Photo Location – A lion prowls the savanna grasses in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania, Africa. An appropriate photo for this old Turkish Proverb.
This lion was just one of the many animals we were fortunate to observe in their natural habitat inside the unique ecosystem that makes up the Ngorongoro Crater, one of Tanzania’s UNESCO Heritage Sites. The crater is the largest inactive caldera in the world and supports a huge diversity of wildlife. Because of its enclosed area, the crater has one of the densest populations of lions in East Africa. We ended up seeing seventeen lions during three separate sightings on our game drives in the crater.
After a month of traveling, I once again have the time for these weekly inspirational quotes.
Sex in the jungle. Can’t say I really ever thought much about how hippos procreate – that is, until I saw it happen in the Ngrongoro crater in Tanzania. Hippos are mammals, but spend most of their time in the water so it seems natural that mating should occur there as well. This large group of hippos was hanging out in this, muddy, smelly, swampy watering hole, mostly submerged. All of a sudden, a big male lifted himself up, dragged himself on top of the nearby female, and grunted there for a few minutes, with the smaller female trying to keep her head above water the whole time. Our guide told us that the hippos can stay under water for up to six minutes, but that sometimes females can end up drowning during this “romantic” interlude. Eventually the male rolled off back into the murky mess, only to start all over again a few minutes later.
We saw many zebras throughout our safari in the various East Africa parks, and many baby animals, but this was the first very young zebra that we saw on the whole 10 day trek. Mom waits patiently as he gets his fill nursing. This was inside the Ngorongoro crater, where the animals do not migrate and have to make do with whatever food is available year round.
It’s World Lion Day today, so I have to share another lion photo from our African safari – this time in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This mating lion couple had gone off quite a distance from the rest of the pride to….well….mate. They were a couple of hundred yards away from the road, and even at that distance it was easy to see how much bigger the male was than his female companion. The lighter colored female blends into the surrounding grass well which makes hunting easier for her. The much darker and bigger male is an imposing sight for his job of protecting the pride.