We wanted to get down to the crater early today, to try and see as many animals as possible. I caught a beautiful view of the sunrise on the other side of the crater as we drove down the winding path on the rim. Two African sunrises in a row are pretty outstanding to watch.
I’d already filled up my 8gb memory card with photos and video from yesterday, so I borrowed Kunal’s memory card since his camera died. Joan told us as we were descending the animals we would see: zebras, lions, buffalo, wildebeest, and possibly the rare black rhino. He said that there are only 20 in the entire crater, and that the chance of us seeing one was about 5%.
We all hoped hard for a chance to see a rhino, and soon Joan stopped the car and asked for the binoculars, and glanced off into the distance. After a minute or so of checking the horizon, he gave us the binoculars and pointed: “rhino.” Sure enough, I focused in on a black speck on the grass, and I could barely make out the shape of a large rhino, horn and all. Our cameras could barely zoom in far enough to see it, but you can still see the shape.
We also saw our first male lion, resting with its “wife,” who it had been mating with every 25 minutes for something like 7 days, according to Joan. Photos were taken and the appropriate jokes were made and we continued on towards a ridiculously long line of wildebeest, walking towards a watering hole.
We ate lunch at the crater and started the long drive back to Arusha, around 6 hours, on which everybody fell asleep. We woke up suddenly at a snake park and checked out some massive pythons and deadly black mambas. I held a young Nile crocodile too. When we finally got back to Ngulelo, our village in Arusha, we received a very warm welcome from the children, who rushed to our van and yelled “mambo,” “karibu,” and “mzungu!”
I spent the rest of the night updating my blog and uploading pictures. Our 3G modems we bought the second day have not been working at all, despite our bringing them to the Vodacom store everyday for 3 days in a row and having them “fix” them. The internet I’ve been using at a hotel nearby is really expensive, but it’s my only way to update my blog right now. Hamna shida, no worries, I guess.