Looking down into the crater from the rim
Part of the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge
Most of the mammal species that we had already seen elsewhere were down there on the vast expanse of the crater's grassland although Giraffes and Impalas were notable exceptions. As well as Wildebeest and Zebras, Thomson's and Grant's Gazelles were very common and we also found a few Kongoni. As might be expected with all these prey species present, it wasn’t long before we saw Lions and remarkable numbers of Spotted Hyaenas. There were also Black-backed Jackals and we were lucky enough to see Serval Cats again.
A typical view in the crater with Zebras and Wildebeest
Lions - they are really impressive at close range
Black-backed Jackal - folklore has it that it received the 'burn' on its back as a punishment for its scavenging habits
Hippos - aggressive, unpredictable and surprisingly fast over a short distance!
Spotted Hyaenas - hunters and scavengers
Serval Cat - mostly nocturnal so we were fortunate to see them on three occasions during the tour
Kongoni - also called Coke's Hartebeest
There were also plenty of birds, ranging in size from Ostrich, Kori Bustard and Grey Crowned Crane down to Fischer's Sparrow-Lark and the tiny Pectoral-patch Cisticola.
Augur Buzzard - one of the mostly commonly seen raptors in Tanzania
Fischer's Sparrow-Lark - a very numerous species in the crater and elsewhere
Ngoitokitok - a popular picnic site in the crater
If you like the look of Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire and the Serengeti, Avian Adventures have another tour to Northern Tanzania planned for April 2016.