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Day 9 – Ngorongoro Crater Game Drive

Our last official game drive of our trip.  Boo!  We wanted to savor every moment so we got up early and left before dawn.  The one animal we were hoping to see in the crater that we had not seen yet is the Black Rhino.   Black Rhinos are endangered and the number had been significantly impacted by poaching because some people believe the rhino’s horn has aphrodisiac properties.  There is estimated to be about 135 black rhinos left in all of Africa and only 35 or so of those are here in the crater area.  You will have to keep reading to find out if we saw any! 

When we were driving down to the crater floor we saw a pride of sleeping lions but didn’t stay too long as we have seen this before. 

 

 

We continued on and we were impressed at the beauty of the area.  One of the things that struck us in particular was that there were so many different animals all out in the fields together.  The zebra, hyenas, wildebeest, Cape buffalo, ostriches, wart hogs and tons of different birds were just scattered around. 

We came up on a herd of Cape buffalo around a fresh water  stream and got really close.  We have been told these guys are a bit unpredictable and sometime charge the cars so I was a bit nervous when Kessy pulled the car right up into the middle of the herd.  They didn’t seem to mind too much though and just went on about their business.  

 

We later came across a big, fat female hyena that was eating on something with a male hyena that was waiting around for some left overs.  The female took a big “hunk” of something in her mouth and began to walk away.  The male tentatively walked over to where she was eating and found a bone which he picked up and began to leave with in his mouth.  Apparently she was not even willing to share her left overs and she came back and chased him.  She must have chased that poor boy for more than a mile never dropping the big “hunk” of food from her mouth. 

 

It was right after this show from the hyeanas that we saw our first black rhinos that were pretty close. 
We did see about 10 throughout the whole day. 

Next -  we went searching for some  lions we had heard about and we came across two large males just hanging out sleeping.  When we pulled up they decided our jeep made some good shade and they walked over and plopped themselves down next to our car in the shade.  We are talking – up against the side of the car!  It was hard to believe how close they were.  Dawn stuck her head out of the side window and she was literally like two feet away from them.  She could have reached out and stoked their mane.  This was a great encounter!

 

 

 

 

We headed over to wooded area and saw a migration of baboons that seemed to go on and on.  The baboons were traveling on the ground single file from a grouping of trees to another area.  The family must have been made up of around 100 baboons… just when we thought they were done more would come.  We continued on to the trees to look around for leopards but didn’t see any in the wooded area.  We stopped for a quick box lunch and “technical” stop then back on the drive.                                                            

 

The rest of the day we saw a cheetah, male lion with two females, more hyenas, wart hogs, elephants and hippos. 
Then on our way out…we got to see something NEW!  Jackal Pups!

   

That was it… the sun was starting to set and our last game drive was ending.  We headed back to lodge for dinner.

 

At the lodge we were treated to Masai ritual dance which the men came in shouting and chanting.  It was very cool and I thought it was amazing the way these people had held on to this tradition and had been passing it down to the young men over hundreds of years.  The men would jump up sometimes and it seemed like they could jump 3 feet off the floor… wow!

 

 

 

 

 

Ngorongoro Crater Game Drive

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These were all over the crater
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Can't believe someone can spot this
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Our lodge from the crater
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