Ngorongoro Crater


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Africa » Tanzania » North » Ngorongoro Conservation Area
October 18th 2019
Published: December 18th 2019
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Wide Open SpacesWide Open SpacesWide Open Spaces

...in the Ngorongoro Crater...
So as our time in the Serengeti was now over it was back on the horribly bumpy roads to get to the last stop on this leg of the tour: Ngorongoro Crater...we had had a taste of it a few days earlier from a wicked vantage point en route to the Serengeti, and now it was soon time to go down and explore the crater...

That would however have to wait until the following day, by the time we arrived in the area it was late afternoon so just made our way to the campsite...cool spot on the rim of the crater, a bit difficult to see anything unfortunately due to the brush and trees (and risk of leaving the campsite and falling into the crater) so we contented ourselves with a visit to another local "pub" for a pint and supplies...and the first hot shower in a couple of days, sweet...

Darkness was soon upon us and time for dinner, we were joined by a few other groups in this large concrete hall...great meal while comparing the days' drives with our fellow travelers when our guide Moses grabbed me and escorted me into the kitchen facilities: a cake!
Mom and KidMom and KidMom and Kid

...bubbling away in the stream...
G Adventures is really cool about celebrating birthdays on their tours, and this day happened to be the Lovely K's bday! Moses approached me earlier to confirm, and now it was time to set up the game-plan with the cooks, too funny...I was instructed to come and get the cake when the meal was winding down, so back I went to scope out the diners and get ready for the main event...

Dinner finished and I was back in the kitchen, candles were lit and I was preparing to leave with the cake when our gang of cooks/helpers and trusty guide Moses told me to hang on while they went rummaging around and grabbing metal platters and pots and the biggest ladles they could find, I didn't know what was going on! Once everyone was armed I realized this was for making a lot of noise, so without further ado the racket began and in we marched to the dining hall, I think we scared the hell out of a few people! The banging was deafening, and with the traditional song they were singing we certainly were the center of attention, it was awesome! Cake was presented to the
Pint in our new local...Pint in our new local...Pint in our new local...

...great group of folks...
Lovely K (much to her delight) and the lads finished up the clanging, with a big finale of tossing some of the platters in the air and letting them crash on the floor, absolutely crazy...I had heard of the cake thing from other folks but had never seen it, a really sweet touch...

Divided up the cake amongst the gang and crew when a table of Norwegian gals next to us asked K what her name was, and then proceeded to "serenade" us with one of their traditional songs, it appeared the racket was to continue! They were literally banging their hands on the table and singing and on some cue in the song they would break into mimicking playing an instrument (the first one being a trombone), so picture this wall of noise coming to an abrupt silent halt, only to resume again, it still makes me laugh thinking about it...overall a pretty cool way to spend her birthday...

Next day we were up and headed for the crater, just a short drive before we found the gate and started slowly making our way down...with walls around 600 meters in height it took a little while to get down, and unfortunately the weather wasn't great so the crater was pretty clouded over...started to catch glimpses of wildlife in the distance, tiny dots slowly growing into recognizable animal shapes as we neared the crater floor, absolutely crazy that I had finally made it here...

The sparseness surprised me, seemed to remember more lushness from the documentaries I had watched but it was near the end of the dry season so that would probably explain it...the alkaline Lake Magadi was bone dry, and the animals few and far between (I guess I had been spoiled some in the other parks!). It was still really cool exploring the crater, passing the odd herd of wildebeests, gazelles, zebras and hippos...

The main animal that I had wanted to see to basically finish off my checklist was the very endangered Black Rhino...there were ranger stations set up around the perimeter of the crater, and I believe all the rhinos were tagged to keep track of them, so basically had to hope for a bit of luck (it's also a super-secret project as no numbers are given as to how many are actually in there). Made our way slowly around the
Birthday and RacketBirthday and RacketBirthday and Racket

...Lovely K with her cake being serenaded by our noisy crew...
crater floor dodging the odd burst of rain when a whole collection of vehicles seemed to indicate something important...rhinos? Turns out it was, there were three of them I think but they were really far away, could only see little black dots in the distance, and with my camera screaming on full optical and digital zoom I was able to snap a few fuzzy photos of them....would have been nice if they had been a bit closer but after all I had seen in the past two weeks it didn't leave me much room to complain...haha...

Found some more forested areas to explore and we stopped for a boxed lunch there...only to be reacquainted with those dang dive-bombing hawks, they seemed to come out of nowhere! Again I came close to losing my piece of chicken, and another dude on our tour actually did, sunova...a little more driving around after then it was on the road for the trip back to Arusha...

And that would end the first two weeks of the tour and more specifically the safaris...glad I came to Ngorongoro but for wildlife viewing it was not my favourite...geologically speaking it was interesting, and seeing it
Dots in the DistanceDots in the DistanceDots in the Distance

Yep, those be wildebeest...
from both the rim and floor was really cool for perspective...the thought of starting the Kilimanjaro climb the following day may have been a bit of a distraction as well, but still managed to enjoy my time here...onward and *gulp* upwards!


Additional photos below
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Road to nowhere...Road to nowhere...
Road to nowhere...

...in the Ngorongoro Crater...
Hmm, lunch?Hmm, lunch?
Hmm, lunch?

Hyena checking out the menu, eventually passed...
Hippo...Hippo...
Hippo...

...man these things are ginormous!
Fuzzy Black RhinosFuzzy Black Rhinos
Fuzzy Black Rhinos

Well, there they are, think my camera started smoking from the hard full zoom...
Spare PartsSpare Parts
Spare Parts

...is what the locals call them, kinda see it to be honest...haha...


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