After an all too brief a stay it is time to hit the road again – it’s grey & chilly today but a roaring fire at breakfast starts the day off well…
We’d heard that Monday was market day in Karatu & were very keen to stop but Captain Chedi, who had swiftly & accurately summed up his charges, realised that it was never going to be a quick visit & kept his foot firmly on the accelerator…
It stays misty & cool all the way along the Ngorongoro Crater rim – we can’t see anything until at last it starts clearing as we head toward the western side of the Crater.
Finally the clouds lift high enough to view the Ngorongoro Crater & no sooner had we stopped the vehicle than several Masai warriors appear with various trinkets to sell including Masai blankets (still in their plastic wrapping). Needless to say this was not quite the authentic shopping experience we had been hoping for..
A quick stop at Olduvai Gorge (now known as Oldupai Gorge – after the local Maasai name for the sisal plant) which is a palaeoanthropological site first excavated by the Leakeys in the 1950s & designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. The site a steep-sided ravine & the deposits exposed in the sides of the gorge cover a time span from about 2.1 million to 15,000 years ago. It has yielded the fossil remains of more than 60 hominins (members of the human lineage), providing the most continuous known record of human evolution during the past 2 million years as well as the longest known archaeological record of the development of stone-tool industries.
After a 15 minute introduction by a guide, you are free to wander around the museum at your leisure….be warned though, World Heritage site or not, the facilities here can, at best, be called basic….
Back on the road again we pass a sign saying ‘Shifting Sands’ but I don’t pay much attention to it until Chedi starts showing us the markers for a dune that is moving across the southern Serengeti…the location of the dune is marked every five years to see how far it has moved. In the middle of nowhere we come across the dark crescent shaped dune quietly going about it’s business….very odd indeed..
By now the sun is high in the sky & it’s time for a spot of lunch…we pick a fine shady patch under a flat top acacia tree & Chedi does a quick recce to check for bees & other things that bite before we get comfy..
Picnic lunch on safari…everybody gets their own box & so beautifully presented that it seems a shame to destroy it…
After lunch we have a brief siesta…..absolute bliss to lie back on a gorgeous day, tummy full of delicious lunch & stare up into the endless blue African sky….so different to the soggy grey in the UK….
Later that afternoon we pass through & get signed in to the Serengeti National Park proper at the Naabi gate and reach home for the next two nights…situated in the Moru kopjes area…simple but perfect! In fact, I’m convinced I could quite happily live in tented accommodation on a permanent basis…..