Tanzania 2022 – Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Episode #4 – hard to top Serengeti National Park, BUT…..

Our next stop was the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a multi-use area adjacent to the Serengeti.

Louis and Mary Leakey

On the way we stopped at Olduvai Gorge, a huge ravine in the 4300-mile-long Great Rift Valley, stretching across East Africa. It’s arguably the premiere paleoanthropological site in the world. It’s where Louis and his second wife, Mary Douglas Leakey, spent decades discovering some of the major finds about the origins of early humans.

We learned that Olduvai is actually misnamed. The area was originally named Oldupai (with a “p”, not “v”) by the locals, after a plant that grows in the area. Apparently the Colonials messed up the name in translation.

The massive Olduvai Gorge, from its rim.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is also MIS-named, drawing from the Ngorongoro Crater, which is NOT actually a crater (caused by a celestial impact) at all! Instead, it’s a 10 mile around caldera, the result of a collapsed magma chamber. Either way, the caldera creates its own enclosed paradise.

Ngorongoro Caldera seen from above

When you go down inside the caldera (on a very winding road with many switchbacks), you find a true natural zoo. The mountains enclose this vast area, providing its own ecosystem for many kinds of animals.

We watched a huge group of Cape buffalo chase zebra out of a watering hole.
Down in the caldera, there is a spectacular lake and virtually no sign of humans.
I did say “VIRTUALLY”. After all, you have to grab ice cream whenever you can, right?
Baby animals of any kind are the cutest

Turns out the caldera is NOT ideal for the lions living there. They have become seriously inbred and authorities are working to create a path so that lions can move in and out of the caldera more easily and increase their genetic diversity.

Final Stop: Zanzibar

More photos of Tanzania 2022:

Tarangire National Park

Lake Manyara National Park

Serengeti National Park

Zanzibar

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