By Azania Post Reporter, Ngorongoro.
Hundreds of Tanzanians from across the country have turned up to visit the tourism cites including Ngorongoro Crater as a response to the offer provided by the government through its Ministry of State, Vice President’s Office (environment) and Ministry of Natural resources and Tourism.
Ngorongoro Crater, extinct volcanic caldera in the Eastern (Great) Rift Valley, northern Tanzania. The caldera’s floor is predominantly open grassland. It is home to a diverse array of animals including elephants, black rhinoceroses, leopards, buffalo, zebras, warthogs, gnu (wildebeests), Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelles, and the densest population of lions in the world.
In marking a World Environmental Day this year, the two ministries issued a three-day offer (started June 2 - 4) to give opportunity to many Tanzanians visit the tourism cites including Ngorongoro National Park free of charge, as part of growing local tourism.
Speaking to journalists recently Ngorongoro National Park, head of reserve, Dr. Fredrick Manongi, applauded the response of people saying: “We have received at least 476 people whereas at the first day we received about 70, the next day were 271 and the last day we got about 135 local tourists ”.
Dr. Manongi said the government’s intention was to encourage Tanzanians preserving environment by planting trees instead of cutting down the forests so as to make the big part of the country remained natural, having fresh air and experiencing reliable rainfall every year.
According to him, the local tourism is growing year-by-year in Ngorongoro National Park; the statistics shows that for the past four years a total of 300,000 tourists visited the park.
The park’s public relation officer, Nikson Nyange said they are working on adding efforts on advertising the tourism attractions through media and exhibitions including Nanenane and Sabasaba farmers’ exhibitions as the move to provide awareness among Tanzanians on the importance of tourism for the state of the economy.
For his part, Ngorongoro National Park Official Paul Fisoo declared financial constraints as a big challenge among common citizens who have no private transport to afford to hire vehicles from different parts of Arusha to the park, they have been charged up to Tshs 250,000.
However, he said the authority has planned to buy another shuttle with capacity of carrying 60 passengers, at a cost of Tshs 300 million, currently the authority owns a bus with capacity of carrying only 45 tourists.
One of the local tourists, Anold Ulomi a resident of Moshi in Kilimanjaro called upon the government to announce such kind of offers at least a month before starting the event, in order to make people aware and give them enough time for preparations.