Serengeti

16 06 2009

We took down our tents with hefty hangovers and large bar bills from the night before and packed them onto the new Safari Ferrari’s to go to the Serengeti National park for a couple of nights.  The roads were the best that we had seen for a few days and for some reason our drivers would only do 50kph, which was proving incredibly frustrating, especially as the weather wasn’t too great to start off with, and the fact that we kept having to stop for various different things, charcoal and the bank being one of them.

We then had to stop at the gate of the Ngorongoro reserve to pick up passes for there, and by the time we got to the gate of the Serengeti, driving across Agamma Lizardthe flattest most empty landscape I have ever seen the mood inside the Safari Ferrari was incredibly dark.  Our spirits lifted when we were allowed to walk to the viewing platform to have a look at the Seregeti stretching before us, and even more when we saw the brightly coloured Agamma Lizards basking on the rocks. 

Soon though we were back on the road, and the wildlife was fairly limited, we found one lion laying on a rock and a baboon about 300m away.  At least now we the mood had lightened, and soon we were seeing more animals, small clumps of Wildebeest a few Zebra here and there and the odd Ostrich.

Suddenly cresting a small hill we were struck with one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen, the Wildebeest migration.  The Plains were dotted as Wildebeest migrationfar as the eye can see with hundreds of thousands of Wildebeest all heading in the same direction, following the rain to their next feeding spot.  This sight was worth the cost of the trip alone, it was a totally spectacular sight and I apologise, but the photos in no way do it justice, you will have to take my word for it.   After that everything else seemed a bit tame for the afternoon, but we did get a better look at a Leopard and some Lions in trees, Lion in a Treeand some pretty spectacular sunset shots before hitting our bush camp for the evening.  Here we set up our tents and were told to look out for lions if we went to the toilet in the middle of the night.  After a smoky campfire we hit the tents and waited for daybreak.

The next day we had breakfast and then hit the trails again, where we saw Hippo’s, Hyenas, Lions starting the morning hunt, monkeys and the Wildebeest migration again.  This time though there were about 20 000 Zebras there too.  We also went to the visitor centre and saw a lot of Rock Hyrax’s, which are apparently a close relative of the elephant, although they look like a large mouse. 

Serengeti sunsetShortly after this we left the Serengeti and headed towards Olduvai Gorge, which is commonly known at the cradle of mankind, and is one of the most important archeological sites in the world.  It was here in this small part of the Rift Valley that the oldest fossil tools were found along with Homo habilis fossils and in nearby Laetoli that the oldest known human form footprints were found, those of Australopithecus afarensis (Fact!).  These are the first to have the big toe in line for walking rather than holding onto branches.  After a quick look around the museum we started to head towards our camp for the night on the rim of the Ngorongoro crater. 

Ngorongoro CraterThe scenery leading up to this was stunning, but turning the corner to see the crater for the first time really has the wow factor.  The crater is the worlds largest, non-flooded, caldera (collapsed volcano to you and me) and is truly, truly spectacular.  The crater is over 600m deep and covers an area of 200 square km (Fact!).

The sun shining off the lake and the cloud coming over the rim made the view remarkable (do you get the feeling that I liked this), and that was without even going down into the crater itself to see the wildlife.

After taking photos. we headed for an eventful night on the crater rim…

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