Into the Caldera
Ngorongoro Crater Travel Blog› entry 10 of 13 › view all entries
This morning we enter the caldera, descending from the upper rim in specially chartered 4WD vehicles in search of big game. As we negotiate the steep track that drops some 600m to the grassy basin below, we enter a setting that provides a rich haven for herbivores and carnivores alike.
The open plains thunder beneath the hooves of countless zebra, buffalo and antelope, whilst predators like lion, hyena and cheetah thrive amidst this plentiful open-air buffet, all against a stunning backdrop of dramatic cliffs and lush vegetation that present the perfect photo opportunities. Elephant, black-maned lion, cheetah, buffalo and rhino are in abundance here, whilst the perennial marshes teem with all manner of birdlife, including Egyptian vultures, ostriches, Verreaux’s eagles and kori bustards and, during the summer months, the plains echo to the spectacular migrations of millions of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles as they make their way from the Serengeti.
After our morning’s game drive we depart for our camp at Karatu, set amidst an area of cool verdant hills on the Manyara Escarpment. Once a popular spot for the German settlers and farmers during the country’s colonial occupation, this area was once an important coffee growing area and the hills on the approach to the town are still dotted with plantations. Tonight we camp just on the outskirts of the Conservation area, in a region that is home to the Barbaig and Iraqw tribes.