Ngorongoro Crater is widely considered to be one of the natural wonders of the
world. 12 miles wide, 2000 feet deep, and covering
an area of 102 square miles, it is the largest
intact volcanic crater on earth and home to a
spectacular concentration of wildlife. The crater
hosts an estimated 30,000 animals on its floor,
including large herds of buffalo and wildebeest,
eland, hartebeest, elephant, hippo, lions, and
the endangered black rhino.
Scientists believe that millions of years ago, Ngorongoro was an active volcano
with a cone that some speculate was as high as
Mt. Kilimanjaro. The volcano eventually became
extinct and its cone collapsed and sunk, forming
an enormous crater. The surrounding area was
then slowly enveloped by tropical vegetation
and colonized by various species of animals.
forests, lush vegetation, and fresh springs surround
the rim of the crater's towering walls, which
top out at an elevation of 7500 feet. With its
dazzling natural beauty and the serenity of its
surroundings, Ngorongoro is frequently referred
to as "Africa's Garden of Eden".
is just one part of the 8300 sq. kilometer area
called the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA).
Also contained within the NCA's boundaries is
the geologically important and historically controversial
Olduvai Gorge, where Louis and Mary Leakey discovered
numerous types of the fossil remains of early