I woke up 5 minutes before one of the staff came and brought hot water to the tent, and I cherished that 5 minutes of silence. The Ngorongoro winds were minimal, however the chill had settled in and I didn’t want to get out of bed. I felt alive this morning, as cool elevations often do, and once I was up and running I could not wait to get to the bottom of the crater. Uh, more like caldera. But I digress.
There is a pride of lions that hunts along the Munge River, and I often see them coming down from the crater’s edge at dawn. They hunt in the upper reaches of the northern Munge River at night, as their is a pasture that often has zebra, wildebeest and cape buffalo at night.
Well, we had great success today, as we were down at the bottom of the crater by 6:15 and over at the Munge a few minutes later. They were already inactive by that time, but we did notice a fairly noticable wound on a male cub. Poor guy. He did have a full belly, but I don’t like to see wounded animals. That’s just how I approach wildlife viewing and I tend to have a soft heart in this area.
General game was found throughout the morning, from buffalo to zebras to large bull elephants. The main highlight for me was a serval cat who was hunting along side our vehicle. I haven’t seen a serval in a little while now, so it was a good sight to see. He was actively hunting and eventually jumped high in the air to come down and catch his prey.
We also came very close to a mother black rhino and her subadult, and this was likely the closest I have ever been to a black rhino in the crater.
On our way to Ngoitokitok spring for lunch we found a lone cheetah (a total of 11 so far on this safari) in the grass. He was actively hunting, so we moved off and eventually continued on for our picnic.
After lunch I went back to camp a little early to shoot some video of the Thomson Safaris camp, as I need some more marketing video clips that can be assembled into a 2 minute video for my web site.
I took the time to clean my gear, clean my sensors and download my images from the past 2 days. I often skip downloading for many days, as I work with the staff to make sure all goes as planned. This takes time away from my own photography, unfortunately. It is my job, though, and I really love it. I work hard for my customers and trust that it is noticed.