Culverts to be built along waterlogged Ngorongoro crater roads

21Feb 2020
Marc Nkwame
The Guardian
Culverts to be built along waterlogged Ngorongoro crater roads

FOR the first time, culverts will be built in some parts of the Ngorongoro Crater where caldera roads cross water-logged grounds as torrential rains pound on.

With some let-up in torrential rains, efforts to raise the level of roads inside the Ngorongoro Crater have begun, as captured earlier this week. The rains had swamped most of the wildlife-rich basin, making it difficult for vehicles to move around. Photo: Correspondent Marc Nkwame

The Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority Prof Abiud Kaswamila yesterday inspected the ongoing roads repairing activities inside the crater and is on view that, the progress is promising and the damaged parts will be sealed before the anticipated monsoon rains predicted in March.

 “We have to be careful in working on the crater roads because this is a conservation area which is ecologically sensitive,” explained the Commissioner of Conservation at NCAA, Dr Freddy Manongi who accompanied the Board Chairman down the caldera amid pounding rains.

The Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Khamis Kigwangalla is expected to camp at NCAA and inspect the crater roads as well as all tracks within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and those leading to Serengeti National Park this weekend.

Previously, the Permanent Secretary, Prof Adolf Mkenda toured the area and assured the management that, the government will mobilize funds to ensure that all damaged parts of the conservation roads are repaired.

While some tour drivers complained of the poor conditions of the rain damaged roads, most foreign visitors said it was part of the adventure and in fact, the experience added thrill to their rides during game drives inside the creator.

And while most experts prefer the roads be left alone so as not to interfere with nature, the authority at NCAA believe that, it is important to raise the levels of the crater roads in some parts because a number of tour vans have been getting stuck in the wilderness.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the country’s most visited destination, attracting more than 700,000 tourists per year; this figure accounts for over 50 percent of all leisure visitors coming to Tanzania annually.

Generating over 157bn/- annually, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is also the nation’s leading cash cow, which means come rain or shine, the authority wants the roads inside this financial oyster are kept in good condition.

Most parts of the country have been receiving more than average rainfall, with the precipitation going beyond normal weather season, causing floods across the nation. The Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) has warned that more downpours should be experienced from next month all the way to next June.