Conservation Walk & Crater Hike

A treed mountain, a rolling hill, a stark plain, a country road. All of these things draw me consistently toward them. “I wonder what’s over there?” is the question in my head. And yet I so rarely get the chance to fulfill the urge to go see. Life, fences, distance, husbands all seem to get in the way of my wandering curiosity. But not this time!

I’m with my travel ladies, we are in Tanzania and we’re going to go see what’s over there. We’re hiking across the Embulmbul Depression in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Woot Woot!

The day starts with breakfast and then our main bags are loaded into a truck to be transported to our next campsite, where we will be sleeping with an armed guard because of WILD BITEY ANIMALS!

Our ranger says its mostly the buffalo we have to worry about but death by buffalo seems somehow nicer then death by leopard, hyena or lion.

We hiked for four hours with-gazelles, zebra, jackals, cattle, goats, birds and much more. It was amazing to me to out there, with the animals in that vast land.

We were exhausted by the time we were done but felt accomplished by our feat.

See that mountain in the distance? We hiked from that!

Grace met us at the road and we drove for a but until we came to the rim of the Empakaai crater and our home for the night!

We inhaled our lunch of salad-cuke,tomato and avocado-, chicken stew, zucchini soup, and slices of white bread. Yum! We had a short rest and then it was down,down,down into the crater.

Have you ever smelled leopard shit? Ha, I know what a question. I have! And our ranger and warriors got these funny looks on their faces all the while telling is everything was “fine” Uh huh. Which one is it boys?

The hike down was over a very narrow trail laden with roots and rocks. The jungle is quick to take over here.

We made it to the bottom and tried- unsuccessfully- to sneak up on a flock of flamingos! Luckily some of us got some photos as they flew off.

On our way back up we spotted a neat cat in a tree. Nobody got a photo – it was shy and scared- and it was hard to see but it had a strange flat round head and big eyes.

This was also where I got bit by a damn tsetse fly. Assholes. The lot of them!

There was some concern that we were going to be in the crater at dark. Two of us ladies struggled with the altitude. This is a problem because a. its against the law. All tourists must be out of the conservation areas by 6pm. b. the wild animals that come out in the dark. It was the latter that really motivated the slowest of our group and we were up and out of the crater in an hour instead of two, ha ha ha.

We ended up back at camp, STARVING but lucky for us, our chef made us FRENCH FRIES! Salty, yummy goodness. We also had a spicy tomato salad, chicken, soup and vegetables. We Hoovered it all up and ended up shaky and sore at the camp fire for the rest of the night. I don’t think any of us slept well that night. We were too sore and too hydrated. I must have peed 5 damn times in the night! I think it was the altitude.

Campfire of Lies

Our ranger was supposed to stay up all night by the fire and “guard” us. But every time one of us ventured out, he was nowhere to be found. The fire was dead and cold, with not a soul in sight.

I suspect our ranger was sleeping in the truck, ha. It was freaking cold at night! I don’t blame him. I think the rangers are just there as a precaution. I can’t be sure but I highly doubt much happens. It doesn’t make sense that the government would offer such a thing to tourists if it was reeeeeally that dangerous. I don’t think we were ever in any danger. A pack of hyenas ran past our tents and ignored us completely. Hyenas! Those guys are assholes.

Some of our group were really concerned though but most of us felt safe. It was scary the first time getting up to go pee, but after that I was fine. I knew to shine my light into the night and watch for reflecting eyes. And I felt quite kick ass and brave to be walking around, by myself at night, in the Tanzanian wild. 🙂 ❤

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