Ngorongoro: the 8th wonder of the world

On 23 November 2013 by From elephants to kangaroos

IMG_1743This crater, I had heard from friends who have traveled or worked there. So I had high expectations… After a great breakfast, we are so happy to hit the road for the second day which should bring us closer to lions and other species. It is indeed one of the few zoos in the world where it is possible to see the Big 5 (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo). Yes but now, on the road, the weather is cloudy, it’s gray, it rains a bit, it’s cold and I’m a little sick to top it off. Arriving near the crater, one can normally observe high but the clouds do not allow us to see more than a meter. Starting down the road to the crater, it feels like Jurassic Park, the mist shrouded trees giving a special atmosphere to the scene.

IMG_1966Fortunately, once down, the clouds disappear giving way to the vastness of this place. Yet no animal in sight and we take full view : the colors are multiplied, the place is huge, very different vegetation . Then the surprises begin : a wildebeest is quietly lying on the road not wanting to move to let the cars, a herd of zebras is off while we were approaching another buffalo. And there, we do not know where to look, where to go … between melt drive amid zebras, join the other cars who observe lions, stay with buffalo or rhinoceros look with binoculars , there are many possibilities . Curiosity about our 1st lion prevail initially as you can imagine … 1 lion and several lionesses and almost instantly when it happens, the lion gets up to join one of the lionesses into heat. Then complete rest, the show is magical! It then goes with our jeep in the middle of the herd of zebras, engine off so as not to frighten. I’m quite a fan of these animals, their stripes fascinate me as much as their heads and reactions. I continue the shots, I shoot galore makes this animal so picture … we identify two different types of zebras, one IMG_1841having more and more closed stripes than the other. On the way to the picnic spot , we recrosse another family of lions sleeping (they are lazy day animals! ). Lunch will be in the car at the edge of a ” hippo pool ” with 2 lions more in height, perched on green rocks as Mufasa ruling over his kingdom. This afternoon, hippos , lions , zebras , buffaloes are the game. We also observe with binoculars flocks off and then I realize two rhinos in the middle of buffaloes. The mission of the day is successful, this animal is present in a few places in the world and in very small quantities (there are only twenty crater and some of the Serengeti). The day is filled !

IMG_2046As we have quite a way to go to our lodge, we leave the park at 3PM. This time, the view is completely unobstructed and we therefore take the opportunity to observe this magnificent crater at the top and take pictures. No matter that we did not see the Big 5 here, everything was exceptional. I will long remember, if not always, these extraordinary colors mingling between the sky, vegetation, animals and the earth. Red, green, blue, yellow, orange, etc., the entire range was there. And what a beautiful sight inside… It had promised me, I was not disappointed, I would say even more amazed than I thought.

IMG_2061So our day continues on the road to Ndutu Lodge (which I recommend). We are alone in the world on a track in the middle of nowhere. The scenery is gorgeous , we even stop in the middle for an “picture jeep in the desert” picture moment. Along the way we meet obviously full of gazelles, antelopes and warthogs other . But 7 giraffes aligned in a sort of small crater ground is superb …
The lodge on arrival is great, planted in the middle of nowhere with direct access to nature and animals. Proof is that lions and hyenas eat a few meters in front of us a buffalo killed the day before. The place is gorgeous, very comfortable rooms, friendly staff and excellent food. Small bonus of our day, in case that is not enough, we were at camp fire after dinner and then we had fun with dik -dik but at one moment Claire noticed that they stopped and watched something… I turn my head to the right and here we are, at 5 meters, 2 lions who decided to go through it. Fear, excitement, fascination … they spend their way after a ramger asked us to stay calm and quiet while the hotel manager asked us to go quietly but quickly inside because it’s too dangerous .

There are moments in life that you can’t forget, this day will be one of it…

To check all my posts about safari in Tanzania, click here. And to see all my safari picturestake a look here!

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