The Tree of Life

The Ngorongoro Crater is a caldera, not a crater. I’m not sure what that means, but it’s true.

Either way, there used to be a huge volcano here, until it exploded and caved in the earth. ‘Ngorongoro’ was so called because it’s the noise that the bells around the Maasai’s cattle make walking up and down the hills, and I also heard that it is the Maasai word for something like “hole in the earth”. The Maasai use the outside of the crater and the hills around it for their livestock to graze. Inside, Ngorongoro is only 264 (whereas the Serengeti is almost 15,000). It’s relatively small, but it is the most densely populated area for the Big Five in Africa. Fertile land and lots of other animals to eatšŸ˜ƒ The edge of the crater is 2,000 feet higher in elevation than the center.


Maasai herd


Crater rim




ostrich + zebra


posin’ w/tha big booty


one boy and one girl


hungry, hungry hippos!!


toilet, in the craterā€¦ for some reason, it’s ‘safe’ to walk around here


grey crowned cranes – love thesešŸ˜

more cranes

more cranes


ngorongoro street


hyena skulking about

You can’t see them, except for maybe a faint pinkish color, but this is the very shallow lake that has thousands of flamingoes hanging out on it! We couldn’t get any closer unfortunately, but it was cool to see nonetheless.

millions of flamingoesā€¦.!

millions of flamingoesā€¦.!

#4 of 5 Big Five: Cape (African) Buffalo

cape buffalo

cape buffalo

with bird friends

with bird friends

this one was particularly curious, staring at us

this one was particularly curious, staring at us

These were impressive to see in person, and very formidableā€¦ easy to see why they’re part of the Big Five. I love their crown of hornsā€¦ all that beastliness, and the horns make them look noble at the same timešŸ’œ.

elephant on pano

lone elephant on pano


Fantastic Mr. Fox




wildebeests & zebra friends

somewhere back there is the Universe (G-O-D)

somewhere back there is the Universe (G-O-D)

sun rays

sun rays

warthog pumba

warthog pumba




it was cold. no hairbrush. sucker. marko. i call shotgun.

I needed to add this soundclip about impala mating because: 1.) to display Marko’s lovelyĀ accent 2.) what he’s describing is interesting.


some kinda eagle




baboons. lady friend had JUST given birth to that bundle of joy in her armsā€¦ the umbilical cord was dragging on the ground!!


squad makin’ moves



squad! sleep!!

lions 9

squad! sleep!

squad! sleep!

maasai market nearby Ngorongoro

colorful Maasai market nearby Ngorongoro

Giraffes aren’t in the crater because it’s too steep for them to climb into (I think)ā€¦ so the only ones we saw were on the crater rim, creating a majesticĀ skyline…

giraffes on crater rim

do you see the giraffes?

Our campsite WAS ON THE CRATER RIM. When we arrived, these wonderful, ugly storks were standing watch…

marabou storks guarding campsite

marabou storks guarding campsite

marabou stork = avian version of old british man

marabou stork = avian version of old british man

And it also had a wonderful tree that reminded me of The Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom in Disney World (which, I would later come to find, that tree is modeled after a baobab tree in The Lion KingšŸ˜„! – this is some type of fig tree).

tree of life

tree of life

Most amazing tree.


Tree of Life at Walt Disney World

tree of life

Tree of Life at Ngorongoro


and, when you get to see the Tree of Life, you should spend time with it

tree of life

and why not get upside-down next to it and rub your feet on it?

Love Love Love.

#5 of 5 Big Five:Ā Rhino (too far away for a pic, but we saw him!)

Alas, my safari ended. But it was a magical four days that I’ll never forget.

Next up: Ā Beach :: Zanzibar

2 Comments on “The Tree of Life

  1. Dear Stephanie. I am enjoying your posts so very much from my kitchen table in Sarasota Florida. I too loved my 2 safari experiences in South Africa and your stories bring it all back. Thank you for sharing with all of us. You are an amazing communicator and your spirit of adventure inspires me.

    Liked by 1 person

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