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    • Day 18

      Safari @ Ngorongoro Crater

      August 4, 2022 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      Der Ngorongoro-Krater hat eine beeindruckend große Vielfalt an Tieren!
      Er entstand, als an dieser Stelle ein Vulkanberg in sich zusammenbrach. Der Kraterboden liegt etwa 600m unterhalb der Seitenwände, hat einen Durchmesser von 20km und ist nur ganz in der Mitte geflutet. Hier haben sich es Flamingos & Hippos gemütlich gemacht. Um den See herum gibt es beeindruckend viele Zebras, Gnus und Büffel und auch einige Löwen. Leider waren sie scheinbar sehr satt und haben alle nur geschlafen. Elefanten konnten wir auch beobachten, leider nur aus der Ferne.Read more

    • Day 7

      3. Tag Ngorongoro (Simba Campsite)

      September 3, 2022 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

      Kalt, sehr sehr kalt 🥶 heute Nacht. In der Nacht kamen die Zebras 🦓 bis ans Zelt und haben mal geschaut was da so drin ist. Morgens um 6:00 gab es dann wieder ein herrliches Frühstück und dann ging’s los in Ngorongoro Nationalpark. Traumhaft als erstes haben wir einen jagenden Löwen getroffen. Sie war leider nicht erfolgreiche. Dann kam noch vieles mehr. Aber kein Nashorn 🦏Read more

    • Day 14

      Im Krater

      January 29, 2023 in Tanzania ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

      Vor Sonnenaufgang verlassen wir das Rhinocamp, das seine besten Tage schon gesehen hat. Sonnenaufgang am Rand des Kraters. Danach gab es eine längere Pirschfahrt, die landschaftlich sehr schön war, die Tiere hielten jedoch Riesenabstand. Wir konnten aber endlich Nashörner sehen.Read more

    • Day 7

      Wanderung am Kraterrand

      February 20, 2023 in Tanzania ⋅ ☁️ 24 °C

      Heute Vormittag waren wir in Begleitung eines Rangers am Rand des Kraters zu Fuß unterwegs. Auf dem Weg haben wir eine große Gruppe Giraffen 🦒 gesehen und mehrere Masai getroffen. Unser Ranger hat uns viel über die Pflanzen und auch einiges über die Ausbildung und Aufgaben der Ranger erzählt.Read more

    • Day 109

      Driving to Ngorongoro

      August 23, 2023 in Tanzania ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

      We were up at 5am this morning, with instructions to have our tents down and be ready for breakfast at 6. We all complied. Unfortunately, Ibrahim overslept!! When he finally showed up at about ten past six, we all had to rush to get our breakfast and pack our lunches ready for our 6.50am departure. We all mucked in to be ready in time. I was pleased to see there was cooked meat and cheese, as well as salad, to put in our sandwiches.

      We had two 4x4 vehicles for the next few days. Nash introduced us to the two drivers, Amos and Mankinga. We chose to go with Mankinga and, boy, did it prove to be the right decision!

      We loaded all our personal stuff into the vehicles. Our tents and sleeping mats were being transported with Ibrahim and all the kitchen equipment in a third 4x4. Apart from us, we had Ray, Luke, Juan, and Orly in our car. Nash travelled in the second car with the rest of the group. John stayed behind with the truck. He will drive to our next campsite on Friday, and we will meet him there.

      We were ready to go a little later than planned. We stopped in the local town to use the ATM and stock up on drinks and snacks as we would have no opportunities to buy anything else once we entered the park.

      We then drove on to Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It was a cloudier morning than we have had previously on this trip. As we drove, we chatted to Mankinga and got to know him a bit better. He is the grandson of the local tribal chief and was born and brought up in the area. His grandmother was the first female tour guide in Tanzania! She inspired Mankinga to love wildlife and to follow in her footsteps.

      We had to stop at the gate to get our permits to enter Ngorongoro. The name is Masai for ‘bowl’ due to the shape of the Ngorongoro Crater. Once in the conservation area, we climbed a spiral road to reach the rim of the crater. There was dense forest on both sides of the road and thick fog as we ascended, meaning that we could see very little.

