Feb. 6, 2018
After breakfast at Tarangire Safari Lodge, we departed for the three hour drive to Ngorongoro Conservation Area. We passed Lake Manyara, through the towns of Mto-wa-Mbu and Karatu, then stopped to pay our fees to enter the conservation area. We had boxed lunches that had been prepared by the staff at Tarangire Safari Lodge, which we would eat once we got into Ngorongoro Crater.
We were to spend four days in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, two of them at Ngorongoro Crater. This was the most scenic area on our safari.
According to Wikipedia, the crater was formed when a large volcano caved in on itself two to three million years ago. Fossil evidence at nearby Oldupai Gorge suggests that hominid species have occupied the region for up to 3 million years. Hunter gatherers were replaced by pastoralists, and the Maasai drove out these inhabitants in the 1800s. Maasai villages dot the rim of the crater.
In 1892, the first Germans arrived to colonize this part of east Africa and a few established farms in the crater.
Ngorongoro has two possible meanings. The Maasai told us it is the sound that a cowbell makes, but it is also a word for a cooking pot.
Ngorongoro Crater covers about 100 square miles and is full of wildlife.