Ngorongoro Crater
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<Lake Manyara>          <Serengeti Plains> 

01/09/03
We drove back the same way (only one road going through) after some morning 4x4ing, but this time dropped the ~2000ft into the Ngorongoro Crater once on the rim. The136-ngorongoro.jpg (104149 bytes) crater is a collapsed volcano that essentially contains it's own zoo on the inside! On the way there we got to see plenty of birds and storks, as well as buzzards ravishing a carcass and a herd of wildebeests charging across the road. The animals are a lot more active in the cool temperatures of the morning. In the distance was a herd of close to 30 giraffes nibbling away at the treetops.
Inside the crater we saw most of the same animals as before all close up again and we got to see a few rhino's. The lake in the center of the crater almost looked like the water was pink from all the flamingos in it. Had another episode of "Tanzanian Auto Shop" when we got a flat with a rhino not too far away. We had to stay in the truck 140-ngorongoro.jpg (33832 bytes) and they pulled the flat wheel up onto a rock to get more clearance then smashed it to pieces to make more room. Saw some more mean lookin' cape buffalos and a HUGE lion with a big fuzzy mane right at the side of the road. Then came the best part of the day, we were heading towards the south side of the141-ngorongoro.jpg (148863 bytes) lake to the exit road when more elephants appeared. There were three to start with then a monstrous one that made the trucks look like golf carts! Max said he was around 45 years old; his tusks came out of his head, almost all the way to the ground, then all the way back up! We sat and watched him fill his trunk with
151-ngorongoro.jpg (121564 bytes) water and grass for awhile, it was awesome.
We followed another 4x4 road up and out of the crater through the rain forest and mud on the way back to Karatu camp. Once there a few of us took a quick walk around town where we stuck out like sore thumbs. I was looking forward to driving on pavement again the following day. Real nice sunrise over the main road...nice colors in the sky, steam coming up everywhere, and silhouettes of people slowly walking up the street. Just outside of Karatu on the way in and out, there was a young boy who stood at the side of the road with a huge smile and

137-ngorongoro.jpg (83179 bytes) Cape buffalo; Warthog 138-ngorongoro.jpg (87993 bytes)

139-ngorongoro.jpg (54682 bytes) Thousands of plastic pink flamingos? Maybe! 

142-ngorongoro.jpg (168109 bytes) Huge lion 143-ngorongoro.jpg (143622 bytes)

144-ngorongoro.jpg (71081 bytes) Lunch was the same, but eaten in different spots!

145-landcruiser.jpg (91707 bytes) Max and our fatty ride

146-ngorongoro.jpg (82451 bytes) More Cape Buffalos  147-ngorongoro.jpg (63464 bytes)

148-ngorongoro.jpg (100963 bytes)  More elephants   149-ngorongoro.jpg (107252 bytes)    

150-ngorongoro.jpg (117220 bytes)    The 45 year old elephant  152-ngorongoro.jpg (112364 bytes)   153-ngorongoro.jpg (106166 bytes)   154-ngorongoro.jpg (105801 bytes)

155-stupid bird.jpg (123967 bytes) Our buddies the stupid birds; Marangu Hotel 156-marangu.jpg (119110 bytes)

157-marangu.jpg (28170 bytes) The sunset on the way to the airport leaving Tanzania......

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