January 24, 2019
Start: Sopa Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater Rim
Stop: Kilimanjaro International Airport for flight back to the United States
Up before 6am for 6:30am breakfast. I pay my tab and Eli and I are on our way.
We quickly descend into the vast crater with long views in all directions. We spot an Augur buzzard perched atop a tree, Thomson’s gazelles, hyena, a foraging stork, and then there is word that there’s some lions on the move. The caravan of safari vehicles is quick to converge to see the lions. There’s one papa simba amongst the 11 and they move slowly across the grassy terrain. They eventually cross our path and stroll right by the vehicle. It’s simply amazing.
Lunch spot next to a large watering hole and luckily a bathroom too. Next up zebras, more Thomson’s gazelles, a Kori bustard, wildebeest, spotted hyena, Black-bellied bustard, Secretarybird, Crested crane, Golden jackal, buffalo, Black-headed heron, Black rhino, ostrich, eagles.
We start to make our way up and out of the crater by early afternoon so that I can make my evening flight at Kilimanjaro International Airport. I tell Eli that I want to stop at the curio shop from yesterday so that I can return all the items. Not only do I not want any memory of my experience there but I found better things in the lodge giftshop. We also stop at a post office so I can mail a few postcards. After hours of driving we arrive at the airport and it’s time for me to start my trip back to the United States. Once on the plane, I’m grateful for some champagne and snacks because I haven’t had any time for dinner.