We stayed the next two nights at the Oldeani Safari Lodge, which was a fairly new lodge, with only 4 rooms, partially owned by some Americans. The lodge was realllly nice, and even had a potable water filtration system! This is the only place we saw this. We were also the only guests so had the entire place to ourselves! There was a staff of 2 guys that were super attentive and the food was amazing. There was also a big fireplace that they lit every night (we were at higher elevation and it was cold here). There was even enough water pressure that Manon and I managed to wash our hair for the first time since the start of the trip! This was a big deal for everyone.
The only complaint was the poor beer selection - note to future Tanzanian visitors - Castle Light is not good beer.
Safari Day 4: we headed into the Ngorongoro Crater, which is in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This is not a national park, so is a multi-use land area, which means that people and domestic animals can also live inside the park as long as their behaviours to not cause damage to the environment or the wild animals. The area used to be part of Serengeti national park but some years ago (Matt would remember the year but not me) it was turned into a conservation area to allow the Masai more land to live. The crater itself was formed when the volcano exploded and collapsed in on itself. The volcano is no longer active. The crater used to be the only place I. Tanzania to see the Big 5 easily, however due to interruptions from the Nadia I. The park, it is now really hard to see leopards as they tend to hang out in the forested area by the escarpment, where there are not a lot of roads going though for viewing. This is the only place however that it is really possible to see rhino though, since they are very endangered due to poaching (apparently one set of rhino horns can bring in $700 000 US dollars on the Asian market) and also cuz they hang out in areas where there are not a lot of roads as well. At this point we had seen all of the Big 5 except for leopards and rhinos, and our goal was to see rhinos today. We did accomplish this, which was really cool, however they were pretty far away and most of the viewing was through binoculars. (Bring binoculars!! Very important. Thanks Maggie for the lending of your's, in case you happen to read this!).
Other highlights included:
- five separate lion sightings (we pretty much never get tired of lions)
- three hippo sightings (I never get tired of hippos, but I might be the only one to say this)
- first hyena sighting
- watching some wildebeests humping (highlight for Manon anyway)