Ngorongoro Crater

Trip Start Oct 19, 2010
Trip End Jan 19, 2011

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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ngorogoro Crater is only part of a group of interrelated ecosystems adjacent to Serengeti National Park.  The entire conservation area comprises 8300 sq km.  The crater itself is a 20 km circle of very steep mountains.  "Crater" might not be the accurate term as Ngorongoro is actually an ancient caldera.  That is, an ancient volcano collapsed creating an expansive, flat bottom.  Over time, some grazers and predators made it into the caldera floor and have lived well since.

We made it to our campsite the night prior to our game drive.  We were to camp on the crater rim & were treated with a great sunrise over the crater.  Again nothing separated us from the wildlife.  The most amazing interaction occurred just as we sat for dinner.  A rustling brought us about 10m around the kitchen building to see a massive male elephant.  He was reaching over the top of the water tower and drinking directly...for about 20 minutes.  Truly unbelievable!!

Although the diversity of environments and animals is quite high, the crater wasn't a tremendous drive for us.  The exception was a pair of adult male Masai lions that we came across.  Masai lions have a noticeably darker mane and the two brothers were breathtaking!

Now we will take a few days to reach Dar before getting three days "off tour" on Zanzibar.  Bring on the beach!

On a separate note, my allergies have been horrible here.  Much worse than the worst hay fever I've ever had while the pine trees were doing their thing in Atlanta.  I've been told that it's the Acacia trees...which is virtually every tree here.  I'm full of meds for the allergies & am finishing up some antibiotics to help clear up my sinuses.  Feeling better each day.  Some kind of other bug is making its way through the group, but I've been lucky there so far.
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