Our Last day on Safari
This picture was taken just outside our Lake Ndutu camp as we left the Serengeti and crossed into the Ngorongoro Conservation area.
After driving for a couple of hours we stopped at Oldupui Gorge where we looked at hominid fossils, artifacts and footprints from 3.6 million years ago. The curator at the museum began his talk by simply saying, 'Welcome home'. It's a deep and peaceful feeling, to sit at the edge of the gorge and wonder about our ancestors living by the prehistoric lake that existed here, so long ago. Today, the Maasai people, who live in this area, still practice a spartan lifestyle living primarily on meat, blood and milk from the goats, sheep and cattle which they graze in and near the Ngorongoro crater.
During this three day game drive, we have seen tens of thousands of wildebeest and zebra, all headed south on their annual migration. Today we saw many lions, elephants, giraffes, gazelles, flamingos, several types of storks, plovers, eagles, bustards, finches, vultures and countless other amazing birds. We observed a beautiful cheetah, a skittish serval, many rough-looking hyenas, troops of baboons, some happy hippos, scary water buffaloes and several black rhino. There are only twenty Rhino in the Ngorongoro crater and we felt very lucky to see some.
Before driving to our hotel, The Sopa Lodge, on the crater rim. We were treated to a view of a pride of lions including cubs. All of them were being lazy and resting. One lioness and her cub were resting in the shade beside our 4X4 Landcruiser, as the cub fed from it's mother.
The animals are not just beautiful, but watching them seems to have a very calming and grounding effect. In the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation areas, there is a strong sense that everything is the way it ought to be. The cycle of life is witnessed in a very raw and unfiltered way. It's an experience that seems to have a profound effect on us western visitors. The wildlife guides have seen this many times and joke with us that we are watching 'Bush TV'.
It was not without some sadness that we left the conservation area and headed east towards Arusha.