Sense of Adventure in Perfect Isolation – Ngorongoro Crater

After leaving THE Serengeti National Park, we backtracked to the Ngorongoro Crater.  For those of you who don’t know, it’s an onomatopoeia for the sound a cow bell makes (or at least that is what we were told, because I can’t see it).  Anyway, we camped at the top of the crater, and gee-whiz, it was cold.  We’re talking 5 degrees south of the equator; mind you Florida is about 27 degrees north.  It was probably the altitude, but still, we weren’t that high up, and anyway in the morning we descending into the crater and it was still an icebox. 

Our truck broke down in the morning before we left. Somehow we made it back without a problem, but then in the morning the clutch suddenly didn’t work.  Jill blames it on the driver’s late night rendezvous/joy ride. Anyway, this was half the fun.  We had 3 trucks for 20 people, 2 trucks with 6 people, and 1 truck with 8 people.  We had the truck that fit 8 people.  So because we didn’t want to waste any of our time in the crater, we packed ourselves into the other 2 trucks.  That means 10 people in a 6 person truck plus the driver.  At least we kept each other warm, sort of.

So this place just seems out of this world.  You descend about 200 meters into the caldera of about 100 square miles.  Visibility, even with an overcast sky (unfortunately), was immaculate.  You could see the rim of the crater in all directions.  In the middle of the crater is a fairly large size lake with thousands upon thousands of pink flamingos.  Since we came in winter time, the water levels were near their lowest, so they were pretty far, even with the “altered camera lens”.  It didn’t matter though, it was just a sea of pink (by the way, a flamingo’s call is pretty annoying, especially when there are thousands of them), a great view.  You have plains, hills, ponds, a forest, and mountain sides all in this tiny little area that is secluded basically from the rest of the world.

Somehow, tons of animals got down here and they don’t want to leave.  There is so much water from the high elevation, as it was so green, especially compared with the rest of Tanzania, which was basically brown all over this time of year. 

The pictures we have really don’t do this place justice due to the fog/overcast.  It was still a great experience; the cold weather, the open safari vehicle, the landscape, the animals.  Good stuff. 

We also managed to see 2 lions with their 5 cubs cruising around.  One of the lion’s attempted to hunt, but was spotted by a wildebeest who alerted the herd.  Shucks. 

Unfortunately, we were only here for 4 hours.  But it was definitely a great conclusion to a 41 day overland trip from South Africa to Tanzania/Kenya

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