the ngorongoro crater: a wonder that’s hard to capture

On Day 2, we drove through the Tarangire again in the morning and then traveled northwest toward the Ngorongoro Crater. We arrived midday at the Ngorongoro Farmhouse, a 500-acre coffee farm three miles from the crater’s entrance. Our cottage was named Simba, which is Swahili for lion (I got that right when we were quizzed, thanks Lion King!)

We played chess and took silly…

and cute photos (this is one of my favorites).

It rained again that night while we read, protected by the mosquito netting. The rains were so furious, I thought it would pound through the roof. A. stayed up till 3 a.m., sucked into Unbroken by Laura Hillebrand. I fell asleep by his side.

The next morning, we drove down into the crater. The crater is 100 square miles and formed two-three million years ago when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed on itself (also known as a caldera, and this is the world’s largest).

As we drove through, we saw pockets of animals — they all hang out with their own kind. It’s hard to capture the magic.

We saw buffalos (a dirty, dirty buffalo)

Thompson gazelles

and wildebeest (I feel like these two are the patriarchs and we need their approval).

We saw zebras (that red is the seat in the car)

crested cranes

and lions.

In the distance, we saw cheetahs and flamingos and the backs of hippos and hyenas.

And then, we saw cars lined up on the road up ahead. Muba brought out his binoculars to survey the situation. “Rhinos,” he said as he pressed on the gas, zipping as fast as he could along the dirt roads to get a better view. We held on tight as we bounced in the back seat. Rhinos are apparently really hard to find in the wild. When we got a good position, the rhinos — a mother and her baby — walked toward the cars and right across the road, giving us a good opportunity to have a close look. A. gets the prize for the best photo.

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