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Day 11- NGORONGORO CRATER
At last we are at Ngorongoro Crater. Not that we haven’t seen some amazing things along the way, but this is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Center. The crater is a giant caldera resulting from the collapse of an approximately 15,000 foot volcano two-three million years ago.
It is considered a “natural enclosure,” 100 square miles with almost all the African species interacting in one place. It should be amazing.
We start off at 6 AM with a wonderful sunrise over the crater.
As we descend 2000 feet to the floor, morning rays break through the clouds again creating “god light.”
And the clouds form a fluffy marshmellow mass spilling over the edge of the crater.
On the floor of the crater a Maasai herds his goats. Under new laws they can once again graze their animals in the crater, but must remove them at the end of each day.
We immediately find one of the famed black-maned lions.
On the plain, a female and male ferociously stalk a young wildebeest. The jackly tags along, hoping for some scraps while an adult wildebeest looks on.
Later, these apex predators remind us they still have some traits that remind us of a household kitty. Well, maybe just a little.
We also see a hyena family with babies.
And the hyena mother, bringing the remains of the young wildebeest for her young. More of the circle of life on the plains.
We enjoy more zebra geometrics in the grassland.
Driving through the woodlands we stop to admire the beautiful yellow-barked acacias up close and personal.
And we see birds galore…
A woodland kingfisher,
We finally catch a female and male ostrich performing their courtship dancing-and mating,
A guinea fowl with its fluorescent blue markings,
A kori bustard, puffed in display,
Along with the center of his attention,
And the magnificent crested crane.
We end the day with a wildebeest herd--even in the crater they migrate. Just not as far as the ones on the Mara.
Ngorongoro has lived up to its reputation. We're coming back to the crater tomorrow--can't wait to see what this magical place will share with us then!
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