Name ID 2063
Hanby, Jeannette & Bygott, David Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Page Number: 11
Pastoralists live in Serengeti and Ngorongoro - called the Stone Bowl people
Skinner, Annabel Tanzania & Zanzibar
Page Number: 135b
Extract Date: 1898
The people of Arusha - the WaArusha - had been long-established as a distinct tribe of Pastoralists and farmers when the colonial powers arrived. Their social structure was influenced by Maasai ancestors, with a central warrior class and status relating to age. Occasionally called upon to support Rindi, the great Chagga warrior chief (see pp.197-8) in his battles with other chiefs around Kilimanjaro, the Arusha were no strangers to fighting by the time the Germans began to get caught up in these altercations - but soon found themselves on the wrong side of both their former ally and the new colonial enemy.
Extract Date: 1996
Features Africa Network All rights reserved Distributed by Africa Online, Inc.
The Tanzanian government has been called upon to ensure the survival of the Maasai and Tatoga Pastoralists residing in the Ngorongoro conservation area(NCA) in the northern part of the country.
The call was made in Arusha by an expert in pastoralism, Martin Loft, of the committee for pastoralist issues, an International Network based in Denmark.
Loft told reporters that the Maasai Pastoralists living in the area had the right to survive and should be helped by the government and the general public to ensure that famine does not enter their area of great wealth.
'The Pastoralists have experienced a dramatic decrease in their livelihood to the point where two thirds of the population have dropped below subsistence level,' Loft said.
About 24,000 people of the 42,000 Pastoralists residing in the area survive only due to the help given by their slightly more fortunate relatives.
The call came about in response to the government order that all agricultural activities in the NCA should stop by next January.
The government decreed in a cabinet paper of June, 1994 that the ban on cultivation in the NCA would be re-imposed in January, 1996, when it was expected that economic alternatives to agriculture should be in place.
So far, the expert said, no action had been taken by the responsible NCA authority (NCAA) to introduce alternative economic activities despite the government decree, threatening the lives of the people in the area with famine.
The 8,292-square kilometers NCA in Arusha region was established in 1959 as Africa's first multiple land use area, with the aim of perpetuating the harmonious coexistence between semi-nomadic Pastoralists and their herds on one hand and protection of wildlife and conservation of natural resources on the other.
All protected areas in northern Tanzania and southern Kenya were formerly pastoralist lands. However, Ngorongoro is the only place where men have been allowed to continue co-existing with wildlife in the natural surroundings.
World Conservation Monitoring Centre Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Extract Date: 1997 June 26
NAME Ngorongoro Conservation Area
IUCN MANAGEMENT CATEGORY
VI (Managed Resource Protected Area)
Natural World Heritage Site - Criteria ii, iii, iv
BIOGEOGRAPHICAL PROVINCE 3.05.04 (East African Woodland/savanna)
GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION In the Arusha Region of northern Tanzania, south-east of Serengeti National Park. 2°30'-3°30'S, 34°50'-35°55'E
DATE AND HISTORY OF ESTABLISHMENT 1959 by Ordinance No. 413 as amended by the Game Parks Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act No. 14 of 1975. Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979. Internationally recognised as a part of Serengeti-Ngorongoro Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme in 1981.
AREA 828,800ha; contains the World Heritage site (809,440ha); contiguous to Serengeti National Park (1,476,300ha) and close to Lake Manyara National Park (32,500ha). Contained by the biosphere reserve which covers 2,305,100ha.
LAND TENURE Government
ALTITUDE Under 1,500m to 3,648m
PHYSICAL FEATURES The open plains of the eastern Serengeti rise to the crater highlands of the volcanic massifs of Loolmalasin (3,587m) and Oldeani (3,168m) dating from the late Mesozoic-early Tertiary period. Ngorongoro Crater is one of the largest inactive unbroken calderas in the world which is unflooded. It has a mean diameter of 16-19km, a crater floor of 26,400ha, and a rim soaring to 400-610m above the crater floor. The formation of the crater and other highlands are associated with the massive rifting which occurred to the west of the Gregory Rift Valley. The conservation area also includes Empakaai Crater and Olduvai Gorge, famous for geology and associated palaeotological studies. The highland forests form an important water-catchment for surrounding agricultural communities.
CLIMATE Because of the great amplitude in relief and the dynamics of air masses, there is a great variation in the climate of the area. In the highlands, it is generally moist and misty, and temperatures in the semi-arid plains can be as low as 2°C, but can often go up to 35°C. Rainfallis seasonal and follows the altitudinal gradient. Annual precipitation varies from under 500mm on the arid plains in the west, to 1700mm along the forested slopes in the east.
