The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a world heritage site situated in the Crater Highlands of northern Tanzania. The jewel in Ngorongoro’s crown is a deep, volcanic crater, the largest un-flooded and unbroken caldera in the world. About 20kms across, 600 meters deep and 300 sq kms in area, the Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtaking natural wonder. Had it not become the world’s sixth-largest unbroken caldera, then what is now known as the Ngorongoro Crater could have been a towering volcanic mountain, as high as Kilimanjaro. It is a large, unbroken, un-flooded caldera, formed when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed some three million years ago.
The Ngorongoro crater sinks to a depth of 610 metres, with a base area covering 260 square kilometres. The height of the original volcano must have ranged between 4,500 to 5,800 metres high. Apart from the main caldera, Ngorongoro also has two other volcanic craters: Olmoti and Empakai, the former famous for its stunning waterfalls, and the latter holding a deep lake and lush, green walls. On the leeward of the Ngorongoro highlands protrudes the iconic Oldonyo Lengai, an active volcano and Tanzania’s third highest peak after Kilimanjaro and Meru. Known to local people as the Mountain of God, Mount Lengai’s last major eruption occurred in 2007. At the mountain’s foot is Lake Natron, East Africa’s major breeding ground for flamingoes.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area contains over 25,000 large animals including 26 black rhinoceros. There are 7,000 wildebeests, 4,000 zebras, 3,000 eland and 3,000 Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelles. The crater also has the densest known population of lions, numbering 62. 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.
The legendary annual wildebeest and zebra migration also passes through Ngorongoro, when 1.7 million animals move south into the area in December then move out heading north in June. The migrants passing through the plains of the reserve include 1.7 million wildebeest, 260,000 zebra, and 470,000 gazelles. Over 500 species of bird have been recorded within the NCA. These include ostrich, white pelican, and greater and lesser flamingo on Lake Magadi within the crater, Lake Ndutu, and in the Empakaai Crater Lake, where a vast bird population can be observed.
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I grew up on a farm in the Eastern Cape of South Africa where from a young age we hosted many international guests in our family run lodge and this is where I began my love for tourism, conservation and building interpersonal relationships with people who at the time felt like they came from worlds away. I was blessed to be raised in the beautiful South African bushveld where I cultivated an intense passion for photography which I still enjoy today.
I have been privileged to meet incredible people and see amazing areas of Southern Africa which I truly want others to experience for themselves, not just through photographs. I thrive on listening to stories that other people tell around the boma fire or dinner table while I am visiting these places and thoroughly enjoy sharing our experiences of living in Africa with them. I very quickly realised that there are two types of traveller: the “once in a lifetime” client who has saved for this and only this trip to Africa and the seasoned traveller who is blessed with the means to travel regularly to different destinations. Both types of client deserve and require the same amount of planning, assistance and attention to detail when organising their travels to Africa. I have seen how my fellow consultants always go the extra mile for every client and the joy that this brings all of us when clients send us feedback on their experiences – This makes our hearts happy!