Trip Start Nov 18, 2002
157Trip End Ongoing
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We awake in the morning to no view of the crater below but instead we saw thick white cloud. It was still very cold and very wet.
We had breakfast and then loaded ourselves into the Landcruiser for our slipping and sliding journey down into crater. Fortunately there is one road in and another road out of the crater. It was just as well as the track descended steeply and was rather narrow in places and very muddy and very slippery. You definitely needed 4WD.
Once on the crater floor we put the roof up and we started our safari. Now it has to be said that this safari was very very different to the one we had experienced in the Serengeti etc. For a start the carter floor is only 20 or so kms wide and within that there is a high concentration of wild animals
We came across groups of gazelles, more hyenas, zebras, lions, and flocks of flamingos on Lake Madagi which is a salt water lake. There are fresh water holes for the animals to drink from and for the hippos to live (and stink) in. And then we came across a black rhino and her baby. They were grazing within a group of male elephants. The female rhino chooses to do this as the male elephants are protection for her baby which the lions could so easily kill. We could so easily have missed them if it wasn't for our drivers excellent skills of spotting these animals. We watched them for a while and within 10 minutes word had got round on the radio. You could see the lines of trucks coming from all directions. It really did look like a Disney theme park ride
The black rhino was the last animal to see on our Big 5 list. We left all the trucks to it and went on our way to somewhere quieter. As we travelled along each truck we passed would stop to talk to Salhim. It turned out that most of them were still looking for a black rhino. Our time in the Ngorongoro had gone very quickly and just was we were parking the truck to start our picnic lunch there in the distance was another black rhino, this time a male one. So we got to see 3 that day. Wow! We were very lucky indeed. Lots of people leave not seeing any!
Then it was time to slip and slide our way out of the crater and head back to Arusha. We really noticed the smoothness of the tarmac when we eventually hit the main road out. After the last 5 bumpy days it was a welcome relief to our bottoms.
Once back in Arusha we booked into a hotel for one night and the next day we took the bus one hour away to a town called Moshi which in on the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro.