Completing the Big 5 with Rhino Sex

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September 17th 2018
Published: September 18th 2018
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lion having a drinklion having a drinklion having a drink

Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti
Seeing the Big 5 all in one trip is a challenge and that is the reason why they are the Big 5. Rhino was the last to tick off the list and Bori had said not to get our hopes up as they're very shy. So even Bori can't believe that we saw a couple of rhino making a new addition to the family as baby looked on, not so shy are they? And in front of the children! Later on, passing rangers thought Bori was winding them up about this sighting - it's so unusual no one believes it!

We photographed the sun rising over the Ngorongoro Crater because we'd gone very early again. Two reason for this: the predators are up and active, and the Hungarians are flying home tonight so we needed to be finished early. Thick mist hung over the crater which is actually a volcano that collapsed in pre-pre-history, if not, before that. It is renowned for an abundance of wild animals and because much of it is a flat plain, the animals are easy to spot.

As we descended to the crater floor, something caught my eye high up on the slopes. 'Lion,'

Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti
I yelped. Then another lion and another AND another and I could carry this on too long, because it ended up being 9 lions walking in a steady line along the slope. Occasionally they stopped to have a scan around and to face off the nervous Serval nearby. Yes a Serval! I'm a big fan of these medium sized cats wth their huge ears, but wasn't holding out much hope to see one in the wild. This one was distant, but I could see him eyeing up the 9 lions, deciding to avoid a scuffle that it would lose and scarpered up the slope.

You can never have too many lions, so we drove to three more flat out in the sun, two were head to toe with very contented faces. Occasionally they looked up and around, but for the most it's paws in the air with pale bellies exposed.

The first hyena we came across had us excited, but then there were loads, trotting along the roads, giving us sideways glances. One ran alongside the jeep for some time, giving us a very good look at it.

The land was speckled with various herd animals such
lions in the distance nappinglions in the distance nappinglions in the distance napping

Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti
as zebra, wildebeest, gazelle and buffalo. Such is the breadth of the plain that we could see elephants in the distance, so small that they were only just identifiable.

I was surprised to see foxes who were surprised to see us and ran away. Near to them were three baby jackal looking very cute, trotting past us after giving us a good stare. Bori was scanning the surrounding land and asked for the binoculars. He told us we had to go immediately as he'd spotted 2 rhinos 'doing sexy'. We all clung on as he sped across the rough tracks that bounced us vigorously in the jeep. We spotted the rhino clearly copulating, their dark bodies visible against the pale brown of the surrounding plain. By the time the jeep stopped, so did the rhino, so we have no photographic evidence. It was then that we spotted a third small rhino behind them, patiently waiting as all three walked with purpose away from us.

Passing warthogs who were digging up roots, we arrived at the hippo pool which contained an island made of hippos. There were also some loos here and pretty nice ones at that. Later we

Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti
saw hippos actually out of the water!

In another area were three jeeps parked up by a river as two lions crossed the road in front of them, a male and female. This is the first time I'd seen a mature male lion get off its arse, it was great to be so close. The female lay down in some reeds as the male drank from the river, very slowly as he has all day. It turned out that there was another female in the reeds and all three settled down for a days napping.

We passed various animals and the only thing I haven't seen is the most elusive caracal. But I didn't think I would and am happy at the serval. And the lions of course!The crater wasn't that busy either as I'd read it can be packed with too many jeeps, but at times we were alone. It was time to go, so the jeep struggled up and out of the crater, took us back to camp where Bori and Molisi packed up and we left.

Stopping for lunch at Panorama Camp near Lake Manyara, we sorted tips for the guys who are receiving

Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti
them in Tanzanian Shillings, Euros and US dollars. The long drive took us back through various villages containing as always, young men in groups sitting on very shiny motorcycles - it must take ages to clean the dust off those everyday. Obviously we saw tons of Massai villages and people.

After saying our goodbyes to Uri, Mark, Edyta and Chris, we were taken to Hekima House. This is half an hour's walk from the centre of Arusha, but is rated 9/10 on Arusha was hot, dusty and very crowded at the centre, it's said to be the gateway to Kilimanjaro and other National parks that we have been to, yet the areas we drove through were almost completely non-touristy, although many of the shop signs were in English.

Hekima house was up a long dirt track off the main road. The buildings were a mix of shacks and elegant looking buildings behind high fences (some electric) and huge gates. Bori hammered on the imposing metal gates of Hekima House that have a door set in them, they are that big! We were let in by a young lady and there was a man lounging outside on his
more hippos.more hippos.more hippos.

Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti
phone. No one spoke to us at first and it seemed a bit odd. But after we said our goodbyes to Bori and Molisi, the man came and warmly welcomed us.

This place is very nice, we have a huge room which is awesome after days fitting into tents and an igloo. Plus, I had my second hot shower of the trip! I really needed it as my hair was matted with thick dust.

We didn't fancy walking into Arusha or attempting the public transport, it was late afternoon and Molisi's two meals today meant that we weren't very hungry. So we walked down the dirt track to the 'supermarket' which had bread, crisps, pop for Glyn and cheap South African wine for me.

The walk to the shop wasn't far and it felt more welcoming than Kigoma where we had felt very unwelcome. Some kids even said hello, but most just briefly glanced at us uninterested. One guy shoved past Glyn but only to have a go at a bloke in front of him. I've no idea what it was about, but everyone was watching as the bloke got pushed over. It's not friendly here, but it's not unfriendly either.

The rest of the evening was spent relaxing, reading and just being happy about the wonderful 6 day safari that we've just finished - but there's more to do in Tanzania and we shall be doing it!

Animals seen in Ngorongoro today:

• Lions
• Serval
• Hyena
• Wildebeest
• Gazelle
• Foxes
• Ostrich
• Buffalo
• Elephants
• Baby jackal
• Rhino
• Warthogs
• Hippo
• Pelican
• Crowned crane
• Flamingo
• Fish eagle
• Coloured stalk
• MonkeY


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