Around 3pm we got collected from our campsite, and driven out to a small town near the Ngorongoro Crater to spend the night at a tiny little “campsite” before the early rise in the morning. It became a nice relaxed night with a only few beersas we were still nursing hangovers from the previous night at the Snake Park. We had a delicious meal, while sitting at a table which was always a novelty these days. Usually we eat from our laps with the only illumination being from the headlight we always wear around the camp. After dinner there was a show for the tourist – with a local group doing dancing, singing and lots of acrobatics. Really really cool. It ended with all of us being pulled up to dance, which after the witchdoctor incidents didn’t bother me as much now.
The second it was over, the sales began – literally on the final note of the music. “Come see my stall, looking is free.” We slowly wandered around, looking again at statues and Masai blankets (massive things 2m x1.5m which the Maasi people wear all the time). Initially we declined all sales, then sat with the group to examine the blankets they bought, and quickly changed our mind as they were packing up. Will be an excellent addition to the yak wool one from Dharamsala.
The next morning we were quickly through the National Park gates, and headed towards the crater along a mountain road with fog all around us. Very dramatic. We entered another gate to receive sales pitches from local Masai wanting to sell more blankets (even though we were draped in one for the cold), weapons and whatever you showed interest in. We passed through the gates, to look upon the crater – a bowl of mist and fog glimmering in the rising sun, which now crept into the brilliant blue sky above us. We took some photos, then descended 600m down into the crater.
This was one of my favourite places. We spent the whole morning in here exploring every edge. The crater is a perfect bowl, and within it is nearly every animal – massive herds of Wildebeest, swarms of flamingos, dazzles of Zebra, black rhino’s (thus completing our big 5 viewing), hippo’s, elephants and black Kites (i’ll get to them shortly). It was cool as the guide used radio contact with the other cars to keep track of the animals, and with the crater being so small you were anywhere in about 10 mins. Pity we only had a morning as it would be awesome to spend a few days here.
We stopped for lunch by a watering hole where every other tourist also stopped. Everyone has a packed lunch, seemingly with some chicken in it. There are large birds of prey called Black Kite’s who have also figured this out and are circling overhead. We were told of a “stupid tourist” who didn’t heed the warnings that the Black Kites will actually swoop on people, so it’s best to stay near to the truck. We were having lunch, picking through the different treats and ended up with Amber yapping and waving a piece of chicken around. She was about to take a bite when a Black Kite swooped down between us in a gush of wind, clawed at Amber’s chicken but missed as Amber fought back. Everyone bursts out laughing as we move near to the truck. It was especially funny to Nick and Chris as they watched the bird swoop once, then the second time for the attack but said nothing about the air raid from above.