Pride (in the name of love)
Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
92Trip End Aug 27, 2010
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With the female making it clear that she was going to sleep for some time we decided to move on in search of other game, but had not gone more than a hundred metres when Sarah spotted the cause of the commotion among the zebras….two lionesses stalking through the long grass, making their way to join the pair at lion rock
The remainder of our morning was uneventful as we made our way back across the Serengeti plains and into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), stopping only for lunch at the picnic site between the two parks. Just after entering NCA, we spotted more lions resting in the long grasses, clearly well fed as they didn’t seem to be remotely interested in the gazelles grazing not too far away from them. Our day 4 tally finished at;
The lack of other sightings en route meant that we arrived at the Ngorongoro Crater Wildlife Lodge by mid-afternoon and were glad of the opportunity to actually enjoy one of these beautiful hotels. The lodge is located right on the rim of the crater and has absolutely spectacular views, both from the open bar balcony and all of the guest rooms and we spent the rest of the afternoon chatting with other guests in the bar overlooking the crater.
The lodges that we’ve stayed at on safari are all owned by the same group and have all been quite spectacular, particularly in their locations. Unfortunately, the management of the hotels leaves a lot to be desired; in order to save money hot water is only available for a few hours a day and the electricity is turned off through the afternoon and from midnight 'til 5am… makes things a little tricky if you need to go to the bathroom during the night when there are no lights
Day 5, our final day on safari, started early and by 6:30am we had checked out and were on our way to the crater. Still missing one of the “big 5”, our hopes were high that we would be able to check off the final box. The descent into the crater is along a rather steep, one way dirt track and only four-wheel drive vehicles are permitted. First stop was between two watering holes where we discovered a pride of lions (2 male, 4 female). But, unlike our other lions, these were relatively active cats, at least the dominant male and one female were active, if you know what I mean?
As cool as it was to see more cats, our aim for the day was to find one of the twenty black rhinos living in the crater and so we set off for the jungle. Before reaching the jungle we stopped again to watch three more lions slipping through the long grass towards a reed area. Though clearly visible to us, they apparently weren’t so obvious from the other side of the grasses and we sat with bated breath as a not-so-bright wildebeest seemed to be approaching the reeds from the opposite side
Our safari was done and we had amassed a pretty awesome tally of wildlife over the five days
Buffalo ~150, Elephant 78, Lion 33, Rhino 3, Leopard 2
Zebra ~30000, Wildebeest ~2000, Thompsons Gazelle ~1000, Grants Gazelle ~700, Impala ~500, Baboons ~185, Giraffe ~70, Hippos ~50, Vervet Monkeys ~50, Hartebeest 36, Warthogs 22, Topi 10, Spotted Hyena 9, Blue Monkeys 9, Cheetah 7, Dik dik 3, Crocodile 1, Serval Cat 1
Pelicans ~150, Flamingos ~100, Superb Starling 85, Ostrich 72, Crown Crested Crane 5, Vultures 3, Saddle-Billed Stork 3, Egyptian Geese 2, Grey Heron 2, Fish Eagle 1, Red & Yellow Barbit 1, Secretary Bird 1, Tawny Eagle 1
Upon the return to Arusha, Joseph dropped us off at Ilboru Lodge and after checking in, we went back outside to say goodbye to Joseph and gave him a tip for the five days of Safari. Having checked in the ever reliable Lonely Planet for the recommended amount, we tipped him $50 and were rather taken aback when instead of thanking us, he slowly counted the money and then asked us if we didn’t know what the right amount to tip was? He told us it should be $10 per person per day and that we should be giving him $160
And so that brings to an end our Safari exploits and we can safely say that it will have been one of the highlights of our trip, whatever else lies in store for us… hope you’ve enjoyed the photos.