Rare rhinos and sexy lions

Trip Start Oct 22, 2012
Trip End Nov 12, 2012

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Where I stayed
Simba Camp Site

Flag of Tanzania  ,
Monday, October 29, 2012

We wake up early in a chilly, clammy tent. Not a big issue, though, because we happen to be camping on the most beautiful camp site in the world, right on top of the Ngorongoro crater rim, and the sun is just rising over the opposite edge of the crater!

We quickly pack up our wet tent to go for an early morning game drive. Our cook Boka joins us today, because we will leave the crater through the 'back door'. Boka casually spots some elephants and hyenas, then wraps himself in his coat and curls up for a nap; he is clearly not that into safaris!

At the main gate to the park we stop for a "short call" on Africa's most beautiful toilet (tissue paper, an actual toilet bowl, gilded bottom-spraying-showers, wow!). Then we start the scary descent down the steep dirt road.

Black rhinos!

Upon entering the caldera floor, we head towards the forest. Yes, you heard it right. This crater is so big, there's a complete forest inside! Richard speeds a little too fast past some eland and a bush buck, but we soon forgive him when we learn why. In a small clearing, in between some zebras and elephants, two big black rhinos are calmly grazing! I really, really hadn't expected to see these rare animals!

By the way, do you know why rhinos are called 'black' and 'white', even though they're both grey..? It's because the one is actually WIDE(-lipped). Seriously, that really bugs me! Makes it easier to tell them apart, though..

Family quarrels

A little outside the forest, we're in for another big surprise: a large family of four adult lionesses and 7 cubs (a litter of 3 and a slightly older litter of 4). One of the little cubs is limping, so we fear for its future. The fourth lioness lags behind with her big fat belly.. she'll soon produce another litter!

We are so pre-occupied with the family of lions, that we hardly pay attention to what's happening on the other side of the road: a hyena is trying to prove some point against a couple of jackalls, only to be chased of by a... zebra!

Ngorongoro, too, has a hippo pool, so we can't pass up on that! Hippos are always in for a laugh. When a male hippo tries to mount a female, she says 'no' by... shitting in his face! Classy!

Love is apparently in the air. We find two male lions hanging out with a female. Richard says the one lion must be in heat. And sure, the one lion lazily mounts his girlfriend! The fun is over in about 70 seconds though.. poor girl!

That's a lot of zebras..

We spend the rest of the morning driving across the hilly plains, where we see hundreds and hundreds of wildebeest and zebras. And, my personal favorite, crowned cranes in large numbers!

We take our lunch by a nice little pool, this time staying in the car to protect our lunch from the kites. Richard and Boka try a different strategy: they hide underneath the car! When our lunch is finished, we are joined by a large elephant, come to have a drink. Cool!

After that close encounter, it's already time to head back towards the lovely town of Mto wa Mbu, Mosquito River, where we'll spend the night before enjoying our final day of safari at Lake Manyara National Park.
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