After the hot air balloon we met up with Emanuel and turned south again towards the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Along the way we encountered banded mongoose, more lions and warthogs, and a bonus find, a serval cat, a rare sighting according to Emanuel.
It was another stunner of a day and I think our photos compare favorably with the best travel posters. You can’t lose with this scenery.
We paused for a while to watch an elephant family group taking shelter from the heat.
And then it was time to leave the endless plain. But first Emanuel took a detour to the Mbalageti River so we could watch a branch of the wildebeest migration. You may have seen video of the famous river crossing at the Mara River which happens earlier in the year. What we learned is that the migration is constant in a great circle from Tanzania to Kenya and back again as the herds seek new grassland.
We drove to an area with thousands of animals grazing their way through the landscape as far as the eye could see. We spent a long time appreciating the sheer numbers and struggled to take photos that come close to recording the majesty of it. In the end we admitted defeat, but it was a peak experience to be in the middle of it and take it all in.
And then it really was time to say goodbye to the Serengeti. Down came the top on the Landcruiser and we went into serious drive mode to get to our mountain camp at Ngorongoro before dark. It’ll be a cold night in the forest at higher elevation. When we got back to our tent after dinner we found the staff had tucked “bush babies” (hot water bottles) under the covers to kept us warm and toasty all night under the big down comforter.
Tomorrow we drive into the crater. I can’t wait.