Ngorongoro Crater to Serengeti  (8/5)

There were a ton of people staying at the hotel. It was booked solid. We got an early start to beat most of the mad dash to get into Ngorongoro crater. So at 7:30 am we were on the road. It was chilly this morning and a layer of clouds filled the crater. We had to put on our fleece jackets for the early part of the trip. 

We drove all around the crater. The highlight had to be watching 4 Cheetahs hunting. They were stalking this lone Gazelle who was prancing about. The Cheetahs spread out in a line, one behind the other. They would stand up, move forward, and the drop back down to the ground. The Gazelle kept getting closer and closer to the Cheetahs.  The Gazelle was only 60 or so meters from being a lunch time snack. At the last second, the Gazelle stopped, looked around, and bolted for the heard. There were 15 or more trucks all maneuvering for good angles to watch the Cheetahs. It was like a traffic jam.

We also saw a big flock of Flamingos in a lake. They would periodically take off, fly around and then land back in the lake. It  was an awesome site to see that many large birds in the air at the same time. For the first time on our trip we saw Jackals and Hyenas. 

We had a box lunch at a rest area in the park. We ate our lunch in the car because of the monkeys will try and take your food. After lunch we got out of our truck and walked around and used the bathrooms. One of the windows of our truck was not rolled up. A monkey go inside and made off with some food. 

Our driver, Eric, gathered the left over food to give to the Masai kids when we visit a village later in the day. We then proceeded to drive out of the crater and head to the Serengeti. Before heading out Jason was sent over to our car. We had heard the guys in the other truck complaining about his gaseous output. So Jason gets in our truck and up the crater we go.  Within a few minutes he falls asleep and then the gas comes. This was some noxious, stinky stuff. We would open the window to bring in fresh air, but that didn't help much. You had to keep the windows closed a lot due to the dust. We woke Jason up and he claimed it was not him. Funny, we had not smelt anything like that when he wasn't in the truck. I think Jason's gas problem was due to the large quantity of eggs he would eat every morning. Some days he would have 6 eggs. Relief (for us) came at the top of the crater. Allen rearranged the occupants of the vehicles and move Jason back to the other truck. I felt bad for Jason, but happy for us.

So once the air cleared, off to the Serengeti. There are no paved roads to the Serengeti. So we spent most of the trip on hot, dusty and bumpy roads. We were constantly opening and closing our windows. Anytime we got passed by trucks or were behind trucks, huge clouds of dust were kicked up. It was hard to see around slower moving trucks to make sure no one was coming.

We passed a number of small Masai villages. You could see the kids and adults guarding the cattle. They all carried spears. We stopped at a Masai village that caters to the tourist. We were greeted  by whooping from the men. The village is composed of an outer circle of tree limbs with the huts inside. The outer circle protects them from animals. After Allen negotiated the entrance fee with the "Chief" or head business guy, we proceeded into the village. The men and and women each performed different songs. They tried to get us to dance with them. Nancy was finally coaxed to join in. We then got to go inside one of their mud and dung huts. They have no electricity and have to have their water trucked. in. You go through this small door into the dark hut. There was a fire going on the inside with a pot of cabbage on it.  They do not have a chimney for venting, so it was smoky  inside. We sat on some logs and they pointed to the sleeping and eating areas. The ceiling is very low, so we could not stand straight inside. After our hut tour, we walked around looking at the various crafts they had for sell. I bought Karen a copper bracelet. They were trying to get me to buy a necklace with a lions tooth on it. The "tooth" looked like a piece of carved and polished rock to me. 

We then proceeded to the Serengeti park entrance. While the drivers were paying our fees, we checked out the small snack shop and informational displays. The Serengeti is huge. We were only going to get to see a very small fraction of it. After the paperwork was done, we drove into the park and headed to our hotel, the Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge 

This hotel was also very nice. They had unusual buildings that housed our rooms. The buildings were round with thatched roofs. It looked like a big village. We had a great dinner and then watched an acrobat show. The guys were very talented. After the show I was beat and headed for bed.

 

Cape Buffalo

King of the jungle

Jackal

Thompson's Gazelle

Hippos

Zebras by the lake

Flamingos

Flamingos in flight

Can you spot the lions?

Hyena with a broken leg

Warthog

Pumba

Hyena in it's burrow

Ostriches mating dance

Ostriches doing it

Extreme close up

Cheetahs hunting

Getting closer to lunch

Closer

Darn Gazelle took off

Masai men

Warriors dancing about

Women singing

 

Masai Hut

Another hut