December 28th, 2008 – by: Clarafina
An absolutely content hippo
Got up 5:15am just as I had put on my polartec jumper and snuggled tightly into my sleeping bag. Sun wasn't even up yet! We had to take 4WDs into the Ngorogoro Crater. I was in one with Trina, Jenni, Bon, Shelley and Tammy and our driver was a 23yo called Frank. The crater is 610m deep and 264 square kilometres. We saw loads of animals including some we hadn't seen yet: rhinos, sable cats and elands. Also loads of zebra, buffalo, wildebeest, impalas, some lions, and maybe a cheetah (jury's out on that one! may have been a hyena...). Also saw a lake filled with flaminoges. Elephants and hippos too. The hippos have a 7.5mth gestation period and have one baby hippo at a time, whose greatest predator is the crocodile. For lunch we stopped at a lake where a few hippos were relaxing.
The Garden of Eden.
Many kites circled around above us. All of a sudden, before we could blink, one swooped down and attacked Bon, grabbing her sandwich! She was terrified. It did it again almost immediately by which time Bon was lying in a tight ball on the ground crying with laughter and fear. I made sure to hold mine very close to my chest after that but it didn't make a difference, one swooped down and got it, flinging it almost 1m away and scratching my fingers in the process (like two paper cuts). Well, that was the end of lunch - I didn't eat any more until I got back in the truck. Drove out of the Crater after lunch and met up with the rest of the group at the shirt shack. I didn't buy anything as the sizes were all too large. Headed to Mto wa Mbu for a brief soft drink stop, then back on the road all the way back to the Meserani Snake Park.
This buffalo had only died 2 days ago. It doesn't take long for it to be completely eaten!
By the time we finally got there, most of us were ABSOLUTELY busting - I was in physical pain and had to cross my legs to keep from peeing myself! Listened to my ipod for a bit which was good. Pitched out tents then all had wonderful showers - we were SO dirty from the sunscreen and dirt we all looked two shades darker! Except for Karl that is, who had heat stroke and felt ill - he was very pale. After my shower I had a flying visit of the Masai Cultural Centre and bought a bracelet to support the health clinic. For tea we had ugali, a local dish made from maize and corn that looks like mashed potato but tastes rather like Clag glue, spinach, beef, yellow lentils, chilli tomato and chapatti. It was delicious! Sat up talking for awhile then headed to bed just before 9:45pm. I was on pots again tonight.