The Ngorongoro Crater is a volcanic caldera of ~20km of diameter and ~600m of depth. It is not only beautiful but also a unique redoubt of wildlife, with ~25,000 mammals. The name is believed to refer to the sound of bells of the cows that Maasais used to shepherd in the area before being “relocated to protect the ecosystem”. Our game drive in Ngorongoro was too short, as we had to deal with the issues derived from our guide loosing his entrance card (narrated in the post Arriving at Serengeti), but still intense.
After carefully descending the west rim (forgot to mention that our jeep would randomly stall), we drove through the salt lake, passing Uganda birds, wildebeest and buffaloes. Then we noticed other safari jeeps had pulled over a bit further, and when we got there we experienced the most affecting sighting of the trip: a little baby lion, within in arms reach, surrounded by its family.
We took a lunch break at a picnic site by a swamp with hippos, where we were attacked by an African hawk who stole Elena’s chicken wing… and nearly her finger. Back in the jeep, we asked our driver to focus his efforts on finding rhinos, since it was the only animal we had barely seen (a distant spotting in Maasai Mara counts?). A few minutes later we spotted a couple of black rhinos, though they were really far. We continued driving up to an outlook, to get the view that heads this entry… and suddenly we saw the rhinos much more clearly. Wait, what are they doing? Ahhhhh. Well, with only 35 black rhinos left in Tanzania, it kind of felt good to witness their reproductive cycle. Hope there is a new baby in the family 15 months from now!
Our East Africa safari had come to an end. We slept in the same Fakara Lodge in Mto wa Mbu as 3 nights ago. The next morning, we would say goodbye to my mom (who was returning to Madrid), and Elena and I would catch a flight to Zanzibar.