Serengeti National Park & Ngorongoro Crater
Arusha Travel Blog› entry 15 of 36 › view all entries
Having entered another country (country number 4 for those of you counting) we made up for our lack of activity for the last couple of days and got straight into a 3 day game drive. This was in the Serengetti and the Ngorongoro crater. Setting out from the "snake park" campsite aptely named as it had the biggest collection of snakes and some very large nile crocodiles (so well enclosed with a thin metal door and a rusty padlock!!!). The bar there is very unusual as the whole ceiling is covered in T-shirts which have been signed by those that donate them.
So off we go at a nice reasonable hour of 8am (believe me by this point that is a total lie in) in 2 land crusiers!!! (Luxury transport as well!!!!!) after a very long drive we get a photo opportunity of the crater from the rim, this is followed by another very long drive to reach the serengetti. By the time we get there we have 1 hour for a game drive on the way to the "campsite". It was an amzing hour however as we saw 17 lions in 3 groups. the first group was the Alpha male and female feeding on a zebra, this followed by 2 further groups sunning themselves in the last few rays of light off the rocks by a river! we then had to go straight to the bare patch of earth, accompanied by toilets that actually made me vomit due to the smell out in the middle of the park. Where we attemptted to pitch tents into the sun baked earth, with no hammer only the tools of our ancestors (rocks!!). After this there was a delicious meal of mosquito soup and tuna bolognaise (yum), with the brief that hyenas have a habbit of coming throught the campsite to feed off tourist rubbish and so we weren't allowed any food in the tents. This prompted me to empty my rucksack of ANYTHING a hyena may consider food, including my chewing gum and tooth paste (there maybe a hyena outhere in need of some dental hygeine!).
After a rather nervous nights sleep, listening to the hyenas from afar we got back on the trail of the animals. Although this time it proved very unsuccessful and we saw next to nothing before lunch time. We did visit a very informative center about the animals of the serengetti and the evolution of the "great plain", Aaron also spotted some "mongoose" (otherwise known as mice!!!). On the way out of there we drove though a heard of elephants, one of which was trully unimpressed to see us and made some very threatening gestures including mock chraging the cruiser. Our guide (always on the ball) turned off his engin in reaction to this! Leaving us in not a small amount of danger, however after 5 angrey english people shouting at him he turned it back on and we moved forwards.
That night was spent camping on the edge of the crater waiting for the first signs of the sun to go in. It was freezing cold, our cruiser having broken down was now refusing to give us our stuff as the back doors wouldn't open. So an ohour later in the pitch black our tents started to go up. It was another night of no toothpaste in case of Hyenas, but all we got was some wild pigs (cos thats ok then!). Off at 6.30 in search of the last member of the "big 5" that we needed to see. Decending into the crater throught the mist was an amazing view and the mind insantly went to thoughts of this mini eco system and its unique set up, due to the fact that none of the animals can get out so they are all totally reliant on each other. We saw a cheetah first (a tiny speck in the distance) followed by some male lions. The best moment was sitting by a water hole full of (rather randy) hippos, with lions sunbathing (again) and loads of birds and gazelles keeping their distance, when all of a sudden a hippo comes running through the trucks (at one hell o f a speed for a big lady) and goes straight into the water. Also the alpha female lion attempted to catch a bird at one point (i dont think anyone told her they could fly) which was increadably unsuccessful. add to this driving through a whole heard og wilder beast and zebra and seeing 3 of the big 5 within 200m of each other (elephant, buffalo and black rhino) and it was by far the best game drive we have been on. Although still no signs of the leopard.
On the way back to the truck our drive showed even further signs if his incompetence by attempting to over take a daladala (mini bus) on a blind bend, hitting a very big rock and almost flipping the car which had no seat belts in it! Needless to say he didn't get a tip at the end of it.
After such an adventure we slept very well that night (after our first shower in 4 days) with toothpaste and a full collection of sweets in the tent!!
Lala Salama (sleep peacefully)