Lions prowl our campsite while we sleep
Trip Start Jul 01, 2009
89Trip End Dec 22, 2009
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The "King of the pride" was incredible, with big golden eyes and a mane that radiated out, his powerful body backing it up.
Suddenly a little cub jumped on top of the buffalo as if playing king of the mountain!
By this point our truck had edged forward and we had an even better view. We watched as the male got up and lay down nearby, a cub brazenly coming over and trying to get him to play. The “King” lay there tolerantly while the cub attempted to climb on his back, biting and scratching the king so that he bared his teeth and made wild grimaces.
We spent the rest of the morning in the Serengeti seeing beautiful elephants with their long trunks
So, we began heading back to our campsite for lunch. It was then that we saw a group of trucks, usually a good indication that there’s a cat nearby. At our pleadings the driver moved closer, but we couldn’t figure out what they were looking for and then Gabe spotted it, a leopard!
As she headed over a bluff our driver explained that there were no roads that went that direction and we knew we had lost her. We headed back to camp then for lunch, packing up our tent and bags and loading them in the truck once more.
Before going to the Ngorongoro crater we were heading to the cradle of civilization; or at least where they had uncovered some of the oldest tracks and where pre-cave men were believed to have lived over thousands of years ago. Apparently a volcano had erupted leaving a thick layer of ash in the ground, three tracks were uncovered in the 80s by archeologists who determined that after the eruption lava had covered the tracks and preserved them until little by little erosion had worked it away, exposing the tracks.
We walked through the little museum and then we were given a presentation about the valley, our guide explaining that each change in color in the valley walls represented a different climate condition and accordingly different types of mammals were able to live. It was all really interesting, I actually found it quite powerful although a month later I struggle to remember all the impressive facts.
An our and a half later we were back in the truck and ready to head to the Ngorongoro crater. Apparently its area is 37km and most of the animals never leave. A few are able to make the climb and migrate out on the less steep side. The drive had been long and we arrived to the crater just as dusk began her nightly dance. The campsite was high up on a ridge and we were told not to stray away from the site. We didn’t need to worry about Cats, but apparently there are very dangerous wild pigs and sometimes elephants. Our guides set to preparing dinner for us as we set up our tents. We had been warned it was going to be chilly and already a brisk wind had set in, making us all shiver and add extra layers of warmth. I decided to go for it all the way and layered in my hot chillies and tank top and tshirt and long sleeve shirt, my ski hat and my fleece.
I definitely started off a bit warm, but as night fell it got colder and colder and I was relieved not to have to undress to put all the stuff on. Our guides had made a big fire and most people chose to eat dinner around it. Gabe, who is rarely cold, and me, in my layers sat near the food instead and used the table. After dinner we joined the rest of the group and I thought nostalgically about how our trip was almost over and we’d have to say goodbye to more good friends. People left one by one until it was just me, Gabe, and Mel around the fire; Mel getting the great idea to push chairs together and make a bed to look at the stars and me following suit. The night was gorgeous again and we laid our heads together as we looked up and talked into the night, our words taking flight.
That night was a cold one but Gabe and I slept pretty well in our toasty sleeping bags, thank goodness we have warm ones!