Sunday, April 10, 2011

Back to Africa: Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania (5) - Hippo Pool & Relaxing

[Despite the confusing title, I'm not back in Africa. Just continuing to posts stories and photos that are still with me, stuff I want to share.]


There comes a time on every safari, I suppose, when just being together has gone on long enough. While our group was a pretty light-hearted and carefree bunch, it wasn't until we were in the middle of the game drive on the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater that this high-spirited group "broke loose."

As it turns out, conservancy management has built a place to stop at the hippo pool, sort of in the center of the crater's floor, providing a delightful opportunity and place to just enjoy the scenery. And get a good look at the hippos with the birds riding along on top of them, even when they are in the water.

So even though we had the opportunity to get out of the vehicle (forbidden on most game drives except when there are special places, as here), we did not, of course, venture around to the other side of the pool or get too close to the hippos. You hear all kinds of tales about the "most dangerous" animals when you're wandering about in Africa, and, yes, hippos are on the list (the most dangerous, according to some accounts). That seems to be because when the animals are submerged, they tend to be very still, and the ladies of the villages come to the water to wash clothes and, without realizing it, stop out onto a hippo or otherwise step into the animal's territory, provoking the hippo to take immediate action which always results in the death of the human being.

Whether that gory assertion has any basis in reality or not, we were not about to find out. So we stayed on the near side of the hippo pool, enjoying the animals from a distance and taking our photos (which you can see at Ngorongoro Crater (5) - Hippo Pool). In fact, we stayed for quite a while, and before we knew it the silliness had taken over and we were having fun, interrupted only by the visit of an apparently fearless (and stunningly beautiful) bird that decided to hang around our Range Rover and enjoy our company. A delightful relaxing interval as we enjoyed the crater floor.

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