It all began for us around the Ngorogoro – by us I mean humans. Nearby in the Olduvai gorge is where the earliest hominid remains have yet been found ‘Lucy’ dating back over 3 million years.
Created millions of years ago in a volcanic explosion the crater is almost a perfect circle with steep 500m sides cliffs. It seems a haven for wildlife but the lack of migration into the crater means a lack of genetic diversity, especially among the lions there.
By spotting our first Rhino of the trip we rounded out the big five (Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino).
Seemingly these refer to hunting trophies which seems from a different era although poaching and big game hunters still exist these days although both are now banned in Tanzania.
Almost to prove that all life is here at lunch we noticed garish clothed tourists and even gaggles of nuns. The nuns were getting very close to a group of hippos such that we imagined we might see the sight nuns in habits being chased by hippos but alas it wasn’t to be.
Heading out of the crater we saw the two sides of lion life – a young male cuddling his mother while another male sleeping with his kill expertly scooped out abdomen just beside.
Unfortunately Aisling was feeling pretty nauseous and I’m sure the African massage’ roads probably didn’t help much.
Our final night was staying in a beautiful farm lodge just below the rim of the crater.
Outside our room they had rows of coffee bushes and the restaurant sourced all their produce from the farm itself. After being sick though Aisling couldn’t really enjoy any of it bar a few pieces of farm-grown carrot for dinner.
I was completely spoilt with my first safari experience seeing all the big five and four leopards in two days.