Tuesday 26th May – Day four – A Long Way Home !!

Up at 7am and the crater was again shrouded in cloud. I had looked at the map and worked out we had 270km of driving through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti on rough roads. And then another 160km on normal roads.   It was going to be a hard day. A fairly leisurely breakfast and then it was 22km to the main ‘road’ – all of it in virtually zero visibility on a twisting road which clung to the outer crater wall – not a pleasant journey and one which took lots of concentration.  Once onto the main ‘road’ the weather got slightly better in that visibility was slightly better and we could see the outer side of the rim.

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Masaai tribesmen on the crater rim.
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About to enter the Serengeti for the last time.

A solitary giraffe was alongside the road and eventually the road began to descend and the cloud started to clear. Passed the masai villages as we descended and finally we were on the flat and travelling at about 50kph.  The road had been smoothed so we were able to make good progress.  Drove through the gate to the Serengeti and then out of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area where we were delayed by about an hour. An NCA permit lasts 24 hours and we had gone past by about an hour. So they wanted another $120 dollars or some such ridiculous amount. We had no money and explained that we had done our best to get to this point in time but the poor visibility had slowed us down. They were having none of it.  In the end we paid about $15 and we were on our way.  Animals aplenty: hyenas, giraffes, vultures, jackals, lions, elephants and more and even though we had said we were not really going to stop to take photos we felt duty bound – after all it was going to be our last time in the Serengeti.

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A caracal – supposedly nocturnal !!
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Frisky male lion in pursuit of his mate.
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Lappet faced vultures.

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We made fantastic time and in the Western Corridor we got to see our last sight of a herd of elephants, impalas, baboons, zebras, wildebeests and topis.  We left the park and made the last 160km tarmac section in time to be back to the compound in daylight. It had been 4 days, 1070km, countless animals, mainly rough tracks apart from 320km and good company for the first day.  It was a brilliant way to spend our final road trip.

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Young baboon with mother.

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Our final herd of elephants.
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