VEGETATION A variable climate and diverse landforms and altitudes have resulted in several distinct habitats. Scrub heath and the remains of dense montane forests cover the steep slopes. The crater floor is mainly open grassy plains with alternating fresh and brackish water lakes, swamps and two patches of Acacia woodland; Lerai Forest, comprising dominant tree species Acacia xanthophloea and Rauwolfia caffra; and Laiyanai Forest with Cassipourea malosana, Albizzia gummifera, and Acacia lahai. The area includes undulating plains covered in grass, which become almost desert during periods of severe drought. These grass and shrublands are rich and support very large animal populations and are relatively untouched by cultivation. The upland woodlands contain Acacia lahai and A. seyal and perform a critical watershed protection function.
FAUNA There is a large population of wild ungulates in the crater including: wildebeest Connochaetes taurinus (LR)(7,000 estimated in 1994), zebra Equus burchelli (4,000), eland Taurotragus oryx, gazelles Gazella granti (LR) and G. thomsoni (LR)(3,000), black rhinoceros Diceros bicornis (CR) (These have declined from approximately 108 in 1964-66, to 10 in 1990 to between 11-14 in 1995 Moehlman et al., 1996), and hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius (very uncommon in the area). The crater also has the densest known population of lion Panthera leo (VU) (estimated 68 in 1987). On the crater rim are buffalo Syncerus caffer (LR) numbering 4,000 in 1994, elephant Loxodonta africana (EN) numbering 29 in 1992 (Said et al., 1995), mountain reedbuck Redunca fulvorufula (LR) and leopard Panthera pardus. Serengeti migrants, including 1.7 million wildebeest, 260,00 zebra and 470,000 gazelles (Leader-Williams et al., 1996) are numerous on the plains. Waterbuck Kobus ellipsiprymnus (LR) mainly occur near Lerai Forest, while serval Felis serval occur widely in the crater as a whole and on the plains to the west. Particularly common in the reserve are lion Panthera leo (VU), hartebeest Alcelaphus buselaphus (LR), and spotted hyena Crocuta crocuta (LR). Cheetah Acinonyx jubatus (VU), though common in the reserve as a whole, are scarce in the crater itself. Wild dog Lycaon pictus (EN) has recently disappeared from the crater and may have declined elsewhere in the Conservation Areas as well. Golden cat Felis aurata has recently been seen in the Ngorongoro forest. Birds include ostrich Struthio camelus, kori bustard Choriotis kori, possibly lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus, Verreaux's eagle Aquila verreauxii, Egyptian vulture Neophron percnopterus, rosy-breasted longclaw Macronyx ameliae and lesser flamingo Phoeniconaias minor (LR)(on the lake in Ngorongoro crater and Lake Ndutu). Sunbirds in the highland forest include golden winged sunbird Nectarinia reichenowi and eastern double collared sunbird N. mediocris. Papilio sjoestedti (LR), sometimes known as the Kilimanjaro swallowtail, flies in the montane forests of Mt Meru, Mt Kilimanjaro and Ngorongoro in north-eastern Tanzania. It has a very restricted range but is well protected in national parks (National Park Service, pers. comm., 1995).
CULTURAL HERITAGE The NCA has palaeotological and archaeological sites over a wide range of dates. The four major sites are: Olduvai gorge, Laetoli site, Lake Ndutu site, and the Nasera Rock Shelter. The variety and richness of the fossil remains, including those of early hominids, has made Ngorongoro one of the major areas in the world for research on the evolution of the human species. Olduvai Gorge has produced valuable remains of early hominidsincluding Australopithecus boisei (Zinthanthropus) and Homo habilis as well as fossil bones of many extinct animals. Nearby, at Laetoli, fossil hominid footprints of Pliocene age have been found.
LOCAL HUMAN POPULATION There is considerable controversy about the exact number of people in the NCA partly because pastoral people, being mobile, are difficult to enumerate. In 1994, the Natural Peoples World (NPW) estimated the Maasai population to be about 40,000 (one quarter of those living in Tanzania), with some 300,000 head of livestock which graze approximately 70-75% of the conservation area. However, Leader-Williams et al.(1996) put the figure at 26,000 Pastoralists and 285,000 head of cattle. There are no inhabitants in Ngorongoro and Empaakai Craters or the forest (National Park Service, pers. comm., 1995).
VISITORS AND VISITOR FACILITIES There are four lodges on the crater rim and one at Ndutu, and vehicles and guides can be hired from the Authority to go into the crater. There is an interpretive centre at Olduvai, which focuses on the interpretation of the Gorge and its excavations. Another centre, at the Lodoare entrance, is in the final stages of construction (National Park Service, pers. comm., 1995). About 24% of all tourists visiting the parks of northern Tanzania stop at Ngorongoro, totalling 35,130 in 1983. Visitor numbers have substantially increased since 1984, reaching more than 77,000 in 1987, of whom 36,000 were Tanzanian nationals (Kayera, n.d.).
SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND FACILITIES Various studies based at Seronera Wildlife Research Centre (formerly known as the Serengeti Research Institute) include monitoring of climate, vegetation and animal populations. The level of research into human and range ecology is low. Long-term studies in the crater have been on lion behaviour, serval behaviour, and on rhinoceros and elephant behaviourial ecology (SWRC, 1993). From 1988, the Ngorongoro Ecological Monitoring Programme has been individually identifying black rhinoceros, and monitoring breeding and movement patterns (Moehlman et al., 1996). Seronera Research Centre in the contiguous National Park provides a research station and accommodation for scientists. There is a small research cabin within the crater.
CONSERVATION VALUE Ngorongoro is one of the largest inactive, unbroken and unflooded calderas in the world. The conservation area has one of Africa'a largest wildlife conglomerations. It is home to a small and isolated relict of the black rhino population which was once a common and widespread group across southern and eastern africa.
CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT The Ngorongoro was first established as a conservation area to benefit the Maasai. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Ordinance of 1959 created the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) which was charged with ensuring multiple land use there to assist in conserving and developing the areas natural resources, and promoting local interests. However it failed to function because of lack of rapport between government officials and the Maasai. By 1960, a draft management plan was prepared, which was revised in 1962 and further reviewed. In 1961, the Prime Minister Julius Nyere issued the Arusha Manifesto. The Tanzanian government conducted a pioneer experiment in multiple land use (one of few such areas in Africa) which attempted to reconcile the interests of wildlife, Maasai Pastoralists, and conservation. The 1975 Ngorongoro Conservation Area Ordinance stipulatesthe objectives of the areas as follows: the conservation and development of the NCA's natural resources; the promotion of tourism; and the safeguarding and promotion of the interests of the Maasai. However, cultivation was banned in 1976 due to incompatibility with wildlife conservation. Following the Serengeti Workshop, convened by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism in December 1985, the Government of Tanzania/IUCN initiated a Development Project. The principal objectives were to identify the requirements for long-term conservation of the area by assessing land use pressures in, and adjacent to the conservation area; determining development needs of resident Pastoralists; reviewing and evaluating management options; formulating conservation and development policies to fulfil the needs of both local Maasai people and conservation priorities; and to develop proposals for follow-up activities (IUCN, 1987). Since the problems were identified, the NCAA has been setting more funds aside for appropriate solutions, and the relationship between the residents and the NCAA has been improved with the establishment of a Community Development Department and a joint Management/Resident Representative Council (Leader-Williams et al., 1996).
Some animals, such as buffalo, wildebeest and zebra migrate out of the crater during periods of drought and considerable effort is being made to prevent the migration routes from being encroached upon by settlements and agricultural developments. The contiguous and nearby protected areas provide key feeding grounds for a number of species that migrate seasonally, for example wildebeest, zebra and Thomson's gazelle. Efforts have been made to control poaching with the aid of FZS, AWF, TWPF, WWF, and the police. IUCN/WWF Project 1934 was set up in 1981 to combat poaching of rhinoceros in the Lake Eyasi area. Two vehicles and radios were provided. The NCAA produce up to 40,000 tree seedlings annually in an attempt to reduce pressure on natural forest for fuel wood.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area Management Plan proposals have been submitted but have been rejected by the Chief Conservator because the proposed plan is regarded as going beyond its terms of reference.
MANAGEMENT CONSTRAINTS About five percent of the area has been degraded by trampling and overgrazing, and there is a threat from vehicle-tracks becoming excessively enlarged, principally due to tourism pressure. Poaching, mainly of black rhinoceros and leopards, occurs and is difficult to suppress effectively due to the lack of equipment and fuel, low morale and rough terrain. According to Moehlman et al. (1996), due to it's small size, the rhinoceros population is extremely vulnerable to poaching, and faces genetic threats from inbreeding and loss of genetic variation.
The spread of the malignant catarrh fever disease, which kills cattle (although it has little effect on wildebeest) has been reduced as wildebeest numbers have decreased from 1.3 million to 7,000. There is a problem with securing water supplies, arising from the neglect of dams, boreholes and pipelines installed during the 1950s and 1960s. Grassland areas are degrading with the spread of unpalatable grass and other species, and poorly controlled or inappropriate burning. The forests to the north-east are increasingly threatened by fuel wood gathering, both by people living in the conservation area and in villages in the Karatu and Kitete areas along the eastern boundary. A number of poorer Maasai from the conservation area make a living collecting honey from wild bee colonies in the forest, frequently burning trees in the process.
Land-use conflicts have increased in recent years as the Maasai have become more sedentary. This is due to a decrease in human:livestock ratios during the 1970s and 80s which occurred because of an increasing population and a decline in livestock. This decline was exacerbated by inadequate vetinary services, which the NCAA had difficulties providing as income from tourism decreased (Leader-Williams et al., 1996). In response to food scarcity, local residents were allowed to practise cultivation on a temporary basis. Much of this has taken place on areas totally unsuitable for agriculture. Encroachment on the slopes of Empakaai near Nayobi and Kapenjiro has been so extensive that they may be excised from the conservation area. Such activities have had a serious impact on water catchment values, vegetation cover and wildlife (J. Thorsell, pers. comm., 1993). Priorities have been identified by the community including food security, livestock health and infrastructural developments such as improvements to the water supply. These have been addressed in order to try to solve conflicts (Leader-Williams et al., 1996).
STAFF Some 360 staff (1994) (National Park Service, pers. comm., 1995).
BUDGET Ninety-two per cent of the budget is derived from visitor entrance fees (undated information).
Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, PO Box 1, Ngorongoro Crater, Arusha
Anon. (1981). A revised Development and Management Plan for the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Bureau of Resource Assessment and Land Use Planning.
Arhem, K., Homewood, K. and Rodgers, A. (1981). A Pastoral Food System: The Ngorongoro Maasai in Tanzania (Bureau of Resource Assessment and Land Use Planning, Dar-es-Salaam).
Arhem, K. (1981). Maasai Pastoralism in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area; Sociological and Ecological Issues (Bureau of Resource Assessment and Land Planning. Dar-es-Salaam).
Dirschl, H.J. (1966). Management and Development Plan for Ngorongoro (Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Wildlife).
Eggeling, W.J. (1962). The Management Plan for the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority. Ngorongoro Crater).
Estes, R.D. and Small, R. (1981). The large herbivore populations of Ngorongoro Crater. Afr. J. Ecol. 19(1-2): 175-185.
Frame, G.W. (1982). Wild Mammal Survey of Empakaai Crater Area. Tanzanian Notes and Records No. 88 and 89: 41-56. Herlocher, D. and Dirschl, H.J. (1972). Vegetation Map. Canadian Wildlife Services, Report Series 19.
Homewood, K.M. and Rodgers, W.A. (1984). Pastoralist Ecology in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania. Pastoralist Development Network Bulletin of the Overseas Development Institute, London. No. 17d: 1-27.
IUCN (1985). Threatened Natural Areas, Plants and Animals of the World. Parks 10(1): 15-17.
IUCN (1987). Ngorongoro conservation and development project. Workplan of activities. Unpublished report. 10 pp.
IUCN/WWF Project 1934. Tanzania, Anti-poaching camp, Lake Eyasi.
Kayera, J.A. (not dated). Balancing conservation and human needs in Tanzania: the case of Ngorongoro. Unpublished report. 5pp.
Lamotte, M, (1983). The undermining of Mount Nimba. Ambio XII(3-4): 174-179.
Leader-Williams, N., Kayera, J.A.and Overton, G.L., Eds. (1996) Community-based conservation in Tanzania. IUCN Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. ix + 266pp.Moehlman, P.D.; Amato, G.; Runyoro, V. (1996) Genetic and demographic threats to the black rhinoceros population in the Ngorongoro Crater. Conservation Biology 10(4):1107-1114
Mturi, A.A. (1981). The Archaeological and Palaeotological Resources of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (Ministry of National Culture and Youth, Dar-es-Salaam).
Prins, H.H.T. (1987). Nature conservation as an integral part of optimal landuse in East Africa: the case of the Masai Ecosystem in Northern Tanzania. Biological Conservation 40: 141-161.
Rodgers, W.A. (1981). A Background Paper for a Revised Management Plan for the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (Department of Zoology, University of Dar-es-Salaam).
Saibull, S.A. ole and Carr, R. (1981). Herd and Spear. The life of Pastoralists in transition. Collins, London.
Saibull, S.A. ole (1968). Ngorongoro Conservation Area. East African Agric. For. Research Journal. Vol. 33 Special Issue.
Saibull, S.A. ole (1978). The Policy Process in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Status of the Area Looked at Critically. Tanzanian Notes and Records No. 83.
Said, M.Y., Chunge, R.N., Craig, G.C., Thouless, C.R., Barnes, R.F.W., Dublin, H.T.(1995) African elephant database, 1995. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, 225 pp.
Serengeti Wildlife Research Centre (1993) Scientific Report 1990-1992 Serengeti Wildlife Research Centre.
Taylor, M. E. (1988). Ngorongoro Conservation Area: a report to IUCN Nairobi. Country Commission. 24 pp.
Thorsell, J. (1985). World Heritage Report - 1984. Parks 10(1): 8-9.
For further information please write to:
Information Officer, World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 219 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 1223 277314; Fax: +44 1223 277136.
General email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email for World Heritage enquiries: jim.paine (at) wcmc.org.uk
Document URL: http:// www.wcmc.org.uk /protected_areas/data/wh/ngorongo.html
Revision date: 26-June-1997
Current date: 6-June-1999
ELCA International Disaster Response--Tanzania
Extract Date: 1997 July 14
Like other Southern Sub-Saharan African countries, Tanzania has been facing serious Drought conditions which began in 1990, when the rains began to stray from their traditional pattern. In some areas, the rains have come too early or too late, while in some pockets they have simply been insufficient. This continued unreliability of rainfall has increased vulnerability in the Drought prone regions, districts and villages.
