rhino, ngorongoroNgorongoro Crater is one of the most magnificent tourist destinations in Africa unparalleled in its distinguished scenic beauty, wildlife and atmosphere. Land in the conservation area is multi-use, it is unique in Tanzania as the only conservation area, providing protection status for wildlife whilst allowing human habitation. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is usually visited on the return journey from the Serengeti to Arusha. Stunning views and unique landscape are a certainty when visiting this spectacular region.

The main feature of the NCA is the Ngorongoro Crater, which is the world's largest unbroken volcanic caldera. The steep sides of the crater mean that it has become a natural enclosure for a very wide variety of wildlife, including most of the species found in East Africa. Ngorongoro Crater provides some of the best game viewing in all the National Parks of Tanzania. All the lodges are built high on the crater rim and afford amazing views over and into the crater, the perfect location to watch the infamous African sunset.

A population of about 25,000 large animals, including the highest density of mammalian predators in Africa, lives in the crater. These include black rhinoceros, hippopotamus which are usually very uncommon in the area. There are also wildebeest, zebra, eland, Grants and Thomsons gazelles. The crater has the densest known population of lion. On the crater rim are leopard, elephant, mountain reedbuck and buffalo.

Lake Magadi, filled by the Munge river in the centre of the crater is, like many in the rift valley, a soda lake supporting flocks of flamingo and a variety of other water birds.More than a 100 species of bird not found in the Serengeti have been found in the crater including; ostriches, kori bustards, secretary birds, and crowned cranes as well as vultures, egrets, herons and geese.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area also encompasses and protects Olduvia Gorge, one of the oldest sites of the earliest specimens of the human genus and is considered to be the seat of humanity. Olduvia Gorge is the driest part of the region and excavation continues to this day as this prehistoric sites is instrumental in understanding human evolution.

Located 8 km north of Tanga City in Tanzania you will find the Amboni Caves - the most extensive limestone caves in East Africa. Altogether there are 10 caves however, only one is used for guided tours. According to researchers the area was under water some 20 million years ago. The caves were formed about 150 million years ago during the Jurassic Age and covers an area of 234 km². The Amboni Caves were handed over to the Department of Antiquities in 1963.

It is said that reports for this unique historical site indicate that ethnic groups such as the Segeju, Sambaa, Bondei and Digo who lived near the caves used it for prayers are a fascinating historical site and were used as hiding places for the locals. The caves are among the area’s most popular attractions that have attracted, over the years, hundred thousands of tourists both local and foreign. The caves have religious significance to the local people who pray and make offerings in one of the shrines.

Subject to local legends and a number of mythical stories, to the local people the caves are regarded as supernatural formations where supernatural powers commonly known as “Mizimu” are believed to have been residing since the caves formation. There are chambers treated as sacred chambers for worshiping some spirits. One of them is called “Mzimu wa Mabuvu”. Some believe that there is a powerful deity which can alleviate their sickness, sufferings or increase their fertility.

For a section of locals, the caves have been long-known as the place to worship to pray for different needs. Chamber number one is used for the prayers, in what many people associate with superstitions. Different items are deposited here during players as ‘gifts that the local villagers offer to the spirits.

The Amboni caves are among the area’s most popular attractions and feature vast below-ground halls with towering formations. If you are planning a visit to Amboni Caves it is advised you wear comfortable shoes and to bring a pocket-size camera.  Be prepared that before entering some of the smaller caves you may be asked to leave any large bags in an area to pick up later.

Walking through the small tunnels while at the same time getting treated to views of incredible formations makes a visit to Amboni Caves well worth it. Amboni Caves can be accessed from Tanga in 25 minutes by car or two hours by foot!