This was a tiring, but rewarding day. The Bashray Rift Wake-Up call came (that is men knocked on our door) but when we turned the key in the lock, we could not open the door. It was stuck. So the guys outside the door told my granddaughter to go out on the balcony (she used my cane to unlock the top of the door because she could not reach it) and throw them the key. Then they unlocked the door from the outside and let us out.
They make paths with rocks - not really flat rocks either, So the wheelchair has to go backward as the little front wheels don't cut it. We went up to breakfast, which was of course a buffet. But they had our table down in the bar, and they brought me food. My granddaughter went up to the buffet to get hers, and they brought me a big bowl of pineapple and watermelon. She really loves watermelon.
They also brought me bread and toast, and two fried eggs sunny side up. They brought some for my granddaughter too. She only eats the yolks.
Eggs Sunny Side Up with Tomato
We drove in dense fog up the Escarpment of the Ngorongoro Conservation area which is in a big old volcanic crater. I did not see how we were going to be able to see anything as we were in a cloud. When we stopped to pay the entrance fees, Jeremiah our guide warned us to keep the doors and windows of the vehicle closed because troops of baboons were waiting to enter the vehicles and take food. Jeremiah said that the baboons carry rabies so if they scratch you, you have to get treatment. So while we were waiting, a van of Indians (East Indians from India) came and parked and several of them got out and went in leaving the doors open.One of the men was standing around cluelessly in the parking lot as about 5 baboons raced over and jumped in the van.
Baboon Bandits in the van
Baboon Bandits approaching
There was some screaming from the people still in the van.
Baboon Bandit standoff
Baboon Bandits - those in the van have found something
I opened the window and took photos
Baboon Bandits-escaping with their booty
My granddaughter was yelling at me to close the window, but I didn't think she meant me
Baboon Bandits running away
I thought she was yelling at the Indians. So I continued filming.
We continued driving in the fog and saw some elephants in the acacia forest.
Elephants in the forest
We descended into the crater (it was sunny there) and the first animals that we saw were the buffalo and zebra.
Ox pecker birds
We went farther and there was a pool with egrets in the bushes in the middle
and I saw some white pelicans swimming in formation,
and then we saw what everyone else was looking at--- hippos.
The pool was not deep enough for them - they kept flicking water up with their tails to keep their backs wet but the amount of water flicked with a tail was totally inadequate for the size of their bodies.
Hippos in a shallow pool
Egret on a Hippo's back
One of them rolled over to get his back wet.
Hippo belly- hippo has rolled on its back-muddy front feet
A mother hippo and two babies which looked like twins swam down the pool and crossed the road. (Hippos do have twins, but it is rare)
Hippo mama and two babies
Fields of flowers
Lions hanging out
After that we saw a big bull elephant
Old bull elephant like Babar
and a lake full of flamingos,
some gazelles (two kinds - one was Thompson's gazelle
and the other one was a bigger Grant's gazelle).
We saw some lions on the bank of the river. The lioness drank some water and then lay down as if she was exhausted.
I thought maybe she was sick or pregnant, but I guess she had just been running and was tired.
Group of lions with a kill?
Then we saw an enormous herd of wildebeests. We watched them for a bit.
herds of wildebeests
I tried to take a movie with my cell phone.
We saw a hyena
and a jackal,
a secretary bird, and a
an African crane, and some sacred ibis.
Then it was time for lunch.
I had two cups of tea for breakfast so I really needed the bathroom. Jeremiah said that the regular women's bathroom was closer than the handicapped one (and it was), but those toilets were just holes in the ground. I managed.
Spakes's weaver bird
Guides exchanging information
After lunch we saw way in the distance a couple of black rhinos,
Two black rhino in the distance
Mother and child black rhinos
Zebras crossing the road
and after we drove up out of the crater
Overlook leaving the crater
-we saw some vultures
We had a long 4 hour drive to get to the camp in the Serengiti and most of it was over washboard roads. Jeremiah and my granddaughter can charge their phones in the van. I have not tried this yet, or needed to. As twilight approached, when we were close to the camp, we saw giraffes
Giraffe eating acacia
Giraffe looking down
Giraffe in the afternoon
Giraffe at dusk
The Ronjo camp is tents- they have a flush toilet, and they bring water and put it in a container over the shower and you pull on a cord, and you have a nice shower with warm water. They brought me something to sit on in the shower, which was good. They have sink with a water pitcher to use to wash in.
The only 24 volt electricity is in the tent with the bar and there is no internet.
We had dinner with a couple from south of Denver who were here to do cervical cancer screening education. We had soup, and what they said was beef, but which really was sausage (my granddaughter ate one of mine) .
There are no paths at all in this camp, just dirt and I thought this would be a problem for the wheelchair, but really pushing the wheelchair here was easier than it was anywhere else because it was mostly level and the dirt was not as rocky as the paved paths. It could be done by one person. They have a little iron grid (kind of like a miniature cattle guard to wipe your feet on at the entrance to the tent.
They said that the 12 volt lights in the tent could be on all night, but ours went off and did not come back on.
It was quite cold. I have not really been too hot, but I have had to put on all my clotting to keep from being too cold at night and in the morning. I have seen no swimming pools yet. I put several things out to be done in the laundry. This is a men only camp (for the workers) so one of the Maasai men did our laundry. He even did one of my shirts which was on the table that I had not put in the laundry basket.
Entrance to the tent (screened)
We could hear the lions roaring at dinner and after we got into the tent, apparently a pride of 25 lions came into the camp and were quite close to our tent, My granddaughter said she could hear them breathing and they were roaring quite loud. We couldn't see anything of course - just hear them. I would have liked to see them. They got Jeremiah to get the truck and chase them away, but they came back several times. They wanted to spend the night on the warmer dirt and didn't want to be in the grass which would get dew and get their coats wet.
They had told us that if we had a problem, we should blow a whistle (provided) and my granddaughter slept with it in her hand. They found it under her mattress this morning.