But first…Mount Kilimanjaro! We flew on a private charter from Kigali to an airstrip here in Tanzania near Ngorongoro. Since the weather was nice, our pilot took us out of the way a bit to make a couple loops around Kilimanjaro. What a view!
The Ngorongoro Crater is described in Wikipedia as “the world’s largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera.” It is essentially a huge hole i6n the ground, with surprisingly distinct edges, 100 square miles in size, and filled with thousands and thousands of animals.
For all the traveling we’ve done, this is really the first time I’ve ever been to a place with game drives to see vast numbers of animals in the wild. So we dived right in and spent one LONG day — nine hours — traversing the crater from end to end and getting a serious introduction to African safari viewing.
Let me just say this: We are not well equipped for good quality wildlife photography. Every now and then Jim and I debate whether we should buy a real, fancy camera. But we know that if we do we’ll never want to carry it around. We discussed it in the context of this Africa visit once again, and just couldn’t bring ourselves to load ourselves down. So what you get here is the best I could do with my iPhone X. I just take a ton of pictures, and a few turn out kind of fun. So here they are.
Our lodge was perched right on the edge of the crater. Dan went out one morning and caught the lodge and the crater under this heavenly sunlight.
Our first sighting of an elephant in the wild. They are such majestic creatures.
The gazelles rank among my favorite safari animals. They are so graceful and elegant.
A gathering of wildebeests. At this time of year we would normally expect to see the spectacular migration of 2 to 3 million wildebeests when we get to the Serengeti. But because climate patterns are screwed up, Tanzania has had unusual amounts of rain this year, and the wildebeests are weeks behind schedule. So we have to settle for these non-migrating wildebeests just hanging out.
Who doesn’t love zebras?
Came across a couple of Cape Buffalo enjoying a spa treatment. At the resort they charge something like $150 for that.
You see lots of groups of zebras, up to four at a time, interlocked in a cuddly looking way, allowing them to watch for predators in multiple directions
I’m so sad and disappointed that Jim isn’t here to experience all of this, but the Smiths do make great travel companions. They look good in the wild, too. Here are Dan, Ruby, Angus, and Lorraine.
Did I mention I love the gazelles?
Elephants up close
Another Smith sighting — Ruby, Dan, and Angus
Hey zebras, get out of the road!
After a long day of animal viewing, Angus and Ruby are ready for cocktails in our elegant lodge lounge