We woke up on the late side at 6:30, ate breakfast and said goodbye to the camp staff at 8am. This morning was a 'move between camps' morning. On the way to Naabi hill, we saw a line of wildebeest that must have been at least three or four hundred strong. Just one line in the middle of nowhere. After Naabi we again intercepted the bulk of the migration, and at 30mph it took us at least 45 minutes to drive through the huge herds. Some areas must have been filled only with male wildebeest, as I didn't see any young ones. Other parts was filled with babies, so liked to refer to those areas as nurseries.
Wildebeest give birth to their calves in the southern part of the Serengeti plains in December through March, likely with the bulk being in January and February. I love this time of the year, as we can see the big herds, as well as non migratory wildlife. I also love our summer months and early fall.
The drive from Oldupai (not Olduvai, which non Tanzanians messed up on the name) was filled with golden hills, fresh with wildflowers. What a beautiful landscape it was. We haven't seen rain in over a week, and the flowers are obviously a result of those rains. Giraffes were aplenty on our ascent to the crater, and I counted no fewer than 40 individuals amongst the vivid green and yellow hills.
We arrived at Ngorongoro Crater (really a caldera, but I won't nitpick) after lunch and entered on the opposite side of the crater than our evening camp. At the bottom of th descent road was a large herd of wildebeest, and we sat and watched many new mothers graze with their newborns. Many new calves with short umbilical cords, so these calves are very very new. The calving season in Ngorongoro is different than the Serengeti, as the rains, nutrients and available food is quite different between the two.
Lake Magadi (or Makaat in the Maa language) was full with flamingos, however as of a few years ago we haven't been able to drive next to the water's edge. What a shame, but I do understand that the crater needs better protection from too many guesus. Too many roads is not a good thing for the environment and its wildlife. More roads equals more maintenance equals more money, staff, vehicles and fuel.
It was a fairly relaxed afternoon, and we spent our time with 7 huge bull elephants, picking out interesting compositions. Today was a tiring day with the travel from our last camp, and I was eager to get back to camp to unwind a little bit. Sitting in a Land Rover for 9 hours can suck the life right out of you, especially in the hot sun.
Tomorrow will be our earliest day yet, as we will leave camp at 5:59. The gate opens up at 6am, and our camp is only feet away from the gate. My feelings about the lodges here at Ngorongoro have already been written about in one of my earlier safari entries.