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Africa’s Eden: A hit among Sullivan summit delegated

Adam Ihucha  Jun 04, 2008

Ngorongoro, Tanzania (eTN) - The Sullivan dignitaries mostly from US over the weekend fell in love with the "Africa's Eden" and the "8th Natural Wonder of the World," vowing to market the place back home.

This collapsed volcano famous as a "caldera" is located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) in the famous northern Tanzania's tourist circuit.

In their first leg into crater, the 270 core delegates led by Rev. Jesse Jackson, they came face-to-face with a natural sanctuary for thousands of birds, insects and animals such as lions, zebra, black rhino and wildebeest, all free to wander.

No sooner, as it happened, the dignitaries went wild, ululating, charting, saying the natural beauty of the place made them feel as if they were in the biblical Eden Garden.

"This is tantalizing natural place remains on earth, other people in potential tourism market like US, China and elsewhere should know and come to visit," Rev. Jesse Jackson said.

He was particularly impressed by the success story of multiple land use where pastoralism, conservation and tourism co-exist in a carefully managed harmony.

Rev. Jackson went crazy when physically witness Hippos and Zebra within the Ngorongoro crater, share a drinking water in peacefully manner. "The crater is fascinating because it is probably the only place across the world where wildlife and human being co-exist together in peace and harmony," he explained.

Jesse however implored the NCAA to continue protecting the ecosystem for the fauna and flora to remain intact for the benefit of the current and next generation.

A US based veterinary journalist, E.R Shipp said the Ngorongoro Crater was so tormenting to the extent that she felt as if she was in the biblical Eden Garden.

"This is so wonderful sanctuary, it looks like the beginning of life…I feel as if I'm roaming around the biblical Eden Garden, I am so impressed indeed," Ms. Shipp said. "We are pleased we have been able to see for ourselves the success resulting from what started as a pioneering experiment in multiple land use where pastoralism, conservation and tourism co-exist in a carefully managed harmony."

For her part, Amma Semenya a doctorate degree student in US, said that not only did she appreciate the Ngorongoro crater's natural beauty, but also loved the warm welcome they had accorded by local Maasai.

"I will cherish this memory forever, and I will tell my friends and colleagues back home to come and see for themselves this picturesque sanctuary," Amma noted.

Acting NCAA chief conservator Bernard Murunya, who accompanied a core mission into crater, said, "They spent almost four hours game viewing and experiencing first hand the majesty of the area.”
According to Murunya, they were extremely impressed with NCAA’s efforts to protect what is a unique ecosystem, one of the few such places in the world.

The 270 Sullivan Summit delegates became among the 380,000 visitors annually to explore the World Famous Ngorongoro Crater.

According to NCAA Tourism Services manager Boniface Tumbu, tourists visiting the nearly 8,300 sq km world's famous crater, in 2007 has increased tremendously as compared to 2006. He said that tourist' arrivals reached 380,000 in 2007 from 336,000 in 2006, assuring the NCA of record-breaking arrivals for the year 2007.

"A wide range of tourism promotional programs both at home and abroad is the secret behind the tourism boom not only in NCAA, but in the country as a whole," the NCAA tourism boss said.

Murunya further said the country's focused and intensified marketing efforts, invitational programs, as well as participation in various international fairs contributed to the increase of arrivals to the country.

The US maintained its position as the largest contributor of arrivals by the country, accounting for almost 14 percent of all tourists visited NCAA. The craters figures of 2007, Americans accounted for 57,000 visitors – becoming a number one tourist source overtaking the UK.

Called the “eighth wonder of the world” and stretching across some 8,300 sq km, the NCA in northern Tanzania boasts a blend of landscapes, wildlife, people and archaeology that is unsurpassed in Africa.

The volcanoes, grasslands, waterfalls and mountain forests are home to an abundance of animals and to the Maasai.

Ngorongoro Crater is one of the world's greatest natural spectacles; its magical setting and abundant wildlife never fail to enthrall visitors. It borders the Serengeti National Park to the north and west.

The NCAA was established in 1959 to protect an area covering 8300 square kilometers.

Only indigenous tribes such as the Masaai are allowed to live on this land. Olduvai Gorge ("The Cradle of Mankind"), Lake Ndutu and Masek are also within its borders. Lush highlands surround the Crater, falling away to tawny plains and alkaline lakes of the Great Rift Valley.

A few hours drive to the east is the Tanzania's northern safari capital town of Arusha, which nestles at the foot of Mount Meru, within view of Mount Kilimanjaro. Arusha is known as the gateway to the NCAA and the Northern tourist circuit.

Available figures from players in the tourism industry indicate that at least 80 per cent of 700,000 tourists visiting Tanzania annually head for the northern circuit, which includes Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Manyara, Tarangire and Serengeti National Parks.

Elsewhere, figures also show that one third of all tourists coming to Tanzania visit Ngorongoro conservation area and Serengeti National Park alone. No other town is cashing on this multi-billion dollar business than Arusha.

Africa’s Eden: A hit among Sullivan summit delegated
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