Travel in Tanzania: Game Drive in Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest extinct volcano, and has become a literal oasis for thousands of beautiful African animals.
IMG_0700IMG_0703The Masaai people used to live inside the crater, but their homes have since been relocated to the picturesque mountainside, surrounded by endless vibrant green rolling hills.

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Maasai village homes

The landscape appeared similar to the fertile soils of Ireland, yet with the added bonus of local exotic wildlife. 😉DSC_0002In fact, because the crater is so remote and difficult to access, it has been called one of the world’s most unchanged wildlife sanctuaries. ❤DSC_9959While in Ngorongoro, we took 4×4 jeeps down into the crater to view a plethora of wildlife living on this fertile soil, and beside this natural salt lake.
IMG_0710There was a definite peaceful coexistence among the animals, as monkeys, birds, and many hoofed mammals all lived in close proximity to one another.

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Vervet Monkeys with Banded Mongoose

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ostrich with gazelle and wildebeest in the background
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zebra family near birds and other grazing mammals
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zebra standing next to an elephant skull

One of the first highlights of our game drive included a Caracal cat who had just caught a bird, and was spotted running with it across the open plain! 😮DSC_9991DSC_0050We also saw many East African Crowned Cranes.DSC_0035By far though, the top highlight of the day was our sighting of two black rhinos, a rare find based on population size.

Fun fact#1: Black rhinos and white rhinos are actually the same color. What differentiates the two is that white rhinos are grazing animals with wide mouths, and black rhinos are browsing animals, with pointed mouths.

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Fun fact #2: Cheetah once roamed these lands, but the growing hyena population has steadily stolen their food supply, and their numbers have greatly diminished. Hyenas are scavengers, which is their strength and downfall, as many hyenas also end up dying from eating rotten, bacteria-ridden flesh. Yuck!

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hyena carrying an animal carcass

Fun fact #3: Warthogs have to eat kneeling down, because their necks are too short. 😛DSC_0037
Fun fact #4: To distinguish the two types of gazelles, remember that Grant’s Gazelles are much larger and have a white patch on their rump, while Thompson’s Gazelles have a horizontal stripe along their side.

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Thompson’s Gazelle
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Grant’s Gazelle

Later on in the day we stopped down by the lake, where we had gorgeous views of the surrounding hills and an up-close encounter with hippo families wading in the water.DSC_0067IMG_0717 DSC_0030DSC_0026Overall, Ngorongoro Crater completely blew me away for its utter seclusion and stunning natural beauty. It should definitely be added to anyone’s Africa bucket list. Love! ❤16403364_10106346242116807_2703215931883881509_oOur group sure enjoyed the crater! 😀
16487715_10104197766848590_6925395180751609714_oAs we were leaving a baboon even tried to jump into our car and steal a banana off the dashboard!IMG_0714Never a dull moment around here. 😉

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cheeky baboon we scared away with a 2X4! 😮

Feel free to click this link to learn more about this impressive site. 🙂

http://www.ngorongorocrater.org/

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6 thoughts on “Travel in Tanzania: Game Drive in Ngorongoro Crater

  1. Oh wow, only when we looked at the map that we realize you actually drove southwestwards through Uganda and then Rwanda before moving eastwards again!
    And all of this reserve is indeed so lush. Definitely not the image in our heads before!

    Liked by 2 people

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