A safari inside a crater
In the heart of the Rift Valley, hidden and protected behind the walls of the old extinct volcano, the most representative animals of African fauna live side by side: Lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, rhinoceroses and hippopotamuses. There are also jackals, hyenas, gnus, zebras…even flamencos have found their own space at Lake Magadi. There is also the black rhinoceros, an exotic animal of which there are only 26 in the reserve. Each species has found its own space in this small area that includes several ecosystems: Savannahs, acacia forests, lakes, marshes, salt lakes, etc.
Leaving a mark
Here, Louis and Mary Leakey discovered the remains of Homo Habilis, which were 1.8 million years old; barely a teenager if we compare them with the footprints of the hominids from 3.7 million years ago, which they also discovered. Fancy finding out more about our African ancestors? Don’t miss the Olduvai Gorge Museum.
However, the animals are not the only inhabitants of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. For over two hundred years the Maasai have lived here and it’s likely you’ll see them in their red robes herding their cows, goats and sheep within the park. They are allowed to take them inside the crater to eat and to drink water, although they are not allowed to live there. They can live in the rest of the reserve, where there are currently around 42,000 native Maasai.
It’s no surprise that they have chosen to live here. History, or rather pre-history, tells us that they are not the first to have done so. The oldest human fossils in the world have been found here, which provided essential research into the evolution of our species. Specifically, they were discovered in Olduvai Gorge and have been key to understanding where we’re from. Now we just need to discover where we’re going. Well we know…: to the crater in Ngorongoro.