To Unesco home page

To sitemap

To MAB home page title2.gif (2287 bytes)
      Biosphere Reserve Information

United Republic of Tanzania


  General Description   This biosphere reserve covers 1,476,300 hectares of the Serengeti National Park and 828,800 hectares of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the north of Tanzania. The plains of the Serengeti are mostly formed by crystalline rocks overlaid by volcanic ash with numerous rock outcrops (kopjes). The open plain raises up to the crater highlands comprising the volcanic massifs with up to 3,587 meters above sea level. The Ngorongoro crater is a giant caldera some 16-19 km in diameter with the floor lying 400–600 meters below the rim.
A variable climate and divers landforms have resulted in several distinct habitats. Serengeti’s undulating plains are covered in grass but turn almost to desert during periods of severe drought. Some woodlands are found along the rivers. More elevated areas are covered by scrub, heath and remains of the montane forest, notably on the upper slopes within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
The Serengeti and Ngorongoro regions are known for their vast herds of ungulates which migrate following the water supply. Most common are the Thomson’s gazelle (Gazella thomsoni), wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus), zebra (Equus burchelli), Grant’s gazelle (Gazella granti) and buffalo (Syncerus caffer). The accompanying predators include lion (Panthera leo), leopard (Panthera pardus), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), jackal (Canis aureus, C. adustus) and wild dog (Lycaon pictus). There is a noteworthy black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) population.
Ngorongoro is interesting from an archaeological perspective since many fossil remains, including those of early hominids, which makes it to one of the major areas in the world for research on the evolution of the human species. The area is therefore also inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area has been used by man for hunting and pastures for a long time. Maasai still use parts of the region for livestock raising, leading to the overgrazing in some areas. Poaching is a serious problem in the biosphere reserve, while anti-poaching activities are hampered by lack of fuel and equipment. Serengeti has been a centre for research over the last decades.
  Major ecosystem type   Tropical grasslands and savanna
  Major habitats & land cover types   Open grassland plains dominated by couch grass (Digitaria macroblephara) and Sporobolus marginatus; Acacia woodland savanna; gallery forest; lowland woodlands with Commiphora spp., Acacia drepanolobium and A. gerrardii; upland woodlands with A. lahai and A. seyal
  Location   01°30' to 03°20'S; 34°00' to 35°15'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   2,305,100
  Core area(s)   2,305,100 (of which Ngorongoro Conservation Area: 828,800 and Serengeti National Park: 1,476,300)
  Buffer zone(s)  
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +920 to +1,850
  Year designated   1981
  Administrative authorities   Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) and Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) Authority
  Brief description   Demography and behavioural ecology of lion, hyena and cheetah
Biodiversity research
Ecosystem processes (vegetation dynamics)
African paleoecology
Darein fellows (owls)
Serengeti veterinary project (SWRI)
Serengeti water quality study
Socio-economic aspects of maasai pastoralists (NCA)
Wildlife-livestock interaction with emphasis on diseases (NCA)
Modelling the balance between food security and conservation (NCA)
The trade- off between stopping small-scale cultivation and allocating more funds to pastoralists development (NCA)
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Hydrology.
  Biodiversity   Biodiversity, birds, conservation, ecosystem functioning/ecosystem structure, ethology, evolutionary studies/palaeoecology/evolution, pests/diseases, vegetation studies/plant cover, wildlife.
  Socio-economic   Economic studies, livelihood measures, livestock and related impacts/overgrazing, modelling, pastoralism/pastoralists/grazing, social/socio-economic aspects.
  Integrated monitoring   n.a.
  Contact address    
Serengeti National Park
P.O. Box 3134
United Republic of Tanzania
  Telephone   (255.68) 62 29 83
(255.68) 62 28 52 or 62 20 29
  Fax   (255.68) 62 29 83
  Web site
  Contact address    
Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority
PO Box 1
United Republic of Tanzania
  Telephone   (255.27) 2537006
(255.27) 2537019 / 2537046
  Fax   (255.27) 2537007
(255.27) 2503339.
  Web site  

Last updated: 14/03/2005

To topTo MAB home pageTo UNESCO