Day 28 - Crater Day

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Africa » Tanzania » North » Ngorongoro Conservation Area
August 22nd 2018
Published: August 23rd 2018
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Today we head into the Ngorongoro crater, a highlight of our tour. This crater was formed millions of years ago when a volcanic mountain collapsed into itself and formed a perfect crater that has only one entrance road and a different exit road.

The animals in this crater are known to be subtly different from others due to the fact they don’t always stray from this crater. We drive to the gate and eventually get into the park. Once past the gate, the bitumen finishes, and the African massage road starts. Corrugations, potholes and wonderful blind corners while climbing the mountain.

We get to the lookout and there is nothing to see but cloud so keep on going. Eventually start to see some clear sky and after some time get to the second gate. This is the ascent road. Toilet stop while paper work is checked. Sign says 4wd only. Then we see the road. Straight down and rocky and potted worse than what he had just endured. 4w low and away we go. Interesting road and very steep but Masha does it in his stride. The crater is 16 kms x 19 kms and has quite a few lakes (mainly made from rainfall).

On the flat now and we start our game drive, along with lots and lots of other trucks. Dust everywhere as you follow other vehicles. We spot zebra, wilderbeast and buffalo early on. Some of them are in large numbers. Then a springbok - nope, this is a Thompson gazelle. Evidently there are no springbok here (same same but different). Look very similar but will go with our experts knowledge.

Looking for the elusive lion, but not yet. Warthogs, and other associated beasts when we spot a rangers jet in the distance. Masha says a they usually are near good animals. I spot a lump which when I look in the camera I say is a lion. Bah humbug from others then Masha has a look in the binoculars and agrees with me. Bingo.... Bloody long way away but there you go.

Drive on, there are lots of cars gathering around a herd of zebra and wilderbeast. We drive through and park beside a waterhole where they are drinking. Huge gathering all taking turns, when all of a sudden something spooks them and they flee. This is national geographic stuff. The are off then as soon as they go, they are back again. The noise of the drinking and bleating of the wilderbeast is stunning.

Move on and there is a traffic jam. Turns out the are lion in the creek bed. We jostle for position and finally get to a reasonable viewing point. 3 lions in the creek. Get a few shots off before they wander around the corner of the creek out of sight. OK, now the trucks jostle to get out of this car park maze.

Lunch time now so everyone starts to head for a designated picnic spot where there are toilet facilities. We arrive and there are about 20 - trucks there already. Drop toilet people off and find a good spot. Soon there are over 50 then eventually around 100 trucks with everyone having their picnic lunches.

Sit on some rocks and no sooner sit down when the local sparrow family arrive. Eat lunch then I wander back to the toilet block. There are now over 20 hippo in the lake with everyone standing around taking pics. Nice sight and pretty area for a break. We pack up and head out for another drive. Find more animals, but no more lions. Eventually head for the exit road.

This part is paved - literally, has those wobbly paving stones laid all the way out. And what a road. This goes up really steeply with some of those sharp switchback hairturns. Get up the top safely and start the dusty road back down to our accomodation. Back early so have time to arrange a massage. Nice to relax bit, massage is ok and feeling good.

The German family arrive as I walk back to the reception area to check emails. They are glowing and thank me again for the battery charging. They have seen a pride of lions and have photos of the male lion. Happy for them and the son thanks me again as without the battery they wouldn’t have any shots. Arrange to charge the batteries again. I take one back to the room and charge and he will bring the second back and charge while having dinner.

All good. Exchange batteries and the son gives me a souvenir he has bought as a thank you. Nice gesture. The father also gives me his business card and says next time we go to Germany to look them up. Dinner done, batteries charged and the son brings back the charger, etc. and shakes hands again thanking me profusely. Nice kid and a pleasure to help.

Dinner done and reminded of our wake up time, then off to bed. Another good day.


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