Day Six

Trip Start Nov 02, 2008
Trip End Nov 16, 2008

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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Monday, November 10, 2008

The plan for day 6 was to spend the majority of the day in the Crater and then visit the Maasai village on the way back to camp in the evening.  It was much nicer when we woke, the sun was shining and it had already begun to warm.  Another good breakfast and we were off
We drove into the crater via our usual trail and passed all the ostrich along the way.  After about an hour, we stumbled upon some female lions with their cubs relaxing in a field.  All of a sudden, one of them was no longer relaxing.  She started stalking the zebra across the path from us, about 200 meters away.  She was slowly approaching, near a crawl, a few feet at a time.  The guides got on their cb's and the next thing you knew we  had a twenty car parking lot watching the show.  She would not, however, be deterred. She kept inching towards the zebra.  The next thing you knew, another female had started the same ritual about 50 meters behind the first.  The head lioness cut in between the cars and sat on the edge of the little hill on the side of the road... ready to pounce. The excitement in the air was way beyond noticeable.  Then, out of no where, the herd behind the zebra got spooked and stampeded off.  The zebra turned and followed suit.  The lioness and her cubs, it turns out, would not be having tasty zebra for breakfast.  We waited a while longer (we had already been there for an hour and a half) and she walked right in front of our car on the way pack to her pride - I was able to get some amazing photos of her from no more than five feet away.
Next, we found a pair of cheetah brothers out looking for a snack and followed them for a while.  They are so lean and look amazingly fast... not today though; they were just out for a stroll. They did send a herd of wildebeest fleeing even though they typically are too big for the cheetah to consider.  As we were watching this, a HUGE lone elephant with tusks down the ground appeared on the horizon and proceeded to walk directly towards us.  He was enormous and simply breathtaking.  Again, great pics.
We ended the day an the Ngorongoro Crater hippos pool.  There must have been fifty hippos in there, just sleeping on top of each other and occasionally flicking their tail to throw water on them from behind.  Occasionally one would do the huge hippo yawn and I was able to snap a photo of one in the act.  These guys were hilarious - they just grunted, slept, repositioned and rolloed completely over when the got bored.  I laughed and laughed and we stayed there for some time.
One more fun tidbit from the day, as we were riding along with the roof to the defender open, I was sitting in the very rear looking for animals.  Now bear in mind that there might be an 8 inch opening between the roof and where I was sitting and the crater is 110 square miles in size, In all that space, with that tiny opening, a bird somehow managed to crap on my bald head.  I learned two things that day - sit in the middle seat and always wear a hat.
Oh well - Still a great day.  We ran long looking for the rhino which we never found and Jenn and I decided to pass on the Maasai village as I had seen one when I was here two years ago.
We had a nice dinner and a great camp fire that night.  The next day we would be off on our all day journey to our next camp... in the Serengeti!
BJ & Jenn
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