Tanzania Day 17 - Ngorongoro Crater

Good news! The car works! Today, we headed down to Ngorongoro Crater. The road down was steep, curvy, and terrifying at times as usual.

Our goal today was to see a rhino, and we ended up seeing three! Apparently there are 19 rhinos in the crater and only 3 in the Serengeti since poachers have killed most of them off. The rhinos were far away and difficult to spot, but they were still pretty cool.

We also saw a TON of lions. The first one was a male lying on top of a small hill, just chilling out. The next one we saw was another lone male. We got to him right as he attempted to kill a water buffalo. Elvis said that lions usually need to hunt water buffalo in groups since they are pretty big. He was surprised this lion went after one by himself, and the lion ended up losing.

Can you find the lion in the photo below?

After that, we passed close by another lion who was taking a nap. He looked dead with his legs up in the air. Then we drove up to a pride of lions. Again, they were all napping. There were 5 females and 1 male. We stayed  there a while because a herd of water buffalo was approaching, and were were hoping we’d get to see some predatory action. Unfortunately, nothing happened.

The last group of lions we saw was two males and one female who crossed the road right in front of us. They all proceeded to lie down right by the side of the road which was awesome. All in all, we saw TWELVE lions today! We even passed by the napping groups a few more times.

I definitely enjoyed Ngorongoro better than the Serengeti for a few reasons:

  1. It is closer.
  2. The roads are much better.
  3. It seemed like there was a higher concentration of animals. The Serengeti is so vast that you can go long stretches without seeing any wildlife. At Ngorongoro, the animals are confined to the crater, so they can’t really go anywhere.

Towards the end of our adventure at Ngorongoro, we stopped by a huge hippo pool. It was fun watching the hippo heads pop in and out of the water. After that, we drove out of the crater towards Moshi. The drive was very long and took about 5-6 hours.

While driving, Charlie asked Elvis about the police here. Apparently if you get stopped, you either get a ticket and pay $20, or don’t get a ticket and just pay the officer $10 for an “I didn’t see that” pass. Either way, Elvis said you are both still friendly with each other the next day. There are certain checkpoints along the road where police may stop you to search your car for tusks, illegal drugs, etc.

As we were driving into Moshi, we had a great view of Kilimanjaro. I still can’t believe how big it is and that we actually climbed it!

We had the rest of the afternoon/night to relax at the Weru Weru River Lodge. We had our delicious buffet-style dinner, and Charlie had a bottle of Tusker beer.

Since it’s Sunday, we weren’t able to meet with Abel to make a plan for tomorrow. All we know is that our flight to Zanzibar tomorrow is at 10:30, and there should be someone meeting us at the lodge tomorrow to transfer us to the airport. We also know we have a luggage limit of 50 pounds, and it’s going to be close with all our new Massai goodies.