Day 8 – Ngorongoro Crater

Today’s blog is brought to you by rhinosaurus

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Rhinos are rare and solitary creatures so getting a photo of one is a challenge. Obviously we did not get very close, which is probably a good thing, since rhinos are very aggressive and have been known to charge cars. Rhinos are pretty rare. Here live the black rhino usually adapted to eat off trees but here live off grass. There are only about 30 rhinos living in the crater and we managed to see 6. But all from afar. Rhinos have been hunted to near extinction just for their horns. What a shame.
We have now officially seen the “big 5” : lions, leopards, Cape buffalo, elephants, and rhinos. Not to mention all the others. I think I’ve checked off just about everyone we could expect to see.

We woke up this morning to a beautiful sunrise.

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And drove down to the Ngorongoro crater. We’re staying at a lodge on the rim of the crater. The Ngorongoro crater is the 8th wonder of the world, and let me tell you it was. It is a 10+mile wide volcanic calvera, sitting 610meters (almost 2000 ft) down. We descended via a long, narrow, steep road. The natural amphitheater is home to the densest population of animals anywhere.

Lots and lots of zebra

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Plenty of wildebeest and Cape buffalo.
We saw lions stalking buffalo. We missed the kill, but did see them eating. Unfortunately something went wrong and many of my photos did not record. Oh well. We were pretty far away.
Here’s a shot of lions laying by the trucks. It was this pride that we later saw eating the buffalo.

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And here’s another pair of lions stalking buffalo. I don’t know if they ever caught one.

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After touring around for about 2 hrs we stopped for a picnic breakfast.

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These birds were pretty but harassed us through breakfast. One of them stole my croissant right out of my hand.

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Elephants large elephants live In this crater

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I’ve talked about the poor memory of wildebeest, and everyone knows the adage “an elephant never forgets”. But I didn’t know they had the very human capability of revenge. If a person harms an elephant or its young, the elephant will remember and if they find that person, even years later, will kill him. I thought only mankind was capable of that.

Cape buffalo are very aggressive beasts and are responsible for more human killings (esp Massai shepherds) than lions are. If you are chased by a Cape buffalo, your best chance is to lie down, then they can’t get you with their horns. So now you know what to do next time you’re chased by a Cape buffalo. They sure do look pretty mean.

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Baby warthogs. A face only a mother could love.

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The only photos I am sorry that did not get through are those I took a a newborn Grant Gazelle. It was no more than. Few mi uses old and we saw it take its first steps. But I don’t have the photo. Sorry. Just picture it in your mind. It was amazing.

We had a picnic lunch but stayed inside the vehicle since the birds were bigger and more aggressive. By mid afternoon we headed back. There is one road in and one road out of the crater. The road in was near the hotel and took about 30 min. The road out lead us to the other side of the crater and took nearly 2 hours to get back.

I’ve been instructed by my sister to post more picture of the lodge. This lodge is stunning. The room.

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The view fro the balcony

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The hallway

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Tonight’s entertainment – stilt walker and band.

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20130113-183006.jpg in the lounge where I am enjoying beer, appetizers and Internet and a stunning view.

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Life is pretty good right now.

Tomorrow we head out to another local and another lodge. I’m not sure is I will have wifi access so it maybe a few days until I post again. A few more days of safari then head back to the real world.

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