Sunday, January 10, 2016

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania, January 8, 2016

The Ngorongoro Crater is 310 square kilometers, contains over 400 species of birds and 20,000-25,000 large animals!  Along with its neighbor, the Serengeti, it's home to 2 million migratory animals!  It has the largest biodiversity and highest density of wildlife in the world.   What a day we had!

The crater was formed 5-7 million years ago by a volcano-

Its floor has perfect living conditions-

The first animal of the day was none other than......  A leopard!  There were 2 of them in a bush close to the road-

The Augar Buzzard-

The Thomson gazelle-

One of the big five- a water buffalo-

Animals that belong to the Big 5 include the water buffalo, lion, elephant, rhino and leopard.  They are so called because they are the 5 most difficult animals to kill while hunting on foot.

The Black backed jackal is not only a scavenger but also a hunter.  They are usually seen in pairs, but this one was alone-

The Kori Bustard is the heaviest bird that can fly-

Hippos, as usual, were just lazing around-

The beginning of many lions, so get used to it :)

Many warthogs ...  Ho.. Hum...

Look at those tusks!

Then, we came across 3 black rhino, covered in mud-

Wildebeest are everywhere and are followed by zebra because they can hear and zebra can see so they work well together-

Hyenas are mangie looking and skulk around like they've already done something wrong-

A male zebra has a smaller butt than a female.   I love the way their tail looks braided-

We would drive along and see all of these animals intermingling with each other.  They weren't afraid of the vehicles so they just carried on with their lives.  It was surreal driving around-

The animals are free to leave the crater but the outside wall is very high and there's dense vegetation so they stay.  Giraffes are not found inside because ??  A lack of trees for food?  The crater wall is too high? Not sure.

These elephants are huge and have great ivory tusks-

Male ostrich have pink legs only during the mating season to attract females who can lay up to 24 eggs that take 90 days to hatch-

We left the Ngorongoro Crater for the Serengeti.  Along the way....  Yes, still my favorite :)

Maasai are not found in the crater but live and run their herds of cattle, goats, donkeys and sheep in valleys outside.  This Maasai village has a center fence for the animals and the wives homes surround-

A Maasai looking after a very large herd in the lush valley-

Once inside the Serengeti -

who did we see but Simba-

Actually Simba and Nalla-

The Grey Crowned crane is Uganda's national bird and found on their flag.  European geese are beside him-

More elephants-

Another hyena-

And finally cheetah-

This poor lion needed a bath.  He might have been fighting a water buffalo or......

We are camping in the middle of the Serengeti and we've been warned about getting out of our tents during the night because of four legged visitors so I hope I make the night!

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