December 26th, 2008 – by: Clarafina
All the gang
Got up at 6am. First stop was a look-out over the Rift Valley where lots of baboons were eating. We took a group photo. We drove through to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area entry gate where lots of baboons were running around. One even got inside our truck and stole Karl's new pack of ginger nut biscuits - the entire packet! It was hilarious. Next stop was the lookout over the Ngorongoro Crater. It was beautiful to see the clouds reflected in the massive salt pans. You could see tiny dots moving along in lines which were Masai herding their cattle. Next stop was Oldupai Gorge, named after the cactus-like plant that grows there (and wrongly referred to as Olduvai Gorge by non-Africans). It is where the first four hominids (humans) were discovered, including Australopithecus boisei, by Mary Leakey and her husband.
The gorge is 55km long and 50-90m deep. We had lunch there surrounded by brightly coloured chirping yellow birds. We finally had fresh bread which was great. After lunch we drove to the gateway to Serengeti National Park
where we went up a rocky outcrop and had a great view of the surrounding plains. We passed through the gate and drove for ages, passing through great herds of nomadic zebras and wildebeest. There were literally thousands of them stretching as far as the eye could see, and some of them crosses the road right in front of us (zebra crossing!). Also saw a family of elephants led by the matriarch, which was fantastic. They crossed the road in front of us.
Wildebeest + zebra crossing!
Also saw hyenas, warthogs and lions in the distance, and the usual impalas etc. Saw some hippos too! Stopped at an expensive lodge for refreshments where lots of rock hyraxes/dassies (animal most closely genetically related to the elephant!) and red-tailed mongooses were lying around. Also saw some cool lizards with blue bodies and red heads called agama lizards. Our final stop for the day was Ngiri Camp. It was a pretty good camp, although the toilets didn't flush and the taps in the showers were below knee height! Very difficult to wash my hair without having it trail on the dirty floor! Ground was a bit soggy due to it having showered a few times today. Cooking duty tonight - spaghetti and mango and oranges. Bed ~9:30pm, asleep immediately, very tired.