Current reports indicate that nearly 700,000 Tanzanians are facing acute food shortages due to the prolonged Drought and the figure is expected to rise further. Though there has been no report of loss of human life, the situation is getting worse and the rate of malnutrition severe. The rate of malnutrition among children under five is severe and there is evidence of children collapsing in classrooms as a result of hunger. In pastoralist areas all the communities who solely depend on the livestock sale, milk and meat products are affected regardless of age, gender or occupation. In farming communities it is mainly the poor who depend on annual and perennial crops which are severely affected.
With the situation worsening in 1997, various traditional coping mechanisms used before by the communities have now eroded to a minimal level as a result of cultural and economic transformation. The pastoralist movement in search of water and pasture has been restricted as a result of land allocation to big farms and wildlife conservation.
Cultivation of Drought-resistant crops (sorghum, millet and root crops) has now shifted into maize culture. In addition, in most of these Drought prone areas, subsistence farmers have lost traditional seed preservation knowledge and developed seasonal purchasing behavior. During prolonged Drought, purchasing power is low and they become dependent on external aid, which is erratic.
A total of 15 regions have been seriously affected by this year s Drought, with the level of severity varying from region to region In Pastoralists areas such as Monduli, Ngorongoro and Simanjiro, livestock conditions have improved, although many were lost as a result of extended Drought. In the crop producing areas, the crop condition is better in the lowland parts of Karatu, Arumeru, Mwanga and Rombo.
The current need is to supply seed, especially maize; provide transportation; rehabilitate water supply systems; and administer and monitor crops.
Drought, as a creeping disaster, takes time to cause damage. Deaths of livestock and wildlife have been reported. Water sources have dried up as a result of large herds of cattle, goats and sheep migrating to water points and people looking for water. Consequently, springs and wells have been overdrawn and the environment damaged.
Another Drought cycle is predicted for 1999-2004. The question now is whether this short-term relief phase is enough to regain normalcy, or whether more is required to link short-term action to a rehabilitation phase and, eventually, a long-term self-help support phase.
Contributions to ELCA International Disaster Response will help make Drought relief work in Tanzania possible.
Goring, Barry ON SAFARI: Spot the leopards in Tanzania
Extract Author: Barry Going
Extract Date: 2000 January 8
I've just spent three hours waiting for a leopard to appear. It was wonderful. This is what safaris should be about: the patient pursuit of quarry, camera in hand, not frantically barrelling around a game reserve ticking off sightings like a beginner. I did all that yesterday.
I was in Tanzania's Ngorongoro crater, a circle 10 miles across left by an imploding volcano billenniums ago. On the rim 500 yards above me I could just make out the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, a splendidly eccentric designer hotel made up of strings of circular chalets with big chimneys.
The lodge provided me with a van, for just me, Emanuel the driver, and his assistant George. So while other vans resounded to debate about whether to wait for a leopard or go in search of warthogs, we sat down to a picnic lunch - pasta, salad, home-made bread, cakes, fruit, cold drinks - and waited.
We knew the leopard was lying in the long grass in the shade under a tree; his tail occasionally waved lazily to chase flies away. Sooner or later the shade would have to move, and he with it.
In the event he held out quite a while before the sun became too warm. He looked up, yawned, stretched, and finally got to his feet, fit and muscular and indifferent to the cameras, and padded behind the tree to resume his nap.
Leopards are always worth seeing, if you manage it. They are tough, solitary hunters, flourishing from Cape Town to Siberia, and they did not earn their success as a species by being conspicuous. Definitely one to tick off - if you go in for that sort of thing.
There is plenty more to see in and around the crater. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area was split from the Serengeti National Park in 1959. The Masai people, traditionally Pastoralists, were unwilling to be moved away from their grazing land around Ngorongoro to make way for animals, as they had been in the Serengeti, so the land is now used for both. They are not supposed to graze cattle in the crater itself, but the ones I saw had obviously not been told.
Ecologically, the crater has something for all its residents: savannah, woodland, marsh, lake, rainforest. There are no acacia trees, so no giraffes; and no female elephants, because the slopes of the crater wall are too steep to bring babies down. Lusty males living on the crater floor have to climb the hill to make conjugal visits.
But there are black rhinos and black-maned lions, and so many hyenas that, in a role reversal, they are reported to have taken up killing their own meals, which the lions then rob them of.
Pink and white flamingoes stand one-legged in the lakes while jackals wait for them on the shore, where they are reduced to little piles of feathers. Kites and vultures soar on thermals, then spiral down for lunch.
In pools under the noon heat, snorting hippos submerge to nostril level, flicking water over their backs with their tails and occasionally rolling over and waving their stubby legs in the air like puppies.
