Today we were up at 5:15 and we headed out as early as we can get away with. Early birds do get the biggest and best worms, and here at Ngorongoro this is especially true. I am familiar with all of the lion prides here, and I do have an idea where to be and when. I have many many early morning sightings of entire lion prides, and this is one very cool sight. Oh, and have I mentioned that I like to have sightings by myself? I prefer to not have competition for the best shooting positions, so I just get out earlier. It isn't rocket science, but it is a good lesson for nature photographers.
We did see a pride of about 12, however they were a little far away. We moved around the crater to the upper portion of the Munge River, and we noticed that our Land Rover was having a difficult time turning. Well, the problem ended up being a bent tie rod. We were able to take it off, bend it back, and reinstall it. Nothing like looking over your shoulder for lions while repairing a vehicle.
We worked the Munge, then came across a hunting cheetah. This was a great way to watch how they hunt, however we realized that there was also a lioness in the tall grass as well. Did they know about each other? Nothing transpired, however it made for great watching for an hour or more.
The afternoon was filled with lions on feet away from us. This happened on three different occasions. Smiles all around! The afternoon light was challenging, however we did have great landscape shots with the passing clouds.