Ngorongoro experience.

Ngorongoro experience.

The flight took us over the greater part of the Serengeti, and it’s patchwork of rivers and bush became drier and drier as we flew south. Eventually the distant scar of the Oldupai river showed against the dusty landscape and I knew the crater rim was not far. Empakai and Lengai (the crown hidden in the clouds) were on our left, and suddenly a green, forest clothed the slopes of the western crater rim.  We traversed the centre at 6000 feet and the crater unfolded below us, with lake Magadi white and drying stark below us. A few dusty tracks like veins showed against the brown grasslands, and the swamps were green swatches against the dryness.  The forest was a relief after the stark bottom of the crater, and then settlements and fields indicated human habitation again. In the distance the edge of the Rift showed, and lake Manyara beyond that. We circled and lined up for landing.   The airstrip is right on the edge of the Rift it is a bit disconcerting when nothing shows beyond the runway during the taxi landing!

We flew right over the crater..

We flew right over the crater

 

 

 

 

Gustav, our driver/guide was there, and soon we were on our way. Karatu was en route and we found a bank to draw cash again, before the long trek up the ‘hill’ and eventually to camp. We stopped a moment at the viewing point for a photo and look-see.

Lemala Tented camp is located in the Acacia forest north of the crater itself, just inside the gate to the reserve.  Ebenezer greeted us and after a short introduction to the camp, we had a very good lunch and settled in for a quiet afternoon.  The tents are set in a line, beneath a stand of very old Acacia abyssinica, facing the forested slopes towards Empakai volcano.

It had been a long day.

Our new address is: Tents 5,6,7,& 8, Acacia Close, Lemala Tented camp, Ngorongoro.

 

Absent minded hyena who lost his head!

I was driving through the Ngorongoro Crater on my last safari, when we chanced upon nine Spotted hyenas sleeping in the open near a large natural pan.  We paused to observe their comatose forms and I chatted a little about hyena behavior and biology…  Eventually one male hyena (they are generally noticeably smaller than the females) stood up and deliberately walked straight into the pan, head slightly lowered, ears forward.  I told my guests,” He is looking for something…”

The hyena paused and looked straight down into the water. He seemed to think about something, and then plunged his head straight into the water, over his ears!  He shook his head, walked a bit and tried again.and came up with a pair of wildebeest horns!   He walked into deeper water and disaster…he dropped them.   Nonplussed he stuck his head under the water again, and again…even using his paw to try and find them.

He had cached these under the water to hide the scent. No other hyena would then find and steal them.

He had cached these under the water to hide the scent. No other hyena would then find and steal them.

 

 

Trying to locate the horns

Trying to locate the horns

 

 

 

 

I know it's here somewhere?

I know it’s here somewhere?

 

 

 

 

I believe we may have distracted him with our burst of amused laughter….he looked our way for a minute or so…and then bent down to find his grisly trophy.  His whole head was under the water for about five seconds or so. He lifted his head….water cascading down his face. What a sight!     Another hyena walked into the water, and stood just looking at him, a quizzical expression on its’ face. It was just too much not to imagine what was being said… The ‘searcher’ tried again, an again…….used his paw…….stood for a moment looking deep into the water and walked away.