And all this against a background of golden grass, shady trees, and blue hills still licked by morning mist.
For a less enclosed safari, you can go to the tourist-free Serengeti nearby. I stayed at two of Crater Lodge's counterparts there: tented Grumeti River Camp (the river is so thickly covered with plants that I didn't spot it until a hippo's head poked up), and Klein's Camp, whose rondavels overlook a long valley leading north to Kenya.
These are great places to see the mass migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra north to the Masai Mara every June and back again in November in search of fresh grazing.
The travelling companions make a good double act: zebra eat the tall grass, discouraging the tsetse flies which torment the thin-skinned wildebeest and tourists. The wildebeest then eat the short grass. Zebra have good eyes, wildebeest good noses - and the sixth sense which tells them when to hit the road. This is the cue for the lions, crocodiles and other predators to look for vulnerable migrants.
Sadly for me, the migration always seemed set for yesterday, or tomorrow; I saw hundreds of animals milling around but not migrating. If you must see the migration and can come at short notice, register with the camps and they will let you know when it begins. Live coverage should eventually appear on their website, www.ccafrica.com.
The other place to visit, an hour north-west of Ngorongoro on a bumpy road (Tanzanian pot-holes could double as giraffe traps), is Olduvai Gorge, where the Leakeys and fellow palaeontologists have discovered some of the earliest human remains. Apart from a small but good museum, there is not much to see, but it's a pilgrimage any homesick hominid might make.
And after a dusty day in the gorge or with the wildlife, retreat to the comfort of the Crater Lodge. The rooms are strung along the rim, so you can see the crater from your bed, lavatory or bath.
The duties of Safari, my butler, included not only meeting me on my return with Emanuel, taking my order at dinner, lighting my fire and/or switching on my electric blanket, but also running hot baths and sprinkling them with rose petals.
I was lying back submerged to nostril level when it dawned on me: surly buffalo, pregnant rhino, somnolent lion, lonesome elephant, and of course the leopard: for the first time, I had seen the Big Five in one day. But don't think I go around ticking off lists.
Odhiambo, Nicodemus Maasai Up Against Arabs Destroying Their Environment
Extract Author: Nicodemus Odhiambo
Extract Date: 2000 April 24
Panafrican News Agency
A land dispute at the heart of which are environmental concerns is brewing in the northern Tanzanian region of Arusha.
Maasai Pastoralists who inhabit the region are up in arms against an Arab company licensed by the government to carry out hunting activities in the area.
Thirteen elders of the Maasai people have been in Dar es Salaam to press the government for action against Ortello Business Company of the United Arab Emirates.
They accuse the company of environmental degradation and plundering natural resources in the range land where their herds of cattle graze.
However, Arusha regional commissioner Daniel ole Njoolay has denied the furore raised by residents of three villages of Sambu, Oloosoito-Maaloni and Arash against the Arab firm. He says their claims of environment degradation may be politically-motivated. But the Maasai insist that they will not accept anything less than government intervention, according to Sandet ole Reya, spokesperson of the elders group.
Should the government fail to intervene, the Maasai will institute litigation against the state and the company, ole Reya said. The Tanzanian association of environmental journalists, JET, has strongly condemned the company and appealed to other national and international environmentalists to intervene in the dispute.
'JET is informed that there is haphazard killing of wild animals in the area by using remote sensing techniques at night,' JET chair Balinangwe Mwambungu has said in a statement.
Accusations raised by the Maasai, Mwambungu said, should be treated with authenticity because the group 'is not affiliated to any political party and, therefore, had no reason to lie to the world.'
Ortello was licensed in 1993 to carry out hunting activities and allocated hunting blocks in the Loliondo Game Controlled Area by the government of former president Ali Hassan Mwinyi.
At that time it was widely believed that corruption oiled the wheels of government to get the licence. The Maasai Pastoralists expressed their concern at that time, saying the land, being their common property, was allocated to the Arab company without their consent.
The company has over the years tried to placate the villagers by giving them what the Maasai elders have described as empty promises to improve local infrastructure.
Part of the unfulfilled promises include construction of schools and installation of other social amenities.
A more recent pledge the villagers anxiously await is the promise by Ortello's general manager, Ahmed Saaed, to sink 32 boreholes in order to alleviate water shortage in the semi-arid range land.
The company has built mosques in the area and had embarked on a campaign to convert the Maasai into Moslems, a move the villagers considered as despicable.
Standing their ground, the Maasai Pastoralists who usually move from place to place in search of pasture for their cattle herds, say they will not be placated easily this time.
'We cannot just sit and watch the Arabs take our land. If necessary, we will wipe out all animals in the area to keep the Arabs out of our land,' said ole Reya, explaining retaliatory actions his people were likely to take in case the government does not respond to their demands.
He also said that they could even migrate en masse across the border into neighbouring Kenya where the same people live on a pastoral economy.
