Around the Crater Rim and Into Our Mobile Camp

Trip Start Feb 06, 2008
Trip End Mar 03, 2008

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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Monday, February 18, 2008

Today we left Lake Manyara to drive around the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater.  The vast crater floor is spectacular with its lake and surrounding grasslands.  The crater itself is the 6th largest in the world and was created 15 million years ago.  The equally fertile land on the rim is where the Maasai people have been relocated from the crater floor.  The landscape is dotted with Maasai villages and roaming Maasai herds.  We then drove into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area for our game drive.
Again, it started slow with large migratory herds of wildebeests (or gnus), zebras and gazelles.  Then, attacked!--by a ferocious pack of monkeys riding a pride of lions--okay, kidding.  Moses with his sharp eyes made out four spotted hyenas in the distance relaxing in a mud pool.  He drove us closer to get our first look at hyenas.  Moses then spotted an eland, the largest antelope.  The eland is usually very shy but this time we got close enough in our truck to get a good look.  We then took off seemingly to nowhere, but soon arrived at a solitary acacia tree in the middle of the plain where we had lunch under its shade.
With full bellies, we went lion hunting.  We spotted a lioness in a tree trying to get comfortable for an afternoon nap.  She seemed to pose and stretch for our camera and we got off some good shots.  We continued into the Serengeti and before we made it to our campsite, we got a chance to see a family of five cheetahs (what did you call me!?) napping in the shade.  Somewhere along the way we had gotten a flat and as the air slowly leaked out we made it to the EMC, a luxury tented mobile camp that follows the migration across the Serengeti.
Our spacious and comfortable tent had solar-powered lights, a bush shower, running water and a flush toilet.  A gourmet dinner was served in a separate tented restaurant.  Hot water bottles greeted us in our beds and we fell asleep to the sounds of the Serengeti with the howls of the hyenas and the nighttime grunts of the lions.
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