THE EAST AFRICAN SERIES, DAY 26
The Ngorongoro crater. It was one of those early starts again but when on holiday I’m all for it, especially when most of the action is either first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening.
THE JACKAL AND VULTURES WERE NOT TAKING ANY SHIT FROM EACH OTHER
But one thing about the early starts on this trip is how cold things have been, I have layers but I never expected to to be as cold as it was.
WHERE IS NGORONGORO CRATER?
Safari guides here in Africa have this amazing sixth sense of knowing where animals are. One second we would be driving through the bush surrounded by either nothing or 5,000 wildebeests. And the next he would be stopped at the side of the road looking through his binoculars pointing at 3 hyenas on the horizon. It’s really incredible.
The Ngorongoro crater
- HOTEL – Sanctuary at Ngorongoro Crater Camp 7/10
- FOOD – Evening platter
- ATTRACTIONS – Ngorongoro Crater
- STEPS – 6,100
Again we had breakfast mid game drive, less impressive than in the Masai Mara but still a great experience. We thought we had all the options; pancakes, eggs, bacon, toast, fruit until our guide pulled out the HP sauce, of all the places in the world! HP sauce is a bit of a craze in the UK for breakfast and fry ups and its hard to find it anywhere else in the world.
DID YOU KNOW…
The big 5 is determined by hunters on who the most difficult animals were to hunt on foot. They are; Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard and the Lion.
After driving around and generally seeing very little besides the usual dose of animals we came across a Silver Cat which can only be described as a domestic cat / Cheetah mix.
We then headed to the highest point within the crater and what would have been the volcanoes peak before it blew itself open almost 2 million years ago. Here we searched high and low for the Rhino we came here to see. There are only 700 black rhinos left in the world, 50 of which are here in this crater.
Making our way back to the hotel we spotted a number of vultures circling just ahead which can mean only one thing, a kill. When we arrived we counted around 25 all keen to take a nibble from the carcass of a baby Zebra who was maybe only 1 week old. It’s impossible to know how it died but either killed by a predator, natural causes or by a male zebra, which can happen at times.
This was the very road we drove in the morning so it only happened within a few hours and it’s safe to say it didn’t take the animals long to rid it of it’s meats.
The Ngorongoro crater
JACKAL vs VULTURES
As the main predators have likely had their share, all that was left but mostly skin and bones for the vultures. But they had competition in a few Jackals who were also keen on some chow but anytime any animal was brave enough to take a bit, it would come with a nasty bite to the rear.
Eventually and for whatever reason all the animals were scared away from the carcass and instead patiently sat just a few feet away. While the vultures struggled to get involved again, the jackal knowing this could be its only opportunity for a free touch nervously got involved while being very aware of the jeeps in front.
- The Ngorongoro Crater was formed almost 2million years ago when a large volcano erupted and collapsed on itself.
- There are around 30,000 animals ranging from leopard, cheetah, elephant and hyena to warthog, buffalo and impala. It is known to be one of the best places in the world to see the endangered black rhino and black-maned male lions.
- You won’t find any giraffes in the crater. It’s thought they can’t enter as the sides are too steep for them to walk down. However, you’ll still be able to find them around the crater.
It didn’t take long for one vulture to risk getting another mouthful of baby zebra but every time he got close the little jackal would snap. It was a bit of a comedy sketch between then two of them.
While all this was going on the mother was doing circles and crying out looking for her baby. Eventually she came across the carcass and stood and watched as the last of the meat was picked from its guts.
The Ngorongoro crater
We got a call that there was a Rhino back in the area we had breakfast so we made the jump and headed back.
I always thought Ngorongoro was an exclusive reserve until we arrived at the Rhino spotting and noticed, I think around 50 jeeps! But what was more bizarre was how far the rhino was from the road. Even with the best binoculars, you needed a steady hand and laser eyesight to see it. These guides honestly make you feel blind as they see these animals so easily. But they all count and it would be unfair to assume we would get within 50 yards of an endangered specious after only being here a day.
After this and around 2:30 we headed back to camp for a chill afternoon to end the safari part of this journey. What a trip it has been.
- MVP – The Rhino
- HIGHLIGHT – The tussle between the jackals and the vultures was funny.
- LOWLIGHT – I think there could have been more activity
I can’t say the crater was disappointing, yes I expected more animals and action but it’s where you are that is so special. This is a huge private game area created by a huge prehistoric volcanic eruption that now enjoys its own ecosystem. It’s amazing to think that none of these animals need to migrate but if they were 10 yards outside of the crater it would be a different story.
Off to Zanzibar for some ☀️🏝🍹!! Click to read.
SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
This post is part of The East African Series, for the entire series click here or for episode 1, click here.
To watch the video of my trip, head to my highlights on my Instagram.
- Where is your favourite safari destination?
- Where would you like to safari most?
- What is your favourite big 5?
Let me know in the comments below . . .