According to the Maasai elders, the Arab company was constructing a three- kilometre airstrip in the game controlled area. They said the project would disturb wild animals during seasonal migration.
Ole Reya said that military cargo planes from the United Arab Emirates frequently landed at the unfinished airstrip without following international aviation rules.
In addition, ole Reya said, Ortello company was completing a mansion within the game area and a warehouse at the source of River Olosai to facilitate the carting off of massive amounts of trophy.
'This is truly land alienation and we are prepared not to let it pass,' ole Reya said, recalling the arrest of scores of villagers when 20,000 of them marched on the site to block construction of the mansion.
Ole Reya also alleges that an unnamed Arab prince, notoriously referred to as 'brigadier,' could be seen carting off live wild animals from the area to his country.
'This is despicable and shameful not only to Tanzanians but also to people all over the world who care for wildlife and the environment,' JET said.
The journalists' association has questioned the motive behind the construction of an airstrip in Loliondo and wondered why the government was not monitoring flights in and out of the area.
'We are concerned with the issue because Loliondo is an important wildlife dispersal area for migratory species from the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya to the great Serengeti plains in Arusha region,' Mwambungu added.
Tanzania's minister for natural resources and tourism, Zakia Meghji, has said that the government would send experts to the area to determine the allegations.
She said the experts would conduct an environmental audit to ascertain whether the activities of Ortello company were jeorpadising wildlife.
Professional hunting in Tanzania has been on the rise since the country adopted liberal economic policies in the early 1990s.
Hunting blocks were set aside, rising from 47 in 1965 to 140 by 1997.
The Ortello saga is only the latest hoopla in a series of allegations concerning flaws in the granting of hunting licences and hunting blocks in Tanzania.
According to an environmental lawyers association here, issuance of presidential hunting licences had been constantly abused through corruption and nepotism in a manner likely to jeorpadise wildlife conservation in Tanzania.
Map and Guide to Tanzania
Page Number: 09e
The Masai: with their bodies painted in ochre and their blue or red clothing, these Nilotic fully nomadic Pastoralists originated from the southern part of Sudan, descending towards Tanzania during the 17th century. Their life style is well publicized but it is maybe lesser known that they obey strict dietary habits forbidding them for instance to consume milk and meat within the same day and that they observe the cushitic taboo against eating fish.
Extract Author: Mustafa Leu
Extract Date: July 27 2002
ISSN 0856-9135; No. 00230
A Pastoralists representative in Ngorongoro District has asked the Government to revoke the hunting concession granted to Ortello Business Corporation allegedly because the company has failed to fulfil its pledges to communities in the area.
Mr. Raphael Ole Leng'oi, Councillor for the Loliondo Ward expressed his concern over the implementation of what was earlier promised when the company started its hunting operations in Loliondo.
Ole Len’goi was speaking in an interview with this reporter after participating in a workshop on wildlife laws and policies. The workshop was organized under the auspices of Journalists Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET).
The Ortello Business Corporation, a firm owned by Major General Mohamed Abdulrahim Al Ali of United Arab Emirates, was granted a hunting concession for the Loliondo area early 1993. In the contract signed in November 1992 by Mr. Ahmed Saeed Abdulrahaman Al-Khateeb on behalf of the Major General, the firm's obligation was to construct primary schools, dispensaries, excavate boreholes, cattle troughs and build village road networks.
Mr. Leng'oi complained that since the promises were not fulfilled, the peasants and Pastoralists in the area were still compelled to travel long distances in search of water. He said water is sold at Shs. 300 per container of 20 litres.
The Councillor, who was with the Pastoralists disputed the move of the investor to construct another airstrip at Mambarashani, on the Serengeti Plains while it has ignored the implementation of the agreed community development projects.
The villagers have insisted that the government should rescind the contract with the Corporation Six villages in Nogorongoro namely Olorien Magaidum, Oloipir, Soiti Sambu, Ololosokwan, Maalon and Arash. have contracts with Ortello. Mr. Lengoi lamented that the Pastoralists have no area allocated for grazing their livestock. He, thus, implored the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism to abstain from valuing wildlife more than human beings. He said that they were in the area even before the area was declared as a conserved area in 1928. “ We are the real protectors of the wildlife”, he said.
Extract Author: David Erickson
Page Number: 2004 09 26c
Extract Date: 26 September 2004
Here is a link to a short film about Wataturu Pastoralists who are from the Singida Region and currently live in the Lake Eyasi basin.
