This vast protected area stretches from Lake Natron (the breeding ground for East Africa's flamingos) in the northeast, to Lake Enyasi in the south, and Lake Manyara to the east. Eight million years ago, the Ngorongoro Crater was an active volcano but its cone collapsed, forming the crater that is 610 meters deep, 20 kilometers in diameter, and covers an area of 265sq. km. Spectacular as it is, the crater accounts for just a tenth of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The crater is home to many species of wild game and birds. With the exception of impala and topi (due to fierce competition with the wildebeest) and the giraffe (because there is not much to eat at tree level), almost every species of African plains mammal lives in the crater, including the endangered black rhino, and the densest population of predators in Africa. A strange thing is that the crater elephants are mainly bulls.

The bird-life, which includes the flamingo, is mainly seasonal, and is also affected by the ratio of soda to fresh water in Lake Magadi on the crater floor.

Views from the rim of the crater are sensational. On the crater floor, grassland blends into swamps, lakes, rivers, woodland and mountains. You can descend to the floor of the crater in a four-wheel drive vehicle. Only 4WD vehicles are allowed into the crater and game rangers are compulsory for all.

Its here where the worlds first man lived as per Dr. Leakey's findings. ---Olduvai Gorge

Olduvai Gorge

Olduvai, more accurately called Oldupai after the wild sisal in the area, is situated near the Ngorongoro Crater and is the site of some of the most important finds of early hominid fossils of all time (made famous by the work of the Leakey family) - The "Nutcracker Man" or Australophithecusboisei who lived 1.8 million years ago. There is a small informative museum located at the visitor center. The gorge is a treasure trove of archeological sites filled with fossils, settlement remains and stone artefacts. Lecture tours are offered.