Ngorongoro Conservation Area in northern Tanzania stands a model example of the place in the world where local communities are full involved in tourism development, sharing the land and tourist resources with conservation custodians.
Ngorongoro is a homeland for Maasai pastoralists and the hunter-gatherer, Datoga and Hadzabe indigenous people. It is one of the most visited wildlife park in Tanzania, attracting 647,817 tourists each year.
The multiple land use system is one of the earliest to be established in the world and is emulated across the globe as a means of reconciling human development and natural resources conservation, said the Chief Conservator for Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority Dr.Freddy Manongi.
Some 87,000 people, mostly the Maasai pastoralists living inside the conservation area, taking care of livestock as their economic activity. But the increase of population and need for more pastures had attracted the conservation authority to involve the Maasai communities to establish cultural tourist sites in their localities.
Special Maasai homesteads (Kraals) have been developed for cultural tourism activities inside the wildlife conservation area. The Maasai communities are now benefitting directly on charges they get from tourists visiting the kraals to experience the tunes of local Maasai songs, African folklore and purchase of Maasai artifacts.
The conservation authorities had set six Maasai kraals or bomas and educate the local communities on best ways of welcoming and honoring visitors who pays a call to the kraals.