Where the Cape Buffalo and Wildebeest Roam

Trip Start Jun 02, 2013
Trip End Jul 01, 2013

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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Wednesday, June 19, 2013

For class today, I went out to Ngorongoro conservation area. The Ngorongoro crater is only 30 minutes from camp, but it takes a long time to drive up to the rim and then go down into the crater. The guest lecture was in the tourism development center, which was on the rim at 2400 m above sea level. Unlike the national parks, the conservation area is completely self-sustaining through tourism. With the funds from tourism, the management provides health care and other services to the people living in the Ngorongoro area and works to promote conservation and tourism. The people living in the crater are not allowed to cultivate crops, only livestock, so the management provides much of their food. Because of all the services provided, lots of people have been moving into the area over the past few decades. It was really interesting, because the management isn't just worried about conservation, they're also worried about what would happen if tourism drops. They're building hotels and conference centers in other cities in Tanzania, so they diversify their revenue. They are also promoting the Ngorongoro crater in Asian countries, because most of their tourists are currently from America or Europe.
After the lecture, we went into the crater. It was really misty and cold at the rim, but it didn't get much warmer when we were lower, especially as we drove around with the roof off. I saw lots of wildebeest, cape buffalo, and zebras today. There were a few elephants, hyenas, and jackals. I saw a lot of crowned cranes and ostriches, both of which are really cool. My accomplishment for the day is that I am now able to tell the difference between a Grant's gazelle and a Thomson's gazelle. Before leaving, we went to the hippo pond and saw 4 lions, resting and eating by the water! When we were driving out, there were so many zebras in the road, even a few calves!
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