Wednesday, September 29, 2010
My final day of safari is in the Ngorongoro crater. I learn from my guide that the place gets its name from the sound of the bells of the maasai cattle. This is indeed a fascinating place, like someone cut a circular section of 10 km radius of the Serengeti, intact with all the fauna, and placed it in a petri dish. The 650m high wall that surrounds this crater is in stark contrast to the boundlessness of the Serengeti plains just north of here.
On my safari in the crater I'm looking out for the last of the "Big Five" that I haven't spotted yet, the Rhino. While I'm busy watching out for it, a male lion majestically walks past us ahead of our vehicle. Just a few kms away we see a pride of five lions gorging on a buffalo that was probably killed a few minutes ago. Our third encounter with the lions today happens at the picnic spot where a pride strays into the parking area. One young male settles down in the shade of a safari vehicle. When the vehicle moves forward he follows it and sits back down in its shadow. When the vehicle moves yet again, he urinates on it as if to claim ownership. When the driver refuses to obey that contract, he gives up and walks away looking for a more reliable shadow.
We eventually find the rhinos we are looking for but not from a distance I would have liked. After that little encounter, we drive down to the soda lake and photograph the flamingos before driving off to Moshi.
On the drive back it feels different because, for the first time in 5 days, I'm sitting down in the passenger seat with the sun roof lowered down. For the first time in days I'm not straining my eyes to spot wildlife. Nas and I then go on to exchange notes on our respective cultures. He tells me proudly that he is a big fan of bollywood, and that his favorite song is "Mere Naseeb mein" (My only explanation for that odd choice is that his name appears in the lyrics). I have to reciprocate, and so I learn to sing a Swahili song that is something of an anthem in this part of the world.
Jambo, Jambo bwana, Habari Gani, Zuri Sana
Wageni mwakaribishwa, Tanzania Hakuna matata.
We then discussed all the places in Tanzania that I haven't had the time to visit; Tarangire, Mt Meru, Lake Victoria to name a few. The conclusion is simple: I have to visit Tanzania again!