Sunday, November 3, 2013

Lake Eyasi to Ngorongoro Crater

Up early this morning to go hunting with the bush people, the Hadzabe tribe. Felix keeps telling us they eat meat, not so sure he is happy we are doing this.  Honestly when we booked this I really did know what it was all about, we just asked for some cultural walks, and this was it.  Well me eat deer, moose, rabbit here that we hunt, how bad can it be, we'll see.  I did tell Felix that I may prefer to be dropped off at Church on the way if that was OK since it was Sunday, but no off I went.

On the way to back to the bush where the tribe lives we pick up the same guide that took us last night to the blacksmiths.  The guide is actually a local schoolteacher. He has 5 kids from the bush live with him during the week to go to school and then go back to the bush and their families on week-ends.  He also told us there are over 850 kids in the school and 9 teachers, what a challenge that must be!  
Pretty sunrise on the way to the bush

There was one other couple there as well, she was from Italy. This is not for the faint of heart and out of shape. There were 5 young men that were hunting with bow and arrows that you tried to keep up with. They moved really quickly. We lost them a couple of times, but eventually caught up. They have a pack of working dogs with them as well, these were amazing to watch, they sure were very alert and watching for commands.   We saw the hunters catch 2 squirrels and one bird. (sorry bird lovers) Not my favourite thing to do, but it was very interesting. This is still their way of life, it definitely wasn't a show for the tourists. After about 2 hours of following these guys around there was lots of excitement as they were on the trail for baboons. We were told to sit and wait while they went charging off. Our guide decided after about 15 minutes that we had waited long enough and it was time to head back. The tribe had left the youngest hunter with us, he must have been about 12, anyway he definitely did not take the quickest way back. Not only that he seemed to forget we are not 12 and had us ducking and jumping over crazy things, I was very happy to get back to the camp. These hunters were quite the site, they all had baboon pelts on their backs, what a way of life. I wonder if this will be the last generation of living really off the bush.We were about 3 hours all together following them around, Felix seemed relieved when we got back, he said we were gone too long.  He also told us that a tourist got hit by an arrow in the leg a few years ago when they were trying to get a good picture, yikes.  

Hadzabe tribe

Hadzabe tribe

The two older of the hunters, the man on the right seemed to be in charge

All hunting is done by bow and arrow

OK, there were some pretty things too

This young guy was there when we returned, training starts young

Don't even want to know what they did with this guy

Home for Hadzabe tribe


Following our hunting morning we had brunch back at the Kisima Ngeda camp we were staying at, which was absolutely fantastic. Way too much food again, but very good. 
Inside the tent at Kisima Ngeda

The night before the owners asked us if we would mind bringing their friend out with us the next day to the main road to save them the 55 km drive out, we were fine with that. We had a great chat, he is from Germany and had actually done the hunting with the Hazdabe the day before. Thank goodness we did not go that day, they got a monkey and BBQ'd it. He had been warned that if the caught something it was fine to turn it down when they asked you if you wanted to try, more for them. I'm glad we weren't offered squirrel, and I am afraid I would have had a really hard time if they got a monkey in front of me.

We gassed up the vehicle one more time, it is a lot cheaper outside the Serengeti, which is where we are heading soon. Next we are off to the Ngorongoro Conservation area where we have booked a walk with the ranger.

Beautiful Crater look out

 I'm not sure what we were thinking when we booked 2 walks in one day, but we are booked so off we go. We pick up the ranger at the ranger station, and this guy is carrying a serious gun. Great, more scary stuff for me. I thought this was going to be an easy hike, it was not! The first 45 minutes were straight up hill, I wasn't sure if I would make it, but boy was it worth it. 

Walk up and up and up, around the corner and more up!
The top got us to the most amazing views of Olmoti Crater. This was absolutely amazing. 
Views of Olmoti Crater at the top of the hike

Auger Buzzard

White Naped Raven

Problem was now you go down the other side to the Monge Falls. I made it part way down, but the footing was really bad and I was very afraid of falling. So I asked if I could wait behind and the guide and Andre would go on to the falls. I sat on the side of the cliff and admired the fantastic view. I had asked the guide if he would leave his gun with me, but no. He said there is nothing bad around, so I'm not sure why he was carrying a gun! It took them really no time at all to come back, Andre said it was beautiful, but very steep at the end so I would not have liked it at all. Now that I have seen the video I am a little sorry that I didn't push myself, though if I had we may be still out there finding our way back.

Monge Falls, reward at the end of the hike, problem is you must go up again after!

Last part of hike down to Monge Falls

Walking out, so so dusty we were filthy

Next we drop off the ranger and head to the Sopa Lodge on rim of the Ngorongoro crater which is where we will be spending the night. A beautiful sunset, and fantastic views of the crater. It is really not very busy at all, I think other times of the year this is a very popular spot to stay.
Drive to the Sopa Lodge

View from our room at the Sopa

Very dirty feet, and this is through sneakers from our hike, thank goodness the Sopa has "real" showers

Amazing views of Ngorongoro Crater from the lodge

Long way from home

View of the main lodge where the dining room and bar are

Beautiful sunset over the crater

Fireplace in the bar

Dinner time, miss eating outside but it would have been too cold here!

Right before dinner about 12 Masai do a song and dance routine I guess to announce that dinner is ready. They are in their full Masai costume, fun to listen to and watch. 

Sandals made out of recycled tires

Dinner was good, but not great. This is probably one of the most expensive place we are staying the entire trip and so far the most disappointing.

Off to bed early again as we are heading out to the crater very early in the AM.  It is so much colder here than anywhere we have been so far.  The guard/escort with the ever present killer flashlight was dressed to go to the skiing.  It was cold, but not that bad...

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