Our African safari was amazing. When we started our drive down into the Ngorongoro Crater it was early in the morning and absolutely freezing. We were all bundled up in the truck in our sleeping bags. If you do sign up and find yourself freezing on the drive the Masai are allowed to bring their cattle down to the bottom to feed in the early mornings and will show up out of nowhere to sell you a Masai blanket. They will even have jewellery in case you forgot to wear your earrings that day. Our morning started out with a few elephant, zebra, water-buffalo and wildebeest sightings and then to our surprise we spotted a couple of lionesses lounging in the grass. On other game drives we have had little to no success in spotting lions but while we were watching these lions more and more came out of the bushes. We had at least half a dozen lionesses and their cubs roaming right up around the truck!
Our safari trucks had roofs that pop up to allow you to get really good pictures. When I was out the top of the roof taking photos I spotted a lioness that was coming right up to our truck. I had my big zoom lens on my camera so I dropped down from the roof to my seat to quickly switch my lens to my short lens to lean out the window to get a great shot. Just as I leaned out our window I leaned right out over top of her. I could have given her a nice pat on the head. I couldn’t believe how close I got to her. We were then instructed by our guide to shut all the lower windows just in case one of them decided they wanted to be the tenth passenger on the truck. I wasn’t as scared as the elephant that wanted to murder me in the Ugandan Rainforest but my heart sure was racing!
Watching all the lionesses with their cubs just roaming around as if we were invisible was just incredible. They didn’t even take notice to the dozens of trucks that had pulled up to view them. This was where I took my favourite photo of the entire tour, a mum with her three cubs. I can’t even tell you how many photos I took because I didn’t stop all day. We spent most of the day driving around the crater where we had more animal sightings such as a pregnant cheetah in the distance and a bunch of hippos near our lunch spot. All in all it was just incredible to be in the crater. The view in there is just breathtaking. I could have carried on driving around and around but later in the afternoon we headed out to the Serengeti National Park. It was a bit of a drive so I had a chance to fall asleep and recharge my pointer finger for the rest of the afternoon for taking photos.
More stories (and loads of photos) from Africa to come!
– Katie Powell