Ngorongoro Travel Blog› entry 58 of 68 › view all entries
December 11th, 2009 – by: ronin2k
If a Shangri-la or Eden existed, THIS is where one would find it, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. From the plains of the Serengeti, after Oldupai Gorge, we gradually started the climb up to the crater. That night we were to set up camp at the rim of Ngorongoro Crater, once a volcano much bigger than the highest mountain in Africa today (Kilimanjaro), but then a few million years ago the volcano exploded and left a caldera behind, a large crater, full of life and so green it seemed unreal.
After climbing for about one hour up the mountain road, the road suddenly opened up into a valley and all I could see was green rolling hills as far as the eye could see.
We set up camp that night on the rim. Again, we were open to the wildlife in the area and were warned of the potential for elephants and roaming water buffalo at the campsite. On top of the fear of animals at the campsite, given that we were at about 2500m above sea level, this was the first time in a week that I had to put back on my toque, scarf, and all my clothes so not to freeze to death at night! Lol Anyways, the night turned out to be pretty uneventful, as it rained pretty hard, but the morning, that morning we were in for a treat.
We had to get up early to catch the sunrise and be in the crater to watch the animals in their morning routine. I got up to see the sunrise over the crater rim, and see another rainbow! Not a bad way to start the day :) .
The zebras and wildebeest came so close to the jeeps, you could almost touch them. They didn’t seem to be scared of us, just curious. During safari drives the previous days, we’d get close, but never THIS close to the animals! I’m sure it had a lot to do with the smaller, less obtrusive vehicles we were in :)
Our local guide for the day, Eliah, was a great spotter, he was able to spot about 5 black rhinos in the park that day.
As always, the highlight of any safari are the lions. In the crater there is a resident population of lions that only are found in the crater. No other lion families are able to enter the crater, to the Ngorongoro Lions, this is their home and they protect it well. And why not protect it?! They have an endless supply of prey to feed off of. Speaking of prey, Eliah told us a little how the lion prides (group of lions) work. In a pride of lions, there usually is one dominate male (the one with the mane) and then maybe some very young males, and all the rest are females.
Today, being in the crater, was probably one of my best days on safari. I think I took about 500 pictures, everything just looked spectacular with the backdrop of the crater and the lush green of the crater floor as a canvas.
Tomorrow we head off to a campsite near the Kenyan border and then back to Nairobi. This trip to Africa has definitely lived up to the hype in my head. Not always do things live up to what you imagine it to be, but this time, it may have even exceeded what I could of imagined. Like I said, being on safari is like being a kid again, every moment is exciting, every animal you see is amazing, even if you’ve seen it hundred times, you still stop to take a picture, you are still impressed. For two weeks I was a kid again and I loved every moment of it!
Next up, Doha and then London…ah jolly good!
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