Our drive to Ngorongoro Crater today took us through Tanzania’s 4th largest city Arusha. A congested city, where Kristin noted that we didn’t pass one stop light or stop sign thoughout our journey through the town. The drive continued into the Tanzanian countryside where our guide, Stephano informed us of the ways of the Maasai, a herding tribe. A “family” lives in a boma, consisting of several huts, occupied by the man’s wives. Yes, man is singular; wives is plural! They are a people that practices polygymy and it is not uncommon for a man to have 3 or 4 wives. Stephano pointed out a boma where the husband had 35 wives and over a 100 children. Apparently the government of Tanzania built a school for him off his compound. He is considered to be a very rich man for Maasai standards. More wives = more cattle!
We arrived to the crater rim and then group oo-ed and ah-ed at its majesty. Here is our group at the rim:
We dropped into the Ngorongoro crater and the group was immediately excited to see zebras, gazelles, warthogs, and wildebeest, as well as their babies. We then got serious and went in search of the elusive back rhino. With only 33 in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, many groups spend days trying to see one. We lucked out and found a big fellow about 20 yards for the road:
Shortly after we found a young lion couple panting heavily and dozing under the high sun. They were even closer – about 10 feet from the car:
We then headed over to hippo pool picnic area for lunch and a bathroom break and were treated to some visitors for lunch: three lionesses. They casually walked through our lunch area and we quickly got in the vehicle!
It was time to head out but were were treated to more zebra and ostriches, beautiful birds, and some overly friendly baboons who attempted to enter our vehicle while we were parked at the headquarters. They didn’t realize that we were still in the car! But it woke me up!
We headed to Bougainvillea Safari Lodge with their beautiful ground and had dinner. We are looking forward to a pilates mat class tomorrow morning around the pool. I will attempt to post some pictures in the morning of the lodge before we head off for the Ndutu area and the wildebeest migration!