Friday, March 3, 2017

On the way to the Ngorongoro crater

From Serengeti NP, we headed back out on our way to the rim of the Ngorongoro crater. We spent a whole day in the crater so I will talk about that in my next post. This one is about the journey there.

We started off the next morning retracing our way past the flowering acacia trees with their baboons and the hippos in the river.

 Then we spent some time watching a couple of male lions walking around to find some shade to rest in.

 This guy's mouth was a little wonky but he looks pretty impressive none-the-less.
 We said good morning to some elephants who were feeding near the road. They were part of a much bigger group that was wandering around.
 I took this to show you how close we were to the elephants.  That black line at the bottom is part of the vehicle.
 I have a love of reflections and take pictures of them whenever I can. We drove by a lake and stopped for a few photos and I couldn't resist sharing this one even though there is no wildlife in it.
 We were in a hurry to get to the entrance gate because we had a 24 hour ticket in the national park. If we got to the gate too late, we'd have to pay for an extra day for everyone in all our 6 vehicles. But we were not in such a hurry that we couldn't stop for a herd of Cape Buffalo.
 Here you can see them crossing the road between our vehicles.

 We saw a hyena burrow. They have multiple entrances and exits.
 This is called a kopjes. They are there in a section of the Serengeti and apparently a favorite place for lions to hang out. I didn't take photos of the ones the day before as the light was wrong.

If you remember, we were prevented from climbing one of these the day before to get a view because a 'big lion' had taken up residence there.
Therefore at the entrance gate, having made it there on time, we climbed a hill called Nabi hill to get a view of the surrounding plain.
 That road you see, the straight line in the middle of the picture? That is the road we came by to get to the gate.
 A store at the gate had some maps and bird/animal posters displayed so I took a photo of them. You can see Tanzania here.

From the park, we headed to Oldupai Gorge. You might know it as Olduvai Gorge which was where the oldest hominid fossils have been found. The gorge itself is beautiful but we were on a lookout overlooking it. The archeological sites are in the gorge. We visited a museum on the rim and had a talk by an anthropologist who explained the area and the geology and what fossils had been found in the different areas. We also had lunch here overlooking the gorge.
 This is a panoramic photo of the gorge.
 At the museum, there were a lot of fossils and artifacts from the gorge but what caught my eye was this bicycle. Dr. Sekino retraced the path of humankind in reverse from the southern tip of South America to Tanzania on it. This 2004 Japan Times article talks about that trip as part of a story on another trip he was planning to take.
 There was also a copy of the Laetoli footprints which are the oldest hominid footprints.
 After we left Oldupai Gorge, we visited a Masai village. After we introduced ourselves, the Masai welcomed us with a jumping contest. The idea is to see how high one can jump vertically. Here's one of them demonstrating. The men and the women did it separately.
 We went into a Masai hut and its owner explained how they lived. The huts are very tiny and dark so no photos but he claimed that up to 6 people live in the hut. Four of us sat on the sleeping surface and took up all the space along the length. There was a cooking fire with a pot on it and a small window to let the smoke out. The huts are made of mud.
 You can see some of the members of our party with the Masai women. There was quite a bit of selling to us - beaded jewelry, carvings, etc. The women do most of the work around the village and make things to sell as well as to wear. The men take care of the cattle and goats and sheep.
 We rushed on to our destination after the Masai village stop in order to catch the sunset from the rim of the Ngorongoro crater. We stayed at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, which has the most beautiful location that I have seen in a long time. It is right on the eastern rim of the crater.
 We had a little time to explore before the sun set. There was a post with distances to various places.
 And then the sun started setting.

 I did turn at one point at take a photo of the lodge and its reflection in the swimming pool. I did say that I like reflections, right?

The pool was off-limits as it had been contaminated by wildlife. We had to be very careful walking to our rooms at night in all these lodges. There were security guards who escorted us because there are animals around here and they can get aggressive.
 And a photo of the crowd photographing the sunset.
 I was able to get some early morning shots before we headed down to the crater after breakfast.

 Another reflection. With the chairs lined up for people to sit and sip their drinks and watch the sunset. This is for those who weren't on the terrace by the pool.
 The pool in the am with the other side of the crater as background.

 Flowers around the lodge grounds.
And a final shot of the crater as I end this installment.

On to fiber: I was knitting but my hand and elbow protested my knitting a few days in a row. So I took a couple of days off and then started spinning.

 I finished spinning the fiber that I dyed in the class in Rhinebeck. The collage above represents the story of this fiber. It is Corriedale roving that I bought in New Zealand when I was there. Starting from the bottom right and moving clockwise:

  • an inspiration photo from Rhinebeck
  • my dyed fiber drying on a rack with the rest of the class. My fiber is the one on the right of the photo in the front. 
  • spinning the first singles with the fiber in the back. 
  • bobbins with both singles on them
  • the finished fiber in the center right

Progress on the sweater. I am further along on it. I am almost ready to separate the sleeves from the body.
I started spinning an Into the Whirled club braid that I got as a gift. I am doing a fractal spin. I divided it in half lengthwise along the braid and then split one half lengthwise into three. One ply will be the half that is intact and the other ply will be the 3 skinny strips one after the other with the colors in the same order.
 The fiber divided into the component parts and the beginning of the first half on the bobbin.
 As I was spinning the second layer on the bobbin, I realized why these colors looked so familiar. They were exactly the colors of the superb starlings we saw in Tanzania.
See you in the Ngorongoro crater next time!

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