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Title image - BAI takes you to:  Kilimanjaro
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Kilimanjaro Expedition Dispatch

March 13, 2008 – Julia and Hannah Report From Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro gods were kind to the Kochuk girl's dispatch day; we saw so many things in the crater!

Last night, we were tucked in with a visit by a water buffalo right outside of our window. The high altitude of the Sopa Lodge must be getting to Hannah's head because all night she was scared that it would try to break through the windows.

Our day started with an early breakfast and a 20 minute drive to the crater. It was a sunny day, but we saw people in toques and parkas because it was "cold". We were excited to see the zebras, wildebeest, and water buffalo in huge herds.

Karen lost all inhibitions and used her experiences on Kili to help her find us a log to take a quick bathroom break.

A lion tries to avoid the intense African sun by sitting in the shade made by the jeep

A lion tries to avoid the intense African sun

by sitting in the shade made by the jeep

Our first major event was love themed. We saw a lion in the grass close to the road. At first glance, we didn't know if it was sleeping or dead, or why it was all alone. Then a lioness popped up and we realized that they were making babies. Jacob said that lions do this for 6 days, separated from the rest of their pride. They looked very tired.

We passed a pool of snuggling hippos and flying pink flamingos. We experienced a Ngorongoro traffic jam when a lioness tried to rest in the shade of the safari cars.

Our afternoon was even more eventful. At lunch, we were warned about killer Kite Birds, who would swoop down and steal your food. Tracy and Greg were victims to a Kite attack when one tried to steal their sandwiches!

Before our lunch was settled, we spotted a lioness on the prowl. We saw her prey, a herd of wildebeest. We watched as she slowly crept closer and closer to the wildebeest until she found a tall spot of grass to wait in. When the wildebeest herd got close enough, she made her attack on a large male. The lioness was very skinny, about 150 kilos versus the wildebeest’s 250 kilos. Jacob said that the lioness must have cubs near by, so we were rooting for her. We watched the fight for a long time, and Tracy noticed that the lioness fought the same way her cats played back home. Jacob was impressed, as he said this was a once in a lifetime thing to witness. Eventually, the lioness won and had a feast and rested, so we moved on.

The way back to the lodge was also eventful. We dodged herds of Maasai cows and noticed a safari car that was pulled over, so we got out to inspect. We found a cow in the shade, trying to give birth, while her two Maasai shepard children cared for her. Austin Powers actor, Seth Green, watched with us. Sadly, she gave birth to a stillborn calf.

Bev and Julia practiced Swahili phrases with Jacob while we planned for tomorrow. We saw examples of life and death today, and we are excited to see the place "where life began" tomorrow at Olduvai Gorge.

Hundreds of pink flamingos gather at the pool

Hundreds of pink flamingos gather at the pool

Hippos wade in the cool waters

Hippos wade in the cool waters