Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara
Interactive Map of Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara
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SERENGETI & NGORONGOGO
The Ngorongoro Crater, once a gigantic volcano, is the largest intact caldera in the world. Some maintain that before it erupted, it would have been higher than Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. Today, long since having collapsed and eroded, it is an extensive highland area with the famous 600-meter-deep Ngorongoro Crater as its focal point. Nearly three million years old, the ancient caldera shelters one of the most beautiful wildlife havens on earth. Towering euphorbias cling to the Crater walls and on the floor, fever and fig tree forests provide shade for an awe-inspiring array of wildlife flanked by lone lean Maasai, resplendent in beads and furled in scarlet shuka robes. Fresh springs and a large soda lake quench the thirst of all the inhabitants. Black rhino are protected within its rim, giant tusked elephants wander the forests, black-maned lions stalk the grasslands, and flamingoes crowd the soda lakes.
An estimated 25,000 large mammals are resident in this bowl of plenty, including a population of approximately 6,000 resident wildebeest, 16 highly endangered black rhino and around 70 lions. Cheetah move in and out of the Crater, while leopard are most often encountered in the spectacular Lerai Forest. Among the smaller carnivores, both golden and black-backed jackal are abundant, while the normally shy and nocturnal serval are frequently seen during daylight hours. Vast numbers of buffalo, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle also occur.
Serengeti National Park, which spans 14,763 sq km, reaches up to the Kenyan border in the north and is arguably one of the finest parks in Africa. Famous for its vast open grasslands and excellent wildlife sightings, the Serengeti region is also home to two World Heritage Sites and two Biosphere Reserves. The Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest on earth, with its climate, vegetation and fauna barely changing over the past million years. The Park boasts 35 species of plains-dwelling mammals and prolific birdlife.
The Serengeti – meaning ‘endless plains’ in the Maasai language – lies on a vast plateau between the eastern arm of the Rift Valley and the huge expanse of Lake Victoria. Kenya's Masai Mara National Park is a part of the same Serengeti-Mara ecosystem and lies across the border to the north. A Serengeti safari, especially at the height of the Great Migration, is a never-to-be-forgotten life changing experience. Every year, Africa’s annual Great Migration passes through and hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, zebra and other herbivores cross the various rivers in the path, risking the snapping jaws of huge crocodiles and enduring the constant pressure of lions, hyenas, jackals and other predators.
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