After our Serengeti experience, the Ngorogoro crater had a lot live up to: we had just seen the most amazing wildlife of the trip so far, the name Ngorogoro (which means “sound a cow bell makes” in the tribal Maasai language) is undeniably cool, there are more lions here per square kilometer here than in any other region in the world, and there was the possibility of seeing rhinos here. The crater (our guide let us know it’s actually a caldera, but if you want to research that, feel free to google it) acts as a “fence” to the wildlife that is contained within, as the bottom of the crater is 2000 feet below from the one way entry road that zig zags to the bottom.
On the early morning drive we saw herds of zebra, wildebeest, elephants, and hippos. The scenery was different from the neighboring Serengeti, where the horizon stretched on for miles. It felt like being inside a gigantic bowl, with a haze of clouds that hung over the top of the crater. After a little more searching, we saw our first lion of the day, with an ostrich warily checking him out. Even though ostriches are dumb birds, there is no way a lion could catch one unless it was right next to it.
Unfortunately it was a windy day in the crater and the Rhinos hate wind, so they remain the last animal of the Big 5 we have yet to see (Lion, Elephant, Water Buffalo, Leopard). Later on in the day, we got to see a mother lion watching over one of her cubs and the very cool secretary bird. The secretary bird is the only bird of prey in the world that chases its prey while running after it on the ground.
Unfortunately for us, we missed the Great Migration that comes through the this area by about two weeks, which brings the excitement of seeing a lion pick off a weak member of one a million wildebeest that make their way through the area at this time of year. We were a little disappointed our timing was off by such a slim margin, but by no means did it diminish what were able to see. It was an excellent reminder how lucky we have been to see these wild animals and to not take any experiences with them for granted. Our time in the Ngorogoro Crater and the Serengeti was unforgettable and we would jump at the chance to come here again someday.