M and Z's Grand Tour travel blog

elephants on Ngorongoro crater

lioness looking at the Land Rovers

A bunch of zebras



giraffe on the plains

pride of lions (viewed from the LandRover)

Hippo in the water

roadside market between Ngorongoro and Moshi

Okay, well it sounds so exotic -right? Like it should be something where we are dressed up like Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in Out of Africa... it's not. It is dusty! Lots of animals, but I almost felt as if we were in reverse roles at the zoo. The animals run free and we are in mobile cages driving around the bumpy, dusty "roads" in hopes of seeing them to check them off our lists.

As far as the "Big 5" go, we got 4 out of 5 - we saw lions, buffaloes, elephants and even one lonely black rhino. We didn't see a leopard. Of the other most common we saw tons of zebras, wildebeests (to the point where is like, oh more zebras - let's go on...) giraffes, hippos, flamingos (3 of them), ostriches, baboons, vervet monkeys, and other assorted birds. Our favorite Tarangire National Park, it is bigger than Ngorongoro Crater and had far fewer range rovers around. A river runs through the center of the park so we sort of stayed put and were able to watch many of the animals come down for water. We were watching some giraffes drink up when, hundreds of zebra and wildebeests came running down a hill to the water. All of them mooing and naying, kicking it up in the water - it lasted for maybe 20 minutes and as quickly as the appeared they suddenly turned heel and ran back up the hill. We also saw a large group of elephants - at least 30 come down for water. They walked in a line with the biggest in the lead and little baby elephants intermixed among the adults.

We saw lots of animals in the Crater, including the lions, who were basically posing for about 12 range rovers filled with us tourists taking pictures non-stop. Safaris are really just luck of the draw and since we only did a short one, we didn't have as many opportunities of those moments of a lifetime. Hopefully we'll be able to see more as we travel further south. Overall, it was still really exciting and fun, nothing like seeing a couple of giraffes pass in front of your truck only about 10 ft away. All of the animals seemed so at ease with all of the jeeps parked around them - I don't think they got as excited at seeing us as we were of seeing them.

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