      We were in a queue of safari vehicles all entering the park at the same time. Most of them stopped at the crater viewpoint. We didn’t. You couldn’t see anything!😊

      It takes about an hour to drive around the rim. It’s a very dusty and very bumpy ride! As we approached the entry to the crater itself, the sun started to break through, and we were able to see the thick, lush vegetation all around us. Before starting our descent, we saw a family of warthogs, several giraffes (you don’t find them on the floor of the crater as there are no trees), and two herds of zebra. The cloud and fog lifted enough for us to see into the Malanja Depression, where there are Masai villages. The people make a living by herding cattle and goats.
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    • Day 109

      More wildlife as we left Ngorongoro

      August 23, 2023 in Tanzania ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      There were clouds hovering over the rim on one side of the crater, whereas the other side was clear. It was a curious phenomenon watching the clouds rolling over the rim and down towards the floor of the crater, evaporating as they did so.

      We stopped for lunch by a small lake, which was full of hippos. We were advised to stay in the car to eat our picnic so as not to attract the attention of scavenger birds. We did get out to buy an ice cream, though 😂.

      After lunch, we drove out of the crater. The road was very steep and winding and extremely dusty. Along the way, we saw:

      • Herds of wildebeest and zebra
      • Impalas crossing the road
      • A solitary buffalo
      • Lots of gazelles
      • Loads of elephants (close up!)
      • Large giraffes eating small trees and then crossing the road in front of our car
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    • Day 12


      September 15, 2023 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

      Der Ngorogoro-Krater ist eine Welt für sich. Er hat einen Durchmesser von knapp 20 km. Der Grund liegt ca. 600 m tiefer als der Kraterrand auf 1700 m. Er hat sein eigenes Klima, die Wolkendecke könnten wir schon aus 20 km Entfernung erkennen.
      Die Artenvielfalt und Populationen sind überwältigend.
      Read more

    • Day 30

      Ngorongoro Crater - A Last Game Drive

      November 12, 2023 in Tanzania ⋅ ☁️ 32 °C

      The last stop of my Africa leg was the green Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania - just a mere 100km away from the Serengeti. The crater is the result of a strong volcanic activity 2-3 millions years ago and its ash is mainly responsible for the endless plains in the Serengeti.

      Anyway, since the crater is so small, the chance of wildlife spotting is incredibly high, something that we could witness ourselves. We started early in the morning, as usual, with 4x4 driving down into the crater from our campsite. Within 10 minutes in the park, we saw a pride of lions, buffalos, loads of Thomson Gazelle and so on. The scenery itself is already spectacular - i mean, driving within an erupted volcano with a large lake in the middle - and then adding wildlife to it makes this the most picturesque game drive over the last four weeks. During the 4h game drive, we saw tons of more lions close by, hippos, zebras, wildebeest, and so on… a really perfect end to game viewing.

      In the evening, we all headed to our campsite bar for some last drinks, heart-felt goodbyes and promises to see each other again. It was also pouring down and I cannot wait to go to Bangkok and actually have a proper roof, warm shower, decent water pressure, reliable Wifi, delicious food, etc.

      It truly has been a great adventure.
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    • Day 34

      Ngorogoro National Park

      November 12, 2023 in Tanzania ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

