July 19, 2002 Ngorongoro Crater
It’s early afternoon on July 19th, I’m calling you from Ngorongoro. I’m looking out across the floor of the crater; it’s really a beautiful afternoon. A lot has happened since the last dispatch, I’ll try to recount some of it.
I last called you from back in Serengeti of course. George, Jeanine, Richard, Catherine, Dennis, and Becky along with Raphael, left in a land cruiser to go to Olduvai Gorge and check out the archaeology. Myself, Adam as the driver, Karen, and Mary went to Feronera Airstrip for Karen and Mary’s flight back to Arusha. Of course Adam and Raphael and all our safari drivers are always safari guides first, on their way to the air strip, Adam saw a lot of things and we had a great time. We realized we might be cutting kind of close for our 3:50 flight that Karen and Mary needed to catch. But only a few kilometres away we realized time is running out, so we quit looking at the animals finally and drove rather purposefully.
Feronera Airstrip has got to be the best airstrip to fly in and out of in the world; it’s beautiful. We drove up, and we were almost late, although we stopped at just about 3:48 instead of 3:50. The dust settled and soon the grumble of the twin otter could be heard and of course the inconvenience that I have mentioned, the twin otter does have to buzz the wild life off the airstrip before it lands. But it landed and in just moments, Mary and Karen were loaded and on their flight back to Arusha and today they are traveling back to Nairobi.
We all collected here in the late evening at the Ngorongoro Sopa, a beautiful location, on the rim of the crater. I mentioned to you some time ago that on the Kilimanjaro summit day I saw a close friend, Humphrey. He climbed Kilimanjaro for the first time in his life just to see what it is like, the same day we did. And now Humphrey is back on duty at the hotel wearing his tie. It’s great to see him and recount that we had been together near the summit of Kilimanjaro just a few days ago and catch up again.
We push hard on safari on Berg Adventures trips as you can tell, in fact we were up at our usual time, in the darkness about five in the morning having our snack in the lobby of the hotel for the third morning in a row now.
Now we are standing on a crater in the early morning fog and darkness. The weather is very cool and some clouds in the early morning. We dropped under the crater and we found our 5th of the BIG FIVE, I think I mentioned that the BIG FIVE are lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo.
We had a beautiful morning and a very interesting stop on the way out of the crater, we stopped at a Masaai Village, a very colourful and interesting place. Adam is Masaai, he is a town Masaai, city Masaai, he would be the first to tell you, but he has an aunt in this Boma (village). We had a little interesting hour and a half or so, taking photographs, and visiting with the Masaai people. There were a couple of people that spoke English quite well. We also visited the school and saw a lot of kids. What a great time we had.
We came back and washed up, and now this afternoon we will be driving for a couple of hours to a lodge on the Western edge of the Great Risk Valley and we are going to be looking down on the Lake Manyara. A lot of adventures, more game drives, more natural history. We are going to visit Lake Manyara tomorrow and also I’ll report to you from Tarangire National Park, my favourite of the game parks in northern Tanzania.
So we are holding up well, great times together in this group of seven as we finish up our Berg Adventures Safari and you will be hearing from us each day until we are back in Arusha.