Main Home Page
Inner frame page
Link to the trailer http://www.kemi.fi/voimala/trailer_Wataturu_500_eng.htm
Extract Author: Dr. Chris Daborn
Page Number: 372
Extract Date: June 4 2005
Pastoralists have been described as the original Conservationists - which might be thought paradoxical when there is such an influential body of opinion that views Pastoralists as a threat to wildlife conservation. All the lands of Northern Tanzania that harbour the remnants of the once huge populations of wildlife are lands which, until comparatively recently, were also universally sustainably supporting Pastoralists. If pastoralism posed such a threat then why was such a diverse and abundant population of wildlife found in these lands? The reality is of course that Pastoralists do not pose a threat to wildlife. It has been shown, from as long ago as the first millennium BC, that wildlife can survive with Pastoralists. However if, as it now seems possible, pastoralism were to fail B the question that would need to be urgently addressed is - Can wildlife survive without Pastoralists?
Pastoralism is an eco-friendly practice that in Tanzania is rapidly approaching a crisis of sustainability. The core problem is one of an ever decreasing amount of watered rangeland to range on. It is generally accepted that Pastoralists are specialists at surviving on marginal lands which, due to inadequate and unevenly distributed rainfall, are semi-arid and largely unsuited to the cultivation of crops. In earlier times these semi-arid rangelands were left relatively undisturbed whilst cultivators concentrated their efforts of toil, tillage and pillage on the more fertile and higher rainfall areas. Rangelands, despite the problem of an inadequate distribution of water, lend themselves to a sustainable extensive system of livestock production. This system is so successful that for zero cost in imported materials more than 70% of the meat consumed in Tanzania [and Nairobi!] is produced by Pastoralists from the rangelands of North, West and Central Tanzania. This major contribution to the national economy seems curiously to receive very little if any recognition and the consequent paucity of institutional support, if not outright adverse policy environment, is inexorably bringing the system into crisis.
What makes the rangelands so productive and healthy for livestock is the quality of the grazing and the relatively low challenge from vector borne disease transmitted by ticks and tsetse flies. It can and has supported massive populations of livestock and wildlife. What is more the two populations are not, as so many believe, mutually exclusive. This is because livestock are largely grazers and wildlife are largely browsers. There is in fact a benefit in terms of an improvement in the quality and quantity of edible plant matter available if the two populations are allowed to integrate. Both Pastoralists and wildlife have long co-existed as living proof of this fact and thus it was normal to find large herds of livestock sharing and successfully exploiting the rangeland resource with equally large and diverse species of wildlife. The Pastoralists, as specialist extensive system livestock managers, have centuries of experience at managing the range and have developed knowledge and practices that sustain and improve the grazing and conserve the water sources B practises that the wildlife benefited from in equal measure.
So why are Pastoralists and their specialist range management skills so important for the survival of wildlife? The answer is that Pastoralists like wildlife depend on the range for their survival B though more immediately so. When pastoralism cannot be sustainably practised on the range, it is largely due to problems with the grazing or water and generally both together. In the past this problem was solved by moving to an area where the rains had been more favourable. 21st Century Pastoralists are being increasingly >fenced out= by various boundaries created by administrative borders, national parks, commercial farms and the ever encroaching cultivation. When movement or access to adequate grazing and water cannot take place the peoples we call Pastoralists can no longer survive on pastoralism - full stop. This reality is happening to an ever increasing area of what was once the extensive unfettered rangelands of East Africa. Without urgent interventions to create an enabling environment for the sustainability of the pastoralist system the practice will be gone B as soon as in our life time if not sooner!
The problems leading to the demise of pastoralism in the short term will also be faced by the wildlife in the medium to long term. In the short term the wildlife have the advantage that they can retreat back into the protected areas of the National Parks. But, if wildlife cannot freely access and graze on the rangeland that borders the National Parks they too will surely follow the Pastoralists into extinction. This is because the rangelands are essential for successful breeding and for ensuring a necessary mixing of genes which occurs when populations from different locations meet. Isolate one population of wildlife in one National Park from another population in another National Park, by making the intervening rangeland a no-go area, and this vital process of intermixing of genes will not occur leading to genetic weakening, loss of important survival characteristics and the eventual prospect of a non-viable population.
At the centre of this issue is the impact of activities affecting the capacity of the range to support both grazing and browsing herbivores. The success of Pastoralists in exploiting this resource is an indicator of the capacity of the resource to support herbivore production. If Pastoralists are unsuccessful at producing livestock due to rangeland conditions then for the same reasons wildlife will be adversely affected. If action is not taken, sooner rather than later, the current progressive loss of the rangeland resource to support large populations of grazing animals will result in irreversible losses of those populations. We need an informed debate leading to the adoption of a strategic action plan that will secure the productivity of the range and all the communities that depend on it for their sustenance. If pastoralism should fail through the loss of access to adequate grazing and water from the rangeland resource the same forces will inevitably lead to a progressive decline in the wildlife population. This projected decline in wildlife numbers will pose a direct threat to the sustainability of the vitally important tourist industry and then it will be realised, but too late, that Wildlife really cannot survive without Pastoralists!!
Dr. Chris Daborn works with Tropical Veterinary Services, Karatu, Tanzania