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Serengeti Trip 2011 | Into The Crater

Welcome to the Serengeti Trip series of blog posts! This series of posts covers the planning, packing and progress of a massive 70-day trip through 6 African countries early in 2011. The trip started on 20 January 2011 in Pretoria, South Africa, and is heading north through Botswana, Zambia and Tanzania to the legendary Serengeti National Park! From there the guys will head back south through Malawi, another part of Zambia and Zimbabwe… These blog posts are syndicated from the Official Trip Website.

Last night was wild! Munching buffalo surrounded our tent for most of the night and when we woke up at 04:45 they were still there. We gave them another 30 minutes to move off before we got up to get ready for an exciting day. This is what Simba A campsite looks like at night:

 

Our little camp at Simba A

We left Simba A around 06:00 and drove along the Crater rim to Lemala gate on the north-eastern side. To our surprise we had no problems whatsoever to get into the Ngorongoro Crater without a guide – fantastic! The whole day was spent exploring the Crater floor – a relatively small, but incredibly diverse piece of land. There are no words to describe the numbers of wildlife in the Ngorongoro Crater! We saw thousands of wildebeest, zebra and buffalo, as well as 27 lions! There must have been just as many spotted hyenas scattered throughout the Crater floor, looking for unsuspecting wildebeest calves for lunch.

 

Wildebeest were everywhere to be seen!

Searching for lunch

 

My biggest fear was that the Crater would be like a zoo, but I’m happy to say that it was everything but a zoo! Yes, you can drive from one animal to the other without little trouble spotting it, and there are many other people watching them with you. But there’s no telling what the animals will be doing, how many will be in the herd, pride or family, or how long they’ll stay in that particular place. Yes, they’ve become incredibly relaxed and allow you to drive right up next to them, but they’re wild in every sense of the word. The animals in the Crater don’t have to be there – they choose to walk into it in search of food and water. Again we can only marvel at the mutual respect that exists between people and animals in this wonderful park!

The Lion King - Simba returns!

A couple of play-fighting zebras

The animals were amazing, but again I liked the landscape most! The scenes down into the Crater from the rim area second to none – I will never forget them! Fortunately for us we were blessed with rain during the middle of the day. Not only did it cool down the air, but it settled the dust and made the animals become active a bit earlier.

An elephant bull in the Lerai Forest

A view like no other - taken from the rim

Our day in the Ngorongoro Crater was unforgettable! I sincerely hope that I’ll have to opportunity to visit again! Let us know what you think of our day, after seeing these photos…

We’re off to Lake Manyara tomorrow. Enjoy the World Cup Cricket on our behalf!

Cheers

Villiers

 

PS: It seems that some sms’s sent to my phone are NOT coming through!?!? If you’ve sent an important message, but haven’t received a reply from me, please send it again. Let’s hope the reception gets better soon.

 

Highlight of the day:

Villiers: Animals EVERYWHERE!!!! …and that lion male!

Ji: To finally see some rhinos!

 

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