NGORONGORO CRATER.

SAFARI DAY 11. FINAL DAY.

THE WORLDS THIRD LARGEST VOLCANIC CRATER.

After yesterdays long tiring journey from the Serengeti we were up early for the final day in the famous Ngorongoro Crater. It is a very very steep drive down into the crater and it is one way traffic only. It is too narrow and too steep to allow passing vehicles.

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There was so much to see in the crater and we were hoping to possibly see the last of the big five, the Rhino. I always assumed that all the Wildebeest in Tanzania headed across the Mara River up north into Kenya but I was hopelessly wrong as we saw them all through our safari and there was another big herd here. The White Naped Raven also took us by surprise and here is one flying as well as on the ground. 

 

     

Plenty of Zebra about and while watching a Lion unsuccessfully stalking, this White Browed Caucal flew into the bushes in front of us. The Wart Hogs have been in the mud in the lake which is why they look grey. As yet I have not identified the yellow bird.

       

Wilsons Gazelle's are beautifully formed and coloured. This Tawny Eagle juvenile was preening itself when we stopped. Franks favourite animal is the Spotted Hyena.

     

This Side Striped Jackal is marking his territory. I love photographing birds in flight and was panning round with this Saddle Billed Stork which past behind a tree as I took the photo. Well you cannot win them all!! The Sacred Ibis here was hitching a ride on a Hippo in a small pool in the middle of the crater.

     

A Ruppell's Griffon Vulture circled over at one point and this Rufus Tailed Weaver perched in a bush in front of the vehicle. I am uncertain of the yellow bellied bird but it is possibly a Yellow Throated Long-claw. Hopefully somebody will put me right or I will find it in my new book. I love this close up of a male Ostrich. When you look closely you will see the beak is split. This might be how they are normally. Can some-one tell me please?

     

A Kori Bustard feeds in the long grass and how's this Hippo for a picture of contentment? Two of its relations are busy grazing and another sleeps the time away in the water.

       

A Common Jackal wanders through the long grass and this Helmeted Guinea fowl visited the picnic area. A Hamerkop sits atop a Hippo and a pair of Grey Crested Cranes fly past.

     

Grey Crested Cranes feed along the track side and we get a glimpse of a Rhino with its calf albeit at a long distance, even for the big lens.

     

Grants Gazelles are quite numerous but being skittish they are not easy photography targets. This Egyptian Goose was nesting in this tree hollow. It got a real fright when an Augur Buzzard tried to grab it as it flew past.

     

This is the usual picture of a Cokes Hartebeest but I prefer the one of it drinking from a stream. I was expecting to see many more Cattle Egrets than we did and these are the African 'most dangerous animal', the Cape Buffalo.

     

I was not sure if the vehicle would save us when this Bull gave us the evil eye. A Blacksmith Plover was scratching about in the green vegetation but the Black Headed Heron was in the dry grass near to the Hippo pool. The Black Headed Night Heron was in the reeds there.

     

This is the Augur Buzzard that tried to snatch the goose from the tree nest. The African Black Kites were flying round the picnic area, picking up bread and meats the guests were throwing to them, totally ignoring the signs not to do it.

 

     

By late afternoon we have to make the long climb out of the crater. The climb took 30 minutes to get to the gate house and it was over.

 

As you can see this is the end, literally.

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