Sunday, September 23, 2012

Africa: Day 4

On our fourth day we drove into the Ngotongoro Crater.  We spent an entire day driving from one end to the other, stopping only for lunch and to take pictures.  We saw a ton of animals, but to be honest, there were also a ton of other sight seeing vehicles as well.  It felt more to me like a zoo, then the wild.  That being said it was an amazing experience.

I love ostriches, we saw a ton throughout out trip but this was the first male ostrich that we saw.

This male lion was hurt, he had hurt his leg in a fight.  But I love the way these birds are flying around him.  He looks soooo pensive.

Everyone loves baby animals, I love this picture of the baby impala looking back at me while it's mother is looking off into the distance.  This was often the case.  The adult animals were not phased by people at all, but the babies would often look at us...curious about what was going on.

We saw wildebeest toooo  :  )

We saw a lot of zebra, they were all over the crater.  We started joking around after the first hour, "oh there's another zebra, {exaggerated sigh}."  Hahahah.  But I must say that zebras are one of my favorite animals.  Seeing them up close, really gave me a great view of their stripes.  The stripes always look like someone just pained them on.  Sooo cute.

The golden eyed jackal.

This elephant walked right past our vehicle.  It was a huge distance away from us, and we had a choice-

1) go see if we can find a black rhino which had been spotted some distance away.
2) wait to see if the elephant will walk closer to us.

In the crater you can not off road.  With the amount of traffic we saw, the area would be ruined if there weren't specific paths for cars.  We got lucky and the elephant walked right past us.  It was a thrilling forty minutes as it came closer and closer, until it was maybe 15-20 feet from our vehicle.  You could see the wrinkles on his face.  I have a ton of pictures from this day, but this one really speaks to me with the zebras in the back ground.

We saw a black rhino, which is apparently really rare.  Our guide told us that there were only 24 black rhinos in the entire crater, and on this day we saw three.  That almost never happens.

I was lucky to catch this superb starling in mid-flight.  These birds were all over the place, so I took a few more pictures later in the trip.  My father also got some amazing pictures of this bird, I'll be sure to post them after we start to edit his pictures as well.

I have to admit, I have a healthy fear of monkeys and baboons.  I am positive that they could really do some damage to me if they flipped out.  But this baboon looked pretty calm to me, so I stopped and took a quick picture.  His eyes look so soulful to me.

The Massai people live in the crater, and they have their cattle roaming around with the wild life.  

One thing that really struck us was the amount of people in the crater.  Now truthfully it is hard to be critical when we were there visiting too, but in the future they are going to have to limit the amount of people that can drive through.   As of now there is no limit to the number of people admitted, only the hours that people can be in the crater.  We would drive past tens of vehicles striving to get a glimpse of some of the animals.  This was the most tourist populated part of the whole trip and to this day I wonder how long the crater will be here if things continue in this way.

That being said, today was a great day.

Love Always,


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