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Photographer's Note

Nearly three million years ago Ngorongoro towered alongside Mount Kilimanjaro as one of the highest peaks in Africa. Forged during the tumultuous birth of the Rift Valley, its volcanic top erupted at the time that ancient man first walked the plains.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) covers some 8,300 square kilometres. It boasts the finest blend of landscapes, wildlife, people and archaeological sites in Africa.
Rifts and volcanoes shape the landscape of Ngorongoro.
Today, the rich pasture and permanent water of the Crater floor supports a resident population of some 20,000 to 25,000 large mammals. They are not confined by the Crater walls, and can leave freely; they stay because conditions are favourable. Since most of the Crater floor is grassland, grazing animals predominate: gnu, zebra, gazelles, buffalo, eland and kongoni (Coke's hartebeest) and warthogs. The swamp and forest provide additional resources for hippos, some of Tanzania's last remaining black rhinos, giant-tusked elephants, waterbucks, reedbucks and bushbucks, baboons and vervets. The steep inner slopes provide a habitat for dikdiks and the rare mountain reedbuck. Towering euphorbias cling to the crater walls and on the floor, Fever tree and Fig tree forests give shade to an awe-inspiring array of creatures. All these animals in turn support large predators such as Lion and Leopard, and scavengers such as Hyena and Jackals.
Probably the most awesome spectacle in nature is the migration of approximately 1.4 million wildebeest (gnu), often accompanied by numerous zebra, and always accompanied by predators such as lions, leopards and cheetah.

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Additional Photos by Oscar Lopez (olopez) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 221 W: 59 N: 485] (4959)
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