Safari final day: Ngorongoro Crater

The night before our final day on safari we stayed in camping ground I’ll never forget. It was a big open field on a slight hill and all the other tents were on one side at the top and we were on the other. When it got dark a group of about 30 zebras stood in the field (presumably about to sleep?) and as we walked across their tiny, beady eyes glowed green and just stared at us. Then one of them would spook and they’d run in random directions. It was so creepy! I had visions of our tent being crumpled by a stampede in the night. But it didn’t happen, as it turns out I’m not typing this from beyond the grave.

Anyhoo, our final day on safari was in Ngorongoro Crater which according to Wikipedia is the world’s largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera.

Looking into the crater

Team safari! Us with our guide Hans

The crater was filled to the brim with animals. The landscape was bizarrely changeable; it would look barren and dusty for miles but then suddenly a busting lagoon or a patch of thick jungle-like bush will appear out of nowhere.

The first animal we spotted- those tusks!

Looks so barren

More evil Mufasa killers

Hyenas sure are ugly

Buffalo hanging with zebras

In tall dry grass lay two lions, their manes almost camouflaging them.

Relaxing

Much like domestic cats they just lay around, soaking up the sun.

Yawning

Looking regal

Yawning again

Soaking up more sun

Standing!

Eventually one of them stood up, readjusted, and lay back down again.

In contrast, we had the luck of watching a hunting pack of 15 or so lionesses trying to take down a buffalo. It was fascinating, seeing them attempt their round-up strategy.

When they realised they’d failed, the pride did a terrifying defeat march back home:

Oh they mad…

… And hungry…

… and getting closer

They streamed through the wall of Cruisers lined up with tourists.

Doesn’t even care we’re there

Not even a few kilometres away we came upon a stream bustling with birds and hippopotamuses which look like big rocks:

But on closer inspection…

“Oh hey”

I’ve been quite a fan of hippos since my aunt bought me a book called ‘There’s a hippopotamus on my roof eating cake’. Wild hippos aren’t nearly as interesting as that though.

Very distance flamingoes

Now if you squint hard in the middle of the photo below you may be able to see a rhinoceros, the only one of our trip!

I swear it’s in there

Around this time we made Hans crank Taylor Swift’s Wildest Dreams (the music video for which is shot in the Serengeti) and pretended we were 1950s screen sirens zooming around in the Land Cruiser. Well my sister and I did. Not sure about Andy.

It was then time to head back to Arusha. Can’t pretend I wasn’t excited by the prospect of a shower and not being constantly dusty.

Bye Crater

Andy and I

My sister Sarah and I

Going on safari was one of the best travel experiences of my life. Nothing else I’ve done is quite like the excitement of spotting an amazing animal in the wild. Save to say zoos are 100% done for me.

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