The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a protected area and a World Heritage Site located 180 km (110 mi) west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania. The area is named after Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic caldera within the area. The conservation area is administered by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, an arm of the Tanzanian government, and its boundaries follow the boundary of the Ngorongoro Division of the Arusha Region.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area covers 8,292 square kilometers. It is one of the three divisions that comprise the Ngorongoro District in the Arusha Region. NCA was established in 1959 by the NCA Ordinance No 413 of 1959 as multiple land-use areas, designated to promote the conservation of natural resources, safeguard the interests of NCA indigenous residents and promote tourism. NCA is a unique protected area in the whole of Africa where the conservation of natural resources is integrated with human development
The Ngorongoro Crater is one of Africa’s most famous sites and is said to have the highest density of wildlife in Africa. Sometimes described as an ‘eighth wonder of the world’, the Crater has achieved world renown, attracting an ever-increasing number of visitors each year. You are unlikely to escape other vehicles here, but you are guaranteed great wildlife viewing in a genuinely mind-blowing environment. There is nowhere else in Africa quite like Ngorongoro!
The main feature of the NCA includes the Ngorongoro Crater, The Serengeti Plains that support about 2.0 million migratory wildlife species of the Serengeti Mara-ecosystem (TAWIRI, 2003) and the catchment forest; the Northern Highland Forest Reserve (NHFR) known as ‘Entim Olturot’ in Maa language. Other important features found in the NCA are the archaeological and palaeontological site located at Oldupai Gorge and the early human footprints that were discovered at Alaitole in the Ngarusi area. Because of these particular features and the harmonious co-existence between wildlife and people that has existed for many years, NCA was accorded the status of a World Heritage Site and listed as one of the International Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Reserve Programme.