At breakfast in our camp in the wilderness, we saw the sun rise over the Serengeti. A cracking start to one of our best days yet.
Game driving through the Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Crater area, we saw 3 of the Big 5 in total; Elephants, a Leopard and Lions.
Our second Leopard spot of the trip, we got lucky with this one. He was just clawing his strong, streamline body down a tree, a freshly hunted Gazelle in his chops. Slinking through the grass, he hid his prize behind a bush and lay near it. What amazing photos we got!
Our bus screeched to a halt next to two magnificent male Lions in the grass next to the roadside. Right below my window, the Lion’s bright fiery eyes looked up at us as if in surprise. I was barely two feet from him – wow! He moved back a few yards, whilst his older friend stayed sleeping on the long grass in the sun.
To our delight, down the path a little were three large Lion cubs sitting at the roadside, before moving into the grass. Further up were about ten safari vehicles gathered around a small hill, and we could see at least seven Lions upon it. The animals just ignore all the vehicles and noise, seemingly looking through us. The Lions stayed on their top spot for ages, so we got some fabulous shots of Lionesses and young male Lions. So majestic and such beautiful coloured eyes!
We also saw a whole menagerie of other animals including a herd of elephants, a pregnant hyena, giraffe, ostriches and gazelle, with their tails swishing like the blade of a fan. In a pool of muddy water were hippos, stationary like rocks in the water. At the edge was a tiny baby croc who was so difficult to make out, I thought it was a stick at first!
Today, I was glad I had my spare battery but wished we were not in a slow, back-achingly bumpy overlander to get from A to B, because it’s not designed for game viewing (we were the only group in one). Our truck is big, old and the windows are very stiff, so it’s just not possible for everyone to get the best photos.
We arrived at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area north gate in time for lunch, watching birds peck at crumbs on the floor. Climbing the short scenic walk trail uphill, we were rewarded with beautiful panoramic views of the vast, never ending plains of the Serengeti. Just amazing!
After a bumpy while we were climbing the steep rim of the crater – the truck groaned at us, crawling along at what felt like 10mph at points. We marvelled at the spectacular view down into the Ngorongoro Crater from the rim, it was so stunningly beautiful in the afternoon sun.
Tonight we were at a campsite on the rim of the crater, at 3000m elevation. When we were warned it would be cold and foggy our guide was not joking! Fortunately my kind fellow travellers lent me a blanket and a sleeping mat to use as a pillow since mine had popped, which made all the difference.