Yesterday we had a long driving travel day from the Serengeti, which means endless plains in Swahili, to Ngorongoro. The boys slept a lot on the drive but also got to see lots of lions.
Once we finally arrived at our next lodge, we were all happy and exhausted! The lodge was called Olduvai Ndogo which is in a sacred Maasai area and operated by the Maasai. Olduvai is a tall, pointy plant only found in this area of Tanzania. Once we arrived, we hiked up to our lodge. No cars are allowed and the donkeys carried up our luggage. It was about 1/2 mile hike up a rocky, thorny trail led by a Maasai guide. We had to stop several times to get all the thorns out of Nash’s shoes. Once we got to the top, the views were amazing! The Maasai used his machete to dig out all the thorns for Finn’s shoes!!
The climate is dry, windy and extremely dusty- almost desertish… very cool in the mornings and evenings but super hot, dry and dusty during the day. Our lodge was amazing! Cement walls with thatched roof enclosed by a canvas tent on top of huge rocks. We would have slept well (considering our previous night) but the wind was blowing the canvas tent so hard it was shaking the entire thing. Nash woke up several times and said he felt dizzy and it’s like we were in a tornado.
In the morning we left Olduvai and headed out for Ngorongoro Crater. It was a long, bumpy, dusty drive . We drove past Olduvai Museum which is where the first human skull on earth was found. The boys loved hearing about the first human on earth was born right here! The archeologists are still excavating and finding more skeletons now in this area.
While we were driving, Nash turns and ask me ‘Am I a bachelor?’ While we’ve been on the safari, we pointed out different groups of animals such as male elephants, male impala, gazelles and taught him the ones with horns are males. When you see a large group of those, they are called bachelors. They have left the family home but haven’t found a wife! I guess this was a new word for Nash to learn.
Also- at the previous lodge, one of our guides asked ‘What language is he speaking?’ We said, who, Nash? (Lots of other people around us speaking German, French, Spanish…) He says, yes, Nash. We said, English. He says, oh, ok I do not understand.
Ngorongoro- a Maasai word that comes from the sound the bell on a cow makes. The Maasai let their cattle free range all over. They follow the rains and grassy area to feed the cattle. They put a bell 🛎️ around a cows neck for 2 reasons: 1- if other animals, including predators, hear this sound it usually scares them away. 2- if the cow gets lost, the sound helps the Maasai to find them. The government took over this land and made the Maasai move but decided to name this area Ngorongoro in honor of them…
We traversed down into the caldera of Ngorongoro. It was so different than the Serengeti- so many different ecosystems within such a small distance. Also, the vast number of animals you could see at the same time was unbelievable!
We headed back up and onto Bashay Lodge which is a coffee plantation. The boys swam in the pool while I went for a run on the dirt road. I heard Musungu, for the first time in a while, from several of the local kids. All friendly, smiling and yelling ‘Jambo’! The kids were gathering up their goats, cows and chickens that were roaming around in the mountains.