Monday, November 1, 2010

The Serengeti

The big day is here.  This is it.

Four 4-wheel-drive, 7-passenger safari vehicles pulled into our campsite at 8:30 a.m.  By 9:00 a.m. we were on our way to Serengeti National Park.

After about a 2-hour drive we arrived at the entrance to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area where we stopped for a toilet break and to view the museum.  A short while later we arrived at the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater where we stopped for 15-20 minutes to view the crater and take pictures.  We then carried on, descending from the rim of the crater to the Serengeti Plain.  We passed several Masaai villages before we stopped at one for a tour of the village.
On the Rim of the Ngorongoro Crater

The Masaai first entertained us with singing and dancing outside the fencing that surrounds the village and then they invited us into the village where they continued to entertain us with their jumping/dancing skills.  The villages are fenced to keep the wild animals out.  After the entertainment we broke into smaller groups (2 or 3 to a group) and were given tours of their small mud-walled, thatched-roofed homes.  After the tour of the homes the group leaders pressured us to purchase local crafts.  The tours and selling of local crafts appears to be their main source of hard cash while most of the domestic animals appear to be raised for the consumption of the villagers.
After touring the village we carried on to the Serengeti National Park entrance where we took another break before carrying on further into the park.  We arrived at our “UNPROTECTED” campsite in the early afternoon.  The tour staff had our lunch ready for us and the tents all set up ready for us to move in.

After lunch we climbed back into the safari vehicles and headed out to find the "Big 5" - lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino.  This, our first foyer after arriving at our camp, produced, among other animals, a glimpse of a leopard and some fantastic shots of a pride of lions gorging themselves on a recent cape buffalo kill.  It was starting to get late when we found the pride of lions, so after about a half hour of taking pictures we headed back to our camp for a twilight supper.

Later in the evening we all sat around the fire and discussed the day's activities and sights.  We all retired early as we are going on an earlier morning photo hunt tomorrow before heading back to the Ngorongoro Crater.

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