130819 Tarangire Sopa Lodge – Ngorongoro Crater

The Plan

Enjoy an Included early morning game drive through this beautiful and incredibly diverse park, which is well known for its lions, elephants and large troops of baboons.  After an included lunch, travel to the world famous, Ngorongoro Crater, often called “Africa’s Eden” and the 8th Natural Wonder of the World.  This evening enjoy your included Scenic Enrich traditional dance performance by a local tribe performed in the grounds of the Sopa Lodge.

How the day turned out

This accommodation has been the tops but we must move on.  Today, we take 4 hours to ‘safari’ to the main gate.  We see ostrich, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, baboons, and a blue duiker.  Duikers are a small secretive forest antelope characterised by sloping backs and richly coloured coats.  Most of the 18 recognised species are confined to West Africa, but the blue duiker is common in the forests of the eastern coastal belt.

We come across a troop of baboons wandering towards the water supply.  Lots of little fellows are riding their mothers.  A couple scurry up a palm tree and drop nuts for the others to feed on.  They take no notice of our vehicle as the play fight amongst each other.

Near the end of this safari, we meet up with many wildebeest and zebras.  They often depend on each other for anything that is of danger.  This wildebeest is not the migratory type of wildebeest like those in the Serengeti area, which we will see in a few days time.

Our lunch is provided in a picnic box eaten at the entrance gate to the park before a 3-hour drive to Ngorongoro.  It is time for more sleep, if you can put up with the slowing down for the speed traps in each village along the way.

There is a great fertile rift valley that stretches for thousands of kilometers from Egypt to Botaswana.  The vegetation suddenly becomes lush and the villages have much fruit and vegetables for sale.  We climb up a few thousand feet up the escarpment to a village where the ladies are waiting for – a souvenir gift shop that also sells the precious tanzanite.  A few ‘valuable’ purchases are made. Tanzanite is the blue/purple variety of the mineral zoisite (a calcium aluminium hydroxy silicate) discovered in the Meserani Hills of Manyara Region in Northern Tanzania in 1967, near the city of Arusha and Mount Kilimanjaro.

Then it is on to Ngorongoro Crater.  This is the largest crater in the world teeming with some 20,000 great mammals.  The lodge here is another architectural dream situated on the edge of the crater looking out over the floor of the crater.  We see another African sunset before another sumptuous evening meal and some African entertainment.

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