Arusha — SERENGETI National Park was declared the best of the seven New Natural Wonders of Africa as all the three entries from Tanzania made it to the coveted seven.
Announcing the new 'Seven Wonders' of nature here, the President and Founder of the Texas (US)-based 'New Seven Wonders,' Dr Philip Imler, revealed that though the seven wonders are not ranked in positions, Serengeti stood out due to its legendary, spellbinding largest migration of large mammals.
Ngorongoro Crater, found within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, and described as 'The Bowl' in which a variety of wildlife live,' was also voted among the Seven Wonders of Nature while Mount Kilimanjaro, which is Africa's highest mountain, became the third entry from the country.
Other winners were the 'Red Sea Reef,' on the coast of Egypt and Sudan; River Nile, which flows into more than 10 countries in Africa, the Sahara Desert encompassing nearly ten countries as well and the Okavango Delta of Botswana.
A total of 12 entries from around the continent had been competing for the coveted 'Seven' positions and Tanzania had fielded its own top three tourist attractions. "I was a bit skeptic upon learning that, the 'New Seven Wonders' of nature will have three winners from a single country but official statistics and experts' opinions did not lie," said Dr Imler.
He added that even the votes from Tanzanians did not help to sway final experts' conclusions. He also named the Seven Wild Life Wonders of Africa as the leopard, crocodile, elephant, hippopotamus, rhino, mountain gorilla and the lion.
The colourful proclamation ceremony was graced by the Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda, who was the chief guest at the awards giving session, held at the New Mount Meru Hotel. "As Tanzanians, we must protect not only the three winners but all natural resources and wildlife that our country has been endowed with," said the prime minister.
The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ambassador, Mr Khamis Kagasheki, said Tanzania is proud to have three of its natural wonders among Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. Among those who attended the function include the Minister of State (Tourism) of Uganda, ambassadors, MPs and representatives of tourist boards from Zambia and Uganda.
The Director-General of Tanzania National Parks, Mr Allan Kijazi, was proud to have two destinations under his authority making it to the top seven and pointed out that Tanzania was always regarded as 'Number One Natural Summit of Africa.'
Also vying for the title were Mount Kenya, Zuma Rock of Nigeria, the 'Peak of Furnace' in the Reunion Island, the 'Aldabra Atoll' of Seychelles, 'Tsingy Debemaraha,' of Madagascar and the 'Avenue of Baobabs' also found in Madagascar. Visitors wise, the Ngorongoro Crater, located in Ngorongoro District of Arusha, seems to be the most popular, attracting over 500,000 tourists every year.
Serengeti comes second with 350,000 annual visitors while Mount Kilimanjaro attracts nearly 55,000 tourists per annum. Overall, Tanzania as a country attracts around 1.2 million tourists per year with more than 80 per cent of these ending up in the Northern Circuit where the three features are located.
The Ngorongoro Crater is managed by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) while both the Serengeti and Mount Kilimanjaro operate under the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA).