East Africa, Part 14: Ngorongoro Crater.

You might think, “Jessica, after the little jackal bounced around trying to kill a vermin, how could you see anything that topped that?” I shall show you. But first, an amuse bouche of warthogs. This was a parent and the three kids.

You can’t see the third little warthog because as he came running over his parent bolted at him and bashed their forehead against his. They both stopped dead in their tracks. I don’t know what the little warthog was planning but his parent was having precisely none of it. It was startlingly aggro.

After about thirty tense seconds, the warthogs resolved their issue and everyone went back to munching grass. Another warthog joined them.

They saw us and there was a lot of wary staring. You can appreciate their white whiskers.

Here we go with the magic. There was a large watering hole with buffalo and a variety of birds.

While I like buffalo fine, I was excited to see the ibis. There was the glossy ibis and the sacred ibis. The dark black one is the glossy ibis and those are lovely. Here’s a pic I found online.

BUT I love the sacred ibis because – surprise! – it’s got a featherless head that looks like a skull.

In addition to the two types of ibis and the cowbirds which are the white ones there was a family of ducks paddling around.

It was an amazing array of animals. You can see the flamingoes in the background.

I was so entranced by this that I didn’t even notice the solitary hippo off to the right! Unexpected hippo!

Who yawned!

Like, are you serious with this? And then a hammerkop showed up! Like, directly down from the side of the vehicle. If I had dropped something out the window it would have bonked him on his hammer-shaped head.

Now was the time that I considered singing “Circle of Life.”

After absorbing this majestic scene for as long as we could we began our trip out of the crater. I had to take one more shot of the crater rim, this time with flamingoes.

Some Egyptian ducks. They always look a little insane because of the dark rim around their eyes and the bright orange/red irises.


A small unit of waterbuck chillin’ under a tree.

A hammerkop on a branch.

A monkey doing whatever cheeky acts he’s decided on.

We headed up the side of the rim. This is partway up:



And the top.

We left the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Augustine had to hand in a tag or pay a fee, I was not paying attention to that. What I was paying attention to was the troupe of baboons off near the exit. Didn’t like that. Then two of the big ones peeled off to try and steal from the cars. Definitely didn’t like that.

Okay, this is dumb. Tourists, what are you doing? Do you not see the teeth? They’re very pointy and visible. Some of the baboons have babies, you see them, right? You’re gonna get mauled and I’m going to be on the side of the baboons.

As we were driving out we passed the baboon troupe and watched them for a while (from the safety of our vehicle because we’re not stupid).

There was a little baby who was full of sassafras and the adults were very patient and accommodating.

The big male heard a sound in the shrubbery so he ran over and shrieked at whatever it was and it scared the crap out of the teenagers so they threw themselves over the side. I should not have laughed. I’m saying I shouldn’t have. I very much did though.

We returned to the room to find out Veronica had left us a sweet message.

But what she did in the room was above and beyond.

It’s abundantly clear the lodge does a lot of honeymoons. I especially liked that instead of an ampersand* there was a dollar sign. It’s close enough, I knew what the intent was.

I took the message on the coffee table and redesigned it as well as leaving some socks.

After I got back from dinner I saw this.

I could have stayed there forever, eating fresh vegetables and communicating with my beloved Veronica through leaves and petals but we had to leave the next day.

Next post: Lake Manyara.

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