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  • Day64


    November 18, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Today it's time for a safari that we've been excited about for a while- Ngorogoro Crater. It's the world's largest collapsed volcanic caldera- the floor of the crater stretches across 100 square miles. It's also completely cut off from the outside, creating a Lost World, with one of the highest concentrations of predators in the world. Lion sightings here are almost guaranteed.

    Our charismatic guide, Suleiman, drives 2000ft down from the crater edge down to the caldera floor and start the safari. We see a plethora of zebra, ostrich, buffalo, hippo, and, incredibly, get right up next to a pair of female lions. We find them on a small elevated rock formation, keeping watch over the surrounding area. One is taking a nap, and moves right next to our van, meaning that when we stick our heads out to take a look, she's only a few feet away from our faces. It's intense.

    After a few more hours driving around, spotting more lions and enjoying the incredible views, we head out. And then we stop. There are two rhinos. We excitedly scan the distance for them, but it's only when using binoculars that you're able to see two tiny brownish-grey smudges a good kilometre or so away. It still counts. The next rhino spotting, just a couple of minutes after, is even harder to see. After squinting through the binoculars, we can discern a sort of grey spot next to what might be a tree. "Exactly" confirms Suleiman.

    Greg's brother, Francis, picks us up from Ngorogoro to take us back to Arusha, whilst Martyn and Laura continue their safari to the Serengeti. Francis drives at about a million miles per hour through the dark, blasting out 90s Hip-Hop and encouraging us to buy ciders from the shop. It's a great journey, and we only got pulled over twice!

    Over the next couple of days, we have to wait for Martyn and Laura to catch up. We head to the next city, Moshi, without them. We wait for our travelling partners, and wait for the skies to clear to offer a glimpse of Kilimanjaro. We're not climbing it- it's eye-wateringly expensive- but the views alone are stunning.
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  • Day14

    Ngornogoro Crater

    October 19, 2007 in Tanzania

    We awoke this morning to a cacophony of bird songs. As we were staying in a tent (really a canvass room) we could hear the singing clearly. After lingering in bed a little longer than expected, I got up and we got ready for the day. We met Matt, Jim, Barbara and Nick for breakfast, as our paths had all crossed one last time. We said our goodbyes to Matt and Jim, then discussed the day with Barbara and Nick. They will be on a separate safari the next two days, but it is with the same company and itinerary as ours, so we will be spending more time together. The drive to the crater was an hour or so, then it is a painful, bumpy, dusty ride up and over the crater wall onto the floor. We first saw an elephant in the distance, then ostrich, cape buffalo, lots of gazelles, and warthogs. We also saw a variety of avian life. One bird, the Kory Bustard, is the largest flying bird. At 42 pounds, it is a flying thanksgiving dinner! We spent some time at the hippo pool, where they cooled themselves by throwing mud around with their tails. We saw a lion pride, unfortunately a little too far for pictures. And at the end of the day, we got to see the almost extinct black rhino. That was a real treat. There was a baby rhino with the two adults but we could not get a clear look at it. At the end of the day, we were covered with dust and delivered to the Sopa Lodge. We had a late dinner and turned in for the night. As we looked out our window a cape buffalo ambled by about 15 feet from the room. The sunset over the crater was beautiful.Read more

  • Day8

    Ngorongoro Crater Grant Giselle

    May 29, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    The Grant's gazelle is found in East Africa and lives in open grass plains and is frequently found in shrublands; it avoids areas with high grass where the visibility of predators is compromised. They also occur in semiarid areas and are relatively well adapted to dry areas, relying on more browse or leafy material during dry seasons to supplement their intake of water. They are migratory animals,Read more

  • Day15

    Our last day, but not KLM's

    October 20, 2007 in Tanzania

    We got up early and had a final breakfast with our friends Nick and Barbara. They will be in the crater all day, but we will leave around 11 to head for Arusha. We got a better view of a male lion today. He was incredibly large and well-defined, with a huge mane and majestic body. Wow, very impressive. We got some up close views of zebras, wildebeests, warthogs, and hyenas. We also saw a golden jackal, which we hadn't seen yet. It was a little cloudy and cool, but hopefully there was enough light for the photos to come out ok. We left the crater around 11:30am and took the Leiar Ascent road up the southwest side of the crater. The Land Rover was in 4WD most of the way, due to the steepness of the road. We wound up the crater wall, finally leveling off on the rim. It took well over an hour to get off the rim and headed back down toward Arusha. On the way to Arusha, the driver got a call on his cell phone. "Your flight is cancelled for tonight." We looked at him for a minute. It takes some time to understand what he says, plus we weren't expecting the call to involve us. The safari office had gotten notification of the cancelled flight and directed the driver to take us to the Impala Hotel, in Arusha. KLM will be putting us up, until they fly us out of town. We haven't gotten any more information and the hotel reception cannot get a hold of KLM by phone. Although we are in limbo, at least they gave us a nice hotel!Read more

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