One Last Hoorah

Austin and I decided to go for it and take one last trip to Arusha. We took the long bus ride over on the 6am Dar Express. We hung out with Zac and Hannah for just a couple days, as they graciously hosted us, took us around the town, and fed us. Our time with them was refreshing and challenging.

We also decided to do a safari in the Ngorogoro Crater. Zac and Hannah hooked us up with some other people from Arusha to save us some dough and we headed out to the Crater.

It is about a 3 hour drive from Zac and Hannah’s house to the bottom of the crater which is a pretty easy drive. Our driver Nixon, has been a tour guide for a long time so he taught us lots about the crater and more. As we drove there, we passed through the East African Rift Valley, which was pretty cool, and we also passed by Lake Manyara, another place that has lots of wildlife.

The Ngorogoro Crater was once a volcano that is now just a big huge bowl that is just over 200 square km inside. When we arrived we were not able to see the view from the rim, because of some cloud cover, but we were able to see it on the way out and it was breathtaking. You can see herds of wildebeests, zebras, flamingos and others massed together from the rim. There are grasslands, a forest area, and lakes of water as well. The crater is a perfect place for animal life to thrive because it is so protected. It is a great place for breeding and feeding, especially for the cats who pretty much have their choice for dinner.

Once we made the descent into the crater we saw so many animals! We saw enormous elephants that were around 60 years old. Nixon told us that the Crater is like a retirement ground for the few elephants there because it is so peaceful, has water and lots of greenery to eat. During our lunch break two elephants walked right through the parking lot we were in. Many of the tourists were being typical tourists and got too close to them, making them not so happy. I decided to stay away, but we did get some sweet pictures. We saw herds of zebra and wildebeests hanging out together in massive numbers. Apparently Zebra have good eyes, and Wildebeests good ears so together they are able to help each other out when predators are own the prowl. We saw hippos going in and out of the water, but we stayed far away because we have heard they are some of the most aggressive animals around. We saw a cheetah, trying to hide out and hunt some wildebeests. We saw rhinos at a a distance, but I really couldn’t make out their shape even, so we weren’t close at all. We saw a bird, I forgot what it was called, perched on a dry tree eating a rat. He was so content with his catch, and working vigorously to eat the slimy guts we saw. We saw tons of flamingos across the lake. They were some of  my favorites. Their color is so beautiful and I love that they are always in together. Our biggest find for the day were the lions. We saw three all together. The first one was a male who was hanging out in the grasslands by himself. He posed for a picture for us and then went back to his cat nap. He was not nearly as exciting as the lion and lioness we saw shortly afterwards, who were mating. At first I skeptical that we would actually see anything besides them laying there. But they were so majestic laying around watching over the creatures in the Crater. Then after about 10 minutes of being there the male jumped on top of the female for all of about 3 seconds hopped off and that was it. The female, rolled over as if to show she was exhausted, and then laid on her back playfully as if to say she was so very content. It was pretty funny. Our guide told us that when mating they will continue this pattern for 2 to 3 days every 15 mins or so. That must be tiring! I guess it does really help to ensure that their population will keep growing. It was fascinating to say the least.

After a long full day driving through the Crater, we headed back out. What a beautiful look at God’s incredible creation, He is the ultimate artist.

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