Monday, 7 March 2011

Ngorongoro Crater

Just walking to breakfast at the lodge on the edge of the crater was an experience in itself! We were on our way soon enough heading through the forest on the way down to the crater, we added Hildebrandt's Francolin, Northern Anteater Chat and loads of Abdim's Storks were on the crater floor. Our first mammals of the day were Zebra soon followed by Buffalo and a good herd of Eland one of the larger antelopes. Dusky Turtle Doves and several Rollers followed as we drove passed more Wildebeest and Thompson's Gazelle, there were animals everywhere! Soon our first predators appeared, a Black Backed Jackal sat low in the grass a Hyena walked among the Zebra then the first Lion was seen in the distance, this was joined by another and 5 more lay a couple of hundred yards away, watching the reactions of the other the animals as 2 of the Lions headed out in to the open was fascinating, these Lions looked ready for a meal, the thinnest ones we had seen so far, they again walked passed our vehicle and disappeared into some long grass.
Birds continued to come Little Bee-eaters, Red Billed Firefinches and a fantastic dancing Pin Tailed Whydah, Hammerkop and a really colourful Rosy Breasted Longclaw, it was fantastic. Wilson took us off the beaten track a bit and I was lucky to spot a Serval out in the open, he said we had been lucky to find it, I mis-identified it as a Jackal originally!! It was a little way away, that's my excuse anyway.
From our vantage point Wilson picked up a Black Rhino in the distance, we headed that way and added Common Jackal and a few more birds, Long Toed Plover, Malachite Kingfisher and Pink Backed Pelican. We watched a stand off between a Buffalo and Hyena the Hyena giving in fairly easily, a wise move! We saw lots of young animals during the trip but one of the highlights was after lunch, where we avoided the Black Kites taking our food by staying in the vehicle, we saw a Lion our eleventh of the day, as we watched it 2 little heads popped up, we watched as the Lioness licked her cubs and when she'd had enough she wandered a few yards away for a rest.
                                                        A selection of youngsters
We added 2 more Black Rhinos on our way out of the crater and as we drove up through the forest to the rim of the crater I was searching hard for a Turaco again, unfortunately again to no avail until  a shout from the other side of the vehicle, my wife and the man from London had just seen a bird with bright red/scarlet wings- of course a Turaco and I had missed it, at least it gives me an excuse to save for another trip!!! We headed to our next lodge ready for a trip to Tarangire the following day.


Ken. said...

Hi Alan.
Fascinating reading. It makes a change from looking at British wildlife. Some great birds seen.

Anonymous said...

Great set of pics Alan. Just like the other African ones.

Greenie said...

Alan ,
Great post and pictures again . You were certainly lucky with your guide , they were very variable on our trip .
I make it that you got the 'big five' on your trip as well , well done .

alan woodcock said...

Hi Alan,its a great place,Jeanette and I went about ten years ago.

Alan Pavey said...

Thanks for the comments, I'm still having trouble believing we were actually there and saw the things we saw!!!

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