The Itinerary called for an 8 a.m. departure this morning. Steven suggested 6 a.m., we agreed! The plan was to get down to the crater floor early, before the others. He explained that the animals are most active early and we could have a box breakfast instead of lunch. This way we would be leaving the crater floor during the heat of the day when the animals would also be seeking shade and we would have our afternoon to relax or begin packing for our return to the states.
|Black-chested Snake Eagle|
|Gray Crowned Cranes|
|A dancing crane|
|The caldera floor with the volcano rim in the distance|
|Notice the sun pouring onto the floor of Ngorongoro crater|
|Our first of many lions today|
|The expansive crater|
|A Thompson's gazelle in the foreground, Wildebeest in the back|
|The lake came into view as it separated from the misty fog|
|Lesser and Greater Flamingos|
|Thousands of Flamingos skimming algae from the lake|
|One of my favorite "life" birds|
|Emperor geese watching the Hippo do laps|
|Great White Pelican|
|Number 5 of our Big 5|
|A lone elephant|
Steven said the Maasai believe there is an elephant graveyard in the caldera.
He also told us that the elephants here are old males.
|This was one of the 2 species of jackal that we saw today|
These were much smaller than the Thompson's Gazelle and lacked the
black "racing" stripe along their belly.
|Steven set our breakfast up on the hood of our safarie vehichle|
|The Masked Weaver birds would swoop down and try to steal our muffins.|
Sometimes right out of our hands.
|Donna watching the hippos|
|A Black Kite that would also try to steal food. Although, Steven said they preferred lunch|
because the lunches included more meats, like chicken.
|This was our "Home" on the road|
Toyota Land Cruiser
|The "Heart" tree|
|Our Dispatch Travel section photo|
|I tried to get Barb to go in and pose from her usual vantage point but she declined.|
|The Wash Room|
|The "Breakfast Club"!|
|The following photos are of a lion group post-kill. Most of the lions will be covered in what Steven called their "lion make-up". The photo above is the mother of 6 older juveniles who are still at the kill site.|
|Mom was trying to get her family away from the kill to follow her. Like most teenagers, they weren't listening!|
|Waiting in the wings! (a little play on words)|
The vultures were also waiting for the lions to leave.
|And so was this spotted hyena|
|The group of vultures is growing in numbers|
|Mom continues to call|
|Finally 4 of the 6 head over to follow their mother|
|They cross the road, oblivious of the many gathering trucks filled with clicking cameras.|
|They cross a small stream in the valley below and disappear into a copse of trees|
|and lastly #6 has had his fill and follows the scent of his mother and siblings|
who have long since disappeared into the trees.
|The wildebeests are calving. We saw one young one that Steven said had probably|
been born early this morning!
|Wildebeests have a light colored beard that is used to hide their calves from predators.|
You will notice that the calves are much lighter than the adults.
|Kori Bustard #2|
|This little guy not more than a day or two old, and appears to have|
a very good appetite!
|Obviously this is the crossing guard. He stood in place for nearly 5 minutes.|
Why, you ask? Because he could!
|Every zebra has stripes that are unique to them.|
They are like finger prints in humans. No two are alike!
|If you notice the scar on his right rear flank, Steven said it like came from a lion trying to pull him down.|
He is a very lucky survivor.
|We were fortunate to see two species of jackals. This is a|
He was much smaller than the Black-backed Jackal.
Juvenile on the left, adult on the right.
|The zebras also had young.|
Would they be colts and fillies?
Steven said a zebra's backbone is weak so they are not fit as beasts of burden
like horses or donkeys and burros. They are also almost impossible
|The young zebra has stripes more brown than black.|
|Two more rhino sightings bringing our total to 4.|
|This cattle egret is catching a ride. An African Uber!|
|The only rain on our trip occurred on our way out of the crater. We drove for a while with the top up not wanting to admit that our trip was quickly coming to an end.|
Okay, enough of the sappy stuff. The trip was almost over but I still have a few photos of this wonderful lodge where we last stayed . Lion World Travel could not have put together a more wonderful tour. It seemed that at the end of each day when we were thinking it could not get better but somehow it did. Each park we visited offered different habitats and different animals and birds but I must admit that Ngorongoro Crater was the "creme de la creme"! The lodging and food were all fantastic and the staff at each stop were so friendly and helpful that we instantly felt at home and among friends.
|Our room at the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge|
|The view from our room balcony|
|Complete with birds.|
Baglafecht Weaver (female)
|Our rainbow at the end of our African adventure.|
|The Ngorongoro Serena Lodge|
|Breakfast view from the dining room|
|The backside of the lodge|
|Our Last Breakfast|
|And our O-H-I-O|
With the help of our new friend Donna.
Asante sana (Thank you, very much)
Leaving you with the sounds of our last morning in Tanzania. Turn up your volume!