Trip Start Jun 12, 2007
129Trip End Ongoing
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I awoke around 6am today to the sound of rain crashing against our thatched roof, the alarm wasn't due to go off for another hour and a half and it was still dark, I looked over at John and he was still happily in the land of nod, so I snuggled back down into the covers and lay there listening to the rain.
We joined my mum and dad for breakfast, everyone is a lot livelier again this morning. At breakfast we had some delicious coffee - made with the Arabica coffee beans, grown within the grounds of the lodge. After breakfast we wandered around for a while until our safari guide arrived - he introduced himself as Stanley, we loaded up our luggage and off we went. We arranged a private safari, so that we could have the jeep to ourselves, that way we can more or less stop where and when we want to and for how long we want to - so we asked Stanley if he could take us to a village to buy a bulk load of bottled water for the week. We stopped just outside Tengeru, where me, dad and John went into a shop to stock up on water.
Then we were on our way through the Rift Valley to Ngorongoro crater. Along the way we saw some of Tanzanian life, Masai with their cattle and donkeys, a huge Masai market, fruit and veg stalls, children coming out of school, people trying to transport all manner of things by bicycle, people lazing under trees, people walking to collect water - Stanley told us that sometimes people walk 6 hours to get water - 3 hours each way, carrying upto 20 litres back at a time. There were woman and men in colourful dress, brightly coloured fruits and vegetables - A whole multitude of colours contrasted with brilliant red soil.
We reached Ngorongoro Conservation area and then started climbing our way up the escarpment to the crater highlands. The roads change now and become complete red dust tracks. There are a number of vehicles leaving the park, throwing up huge clouds of rusty dust and with the sun reflecting in through the window as well, at points, I swear that Stanley could not have possibly been able to see where he was going, it didn't deter him though and he ploughed on at top speed - "the gate at the crater closes at 6pm" he says, "we have to get there before then", so we take the twists and turns and bumps with no letting up, gripping on to our seats just in an effort to remain in them. We make the gate with just a couple of minutes to spare and once inside Stanley seemed to relax again.
"So, what do you want to see on safari tomorrow?" Stanley asks. We all tell him that we want to see everything, not just the 'big five', but everything, including the small stuff. We tell him that we don't want to go racing from once side of the park to the other in search of one particular animal; we just want to take it slowly and observe everything on the way.
"You don't want to see Lion or Leopard?" he questions. Well, yes, that too if possible, but we want to see whatever comes our way.
"We are going to have a good time" Stanley confirms and gives us a big smile.
Out of everything we have a possibility of seeing I would dearly love to see a male lion - when I was in Kenya I saw lionesses but no males, they are just so majestic - this would be very special for me.
Stanley is really friendly and is already talking and joking with us - that is a good start. He remembers our names also - "So, Paula" he says "what would be your favourite thing to see" - so I tell him that it would be truly awesome to see a male lion if we come across one. "I find you lion tomorrow" he says "how many lion did you see in Kenya" he says, I tell him 8 - all females, "I find you at least 40 by the end of the week" he promises. I don't know if we will see that many or not, I hope so, but in truth just seeing 1 male lion would make me ecstatically happy.
It was much colder here and we got out to view the sight that is the Ngorongoro Crater, it's awesome. We'll be going down there tomorrow, I'm so excited.
By the time we arrive at our lodge, its dark, but when we get to the room, I look out of the balcony and can make out that we are on the edge of the crater - overlooking it, I can't wait till sunrise tomorrow.