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Published: January 17th 2019
The third and final leg of our safari took us into the Ngorogoro crater.
That meant a very early start with breakfast ready for 6am and departure soon afterwards. It’s quite a drive up to the crater and there’s a lot of altitude to be gained so to maximise the time in the park, sacrifices have to be made. That means sleep is less important!
From the rim of the crater the whole world seems to open up before you. It’s hard to imagine that you are in fact looking down on a volcanic crater. Technically it’s a caldera as part of the crater wall collapsed many moons ago.
As you approach the crater floor the road gets pretty rough in places. We were so thankful to have Josh from Joash Africa Wilderness Insight
at the wheel as it would have been a daunting descent for either of us. The first thing that strikes you as you enter the park’s gates is the sheer vastness of the place. It seems to go on forever. We were immediately greeted by thousands of buffalos. There were also a great number of storks. Josh was surprised that we are used to seeing these wonderful birds nesting up
high on church roofs, chimney stacks and even on electricity pylons. They don’t breed here so they live on the ground.
Wildebeest and warthogs were literally everywhere too. Needless to say, the birdlife was amazing once again. We also saw numerous zebras but the highlight of the day was without a doubt the pride of lions. We were amazed at how close we got to these precious animals. There were a few hippos around where we stopped for our packed lunch. They were all lined up in a pool so we couldn’t see them too clearly. We also saw some jackals, including some cubs feasting on fresh meat in a den.
On our way out of the park Josh got us to look at something on the horizon. There were three rare endangered black rhinos huddled together. We had to trust him a bit with that as in all honesty we could hardly see them! Lady luck shone in us though, as right at the last bend before beginning our climb back up the crater wall, we got a closer look at one of these wonderful wild animals. Apparently there are only around 30 of them in the
park and we saw 4 of them. Not bad going at all.
Trish’s list, for those who are keeping up, was as follows:
Animals: monkeys, cape buffalo, wildebeest, Grant’s gazelles, warthogs, eland, zebra, black-backed jackal, lions, hippos, Thomson’s gazelles, and finally black rhinos.
Birds: Bagler fetch weaver, ox pecker, great white stork, auger buzzard, northern anteater chat, Montague’s harrier, rosy breasted longclaw, flamingos, secretary bird, black kite, steppe eagle, kori bustard, pied raven, maribou stork, yellow wagtail, guinea fowl, great crested crane, Abdin’s stork, cattle egret and ostriches.
It then took another three hours to return to Arusha. It was quite a sad event saying goodbye to Josh. We had come to rely on him so much over three days. Hopefully one day we can return to Tanzania and venture up into the Serengeti with him. For us though, a flight to Zanzibar island awaited us the next day.
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