For the next two nights we stayed in The Manor at Ngorongoro
(All of our stays in Tanzania were at Elewana properties). Getting to the manor meant traversing a bumpy dirt road miles through a coffee plantation.
Sunset view from our room
Main dining hall outside view. Like most places, breakfast and dinner were eaten at the lodge while lunch was eaten in the "field." To those wondering, throughout this trip we did NOT bring our own kosher food, rather we ate the fish/veggie food they had available.
The manor had a pool, which we didn't use, a billiard room, which we also didn't use, and horseback riding throughout the estate, which once again we did not use. We were completely wiped out whenever we came home and after dinner went straight to sleep. Most mornings we were on the road by 6:30 or 7 am
Outside view of our cottage. We occupied the left side of the building. The room was nice, had a bathroom, living room and bedroom but the bug situation left much to be desired. Despite spraying bug spray, we had a fair number of critters on the floor throughout our stay. Not what you would expect from a high end place but it is Africa.
After a good night's rest, our next stop was the Ngorongoro Crater. The crater is one of several volcanic craters in the area. They contain a ton of life inside and many animals from the migration make it to the crater
Entering the crater
Zebra!! Super exciting at this point but even after seeing thousands of them I still find them to be beautiful animals
After driving around a bit we found our first kill! Turned out to be two eagles who had hunted a less fortunate bird. Captured this photo mid meal. Might not be big game kill but still exciting to see!
You'll often find the ostrich eating with the zebra and wildebeest. They are actually incredibly strong and fast. In fact, they're the third fastest land animal. Since the first two fastest animals can both be found in Tanzania we took on the challenge to seek out the others!
Another awesome looking bird. Forget the name but our guide easily identified it. Our guide claimed to know around 1200 birds and is the guide the tour company typically uses for bird watcher safaris. Though he admitted that he doesn't like those safaris because he ends up glued to his binoculars for hours at a time
Woohoo! Our first cat sighting. This lioness was just sleeping by the side of the road. Kinda boring but we couldn't believe how close we were able to get. We could have easily touched her if we stuck our hand out the window. Our guide told us a story that years ago he saw someone in the jeep ahead of him do just that, pet a fully grown lion. He said as soon as the man touched the lion, she quickly turned around and clawed the man's arm and ran away. The man was so badly injured my guide said his bone was visible from the wound. He had to be airlifted out of the crater. So yeah, don't pet the lions no matter how tempting it is.
Wildebeest. Easily see tens of thousands of these guys in the Serengeti in the coming days
Sometimes the animals and the scenery just work so well together. Kudos to my wife for this shot
In this picture you see the Zebras resting their heads on each other but they make sure to each look the opposite way so as to look out for each other in case a preditor approaches
Animal feeding get together
Lion on the prowl
Hyena. Not sure what's up with this guy's fur but he made for an interesting shot
Rhinos! We drove around for a while trying to get close to these guys. Because of poaching there are only about 25 rhinos in the crater and another 40 something in the Serengeti. It's really sad that there are so few left but their horns are in demand in China and poachers are willing to risk their life fighting to get them. This picture was taken extremely far away as the rhinos don't get close to the roads. Unfortunately this would be the only rhinos we saw throughout our time in Africa. But it did bring is one step closer to viewing the Big 5 Game.
This picture is interesting because you get a glimpse into how the prey animals know that they don't need to fear certain preditors. Here the antelope are fully aware that they're much faster than the hyena so they need only stay a short distance away from the hyena to guarantee their safety. You constantly see this throughout the Savannah. Prey animals fully aware of which predator animals they must leave a long or short distance to maintain their safety.
We found this guy sleeping at a watering hole. Fully grown elephants sleep standing up, unlike the younger ones who actually lay down to sleep
A bunch of hippos, this time in the water where they should be. They keep the tops of themselves wet by constantly splashing water with their tail
I'm a bit jet lagged right now so going to head off to bed but tomorrow I'll continue with Ndutu and some/all of Serengeti.