Much of the floor is covered with rich grassland making it a magnet for plains game but Ngorongoro also boasts swamps, where lion hide in wait for their prey and an acacia forest in which elephants seek shade in the heat of the day. A focal point for wildlife and travellers alike is Lake Makat, a soda lake, which attracts large flocks of flamingos at certain times of year. The streams that flow into the lake support pods of hippo which come to ‘sun bake’ and provide fresh water for the 20,000 or so mammals who call the crater their home.
Mankind has been living in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area for millions of years with hominid footprints preserved in volcanic rock 3.6 million years old. The world famous Oldupai Gorge, the “Cradle of Mankind” is a relatively short drive from the crater on your way to the Serengeti, where early human remains dating back two million years were found. Nowadays a large number of Maasai live a pastoral lifestyle with their cattle, goats and sheep in the area.
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