I woke up on a soft bed next to the legendary Ngorongoro Crater. Just the whole view from our lodge was incredible. I could stare out my window all day. It was an extremely diverse area, with so many different types of animals not just in the crater but in the surrounding area as well.
We were delivered our fruit cake that we had baked the other day (they actually did most of the work), which was super nice. We had “baked” 2 fruit cakes the day before, and they gave them both to us during our breakfast. I could not wait to eat them sometime in Zanzibar.
We had to wake up early and meet with Emmanuel to go at 7-o-clock flat. We packed up all of our stuff, and loaded it into the van. I could not believe where we were. Two years ago it was literally just a fantasy to actually go on an African safari. But now, as we drove along the rim and down into the crater, I thought about how it was really happening. The last day of our safari was here. As we arrived at the bottom of the crater, I thought about how I would miss all the sights of these animals, and the excitement that would course through me when someone shouted out “hyena!” or “giraffe!”
The crater was immense. We passed all sorts of neat birds, including kingfishers and flamingos, and even spotted a rhino in the grass. These memories will stick with me for the rest of my life. This whole trip will stick to me like buckets of glue. I will miss the sights here.
We saw many animals we had seen before (but they never get old), and I loved looking at the animals and the landscape alike.
Something new we hadn’t seen yet was a lion hunt. We almost got to see one. We drove up close to 3 lions (one of which was a male), and watched as they crouched in the grass, waiting for a herd of zebra to come nearer. Patience was something they definitely had. The grasss wasn’t tall enough for them to get closer, so they had to wait for the zebra to come to them, as to not give away their position. Then I think the zebra spotted them, and the lion gave up on that hunt. There were 2 other safari vans parked where we were, thinking the same thing as us. One lioness went to get a drink of water. The other lioness went over to another van and sat in the shade the van was giving off. The male lion did something most peculiar. Apparently it was a big potty break for all the lions. Both of the lionesses did their business (we got to watch), and as the male walked over to our van, he decided to pee on it. Yes, Kieran only closed his window just in time to not get splattered. I could see it smearing across the window. Then the male proudly walked off, mane blowing in the wind, to go lay down. Wow.
I don’t think that is something that many people see on their safaris. But that crater is a sight to behold. I had literally seen every single animal I had wanted to see on the safari. Except a caracol. I had wanted to see a caracol. They are cats that can jump high, and catch guinea fowl. I was more than satisfied about all the animals we had seen and their lives. It was just the caracol. The one thing I missed. Oh, well, at least we got to see lions pee on our van.
Every animal we’ve seen on our safari and the first day we saw it:
Nov. 24th (Day 1) At Lake Manyara
Mammals: Blue Monkey, Sykes’ Monkey, Black-Faced Vervet Monkey, Olive Baboon, Wildebeest, Impala, Maasai Giraffe, Zebra, Cape Buffalo, Hippo
Birds: Black Egret, Great Egret, African White-Backed Vulture, African Jakana, Superb Starling, Speke’s Weaver, Blacksmith Lapwing, Black-Headed Heron, Spoonbill Stork, Black Crake, Glossy Ibis, Silver-Cheeked Hornbill, Little Bee-Eater
Other: Agama Lizard
Nov. 25th (Day 2) At the Serengeti
Mammals: Thompson Gazelle, Hartebeast, Topi, Spotted Hyena, Lion, Warthog
Birds: Kori Bustard, Secretary Bird
Nov. 26th (Day 3) At the Serengeti
Mammals: Leopard, Cheetah, Elephant, Serval Cat, Waterbuck, Banded Mongoose, Dwarf Mongoose, Dik Dik, Stainbuck, Antelope
Birds: Maribu Stork, White-Headed Buffalo Weaver, Loret-eyed Babbler, Lilac-Breasted Roller, Ostrich, Egyptian Goose, Tawny Eagle, Bateleur, Northern White-Crowned Shrike, Southern Ground Hornbill, Helmeted Guinea Fowl, Montagu’s Harrier
Other: Leopard Tortoise, Nile Crocodile
Nov. 27th (Day 4) At the Serengeti
Mammals: Reedbuck, Grant Gazelle
Birds: Yellow Canary, Crowned Lapwing, White-Bellied Bustard
Nov. 28th (Day 5) At the Serengeti
Mammals: Black-Backed Jackal
Birds: Leopard Vulture, Ropel’s Griffin Vulture, Lapet-Faced Vulture, Double-Banded Courser, Common Kestral, Hildebrant’s Starling, Black Kite, Temmink’s Courser
Other: We encountered a few big grasshoppers (like 3 inches long)
Nov. 29th (Day 6 and Final day) At Ngorongoro Crater
Mammals: Common Eland Antelope, Bushbuck, Common Golden Jackal, Black Rhino
Birds: Auger Buzzard, Greater Flamingo, Lesser Flamingo, Gray Heron, Woodland Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Hamerkop, Common Moorhen, Cattle Egret, Spur-Winged Goose, Pied Avocet, Black-Winged Stilt, Gray-Crowned Crane, Red-Billed Teal, Red-Billed Ox Pecker, Common Fiscal Shrike, Sacred Ibis, Black Stork
Other: Dung Beetle
I felt bored now as we drove to the airport that would take us to Zanzibar. I looked out my window and there were no animals. Goodbye safari.
Goodbye Emmanuel. Goodbye to the adventurous adventure that comes along on every safari. Emmanuel was a big part of our fun, but, as we had to say goodbye to the safari and miss it, we would say goodbye and miss Emmanuel.
A different driver took us to the airport. A 1-hour flight came next. Before I knew it, we touched down in Zanzibar. Taxi drive to our house, and BOOM, right to sleep.
Zanzibar is a fascinating place, but that will have to be a different post.
Below: Peeing Lion. (Look closely)
Below: Other Animals