It’s 5 in the morning and the world is slowly starting to come to life. We are in a tented camp on the rim of the Ngorongoro crater. It is still dark and the only sound is birdsong. Soon the group will gather for a quick bite before getting in our Land Cruisers for the drive to the crater floor. This is one of those moments when you realize exactly where you are and what us about to occur. Everyone knows this place. When I was a kid I saw photos and THIS place was Africa to me.
That was like drinking from a firehose. Every type of African wildlife you can think of. Except giraffes. Herd after herd of zebra, wildebeest, and buffalo. Gazelles and antelope of every description. Rhinoceros were in the distance- shy like only a two ton beast can be. A few elephants dotted an immense landscape. The largest clan of hyenas I have ever seen lazing around a waterhole with hippopotamus looking like rocks in the hot, hot sun. And the star of the show-Lions!!! One person in our group counted 17 different animals. All of this encompassed by the towering crater walls.
Everyone is weary but excited from the adventures of the day. We sit around the fire watching the bush TV and listening to men from the camp singing in Swahili before sitting down to a fabulous dinner that magically appeared from the tiny kitchen in our bush camp. We are blown away by our staff singing and dancing. I look around and everyone has the biggest smile I have ever seen.
What a day.