August 9, 2014

Day 42 (the Ngorogoro Crater)

The final few days on our epic-ish journey, the bits between Arusha and Nairobi, were spent off the grid in the Ngorogoro Crater and the Serengeti.  My hand-written journal is blank for those days, only giving a summation from the final campsite in Kenya.  Now, a year later, I'm looking back through these photos I have, amazed.  

The animals were so close.  Even with my silly little point-and-shoot camera, some photos only capture animal bits (a head, some hooves), not because of artistry, but because that's all that could fit in my viewfinder due to proximity.  And it's not necessarily an ethical issue of the habituation of wild animals to safari vehicles; even the baby cheetahs we saw in the Serengeti who had clearly never seen a safari van before came up to investigate.  Other animals just disregard you completely until you get in their way.  It's the feeling of being a shadow.  An almost-there entity.  But the feeling of being the coolest shadow in the world.  A hyena shadow!  A wildebeest shadow! A lion shadow!

The crater was rife with Thompsons gazelles, zebras, and wildebeest.  Flamingos dotted the lake in the center, and we saw a cerval tail swishing in circles as he walked through the tallest grasses.  Lions, hyenas, and wild dogs all crossed our path.  Zebras rolling in the dirt and lining up in an orderly fashion in order to take turns scratching their heads on one particular rock.  

Heading down into the Ngorogoro Crater, shortly after dawn

View of the crater and lake

Flamingos dotting the lake, zebras grazing the plains, against crater backdrop

Zebra feeding headshot

Taking dirt baths, two by two

An orderly line for headscratches

Ohhhhh those headscratches!

Whatcha lookin at, Wildebeest?

Traffic jam...

Wild dog, chillin'.  Ain't no thing.

Lion Xing

Heh heh hehyena