      The day started off very positively as we were given a good morning by a tower of giraffes and a herd of Topi that greeted us as we emerged from our tents. We took some photos and then continued to rush around to ensure we made our 6:30 am departure time. This was about to be my last game drive for my East African tour as tomorrow I head back to Nairobi and fly off to Madagascar. In the end, it was probably only the Maasai Mara that could beat this National Park. This is because, firstly, it was still a National Park, so you could not leave the roads like you could in Kenya. Secondly, there were no giraffes. The area was far too small for them to be able to protect their young effectively. Though it is worth mentioning that it is massive, it took us 2 hours to get through it, and you could easily spend more. Finally, there were also no leopards, and I can only guess this is the result of the insanely large population of lions that occupy the landscape. So many, in fact, it took about 5 minutes until we saw a pride with a couple of cubs that had just had a successful hunt. The presence of other herbivores is stunning given the sheer number of lions we saw straight out the gate. Just after this, we turned the corner, and there was another pride of about 6 lionesses, in which we were maybe 15 minutes from missing them successfully nab a buffalo. We were watching them rip the skin off the poor animal that would indicate it was very, very fresh. We quickly uturned to go back to the original pride of lions and watched one of the larger males cross right in front of the truck. Unfortunately, it was very busy and took away from the experience somewhat, but still cool as we got insanely close. For whatever reason, the animals let us get so close, lions included, but mostly Zebras, Buffalo, and even Gazelle that are notoriously skittish. So after some experiences getting up close and perosnalnwith all these we began to make our way to the salt lake that occupies the very middle of the crater. The origins of this lake and how it came to be salty is beyond me. On our way, however, we passed two very young lions, not even a year old. They were very chilled and were happy just looking at us and relaxing. We got some great photos before continuing to the aquatic life. There were lesser and greater flamingos that occupied the lake, as well as hippos and many other bird species. We stopped here for some photos before continuing to the small patch of vegetation that occupies the caldera. We passed some elephants on the way, right in the distance, but mostly, we were hopeful for leopards. This is where our guide informed us that they do not occupy the area. Tragic, but we had seen quite a lot in a short amount of time. The density of wildlife was unmatched, even by the parks in Kenya. The one thing that this national park may have beaten the Maasai Mara or Nakuru in was the landscape. It is one of the world's largest unbroken calderas in the world, meaning you could theoretically walk completely around the perimeter, though you would be walking for a very long time, as it is massive.even if this isn't viable, the landscape as a result is surreal. Being in the middle of a massive crater, with wildlife thriving and multiple lakes, is a very interesting experience. The drive in and the drive out were highlights as you traverse dense rainforest landscapes before it opens up to a grassland in the centre. The views from the top are incredible, and you can see all through the caldera as well as the unbroken rim. As we headed back to camp, we rejoined the big yellow magic school bus. From here, we had a relatively short drive to a camp site just outside of Arusha. By the time we arrived, all the accommodations were booked out, and so I had to attempt to organise all of my belongings and pack my bag in a small undercover area. It took quite a while as throughout the last month, I had spread my things throughout different locations, so it was kind of a brain training game remembering where I left it all. Eventually, it was all packed, and I could sit back and enjoy my final meal with Absolute Africa. This was one of their main bases, and so there were quite a few different tour groups around. As such, they cooked for everyone, and we didn't have any chores to do for the day. We went to the bar and enjoyed some fairwell drinks for both myself, Martin, and Shannon, who were all due to depart tomorrow. We drank until quite late, but the three of us were given a 6:45am departure time, and so we had to ensure we didn't have too late of a night. Not to mention, we had to be relatively switched on so as to not forget anything.Read more

    • Day 33

      Long drives in the Serengeti

      November 11, 2023 in Tanzania

      There was a lot of driving today as we continued to make our way through the Serengeti, and we were in our big yellow truck, so it wasn't the most comfortable ride. Nonetheless, it was a nice drive due to the landscapes that were ever changing and always beautiful. At first, there were rolling hills and thick vegetation. This was mostly the landscape yesterday, but it continued through the start of today. But after many hours of driving and no luck finding a leopard, we progressed to a much more open landscape. A landscape that is very typical to what one may expect from Seregeti - long and flat grasslands with few random trees dotting the landscape as though organised by a higher being. This is where we stopped for a break and went through an education centre to learn more about the history of the Serengeti. The geologic history was the most exciting as it explained how an ancient volcano (now the Ngorogoro Crater) erupted and coated the landscape in volcanic ash, leaving nothing but a huge crater in the ground where the enourmas volcano once stood. When the volcanic ash mixed with the seasonal rains that East Africa is known for, it created a cement like substance that spanned hundreds of kilometres. Millions of years of erosion and soil displacement onto this layer of hard rock ensured that the landscape was once again capable of maintaining life. Yet the thin layer of soil that is now present could not support large trees from forming as there was insufficient space to develop an effective root system. As we continued we saw how this took effect, the closer we got to Ngorogoro Crater, the more sporadic the trees were, until, eventually, they completely disappeared and we did not see one for hours upon hours. Yet somehow, in this seemingly grassed desert, we would emerge to see thousands of wildebeest unfased by the seemingly lifeless landscape it is occupying. Yet, of course, this makes sense. The grasslands meant you could see for kilometre upon kilometre as far as your eyes would allow you until the curvature of the earth caused the grasslands to drop out of sight. Perfect for spotting predators. Occasionally, mountains lined the horizon, only adding to the surreal effect, as you could barely fathom how far away they must be situated. Taking a photo was redundant as the camera could not capture the extents with which the horizon seemed to continue endlessly. The same went for the herds of thousands of buffalo, wildebeest, and zebra. Taking a photo wouldn't capture the millions of tiny dots that lined the horizon. The clarity simply wasn't there. A sight that just has to be witnessed and experienced rather than simply photographed. Beautiful oasis did exist throughout the landscape, and they are known as kopies. Kopies are protrusions of granite rock that pushed through the earth's mantle many million years ago, before life on earth even existed. These oases and their capacity to disrupt the layer of volcanic rock that normally inhibits tree growth means that life can flourish. This means that these little pockets of vegetation become homes to packs for lions, monkeys, or birds. Getting a good photo of one of these is difficult, especially in a bumpy truck, but you get the idea from the photos. Ride as we approached the Naabi hill, we found the presence of big cats. First, a cheetah, then a large pride of lions, right alongside the road. Allowing us to get as good of a shot you can get in Serengeti. A cub occupied the group and was incredibly playful, the adults, less so. There presence likely is to follow the prey as they utilise the safety of endless grasslands. In quite a contradiction to what I had said previously, somehow the vegetation became thicker again as we got closer to Ngorogoro Crater, so I would say this is the habitat that the big cats tend to occupy. As the closest woodland would be days of walking from the direction that we had come from. We had a quick stop at a lookout before continuing. Once we began to leave Naabi hill, the quantity of animals exploded. Suddenly, millions of Zebras, wildebeest and buffalo, appeared in a daunting and awe-inspiring show of Serengeti numerosity and importance. This is something i should have expected but didn't. Making it all the more stunning when I did see the illusion of the horizon moving and shifting and warping as the herds of animals meant it was impossible to see the littlest bit of land toward the horizon. Just millions of animals moving slowly like a flowing river. As we continued, the landscape became very different but exciting as it transitioned back into woodlands. Many Maasai tribes inhabited the area, and it was interesting to drive past them on our way to camp. This was our longest day in the truck, and in the end, we clocked over 13 hours inside. Though this time, it was much more exciting as we were in the middle of the Serengeti, by the end, we were scratching at the door to get out. We were once again camping in the middle of the national park, but this time the Ngorogor Crater National Park. This did mean that there was nothing to stop the animals from walking right up to our tents. We made dinner as quickly as possible as it was quite late and headed to bed to catch some Zs.

      I have included a bunch of facts that we learned from the education centre, as well as Joe, our guide who has decades of experience in these national parks. They are not necessary to read but some of them are quite interesting.
      Wildlife in East Africa

      - Ngorongoro Crater was taller than Kilimanjaro, then erupted
      - 4 threats to wildlife: heavy rains, diseases (domestic to wildlife eg tuberculosis), fire (controlled burning is a mitigation), poachers (40,000 killed a year - Poaching less of an issue these days with exception and Kruger in SA and Zimbabwe)
      - 1/4 wildebeest die on the river crossing, 250,000 every year. 8,000 born a day during Jan and Feb
      - Wildebeest have a 3 week mating period and females are only fertile for one day
      - Elephant tusks: aphrodisiac - poached for Chinese herbal medicine, same material as fingernails.
      - South Africa have started de horning rhinos to discourage the unecessary killing of them. Poachers kill by various methods, including positioning waterholes
      - Elephants have no sweat glands - instead have big ears to cool themselves whereas crocs have their mouth open to breathe & lions pant
      - Hippo can cut ten foot croc in half and are the most dangerous animals in Africa, despite being herbivores
      - Crocs can last a year between feeds. They are impossible to relocate & don’t die from natural causes / old age, only disease and other crocs. Can live up to 100 years
      - Some animals delay pregnancy (sometimes up to 3 months) if not raining when due for birth
      Read more

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