Dr Manongi is regarded as an unsung conservation hero for significant achievements in protecting, expanding and promoting Tanzania's most fragile, but tourism jewel of the Ngorongoro conservation area.
Few years since he was appointed at the helm of NCAA, Dr Manongi has been steering the state-run conservation authority with competence, skill, dedication and sincerity.
Citing a recent endorsement of the ‘Ngorongoro-Lengai into the Global Geopark catalogue, by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), raising the profile of the site, as his, but key milestone, among others.
“This feat, among other factors, is a result of Dr Manongi’s unique approach that saw effective sustainable conservation not only in terms of ecology, but also the community within the tourism jewel,” said Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO)’s CEO, Sirili Akko.
Certainly, Dr Manongi painstaking efforts saw the Ngorongoro Lengai not only become the first Geopark in East Africa, but also the pioneer site for geo-tourism in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Geo-tourism is a new concept in tourism that sustains or enhances the distinctive geographical character of a given precinct including the area’s environment, heritage, aesthetics, tradition, culture, and the well-being of its residents and the Ngorongoro-Lengai entity ticks all boxes.
The Ngorongoro Lengai Geopark is the second in Africa after the ‘M'Goun Geopark,’ in Morocco and encompasses the three districts of Ngorongoro, Karatu, and Monduli in Arusha region.
The Geopark lies between Serengeti National Park in the North and North-West, Lake Natron to the East, the left arm of the Great Rift Valley to the South, and Maswa Game Reserve to the West, covering 12,000 square kilometers of rocky hills, lengthy underground caves, lake basins and hominid discovery sites.
The Ngorongoro-Lengai Geopark comprises ancient Datoga tombs; Caldera Route covering, among other sites, Irkepus Village, Old German House, Hippo Pool and Seneto springs, the active Oldonyo-Lengai Volcano and the Empakai Crater.
Dr Manongi is also credited to have improved key infrastructures, doubled the number of tourists visiting the Ngorongoro conservation area, bolstered revenues and the package for corporate social responsibility.
Indeed, NCAA had completed major constructions and renovations of some of its Crater's infrastructures to offer tourists a hustle-free trip within the world heritage site.
The key road descending and ascending in and out of the Crater has been completed.
The 4.2 km long lane-linking Seneto to the Ngorongoro Crater has been constructed by using non-bitumen materials.
To be precise, the eco-friendly hard stone materials have been used in paving the roads inside the NCAA to protect the environment within the Conservation Area.
In its efforts to maintain tourism services, NCAA had modernized its toilet services at the entry and exit gates as well as other frequented visitor’s areas including the camping and picnic sites.
Modern toilets have been installed or built at Loduare Gate and the Olduvai excavation site.
As a result, a number of tourist arrivals to the NCAA between July and October 2021, reaching 147,276 visitors, raising new hopes for quick tourism recovery from Covid-19 pandemic impacts.
Akko said that for tour operators, Dr Manongi is indeed an unsung hero who restored professionalism and discipline into the key conservation institution.
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.
Ngorongoro covers the original sites where the first human being is believed to have originated and actually lived millions of decades ago. This is where the entire globe population would have liked to trace their ancestral roots.