After the excitement of the day before, the Serengeti still had more in store. Over the night the roar of lions and cape buffalo around the campsite kept a few up. Hyena tracks weaved in and out of the tents and a few people had to ‘mark their territory’ by the tent, rather than risk the dash to the loo.
We made tracks across the Serengeti plains towards the Ngorongoro Crater National Park. Although the previous days rain caused a few animals to go into hiding, today looked a bit more promising, being slightly overcast. A few mongoose, warthog and baboons patrolled the roadside and hippos yawned lazily. We were again treated to the sight of a leopard, although this time it was dragging an impala kill along the ground and made several attempts to bring it up a tree! Leopards being very rare to see made this sight a special treat.
After the traffic jam that ensued with all the safari trucks, we made a multiple point turn and sped off down the track to the border checkpoint. Along the way laying our eyes on an even more magical sight. The Great Migration! Year round wildebeest travel en mass around East Africa with some zebra, following the rains in search of grass. The number of animals extended far into the horizon, numbering in the tens of millions.
Dotted among the masses were small pockets. At the centre, hungry lions and hyenas looking for lunch. Still in a rush, we made it 13 minutes late, but our guide smoothed the way for passage. We stopped for lunch and a view over the plains, joined on the rocks by a few lizards.
In the afternoon we travelled across more plains and found a steady rise. As the numbers of animals started to dwindle and the scenery change we started to climb the slopes of the Ngorongoro (named for the sound that cowbells make by the Masai tribes). A few of the group stopped for a Masai tribe visit and were swiftly parted with their Tanzanian shillings. The rest of us lounged about and played soccer with some local herdsmen in their traditional garb.
Making camp on the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater was cold and wet, but after some warm showers we settled in for an early night, the following morning rising early for our descent to the Crater. The Crater holds one of the densest collections of wildlife, connected by a narrow track to the outside parks. The microclimate inside the crater was perfect for growing grass and feeding the diverse population within. We saw lions, hyena, eland, zebra, wildebeest, elephant, cape buffalo, rhino. All but the giraffe can make it into here.