September 2015

For our final day of Safari we woke in the fog and mist all along the Ngorongoro crater rim.  The Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge served up one it’s famous breakfast buffets to completely fuel us up for the day in the world’s largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera: the Ngorongoro.

Via our trusty LandCrusiers, we descended the 2,000 feet to the crater floor on the switch-backed road taking us well below the clouds.  In the cool overcast morning, some of the animals took novel approaches to finding a warm place to rest, including a pair of lioness laying right in the middle of the road.  Our photographs were from not more than six feet away – I wisely kept my window rolled up!

Just after this we were delighted to spot the extremely rare Black Rhino at some distance, thereby completing our capture (photographically, of course) of Africa’s Big Five.  What a thrill!!

We once again found our lunch spot occupied by some locals.  In this case, some very active big hippopotamus! No reason to argue with the most dangerous mammal in Africa over location, we found an alternative place to eat.

After lunch we headed up out of the crater and on to the Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha where our group formally concluded the Madison Mountaineering 2015 Kilimanjaro climb and African Safari.

Half the team headed to the airport for flights home while the other half are continuing their vacations with  some time on the beaches of Zanzibar!

Thanks for following our adventure.  This concludes our Kilimanjaro 2015 dispatches.

Why don’t you make plans to join us next year?
   
    

A long view of the rare Black Rhino

    
    
 

There is something quite magical about waking up in a tent on Africa’s Serengeti!  After watching the sun rise with a hot cup of coffee in hand, we enjoyed a full breakfast before loading once again into our LandCruisers to continue our exploration of the Serengeti.

Our animal checklist checklist grew with Crocodile and Hippopotamus sightings.  But the animal of the day was the Lion.  So many Lions!  Most were found resting in the late morning heat under shade of the acacia trees while  very actively keeping an eye on the nearby Zebra.

We did have a chance to see the pre-Lion and post-Lion states of the Cape Buffalo:  alive and dead.  We came across a group of Lion guarding their fresh Buffalo kill.  This caused a minor skirmish between the Lions and a group of Elephants who came to use the watering hole.  Real life Wild Kingdom stuff!

Out of necessity, we had our lunches in the vehicles.  Reason being that our biggest surprise of the day was waiting for us at our picnic site.  Once again located on a bluff overlooking the plain, our picnic area had stone tables and benches shaded by trees.  But hidden within tree branches was our rarest sighting of all:  Leopards!  Three Leopards had taken to the trees for rest and tourist watching.  We were quite lucky to see these amazing cats so up close as they are, by nature, nocturnal and wary of humans.  Best to stay in the car and eat rather than get out of the car and be…

After lunch, we said goodbye to the Serengeti and headed back to the Ngorongoro crater rim for an evening at the spectacular (and I mean it) Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge.  Each of our rooms have a terrace that overlook the amazing crater.  Tomorrow we will venture down into the crater for our final day of safari.  Everyone is hopeful to spot a rare Black Rhino to complete our African Big Five bingo card.

   
    
    
   

Today we travelled in our LandCruisers through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area along the Ngorongoro crater rim to reach the adjacent, legendary Serengeti National Park for another day of game and bird watching.

Highlights of the day included amazing numbers of Thomson’s Gazelle and Zebra, close encounters with Giraffe, and a knock-your-socks-off African sunset over the Serengeti plain.  Sunning!

After dusk we arrived at the Kisura Camp for our overnight on the Serengeti.  Each of our huge, multi room tents included a full bathroom and shower to allow us to freshen up for the outstanding supper in the mess tent.

After our meal, it was wonderful to end the day drifting off to sleep to the distant sounds of Hyaena and perhaps a Lion or two.