The highlights came one after another on this trip with Lennart & Jolene. The next morning the Ngorongoro crater was our first highlight of the day. This crater formed itself about 2 to 3 million years ago out of a volcano which was approximately 5 kilometers in height. Nowadays the crater is 17 to 21 kilometers width and the crater rim is situated 600 meters above the crater itself. One can say it’s huge!
Since 1979 the crater is on the UNESCO world heritage list and there is a reason for that!! Almost all the known animals in Africa can be found in the crater. After registering ourselves and the car and paying way too much we were allowed to enter the park. After about an hour or so we arrived at the main viewpoint on the crater rim. The view was phenomenal. So many different colours and types of light that touched the crater. You can’t really describe it with words but luckily we took enough photos and videos…
The place to be for wildlife lovers?
After taking in the views we proceeded to Serengeti National Park. We drove for about 5 hours although you can’t really call it driving. This terrible road was one of the worst that Jolene and Lennart drove on in the past six months. You were merely bumping from one ridge to the other. When you pay this amount of money you kind of would expect a graded dirt road…
Eventually we made it to the Serengeti entrance gate. Serengeti derived its name from “Siringet” – meaning “open plains” in Masai – and that name is fully justified. While a reasonable part of the park consists of flood plains in the rainy season, forest and savannah the main thing here is the huge grassy plains with some ‘koppies’ (rocks) now and then. I also noticed that we were almost the only self-drivers in the park. Most tourists were fully dressed up in safari gear (khaki jeans, safari hat, camera ready etc.) and sat in the back of a Land Cruiser with a local guide (which drove like maniacs btw). The only ‘nice’ thing about this was that when you saw lots of vehicles at one spot it meant that they saw something.
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Next to all the pretty things we saw the highlights for me were the gazelles, lions, elephants, hippos and even a leopard in a tree! Not a bad result after only half a day. We found a place to stay in the Serengeti and the wonderful view from their terrace was amazing. A small alcoholic drink and some popcorn do taste better with views like this! This wasn’t just me by the way, the rest of the family also enjoyed it ;-)…
In search of The Great Migration
The second day in the Serengeti was D-Day. After a long and thorough study by Jolene and Lennart they claimed that The Great Migration of wildebeests should be somewhere in the Western corridor of the Serengeti. We started the day at the Hippo pool though. The number of hippos was that high that it was quite an accomplishment that every one of them could find a place in the water.
We couldn’t postpone it anymore; it was time to look for the wildebeests. The excitement in the car increased when we learned from a ranger that he saw thousands of them a couple of kilometers down the road. Our own rangers Jolene & Lennart were even more excited when we actually saw them a bit later! As a guest blogger they asked me not to give anything away about this event since it will be covered by the regular writers of this blog in a later stage :-). Who am I to deny this request?
Small paradise near Lake Victoria
Speke Bay Lodge was our last stop before Lennart & Jolene continued their trip on their own. The lodge is directly situated at the shore of Lake Victoria. The terrace of our beautiful bungalows was right on the edge of the land and (yet again) the service was excellent. We made a boat trip along the coastline of the lake the next morning. Next to the crocodile (at only 100 meters from our bungalow), water monitors and the pretty shoreline we saw local fishermen bringing in the huge nets by hand. It’s hard to imagine in 2018.
The next day we were busy packing and preparing for our return trip to Amsterdam. When we arrived at the airport of Mwanza they told us our flight to Dar Es Salaam was canceled! We barely managed to book a flight with another airline and were just in time for our flight from ‘Dar’ to Amsterdam.
With this last adventure our trip came to an end. Looking back it was two wonderful and adventurous weeks which we enjoyed to the fullest! Sadly my role as a guest blogger comes to an end with this blog but I’m more than happy to let Lennart & Jolene describe their future adventures in Africa!