We were out of the hotel by 08:00 and on our way back to Ngorongoro. Along the drive we stopped a few times before leaving the Serengeti. Two of the times were in trying to photograph a Cheetah – in both cases there were factors affecting the possibility of a decent photo. The other group saw the first one in the road, rolling around in the dust, but we never saw one so close or unobstructed. By the time we got back there it was skulking away through the trees. The second was off road and quite some distance away on a raised piece of grass – too far for my 150-500mm lens to manage. Though that didn’t stop me trying of course.
There were a couple more stops for a hyena, a very large herd of zebras, and some vultures. Though we didn’t have a proper stop until the security gate where our driver had to pay for entry into Ngorongoro.
By 10:55 we’d left the security gate for the Serengeti and 20 minutes later we were in Ngorongoro. It was then a further 1hr30 to get to the Ngorongoro Serena lodge where we’d be staying. Once we got to the rim of the crater we stopped at a different viewpoint to where we had before in order to get a good view of the lake in the crater.
When we arrived at the hotel the rooms weren’t ready so we had lunch first and spent a long time talking in the group so by the time we left the restaurant at 15:15 they were ready. As there was nothing scheduled for the afternoon, there was no pool, and nothing else to do, it was then an empty afternoon until dinner.
The hotel is quite an impressive place with boardwalks between the different parts of the lodge and the entire place having an amazing view into the crater.
The dinner was a mixture of buffet and a set menu – if you wanted chicken or steak it had to be ordered and came with fries or rice, whereas the other options, the salad, and the dessert were self-service. The quality of the food was excellent, and they got the level of cooking (well done) for the steak perfect.
Over night there was an incredible thunderstorm that passed over us – we could see it roll into the crater and pass through – it seemed far more intense than the one we’d seen in the Serengeti – apparently their rainy season had come early.