Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day Seven: Ngorongoro Crater

To this point, I was looking forward to this as the highlight of the trip next to Little Governors’ Camp in Masai Mara. This is the reason that we came to Tanzania. Our camp is lush and green and beautiful. We get down the escarpment to the crater floor to discover a vast brown, dusty barren land. There are impressive herds of zebra and wildebeest, but you can’t drive off the roads, just like in other areas of Tanzania. It is understandable considering the amount of tourists here.

Affectionate Zebras

The problem is that unless the animals are right beside the road, your photo opportunities are quite limited. Our highlight of the day was watching a cheetah stalk and chase a thomson’s gazelle. She missed, but I did get a few pretty good shots of her. We also saw about 20 lions today and 20 or 30 hyenas. Early in the morning, we saw three lionesses and four lion cubs in the long grass devouring a wildebeest kill. The hyenas and jackals were standing by waiting for them to finish so they could clean up the scraps. The rest of the day we basically drove around dusty roads looking at the odd animal here and there way off in the distance. My lens and crop sensor camera reaches 960mm. The largest lens I saw anyone else with was a 400mm lens. I was having issues trying to get decent pictures today as most of the game was too far away. Gaye was bored stiff in about the first two and half hours. I think this place is highly over rated and will definitely not be back (after our three hour visit tomorrow morning of course). Even the alkaline lake with the flamingos is at least 150 meters away from the road. The roads in this park are not designed with easy access viewing! Oh well, I still managed to take 835 pictures. That would be a good hour and a half in pictures if the wildlife viewing was good. The good news is our peace de le resistance is coming. I saved the very best for last. Five days at Little Governors’ Camp is my dream safari.

11,628 pictures to go...

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