It was difficult to leave our Ngorongoro camp today, as I truly believe that it is the most beautiful place to camp in all of Africa. The Thomson Safaris seasonal camp location is second to none, the accommodations very comfortable and the staff is always accommodating and fun to work with. All of the Thomson camps make my work life so much easier, and I can call all of the staff friends.
We drove around the crater's edge in the early morning light, and took some time at the overlook for some quick photos. It amazes me that God created such a beautiful place with such abundant wildlife, and it doesn't go unnoticed.
We left the Ngorongoro Conservation area and fueled up our Land Rovers in Karatu, in the heary of the Mbulu district. Karatu is primarily inhabited by the Iraqw people, who are of cushitic origin and have a language that is more similar to Maa than any bantu based language. It was nice to have tarmac roads for a few hours!
We drove down from the Ngorongoro highlands, past Mto Wa Mbu, Manyara Ranch, Makuyuni and into the the northen part of Tarangire National Park.
We entered Tarangire just after lunch, and immediately ran into large herds of elephants. We spent a few hours meandering around Tarangire River, and settled across the river from a family group that was playing in the water. The young males were sparring, and the resulting action made for good shots. I loved the spashing of water, which added an additional piece of eye candy to the scene.
We started running out of luck in the late part of the afternoon, and then all of a sudden Robert spotted a large male leopard in a sausage tree near the Sopa road. He didn't stick around for long, and he jumped down into the tall grass. Afterwards we headed for camp, as we were already commited to driving towards the camp, and the only other way to prolong the excellent elephant herd viewing was to head back towards the north.
It was a very hot day, and it was a relief to have the sun set behind the Ngorongoro highlands. It hasn't rained in a few weeks, yet there is ample amounts of tsetse flies in the area. Fun!
I added up the leopard and cheetah count in the past 7 days, and we have seen 5 leopards and a whopping 13 cheetahs!! Amazing luck. Almost an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the cheeath count.