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Bulmershe School Expedition to Tanzania, 2003 - Day9

Day 9  - 24/7/03  - Thursday

Another early morning, up at around 4:00, for breakfast and leave for the Ngorongoro crater. The road from Manyara to Ngorongoro is still being built so not only are there the ruts and bumps of the old road, but ruts made by construction. Cars and building materials or rubble to avoid. No sleep despite the plan! Around 7:30 we arrive at the park gate, another half hour and we arrived at the crater rim, its freezing, we're all dressed for the plains of Africa and the weather's more like a cold day in Britain! From the rim you can see literally thousands of black dots which are wildebeests and zebra. Its misty so you can't see much of the crater but it still looks impressive! The descent is slightly disconcerting, 4x4's struggling for grip on a steep track with large boulders around the place. The crater its self is what's left after a huge magma chamber emptied millions of years ago. Its a flat base dropped around 800 ft from the surrounding land about 8 miles in diameter. In the first few minutes of being in the crater we were surrounded by the same black dots we had seen from above, just they were rather larger! As we move though the park the mist lifts and we see more zebra and wildebeest, jackals and warthog, by about 11 am the crater edges are all clearly visible, we meet up with the other buses by a water hole with hippo! Because there are many people with 'the bug' that Colin and I suffered with earlier in the week, those people all pack into one bus and head back for the lodge. We continue, down to 4 in our van. We see a pride of lions hiding in the long grass, more weird and wonderful birds and a lioness teaching her cubs to hunt. We have lunch next to a lake with hippo and cheeky birds (like seagulls in Britain but more colourful). After lunch more lions, wildebeest, zebra and hippo. Drive up to the rim gives some amazing views back over the crater. Back along the 'road' to the lodge as before but this time stopping at a tacky tourist shop that wanted $65 for the same batiks that we got in Moshi for $2 each (there must be some poor tourists about!) Back to the lodge for food and a early night, some crazy people doing a gymnastics show at the lodge in the evening, jumping though bicycle rims, and general energetic jumping onto a hard concrete floor! Slept very well despite the lumpy bed.


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looking down into the Ngorongoro crater
looking down into the Ngorongoro crater

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looking down into the Ngorongoro crater again
looking down into the Ngorongoro crater again

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still looking down into the Ngorongoro crater
still looking down into the Ngorongoro crater

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Some Maasai herding cattle around the crater rim.
Some Maasai herding cattle around the crater rim.

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More looking into the crater, I mean cloud
More looking into the crater, I mean cloud

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Looking back up from the crater floor.
Looking back up from the crater floor.

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Gareth and Jenny braving the cold
Gareth and Jenny braving the cold

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A herd of wildebeest
A herd of wildebeest

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A zebra
A zebra

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More zebra
More zebra

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yet more zebra
yet more zebra

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Some wildebeest
Some wildebeest

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A herd of wildebeest
A herd of wildebeest

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Yet more wildebeest
Yet more wildebeest

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a fine specimen of a wildebeest
a fine specimen of a wildebeest

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A large bird a long way away..
A large bird a long way away..

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A jackal or some such critter
A jackal or some such critter

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Flamingo!
Flamingo!

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More people, and a lake
More people, and a lake

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A wind spout
A wind spout

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Hippo!
Hippo!

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Looking down a valley towards the crater
Looking down a valley towards the crater

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