Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania - November 2017

After departing Tarangire National Park we made our way northwest toward the southern
Serengeti grassland. Serengeti is the Massai word for "endless grass." Before reaching the Serengeti we had to cross the mountain range that encompasses the Ngorongoro Crater and then cross the volcanic ash plain of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA). The NCA is a mixed use area where the Massai live and graze their cattle amongst the protected wildlife of the Serengeti (Map of the NCA). This area is a buffer zone between the Serengeti NP and the more populated agricultural and developed places of northern Tanzania.

After checking in at the ranger station at the gate to the NCA we climbed to the top of the
mountain chain for a glimpse into the Ngorongoro Crater. The crater is about 15-20 kilometers wide and about 600 meters deep. The view was breathtaking, but we had to wait seven days before we could make the trek down into the crater. After our quick view of the crater we continued west- northwest out of the mountains onto the volcanic plain. While in the mountains we passed many Massai settlements and observed women and girls out collecting firewood and returning to their villages carrying the wood on their heads or backs.

We stopped in a settlement area near the town of Endulen and visited the kraal of Chief Ole Dorup, an acquaintance of our head guide, who spent time showing us his boma (residence) and explaining day-to-day life in a Massai village. His wife brought out some of her handy work for us to view and purchase. Out on the volcanic plain and wooded savanna of the NCA we spotted numerous temporary encampments with boys and young men herding cattle and goats. Wildlife was abundant and we stopped many times to take photographs. Volcanic dust was with us the whole time we were on the open plain - the result of the massive explosion of the volcano that is now the Ngorongoro Crater.

It was a very long day starting from Tarangire NP at 0830 hours. Because of the distance we had to cover we ate our box lunches on the go and arrived at the southern boundary of the Serengeti NP and our lodge, the Lake Ndutu Safari Lodge, just about nine and a half hours later.

The images in this gallery are from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area as we were heading out to the Serengeti, and also returning from the Serengeti. I hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed making them.