The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is said to be the only place on earth where mankind and wild animals co-exist in harmony. The area is protected and it is also a World Heritage Site located 180 km west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania. According to the Ngorongoro Conservation Authority,  the world’s sixth-largest unbroken caldera, what is now known as the Ngorongoro crater could have been a towering volcanic mountain, as high as Kilimanjaro.

Enjoy the crater in pictures with a particular focus on the wildlife.

Hippos, Ngorongoro Crater, The Serengeti Photo: Tony Young

The conservation authority reports that the area contains over 25,000 large animals including over 20 black rhinoceros, 7,000 wildebeests, 4,000 zebras, 3,000 eland and 3,000 Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelles.

The crater also has the most dense known population of lions, numbering about 60. Higher up, in the rainforests of the crater rim, are leopards, about 30 large elephants, mountain reedbuck and more than 4,000 buffalos, spotted hyenas, jackals, rare wild dogs, cheetahs, and other felines.

Ngorongoro Crater Safari – Tanzania, Africa Photo: Flickr: David Berkowitz

Ngorongoro was named by the Maasai. The name is the sound produced by the cowbell (ngoro ngoro). This was mainly because they were migrating from Central Africa to settle permanently. This explains why the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is mostly occupied by the Maasai.

According to the NCA, the crater is the flagship tourism feature for the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It is a large, unbroken, un-flooded caldera, formed when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed some three million years ago. It sinks to a depth of 610 metres, with a base area covering 260 square kilometres. The height of the original volcano could have ranged between 4,500 to 5,800 metres high.

A hippo in the distance, among wildebeest and ibises. Photo: Sachi Gahan

 

Ngo2 A female lion at the hunt in Ngorongoro Crater. Ngorongoro Crater is one of the best places to see lions. The image is a scan of an old film print. Photograped by Brocken Inaglory

 

The view from the bottom of the Ngorongoro Crater towards the southern rim. Clouds are hanging over the rim all the way around the crater, adding to the feeling of the crater being some kind of lost world, disconnected from the rest of the planet.Photo: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

 

Zebras and gnus in Ngorongoro Crater Photo: ProfessorX

 

Ngorongoro Crater Safari – Tanzania, Africa Photo: Flickr: David Berkowitz

 

Zebras in the crater Photo: George Lamson