Ngorongoro Conservation Area

UNESCO World Heritage

Wild Beest and Zebra grazing in Lerai Forest - Feeding succession (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

One of the greatest natural wonders of the planet

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area spans vast expanses of highland plains, savanna, savanna woodlands and forests. Established in 1959 as a multiple land use area, with wildlife coexisting with semi-nomadic Maasai pastoralists practicing traditional livestock grazing, it includes the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest caldera.

Exceptional wildlife, human habitats, and mist weather (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

The property has global importance for biodiversity conservation due to the presence of globally threatened species, the density of wildlife inhabiting the area, and the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra, gazelles and other animals into the northern plains.

Empakai Crater with Oldoinyo Lengai to East (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

Extensive archaeological research has also yielded a long sequence of evidence of human evolution and human-environment dynamics, including early hominid footprints dating back 3.6 million years. The property was inscribed under natural criteria (vii), (viii), (ix) and (x) in 1979 and under cultural criterion (iv) in 2010. Thus, the statement of integrity reflects integrity for natural values at the date of inscription of 1979, and for the cultural value in 2010.

Ngorongoro crater: A natural wonder of the world (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

Ngorongoro crater is the largest unbroken caldera in the world. The crater, together with the Olmoti and Empakaai craters are part of the eastern Rift Valley, whose volcanism dates back to the late Mesozoic / early Tertiary periods and is famous for its geology. The property also includes Laetoli and Olduvai Gorge, which contain an important palaeontological record related to human evolution.

Crater Lions in the alert motion of hunting strategy (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

We can find the densest known population of lion (estimated 68 in 1987).

The best place to watch wild animals in Africa (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

Wildlife watching

Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to a population of some 25,000 large animals, mostly ungulates, alongside the highest density of mammalian predators in Africa.

The aggressive rhinos in Ngorongoro crater (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

The property harbours a range of endangered species, such as the Black Rhino, Wild Hunting Dog and Golden Cat and 500 species of birds.

A soaring black kite searching for food (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

It also supports one of the largest animal migrations on earth, including over 1 million wildebeest, 72,000 zebras and c.350,000 Thomson and Grant gazelles.

Watch and be watched by leopard: "One of the Big Five" in Ngorongoro Tanzania (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

Ngorongoro Conservation Area: An amazing place to see animals (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

Olkarien Gorge in Ngorongoro: A nesting site for Ruppel's Griffon vulture (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

A water catchment forest for the biodiversity in Ngorongoro and its surrounding environs (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

The variations in climate, landforms and altitude have resulted in several overlapping ecosystems and distinct habitats, with short grass plains, highland catchment forests, savanna woodlands, montane long grass plains and high open moorlands.

Pelicans in the Ngorongoro Crater (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

The property is part of the Serengeti ecosystem, one of the last intact ecosystems in the world which harbours large and spectacular animal migrations.

Masai Giraffe “necking” at Olduvai plains (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

Maasai (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

Cultural values

The property provides grazing land for semi-nomadic Maasai pastoralists. At the time of inscription an estimated 20,000 Maasai were living in the property, with some 275,000 head of livestock, which was considered within the capacity of the reserve. No permanent agriculture is officially allowed in the property.

Nasera rock: A geosite that provides climbers with magnificent views of the plains nearby (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

Further growth of the Maasai population and the number of cattle should remain within the capacity of the property, and increasing sedentarisation, local overgrazing and agricultural encroachment are threats to both the natural and cultural values of the property. There were no inhabitants in Ngorongoro and Empaakai Craters or the forest at the time of inscription in 1979.

Lovely hike to Empakai crater with refreshing views (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

The property encompasses not only the known archaeological remains but also areas of high archaeo-anthropological potential where related finds might be made. However the integrity of specific paleo-archaeological attributes and the overall sensitive landscape are to an extent under threat and thus vulnerable due to the lack of enforcement of protection arrangements related to grazing regimes, and from proposed access and tourist related developments at Laetoli and Olduvai Gorge.

The deposition of different layers (strata) during the formation of the Gorge at Olduvai (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

Ngorongoro Conservation Area has yielded an exceptionally long sequence of crucial evidence related to human evolution and human-environment dynamics, collectively extending from four million years ago to the beginning of this era, including physical evidence of the most important benchmarks in human evolutionary development.

Geologist on their routine excavation at Olduvai Gorge (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

Although the interpretation of many of the assemblages of Olduvai Gorge is still debatable, their extent and density are remarkable. Several of the type fossils in the hominin lineage come from this site. Furthermore, future research in the property is likely to reveal much more evidence concerning the rise of anatomically modern humans, modern behavior and human ecology.

3.7 million years footprints at Laetoli belonging to the first men to stand upright (1979) by Ngorongoro Conservation AreaUNESCO World Heritage

3.7 million years footprints at Laetoli belonging to the first men to stand upright.

Credits: Story

This exhibit was created by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA)
www.ncaa.go.tz

More on Ngorongoro and World Heritage:
whc.unesco.org/en/list/39/

Photos: Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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