Journey to Tanzania

Submitted by Carolyn Anderson on the 2024 Winter ENWC program in Tanzania

The Ngorongoro Crater

Today we visited the Ngorngoro Crater Natinoal Park. Driving around the crater was an amazing experience! Even though I knew there would be a great abundance of wildlife, my expectations were well surpassed. We started off by seeing plenty of olive baboons before we even got to the gate. As we made our way down into the crater, we saw plenty of bird species, including a few new ones for me! We saw a cape crow, and that was really cool because I love crows. The views on our way down the slope were incredible. Luckily it was not very foggy, and you could see pretty far! At one lookout point where we were able to stop and get out, we saw a single rhino very far in the distance through our binoculars. This was really exciting, as they are hard to see and critically endangered. I was grateful to see that rhino, no matter how far away and hard to see, because I did not feel confident we would get to see another. But we were wrong! Once in the crater, we saw three more a bit closer up! They were still pretty far away, but I was able to make out a lot more detail this time and just watch them for a little while. Although the myriad zebras, wildebeest, and buffalos were cool to see, I think my favorites from today were the hippos and the honey badger. Seeing both were a real treat, as it is rare to see hippos out of the water (and we saw two on land!) and honey badgers are incredibly rare to see. I was hoping we might see one, but I knew the chances were pretty slim. Yet another surprise from the crater today!

Wildlife Sightings in the Serengeti

Today was a very special day, full of amazing wildlife sightings. We began our day in the Ndutu area of the Serengeti ecosystem, and later travelled to the Seronera region. We headed out early, around 7am, with the hopes of seeing as much as possible. We started off strong with a lioness and three young cubs! The way the cubs were running around and playing with each other was so sweet. They were wrestling and chasing each other, and even trying to play with their mom at some points! I also saw two new bird species: the wood and marsh sandpipers. Later, we had our second hartebeest sighting. That was cool because we got to see more than one this time, a bit closer, and it had been a while since we saw the first one. We saw some more lions throughout the morning, but the best moment of the day by far was right before lunch, when we saw three cheetah brothers relaxing under the shade of an acacia tree. It was so exciting to see not just one, but three cheetahs, when I was not sure what the chances we would see any were. Unfortunately, we did not get to see them run, but when we got back from lunch they were eating a fresh kill of a small wildebeest. It was amazing to see the three of them eat their fresh kill, with blood covering their faces and dripping down their necks. Although we did  not get to see any adorable young cheetah cubs today, the three young males we saw were still quite the find. (Submitted February 2, 2024)