Friday, December 28, 2007

Saturday, 15 September - Ngorongoro Crater

We decided to skip breakfast this morning, as we were both pretty full from the non-stop feeding. Although in retrospect we should have grabbed a yogurt or something, as we were both hungry well before lunch.

Every time we check in to a new lodge, I charge up the batteries. The power strip I plug into the adapter, and then plug everything into the strip. The stuff that needs power conversion (110 v 220) I charge later without the strip so I can use the adapter on the item.

We've done laundry twice now, once at Amboseli Serena Lodge and once here, at Ngorongoro Crater Sopa Lodge. Both times the clothes came back in excellent condition. I'm trying to avoid a third washing so we'll see how I do. (Aside - in the future, just do the laundry as needed, even every other day. It's very reasonable and the service is wonderful. It would save on packing. Since there were just one or two items I loved wearing, I would pack less and wash more.)

As I sat Sunday morning the 16th, writing in my journal, I took some time to just look around from me seat in the sun room at the Sopa and think about where I was. It was 8:48 am, or 11:48 pm in Colorado, where FSU was playing game 3 or so on the season. When we were in the crater Saturday, I didn't even begin to think about what was happening in the States, beyond thinking about Mom and the puppies at home (who were in my thoughts every day). I guess the truly important things come into focus at times of reflection.

Our wake-up call was not the three knocks, each louder than before, that we got in Tarangire. Instead, it was a hard rapping at 6:00 am. No jackals or hyenas, however.

Renny joined our car the entire day. He and Steven seem to make a great team. It's fun to watch them, and listen to tehm use Kiswahili, looking for the best game. I love how clear it is that they love doing this. It is clear that they love Tanzania, and want us to have an unforgettable experience.

Our drive into the crater, with me in the first row behind Renny and E now in the back with Betsy, (I'm thinking - OK, these girls are really hitting it off now) descends slowly through various areas, from teh montane forest down to the open savannah floor. (Savannah floor? Not sure, but that's what I thought of.)

We first spot a male lion in the distance, walking away from us out into some better hunting ground. Later we see three lionesses, each one apart from the other, but in the general area. One of them had her kill about 10 feet away from her resting spot in the shade of a tree. I was able to spot a jackal in the distance while the others were focuses on the lioness (way to go me). Renny had told us about how the aged elephants moved into the papyrus 'forest' to die. Sure enough, we saw an old bull, with long tusks, moving into the forest. Renny said the ele will make it no more than three months and then pass. The scavangeers will then move in and clean up.

Renny also mentioned that poaching has been significantly reduced here, thanks to increased security, ranger compensation (to combat graft), and international ivory trade bans. Those caught poching face seven years in prison mandatory.

We had lunch out on the lake, which I dubbed hippo lake. Apparently this is where all the tours eat, as all the safari vehicles were pretty much lined up around the shore. The Micato boys set up a beautiful red table cloth and china arrangement, all sorts of great drink choices, and delicious foods.

Looking back on it, I realize I saw more wildebeest and zebra than I've ever seen in my life (then again, given this was day six of the trip, that's a somewhat loaded comment). Apparently we should have seen even more flamingoes, but the soda lake had too much water and hence the crustacean population was not right. Renny was disappointed that we weren't surrounded by lions at times (from what I understand, that is not an uncommon experience). But none of us were in the least bit disappointed. We honestly couldn't have been more thrilled with everything!

After lunch we made it to the heavily forested area, where perhaps 20 to 30 cars were watching a black rhino. I got a quick shot of it on video.

On our way out of the crater we stopped and watching a cheetah, making her way around the cars toward a watering hole. Yet another feline experience to wrap up a safari locale. The next one would be even better....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good Afternoon

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