Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page
View photos from OUR PLACE the World Heritage collection
Ngorongoro Conservation Area, (Tanzania Tourist Board)

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 1979
Size of heritage: 809,440 ha

Longitude: 35,541°
Latitude: -2,813°


The Ngorongoro Conservation Area spans vast expanses of highland plains, savanna, savanna woodlands and forests. Established in 1959 as a multiple land use area, with wildlife coexisting with semi-nomadic Maasai pastoralists practicing traditional livestock grazing, it includes the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest caldera. The property has global importance for biodiversity conservation due to the presence of globally threatened species, the density of wildlife inhabiting the area, and the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra, gazelles and other animals into the northern plains. Extensive archaeological research has also yielded a long sequence of evidence of human evolution and human-environment dynamics, including early hominid footprints dating back 3.6 million years.

Location on Map

Show bigger map on Openstreetmap


The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Tanzania. It is situated between the Serengeti National Park and Lake Manyara, covering an area of approximately 8,292 square kilometers. This conservation area is renowned for its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and rich cultural heritage.


The history of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area dates back millions of years. The Ngorongoro Crater, which is the centerpiece of the area, was formed by a volcanic eruption around 2.5 million years ago. Over time, the crater evolved into a unique ecosystem, attracting a wide range of wildlife.

In the 19th century, the Maasai people settled in the area, coexisting with the wildlife and utilizing the land for their livelihoods. However, in the early 20th century, the British colonial government evicted the Maasai from the area to create a game reserve. This move aimed to protect the wildlife and promote tourism.

In 1959, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area was established, allowing the Maasai to return and live within the area while continuing their traditional way of life. The conservation area was later designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979, recognizing its outstanding universal value.

Current State

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a haven for wildlife, boasting a high concentration of animals within its boundaries. It is home to over 25,000 large animals, including elephants, lions, zebras, wildebeests, and rhinos. The area is particularly famous for its population of black rhinos, which are critically endangered.

The Ngorongoro Crater, with its steep walls and lush vegetation, provides a natural enclosure for the wildlife. This unique setting allows for excellent game viewing opportunities, attracting numerous tourists from around the world.

Aside from its wildlife, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area also holds significant cultural importance. The Maasai people, who have inhabited the area for centuries, continue to live in harmony with the wildlife. Their traditional way of life, characterized by cattle herding and vibrant cultural practices, adds to the area's cultural richness.

Efforts are being made to ensure the sustainable management of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) oversees the conservation and protection of the area, working in collaboration with local communities and other stakeholders. The NCAA implements measures to minimize human-wildlife conflicts, promote responsible tourism, and preserve the area's natural and cultural heritage.

However, the conservation area faces challenges such as poaching, habitat degradation, and increasing human settlements. These threats require ongoing conservation efforts and community engagement to ensure the long-term preservation of this unique World Heritage site.


The Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania is a remarkable UNESCO World Heritage site that showcases the beauty of nature and the coexistence of wildlife and humans. With its rich history, diverse wildlife, and cultural significance, it continues to captivate visitors from around the globe. Through sustainable management and conservation initiatives, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area strives to protect its natural and cultural treasures for future generations to enjoy.