Ngorongoro Crater

18 06 2009

The night on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater was cold, colder than we had been for the last week anyway, we were warmed by the campfire and the bloody great elephant that was in the campsite.  I mean about 5m from the fire.  Pete had earlier almost walked into the thing in the dark.  It just plodded on though.  Myself and Steve were trying to find out if the elephant had a name from a security guard.  On hearing that it didn’t we christened him Bernard.  Bernard the Elephant now lives in the Ngorongoro crater.

We had a good dinner and some Ugali which is a cornmeal based dough that is rolled into a ball in your hands, then make a dent with your thumb and fill it with the vegetables and meat mixture.  It tasted great.

CraterWe woke up early to prepare for the trip into the crater, and leaving before dawn we were hoping to make the most of the early day and see lots of animals.  Driving around the rim we got a spectacular sunrise before descending into the crater itself.  The road down is narrow and steep but has some of the most incredible views. 

Halfway down we started seeing animals, tiny dots on the valley floor.  FlamingoHundreds of tiny dots.  Hundreds of dots that slowly grew into Wildebeest, Elephants, Zebra, Buffalo, Rhino, Ostrich, Hippo, as well as thousands of Pink Flamingo’s in the salt lake.

The crater has the highest concentration of Lions in the world, with 2 prides within the crater rim, we saw both of these, the first with 2 cubs and the leader of the pride sat on a river bank, and the second a few hours after they Lion Cubhad made a kill and were all lethargic and feeding on a Wildebeest.

We took a drive down to a lake where we could stretch our legs and I sat photographing some tawny eagles skimming the lake and harassing people for food.

After the pit-sop we left the crater seeing more rhino and hippo and headed back to Arusha for another night in the snake park.  Once we got there however our first stop was a trip to the Maasai cultural centre which gave us an insight into the nomadic ways of the people, and then we went on a walk to the local village, where we were mobbed by kids who wanted us to play with them (cue plenty of swinging them around) and were treated to Kidsome Maasai singing and dancing.

Heading back via the local hospital to see some snake bite victims, we hit the bar for the evening and went for a midnight walk around the snake park, which was a spooky experience.