Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day 13-14: Ngorongoro Crater & Lake Mayara

"The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is a conservation area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located 180 km (110 mi) west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania. Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic caldera within the area, is recognized by one private organization as one of the seven natural wonders of Africa.[3] The conservation area is administered by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, an arm of the Tanzanian government, and its boundaries follow the boundary of the Ngorongoro Division of the Arusha Region.

The main feature of the Ngorongoro Conservation Authority is the Ngorongoro Crater, the world's largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera.[9] The crater, which formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago, is 610 metres (2,000 feet) deep and its floor covers 260 square kilometres (100 square miles).[7][10] Estimates of the height of the original volcano range from 4,500 to 5,800 metres (14,800 to 19,000 feet) high.[11][12][10] The elevation of the crater floor is 1,800 metres (5,900 feet) above sea level.[1]

Approximately 25,000 large animals, mostly ungulates, live in the crater.[17] Large animals in the crater include the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), the local population of which declined from about 108 in 1964-66 to between 11-14 in 1995, and the hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius).[17] There also are many other ungulates: the wildebeest(Connochaetes taurinus) (7,000 estimated in 1994), Burchell's zebra (Equus burchelli) (4,000), the common eland (Taurotragus oryx), and Grant's (Nanger granti) and Thomson'sgazelles (Eudorcas thomsonii) (3,000).[17] Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus) occur mainly near Lerai Forest.[17] There are no topis (Damaliscus lunatus), oribis (Ourebia oribi), orcrocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus).[9] Impala (Aepyceros melampus) are absent because the open woodland they prefer does not exist.[1] Giraffe also are absent, possibly because of a lack of browse species.[1] Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), and leopard (Panthera pardus) are rarely seen.[18][1]
Although thought of as "a natural enclosure" for a very wide variety of wildlife, 20 percent or more of the wildebeest and half the zebra populations vacate the crater in the wet season.[9] Buffalo (Syncerus caffer) and eland do the opposite. Their highest numbers are during the rains."


There are so many animals that it felt like a big zoo with no fences/cages/barriers.



Wilde-beast fighting

"The Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum) is a bird in the crane family Gruidae. It occurs in dry savannah in Africasouth of the Sahara, although it nests in somewhat wetter habitats.They can also be found in marshes, cultivated lands and grassy flatlands near rivers and lakes in eastern from the Uganda and Kenya, south to South Africa. This animal does notmigrate. There are two subspecies. The East African B. r. gibbericeps (Crested Crane) occurs from eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo through Uganda, of which it is the national bird, and Kenya to eastern South Africa. It has a larger area of bare red facial skin above the white patch than the smaller nominate species, B. r. regulorum (South African Crowned Crane), which breeds from Angola south to South Africa."

Mini Wilde-beast "migration"

Running in the Crater

Crater Lion

"The crater has one of the densest known population of lions, numbering 62 in 2001.
A side effect of the crater being a natural enclosure is that the lion population is significantly inbred. This is due to the very small amount of new bloodlines that enter the local gene pool, as very few migrating male lions enter the crater from the outside. Those who do enter the crater are often prevented from contributing to the gene pool by the crater's male lions, who expel any outside competitors.[1]
Long-term data imply that lions in the crater were struck by four deadly disease outbreaks between 1962 and 2002.[21] Drought in 1961 and rains throughout the 1962 dry season caused a massive build-up of blood-sucking stable flies (Stomoxys calcitrans) by May 1962. They drained blood and caused painful skin sores that became infected, causing lion numbers to crash from 75-100 to 12. The population recovered to around 100 by 1975 and remained stable until 1983, when a persistant decline began. Numbers have generally remained below 60 animals since 1993, reaching a low of 29 in 1998. In 2001, 34 percent of the lion population died between January and April from a combination of tick-borne disease and canine distemper.[22][23][24]
The lion population is also influenced to some extent by the takeover of prides by incoming males, which typically kill small cubs.[25] The biggest influence, however, appears to be disease, particularly canine distemper."

Lions are used to the presence of jeeps.


Hello Kitty!!

Digging the ear.

So much food available for the predators


Lion with its catch and a Jackal waiting for the leftover.

King of the Animal Kingdom


 It is great to see the predator in their natural habitat.

A living crater.

Ngorongoro Crater
What an amazing place!

"Tanzanite is the blue/purple variety of the mineral zoisite (a calcium aluminium hydroxy silicate) discovered in the Meserani Hills ofManyara Region in Northern Tanzania in 1967, near the city of Arusha and Mount Kilimanjaro. It is used as a gemstone. Tanzanite is noted for its remarkably strong trichroism, appearing alternately sapphire blue, violet and burgundy depending on crystal orientation.[1]Tanzanite can also appear differently when viewed under alternate lighting conditions. The blues appear more evident when subjected to fluorescent light and the violet hues can be seen readily when viewed under incandescent illumination. Tanzanite in its rough state is usually a reddish brown color. It requires artificial heat treatment to 600 °C in a gemological oven to bring out the blue violet of the stone.[2] Tanzanite is a rare gem.[3][4] It is found only in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. The mineral was named by Tiffany & Co. after Tanzania, the country in which it was discovered. Because it is relatively soft, tanzanite is most commonly set in necklaces and earrings"

The last day, when we cramped into one Jeep as the other Jeep sent PY to the airport.

Elephant spotted in Lake Mayara.
This place is a waste of time. So don't bother to visit.

Arusha Town (View from the hotel)

"Arusha is a city in northern Tanzania, the capital of the Arusha Region, with a projected population of 1,288,088, including 516,000 for the Arusha District (2007 census). The city of Arusha is surrounded by some of Africa's most famous landscapes and national parks. Situated below Mount Meru on the eastern edge of the eastern branch of the Great Rift Valley, Arusha has a temperate climate. The city is close to Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Olduvai Gorge,Tarangire National Park, and Mount Kilimanjaro and The Arusha National Park on Mount Meru.
Arusha is a major international diplomatic hub. The city hosts and is regarded[who?] as the de facto capital of the East African Community. Since 1994, the city has also hosted the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. It is a multicultural city with a majority Tanzanian population of mixed backgrounds, large Arab-Tanzanian and Indian-Tanzanian population, and small White European and white American minority population. Religions and denominations of the Arushan population are CatholicAnglicanJewishMuslim, and Hindu."

My last clean clothes.
I felt that I was dirtying the hotel room.

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