Sunday, June 16, 2013

To the Crater (sorry the creativity has flown)

The morning was spent on our last game drive out of the Serengeti. We saw many of the same animals as yesterday, including the same 3 leopards in the tree, but remarkably, no lions. We did see dikdiks and Coke's Hartebeest. I took many videos but ran out of battery- it seemed short. It turns out that my converter cord on the iPad is not working, as well as the converter to charge the video camera. Maybe the difference in the electricity has damaged them. The other chargers work fine. I have also noticed some strange spots on my point- and-shoot camera, and it seems like dust has gotten into the lens. It is mostly noticeable when I use the zoom- I must be careful to store the cameras in airtight bags when not in use. I hope that it does not mess up my pictures.

After launch at Naabi Hill, we left the park headed for the Ngorongoro area. I met a waiter at Ikoma who is from the Maasai tribe at Ngorongoro. He actually goes into the crater with his herds right next to the wild animals! I asked him if there is a Maasai boma (village) to visit that is not just a tourist trap, but is actually fairly authentic. He suggested Longoku Cultural Boma,  right next to Oldupai Road. It was a good choice. Pictures are welcome for the admission price. The residents come out to dance and sing for you, with the women in one line and the men in the other. They then take you into the boma and the men have a jumping contest, then show you the inside of a house and explain its use. They took me to the village school, which only has Kindergarten students, as the other students go to the public school. They have to walk about 10 miles to attend school. The students sang a song for me, and I said hello to the teacher and saw their chalkboard work. After this, it was the money pitch to sell their goods. The money you spend goes 1/2 to the maker, and 1/2 to the community fund so it helps to sustain the community.

I stayed at Rhino Lodge for the night. It is nice, but basic accommodations. Animals often wander through their grounds. I was glad that my guide got to eat with me to keep me company. It does not have a view of the crater, but is on the rim, within an easy drive of the entry road of the crater, and it is economical.

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