It rained in Arusha as we are breakfast. Shortly after 07:00 the three landcruisers and a trailer arrived and so began organised chaos.
We set off before 08:00 and headed straight out of Arusha towards Ngorongoro Crater, after collecting some spare inner tubes, failing to collect some ice for the ice-box and pausing whilst one truck collected some diesel. We momentarily stopped at Lake Manyara for some breathtaking views and photograph opportunities looking down off of the edge of the Rift Valley.
We arrived at the top of the Ngorongoro Crater some 7,000 feet above sea level, in the clouds, by midday. It was a stunning view over the entire crater, looking down on the soda lake to where flamingoes famously flock. Looking back down the road we travelled was haunting as the clouds engulfed the track and moved across the road. There was a buzzard battling against the wind above us and made little progress as he appeared stationary in the sky above us. There was a herd of wildebeest grazing at the bottom of the crater although to our untrained eyes they looked like bits of vegetation they appeared so small.
We had lunch a few kilometres further on under a flock of black kites who took every opportunity to steal food from our hands! It was pretty unsettling yet they spent several moments soaring directly above us providing us with ample opportunities to capture the image on film.
After lunch we began to see animals. We had sightings of thomson gazelles, grants gazelles, impalas, giraffes, bustards, silver back jackals, crested guinea fowls, hippopotami, hyenas, a single lioness, ostriches and zebras.
The roads throughout have been dusty dirt tracks with innumerable potholes and lumps and dips. It has been far from comfortable but at least the landcruiser has cushioned seats and it doesn't throw us about like the buckaroo truck!
The visit to the Masai village on the way to the Serengeti was interesting although the village we visited was obviously there for the benefit of tourists alone. I appreciate the way the Masai people invite tourists into their homes and let us interact with their children. The children are by far the best aspect. I used another film just photographing the children. They are wonderful. We went to their school at the back of the village. They were reciting what appeared to be vowels but didn't seem to like the sound that one of them produced. Whenever they had to pronounce it they whispered it every so quietly. It was so endearing! The outer edges of the school were riddled with three to four day old goats, which seemed very appropriate!
I have arrived at Pimba Camp with a headache, as expected.
To be honest, I am a bit disappointed with today. I have been incredibly impressed by the vast expanse of the Serengeti which translates from Swahili to 'endless plains'. They go beyond the view of the human eye, they are incredible. However, our recent conversations with fellow travellers we have met along the tour through Africa revealed so many lions in the Serengeti it was almost boring, which I really couldn't imagine! We do have tomorrows game drive in the Serengeti 'though so I shouldn't lose hope this early.
The presence of baobab trees has dwindled in this part of Tanzania and I haven't set eyes on a single elephant today which is a bit of a surprise. The highlight of the day was at the entrance gate to the Serengeti. Paul had advised us that we may find snakes up the hill at the entrance as he has found them on each occasion he has passed through. So, keen to see some snakes for ourselves we went up the steep paved hill in search of snakes. I was pleasantly surprised to find pink, purple and indigo tricolour chameleons. They were beautiful. They were definately todays highlight.
Unfortunately, the lowlight of the day was that I had arrived at Pimba camp with another migraine and retired to my sleeping bag for the third time this trip.
Copyright 2002 Helen Fuller. All rights reserved.