Friday, Oct 27 (Ngorongoro—Serena)

Creepy thing this morning—Wanda was apparently taking a shirt out of her luggage and was holding it up in front of her, when she was stung by a scorpion on her stomach. We’re guessing that the scorpion hitched a ride from the Kikoti Lodge. Wanda’s room-mate Kerstin has been having some digestive problems for a while, and she has eaten little to nothing for a few days. They seem to be one unlucky pair. I think that all of our bowels are not quite right, but Kerstin is the only one who is really ill, although a few others are tending in that direction.

I had the staff turn off the heat yesterday, but then I woke up cold in the middle of the night. I grabbed a spare blanket and put the heat back on.

This place has a very good shower, although I think I prefer the ambiance of Kikoti.


This was definitely the dustiest day yet. We went down into the crater and saw more animals than I could possibly name.

It is still very strange driving around without seatbelts. Belts would be a real pain when crawling around looking at game, but even on the highway we have none to use.

We saw the whole range today—birth to death so to speak. We saw one male ostrich trying unsuccessfully to get a date. Later we saw some female ostriches who were advertising, and then a male came along and did his dance. I guess she accepted him, because they became one big pile of feathers undulating strangely.

On the other extreme, we saw a couple of lions with a freshly killed wildebeest. This was a very frustrating experience for us, because there were already a large clump of vehicles around the kill, which was right next to the road. When we first stopped, I had a decent shot with the camera, but before I could take it, our driver tried to move closer. He went right past a spot with a good view, and then he ended up way out in nowheresville, where we could see diddly. Eventually a ranger came along and broke up the party.

That was right before we had lunch. After lunch, we went back there, although the lions were no longer eating. While we were stopped, one lion sauntered over and lay down in the shade of the Land Cruiser right behind us. The folks in that vehicle could lean over the side and look straight down at the cat. It was almost surreal.

I’m rather amazed at how the lions or other hunters will saunter along not that far from the gazelles or other prey, with not much happening. The prey keep an eye on the hunters, but that is as far as it goes.

I think we saw pretty much everything except for the cheetahs, although the rhinos we saw were rather distant and tiny, and the hippos were mostly submerged.

Tonight is our last night as a group—tomorrow morning we split into three groups and go our separate ways. One group is heading back to Arusha more expediently to catch an earlier plane, John and Pam are continuing north to the Serengeti, and the rest of us are taking a more leisurely trip back to Arusha.


I’m just back from dinner. As usual (when not on the mountain), I ate too much. Before dinner, they had an acrobatic show instead of the Maasai dance. It was OK but not that spectacular.

We’re starting the sad process of splitting up.

I have to say that the hotel has good service. Last night, I ended up using a spare blanket. I just went to get it out again, when I noticed that one was already missing. Then I noticed that when they had turned the bed down, they had installed the extra blanket. That is a nice attention to detail.

I tried taking some star-track pictures—one 15 minute one and one 30 minute. It will be interesting to see how they come out. Ideally, I should be doing this for hours, although I don’t know how much digital/thermal noise that would generate. I guess star tracks are probably better with film.

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