The area is named after Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic Calder within the area. The name of the crater has an origin; it was named by the Maasai pastoralists after the sound produced by the cowbell (ngoro ngoro). Benomatopoeicased on fossil evidence found at the Olduvai George, various hominid species have occupied the area for 3 million years.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), measuring 8,300 square kilometers, is also the only place on earth where mankind and wild animals co-exist in harmony. The Ngorongoro crater sinks to a depth of 610 meters, with a base area covering 260 square kilometers. The height of the original volcano must have ranged between 4,500 to 5,800 meters high. Apart from the main caldera, Ngorongoro also has two other volcanic craters: Olmoti and Empakai, the former famous for its stunning waterfalls, and the latter holding a deep lake and lush, green walls.
Down in the creator itself, there are so many scenes of unimaginable abundance. `wildebeest, zebra buffalo and Grant’s gazelle are present in great numbers, but there are also land, warthog, hartebeest, bushbuck, waterbuck and Bohr’s reedbuck.
The “Big Five”
You may have heard of the “Big Five,” a term big-game hunters came up with for the five most difficult African species to track and hunt on foot. The big five are —lion, leopard, elephant, black rhinoceros, and African buffalo—are indeed big. However not becouse of their size, but because of the danger and difficulty involved in bringing them down.
The eastern black rhino is distinguishable from the southern subspecies as it has a longer, leaner, and more curved horn. Its skin is also very grooved. Diceros bicornis( black rhino) is also reportedly more aggressive than the other three subspecies of black rhino. They are browsers and are usually found in highland forest and savanna habitat.
Black rhino has two horns, which grow continually from the skin at their base (similar to our fingernails) throughout their life. Rhinos from different areas can have horns of different shapes and sizes, and the shape of the horn differs between sexes, with males tending to have thicker horns, and the females often longer and thinner ones. Males can grow to 10 feet (3 m) long and 5’4” (1.6m tall) and weigh almost 3,000 pounds (1,400 kg). Females are smaller and lighter. Despite their bulk and short legs, they are very maneuverable and are capable of top speeds of 35 miles per hour (55km/h).
They are browsers, so est from higher bushes or trees, although the rhinos you will see in Ngorongoro Creator graze the grasses more often bushes, due to the lack of suitable browsing in the Creator. Black rhinos feed at night and during the hours of dawn and dusk. Under the hot African sun, they take bath cover by lying in shade. Rhinos often find a suitable watering hole and roll in its mud, coating their skin with a natural insect repellent and sunblock. The black rhino is also in Serengeti national park.
The lion (Panthera leo) is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg (550 lb) in weight,it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger.
The lion is the tallest (at the shoulder) of all living cats, averaging about 14 cm (5.5 in) taller than the tiger. Behind only the tiger, the lion is the second largest living felid in length and weight. Most of the hunting is done by a female.
The lion may be known as the king of the beasts, but the elephant is the world’s largest and heaviest land animal. Its ears alone measure up to 6 feet x 3 feet (2m x 1.2m) and can weigh up to 44 pounds (20kg) each. An adult male can weigh as much as 13,200 pounds, be 25 feet (7.5 m) long with an outstretched trunk, and stand 11 feet (3.3 m) tall. Their impressive tusks weigh as much as 130 pounds (60 kg) apiece. However, do not equate their size for slowness: elephants can reach speeds up to 25 miles per hour (40 km/h)—faster than you can run!
Of all its specialized features, the muscular trunk is the most remarkable: it serves as a nose, hand, an extra foot, signaling device, and a tool for gathering food, siphoning water, dusting, digging, and a variety of other functions. The long trunk permits the elephant to reach as high as 23 feet, but it can also perform movements as delicate as picking berries or caressing a companion. It is capable, too, of powerful twisting movements used for tearing down trees or fighting. The trunk of the African elephant has two finger-like structures at its tip.
Leopards inhabited a wide range of habitats within Africa from mountainous forests to grasslands and savannahs, excluding only extremely sandy desert. They are most at risk in areas of semi-desert, where scarce resources often result in conflict with nomadic farmers and their livestock.
Unlike the sleek and slender cheetah, the leopard is a thickset cat with short, powerful legs, a thick neck, and a long tail. The coat is a yellow-tan color, with black/brown spots, which are grouped into rosettes. The tail is long, and covered with spots from the root to the center of the tail, terminating in series of black rings. The ears are round and small, with black backs and a prominent white spot in the center. The leopard is the smallest of the big cats.
Female leopards can give birth at any time of the year. Following a gestation of 90–100 days, they usually give birth to one to three grayish-colored cubs with barely visible spots. The mother abandons her nomadic lifestyle until the cubs are large enough to accompany her, keeping them hidden for the first eight weeks, moving them from one location to the next until they are old enough to start learning to hunt. They get their first taste of meat at six to seven weeks of age and stop nursing at about three months of age. Cubs live with their mothers for about two years; otherwise, leopards are solitary animals. Siblings may remain together for several months before separating.
African (Cape) Buffalo
One of Africa’s most dangerous animals, adult Cape Buffalo stand only 51–59 inches (130–150 cm) tall, with relatively short legs, but can weigh as much as 936–1,918 pounds (425–870 kg). The coat is thin and black, except in young calves, whose coats may be either black or brown. They have with a broad shield (only fully developed at seven years) covering the forehead. Horn shape and size are dependent on age, with both sexes of the African buffalo bearing massive horns, which are hook-shaped, and curve downwards from their origin in the skull before curling upwards and inwards. The long tail ends with a tassel of longer hairs. Apart from the horns, the most distinguishing feature on the head is the pair of large, droopy ears, which are fringed with long hair on the edges.
The African buffalo is not an ancestor of domestic cattle and is only distantly related to other larger bovines. Owing to its unpredictable nature, which makes it highly dangerous to humans, the African buffalo has never been domesticated unlike its Asian counterpart, the water buffalo. Other than humans, African Cape buffaloes have few predators aside from lions and large crocodiles and are capable of defending themselves. Being a member of the big five games the Cape buffalo is a sought-after trophy in hunting. Buffalo is often grazes at night, and drinks in the early morning and late afternoon spending day resting.
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