Many of our tourists think that the Ngorongoro crater is the only impressive and fascinating attraction within the Ngorongoro Conservation and they are always wrong. We will present your other fascinating attractions found within the conservation area.
Over the last thirty years or so, it has become increasingly apparent that Africa is probably the "Cradle of Mankind". From Africa, they spread out to populate the rest of the Earth. Remains of the earliest humans were found in Oldupai Gorge. Oldupai Gorge (originally misnamed Olduvai) is the most famous archaeological location in East Africa and has become an essential visit for travellers to Ngorongoro or Serengeti.
The Laetoli Footprints:
At Laetoli, west of Ngorongoro Crater, hominid footprints are preserved in volcanic rock 3.6 million years old and represent some of the earliest signs of mankind in the world. Three separate tracks of a small-brained upright walking early hominid. Australopithecus afarensis, a creature about 1.2 to 1.4 meters high, were found. Imprints of these are displayed in the Oldupai museum.
Lake Ndutu and Lake Masek form shallow basins where water accumulates from the nearby areas of slightly higher altitude. The water in both lakes is extremely saline, too saline for human consumption. Lake Ndutu becomes alive with animals during the migration because it is surrounded by the Ndutu woodlands and the Short Grass Plains, which provide ample cover and food.
Located just outside the NCA, to the north-east near Lake Natron, this Volcano, whose Maasai name means 'Mountain of God', has had a major influence on the development of the area. It rises 1830m above the Valley floor. Its ash has been blown westwards onto the plains and helped shape the landscape and ecology. It is the only active volcano in the area, having erupted in 2006 and more recently July 2007.
The Shifting Sands:
This remarkable black dune, composed of volcanic ash from Oldonyo Lengai, is being blown slowly westwards across the plains, at the rate of about 17 meters per year. Some 9 meters high and 100 meters long in its curve, it can be found to the north of Oldupai Gorge.
The Gorge is ecologically important because it is a vital nesting site of the Ruppell's Griffon Vulture. The best time to visit Olkarien Gorge is from March to April when the vultures are breeding. This coincides with a migration when there is plenty of food available.