Crater Lake in Ngorongoro

Crater Lake in Ngorongoro | Lake Magadi

Crater Lake in Ngorongoro  Lake Magadi

Crater Lake in Ngorongoro  Lake Magadi , is one of the most fascinating features in the world which attracts quite a number of travelers because of its wildlife and physical appearance.

“Ngoro ngoo ngoro…” were the sounds produced by the bells of the cows grazing in the northern part of Tanzania. These sounds made the Maasai pastoralists name the entire area as Ngorongoro, which is currently an acclaimed name for the standing world wonder in the whole of Eastern Africa. This is the Ngorongoro conservation area. Ngorongoro Conservation Area has a diverse scenery of vast species of mammals such as the hippopotamus, black rhinos, flamingos, wildebeests, jackals, and the buffalos. This is highly facilitated with the soda-line crater lake in Ngorongoro, which provides an alkaline medium as a salubrious gift to the nourishment of both the lush grasses and the blue-green algae, which are the primary foods on the food chain within the crater’s ecosystem. This transforms the crater to a home of an enormous group of mammals and other associating creatures. The crater lake in Ngorongoro is generally thought of as a natural sanctuary for the wild creatures, as the 2000ft high walls of the crater limit movement in and out of the crater and yet it is not the case that the animals can’t leave the crater. They simply wish to stay as the condition in the crater, with a good amount of rain and sun per year appear to be very favorable. Animals are used to thrive in the evergreen surroundings of the crater, and in fact, the crater supports a resident population of some twenty to twenty-five thousand large mammals.  

Ngorongoro conservation area is a protected area covering an area of about 8,300 square kilometers (equivalent to almost 3200 square miles) northern of Tanzania which is being administered by the Ngorongoro conservation area authority. The history of Ngorongoro goes as far as two thousand years ago to the pastoralists who replaced the indigenous hunters and gatherers. They were later joined by the Mbulu and Datooga societies, whereas both of them were driven by the Maasai who seemed to be much more superior around 1,800s. It was until the year 1921 when the first game preservation ordinance was passed, which aimed at permitting holders throughout the year alongside protecting the area by prohibiting hunting on the conserved area. Thereafter the Ngorongoro conservation area authority was established by the Game Park Laws Acts in the year 1976. This was given the full management and protection of the whole area (both in the crater and around the crater) and her responsible stewardship made the area become the World Heritage Site in the year 1979.

With a 180km ride only from Arusha town, you can be able to experience the cool air of the largest intact volcanic caldera in the world, the Ngorongoro crater. There is nothing more splendid to experience on your trip to East Africa than the vision of this seventeen kilometers wide crater whose walls can stand up to six hundred meters high. Its 260 square kilometer floor encompasses various habitats such as forests, swamps, lush grassland and the most eye-catching of all is the crater lake. This is a soda lake found inside the Ngorongoro crater, whose water is filled by a neighboring river by the name Munge river. It is estimated that the height of the original volcano of the main caldera of the Ngorongoro crater should have been between 4500m to 5900m, which is greater even than the highest peak in Africa i.e. Mount Kilimanjaro. Letting aside the main caldera we have two other volcanic craters which are Empakai and Olmoti. Empakai is the one which is responsible for the occurrence of this deep alkaline lake, Lake Magadi. On the other hand, Olmoti creates a good scene from its stunning waterfalls.  

The name of this awesome lake originates from the Maasai society who are indigenous of Ngorongoro. It is conspicuously known as Lake Makati, which is a Maasai name for salt. The lake is cardinally composed of soda; whose Swahili name is Magadi. This baptizes the Ngorongoro crater lake with another name ‘Lake Magadi’ whose origin is that Swahili name of soda. It is an alkaline lake with dry soda pans, covering a total area of seven square miles. The lake has got a unique habitat, the blue-green algae being part of that uniqueness. The soda-like waters of lake Makati are covered with these blue-green algae which are the main source of food to the beautiful flamingos who make themselves a home around crater lake in the Ngorongoro lake. These blooms which float on the alkaline waters make the clear waters of the lake become cloudy. They can be seen throughout the year, but with a clear and better vision during summer.

This alkaline crater lake in Ngorongoro is full of water which comes majorly from two sources. The first are streams that drain water into the lake. Among the major streams is the Ngoitokitok spring, which is located near the eastern crater wall. Ngoitokitok not only serves the function of filling the crater lake with water, but it also provides the perfect picnic site for tourists to enjoy their lunch whilst accompanied by the marvelous scene of the hippos in the Gerigor swamp. You can never understand why Ngorongoro crater was declared a world wonder in 2013 unless you get the chance of visiting this site where you can never stop starring at the montane forests and Euphorbia trees decorating the eastern and western walls of the crater. On top of that, we have Munge river which takes the lion’s share in filling this alkaline lake. The second major source of waters in Lake Magadi is simply the rainwater. This is a result of rainfall which penetrates into the crater and eventually collects up together and makes their channel into the lake in favor of the slopes. This is a very essential source as it also nourishes the forests and grass which completes the entire ecosystem. 

Speaking of the flora and fauna making their lives within and around lake Magadi, we have a vast variety of them. This ranges from the lush grassland up to the enormous hippos in the Gorigor swamp. On the part of vegetation cover, the crater lake in Ngorongoro supports the montane forests which do extend on the eastern side of the crater. This goes hand in hand with the Euphorbia trees which gives a magnificent view of the eastern borders of the crater.  The alkaline soda on them doesn’t only favor the growth of the blue-green algae, but it goes as far as nourishing the lush grasses growing on the floor of the crater. These two are vital in the ecosystem of the crater as the blue-green algae serve as food for the beautiful flamingos coloring the lake, meanwhile, the lush grass attracts mammals such as Buffalos, Grants Gazelles, zebras and of Couse the wildebeests have the largest population amongst all. This group of fauna is never complete until when you speak of the incomparable rhinos in Africa, the black rhinos. This gives you all the reasons for planning a trip to the Ngorongoro crater whenever you think of coming to Africa. Generally, Ngorongoro is inhabited by about 700 wildebeests, 4000 zebras, 3000 elands, 3000 gazelles, 30 large elephants, 26 black rhinos and other species such as buffalos, jackals, wild dogs, cheetahs and spotted hyenas which altogether sums up to almost 4000. All these make up a total of over twenty-five thousand large animals found in Ngorongoro of which most can be found in the crater.

When enumerating the most fascinating places to leave you open-mouthed whenever you pay a visit, then it’s obvious that Ngorongoro crater Lake will outnumber the rest in East Africa. This is mainly due to its endless wonders which begins right from the entrance of this world’s sixth-largest unbroken caldera extending downwards to a depth of approximately 610 meters deep. The estimated height of the original volcano forming the crater seems to be higher even than the highest peak of in Africa, a fact which is just the continuation of its astonishing wonders.

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