06.02.2009 - 06.02.2009 30 °C
Wow! One of our favorite parks, actually I think it WAS our favorite park.
Driving up to the edge of the crater, that very first view of it, wow so beautiful. When you first see the crater from the edge, so open and so green, you think you will never see any animals. The amount of animals in this small area is incredible.
There are a lot of wildabeasts in the Crater. We were lucky enough to arrive at a group where one had just given birth. In fact, she had yet to deliver the after birth. It was kind of weird to see two vultures waiting for her to do just that so they could have lunch. Ick! I guess to vultures afterbirth is like cheese cake!
We actually got to see a lot of young animals.
I think we were very lucky to spot a rhino. Even more lucky when we noticed the rhino had 6 legs, then her little baby walked out. Not everyone who goes to Africa gets to see the nearly extinct black rhino, so we were very excited.
I love this picture. I just wonder what he is thinking as we drove up and interupted his bath.
We must have annoyed him, as he got up and left.
It was so cool when we came accross a pack of hyenas relaxing by a watering hole only a few feet from the jeep.
This is Landon's favorite picture of these Hyenas. This shot reminds him of "Ed" from the Lion King.
We could have taken video of them, but honestly it would have looked the same as the stills. They didn't seem to want to move. Hyenas are nocturnal, so they must have had a hard night.
We saw a group of 6 lions way way out in the distance, I would have taken pictures of them but they were so far away they would have been dots.
I didn't feel bad that I missed them, because we came up to a very hungry looking lioness only 4 feet from the jeep.
She looked very hungry to me. This situation caused me a little stress. Something about my kids hanging out the window taking pictures of such a skinny hungry looking lion I found unsettleing. In fact I had a nightmare that night I think this moment inspired. I had dream she jumped up to the window putting her big paws on the window sill and roared. I am glad it was only a dream.
We ate lunch in the jeep today beside the hippo pool. There were some very aggressive birds, and Maningo suggested if we didn't want to share with the birds it was best we stay in the jeep.
After lunch I was eager to take pictures of the hipps, hoping to get the money shot, a hippo yawning.
The hippos were too far apart and yawned way too qickly for me to get the shot. They were far away, and by the time my camera zoomed in the yawn was over.
After leaving the hippo pool, we came accross an elephant skull. I am glad we arrived at the skull stage, I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much at the decaying stage, but I imagine some folks saw that stage.
We came accross another mini hippo pool. Now this picture you have too really look. You can see a baby hippo, his head is just behind the mothers neck. You can see his little eyes and ears sticking up.
Near the end of the day we came accross our first up close pride of lions. At first when we got there we only saw the three lioness and one cub. As the rain started we noticed four more cubs in the bush behind the lionesses, and two large males joined the pride. I am so glad we sat there in the rain to enjoy. I wonder how Maningo and Chris felt on the roof of the jeep putting down the roof so close to the pride? hmmm I am glad I'm a girl!
Look it is Simba! Actually they are all simba, because in swahili simba is lion! (another Cliff Claven moment for you. Rafiki from Lion King, means Friend, not crazy baboon that sounds like Benson)
On our way back to the Sopa Lodge we spotted a Jackal. Our first and only one I think.
This was our first room that was very "hotel" like. We got one of the best rooms, as it sat the highest and had an unobstructed view of the crater. The rooms had cool covered mini sun rooms attached like a porch. They had two rocking chairs that you could sit in and just look. Very cool. This place, The Ngorongoro Sopa had the worst tap water of anywhere. The water was brown, out of the sink, out of the shower, and in the toilet. The pool was also very uninviting. This is also the place where my ipod was left behind. Very sad. Someone in Africa is enjoying the Twilight series audio book on my ipod.
Walking to dinner, we had more incredible views of the crater.
We also found the food at the sopa to be....well... not very good. What we ordered was not what we were served. Then again we didn't come to Africa for the food, the view here was spectacular, the animal viewing was incredible, and that is what this trip was about. Also look at our nice family dinner, the food sucked but the time together was fantastic!