslands and acacia trees exist the Shifting Sands.
With religious associations for the Maasai the Shifting Sands are remarkable, moving along in the exact same formation at a rate of approximately 5 mtrs per year. It consists of volcanic ash deposits from Oldonyo Lengai, too heavy for the winds to blow away. Since 1969, the sand has drifted some 2km’s.
Walking safaris to the Olmoti and Empakaai Craters is one of the little known secrets in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. There exist wonderful views at the Empakaai Crater rim, 6 km’s in diameter, of its lush and fertile crater floor and lake.
This alkaline, deep soda lake (85m in depth) is surrounded by steep walls of the caldera, blanketed in forest, which rises to almost 300m above the crater floor. The views along the trail downwards are spectacular at every point with changing views of Empakaai itself
Upon descending towards the lake there are chances to spot buffaloes, bushbucks, blue monkeys, and birds such as sunbirds and turacos. Waterbucks and elands frequent the quiet and wild lake-shore.
By venturing to the northern and eastern side of the crater there exist great views out to the dramatic cone of the still active volcano, Oldoinyo Lengai and on a clear day wonderful views of the Great Rift Valley and Lake Natron beyond Oldoinyo Lengai are on show.
This is also a great area to see the Embulbul depression, a shallow, grassy basin formed where the slopes of Olmoti, Empakaai, Lolmalasin and Losirua volcanoes join with the outer rim of Ngorongoro.
Maasai and their livestock, as well as eland, buffalo, and reedbuck inhabit the area around the Olmoti Crater. The Munge River, originating from the waters of the Crater walls, plummets hundreds of metres over the cliffs into the steep sided ravine below.
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