Ngorongoro crater visit

Trip Start Nov 06, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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What I did

Flag of Tanzania  ,
Thursday, December 5, 2013

Just got back from Ngorongoro Crater, as part of the three day safari. 

It was incredible. I’d resisted looking at pictures online of the place and glad I did.

Not only was the landscape wonderful so were the animals we saw (more of that later)
The crater is a collapsed volcano. We drove up and over the top ridge and then descended down inside. There has been little rain so much of the space was dry with almost white grass - perfect for lions to hide in (more of that later). 

It took an hour to descend, with 360degree views throughout. 

One inside we began a slow tour around, and before long spotted lion in the distance (good view with binoculars) then even further away we saw a black rhino sitting in the sunshine. Sadly we were too far away to see his/her features. There are now only 43 left in the crater and all are protected around the clock. 

Jackal, hyena (bigger than you expect), zebra all crossed our paths. And then we crossed into a plain so full of animals it was pretty unbelievable. Hundreds and hundreds of buffalo, zebra, wildebeast, warthogs for as far as you could see, with some ostrich scattered among them. 

We drove among them and sat watching all of these animals casually living alongside one another. 

Moving on we went to find some flamingo - downhearted that we didn’t see any yesterday. We found three. Three Lesser Flamingo in a pool looking for food. Many had moved on and apparently Arusha National Park is a good place to see them, but we don’t have time to visit.

As the rains moved across the crater we moved over to the hippo pools, which also had some hungry buffalo in the water with them grazing on the grasses at the edges. A mother and baby hippo were walking next to the pool among thirty-odd buffalo and having fun getting in and out of the water. 

We began crossing the plains back in the direction we had come from only to see a few other safari cars parked on a hill - they had spotted something. 

Our car pulled up among them - and looking down the hill we could see a herd of buffalo slowly crossing, with a pride of lions in the grasses watching them. The lions didn’t move. We began to wonder if they weren’t interested after all. Then, suddenly one approached the group and the herd ran in the other direction. She (the lion) had made it to the other side of the herd, while the remaining four now began to join her. But the buffalo were not to taking this lightly. Five or six of them charged at the four lion, with more behind them! The lions retreated (with one still on the other side of the herd). Sadly (for the buffalo) a lion had attacked a baby and killed it. The buffalo protected the body for a long time, surrounding it to stop the lions taking their kill. It was touching and emotional to watch yet also understanding that this is nature. The buffalo gave up after a while and the lions moved in. 

The rain poured, so we headed out of the crater which took an hour and took a slow journey back to Arusha. Our safari had been an intense few days, experiencing both the ‘wonder’ of being up close with all the animals and then seeing nature at work and seeing just how powerful (lions in this case) are. 
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