African Safari – Crater drive – hippos and gazelles and ostrich oh my!

African Safari โ€“ Day 3
Location: Ngorongoro National Park Crater
Lodge: Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge

Sunday was our crater drive down into the Ngorongoro crater. This park is actually a conservation area where lions, elephants, zebras and flamingos all cohabiting together. Until, of course, it becomes lunch time.

At 19km wide and a surface of 264 sq km, the crater is one of the largest unbroken calderas in the world that isn’t a lake. The steep walls encircling the crater are between 400 and 610m high and provide protection to the wildlife inside as well as a unique ecosystem of grasslands, swamps and acacia woodland (thorns from that bush are no joke).

We started keeping a tally of the various types of animals we saw. Here’s the rundown:

Ibis birds
Gazelles – Grant & Hunter
Water buffalo
Wart hogs
Flamingos (I’m still surprised we saw flamingos in Africa)
Water buck (looks like a deer)

Animal highlights:
Lion walking right next to our Land Cruiser
and we happened upon some lions while mating. Pardon us as we take all these pictures ๐Ÿ˜‰

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It sounds strange but I kept thinking about how the environment around me was alive with all these different insect sounds and birds it sounded like I was in the movie Hunger Games. I was beginning to enjoy the noticeably slower pace of life in Africa. A markedly different pace to the concrete jungle of Los Angeles or the eclectic San Francisco.

I remember writing in the journal in my phone: “I’m happy to see universal elements like a smile, hug and genuine human connection but we will never all be operating at the same capacity in life. It’s a mere fact that unites and divides us simultaneously.”

Our hotel was gorgeous and offered sweeping views of the crater at every turn. It sits on the southwestern crater rim near the main descent route. The best part was that since our room was located at the end of the long row of rooms, we had the chance to marvel, one morning, at elephants passing through right outside our balcony. I’ve never seen an animal so big and so quiet at the same time.

The lectures that evening were on lightning wounds and preventative measures if you were caught out in an electrical storm. I’m not kidding, after seeing the pictures of jagged burns on the patients who lived through a lightning bolt coursing through their body, don’t be surprised to see me rapidly removing things like my underwire bra, metal jewelry, and any synthetic clothing (nylon underwear) I happen to be wearing at the time. With my newfound knowledge, I’m pretty sure it will be thrilling and make for a damn good story ๐Ÿ˜‰

Photos taken on Canon Rebel T5 lenses rented from Borrow Lenses.

Photos captured on my iPhone. The selfie stick was super useful. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise ๐Ÿ˜‰