Another hard day at the new office!!
I woke early as usual and went out onto our small deck and watched the sun rise over the far wall of Ngorongoro crater. It was stunning and foreshadowed what was to be a very pleasant day: 26 – 27 C. We broke fast and were on the road by 0800 and drove around the crater rim and down this very precarious slope into the crater proper.
Very quickly we saw Cape buffalo and 3 lions and thought “wow” – this is until we went another 2kms or so and came across a pride of lions – 4 females and 5 cubs – which had recently killed a buffalo and were feeding on it. We watched for over an hour seeing the food chain in action as the lions had finished their fill and moved on across the road right in front of us. That is all except 1 female who continued eating on her own but then had to relent as an increasing number of hyenas pushed her out and then feasted on the remains of the kill. We watched as in line then there were vultures and then small jackals to further pick through the remains. They were coming from fair distances away and we watched them converge and make short work of the carcass. The hyenas are pug ugly, but with powerful jaws they can crunch up the bones even of large animals. They clean up all the rubbish in the park – true scavengers.
Next we got up close and personal with more zebras, wilderbeests, and then more elephants. This is a great time to visit the parks as low season and thus the crowds are minimal. Also it is the time where most of the animals drop their babies – so seeing lion cubs only a few months old and baby elephants and baby zebras etc. I would hate to be here in high season. Also the lodges are quieter so there is little pressure and staff are very relaxed and so friendly. We had a packed lunch by a hippo pool – really difficult to get a photo as all you see are ears and eyes and snouts – I will keep trying!!
As we drove around the tracks there was always something different to see. The bird life is stunning with so bright colours – our favourite is the grey crowned crane which is also the national emblem of Uganda. Finally got to see a black Rhinoceros so that makes 4 of the big 5 we have seen. Only the leopard to go but he is very shy. We counted 23 lions for the day and not just lumps lying in the grass. Even in what we think is short grass they are hard to see so the other animals really need their sense of smell.
Eventually got back to the Serena Lodge after 1700 in time for shower and then sundowners in the lounge with the customary entertainment of drums and acrobats and singers – this time just guys which were far better than the girls who sounded like cut cats!!
Everybody had great evening meals with good Sth African Robertson wines. It was 2 people’s birthdays so the waiters and chefs and staff all came out in a group singing Jambo Jambo which was fantastic to listen to.
Blog post written by Hayley Bayford.