THE Ngorongoro-Lengai Geopark has been billed as the next big thing in tourism.
General Secretary of the Global Geoparks Network Dr Guy Martini observed that the unified area that advances the protection and use of geological heritage in sustainable ways has the potential of complementing wildlife tourism in Tanzania.
Running through Karatu, Monduli, Ngorongoro and Longido districts, the Ngorongoro-Lengai Geopark which includes the Olduvai Gorge spectacle, Laetoli footprints, Oldonyo Lengai Mountain and the rich Maasai and Hadzabe/Barbaig Culture found in both, Monduli and Karatu districts, is a fantastic solution in providing sustainable development to communities, according to the French Geologist.
“Apart from providing sustainable development, the Ngorongoro-Lengai Geopark will also reduce pressure on the conservation area,” explained Dr Martini here at the weekend ahead of the First African International Conference on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Global Geoparks.
The expert further described the 12,000 square kilometers of rocky hills, underground caves, lake basins, and the active Oldonyo Lengai volcano as the ideal model for the future development in Geoparks in Africa.
Found in northern Tanzania, the Ngorongoro-Lengai Geopark is the first of its kind in Sub Saharan Africa. Established in 2018, it boasts of the majestic Oldonyo Lengai, a sacred mountain for the Maasai communities.
It is a true representation of a huge human diversity of local ethnic groups made up of the Masai, Iraqw, Datoga, and Hadzabe communities and features among 147 Geoparks found in 41 countries around the world.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), Conservation Commissioner Dr Freddy Manongi on his part revealed that plans were underway for the nomination of other Geoparks in the country.
The NCAA boss expressed his optimism on such unique geographical sites, deeming them as another tourism products that could further Tanzania’s status in the tourism front.
“Such attractions could add value to our high-flying tourism sector as it doesn’t compromise human activities,” opined the conservation commissioner.
Echoing similar sentiments, NCAA’s Manager incharge of the Cultural Heritage Department, Engineer Joshua Mwankunda said the geological features found in Tanzania was a spectacle to behold, further adding that the whole country qualified to be a geological site.
“The Malanja depression, for instance, offers you a clue of how well-endowed this country is,” he offered.
Slated for March 18 and 22 this year, the First African International Conference on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Global Geoparks will see experts from around the world converging in Arusha to share techniques and expertise on the formulation of Geo Parks, will also feature the inauguration of the African UNESCO Global Geoparks Network, followed by a twoday excursion of the mighty Ngorongoro Lengai UNESCO Global Geopark.
On 17 November 2015, the 195 Member States of UNESCO ratified the creation of a new label, the UNESCO Global Geoparks, during the 38th General Conference of the Organisation.