Africa 2015: Introduction & Ngorongoro Crater

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Before I left for eastern Africa last summer, I swore to myself that I would do something with my experience and thoughts from the trip somehow. I did keep a journal and wrote notes from time to time while I was there, but I had not put any of them together. Nancy Barker, the Deaf zoologist who has lived in Africa for the last 10 years and guided us during the safari, only asked me to do one thing after the trip-not to forget what I saw. I promised her I would not.

Africa’s incredible wildlife and spectacular signs of animals walking around freely in their natural habitat is something I will never get tired of seeing. It was simply majestic. This trip gave me a glimpse of Africa’s beauty, brought my attention to wildlife problems, and got me to understand the dire importance of conservation efforts today. Because I feel like other people should know more about things I learned, I thought a blog about my African travels would be a good place to start. 

First of all, the bush is a stretch of wild and uncultivated land. In Africa, it consists of grasslands and savannas where there are rich biodiversities and many animals roam with minimal human interference. It is where I spent the most of my time in Africa. Although people do go to the bush, it is mostly untouched by humans and dominated by the wild instead.

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Me at one of camps in the bush
For example, look at Ngorongoro Crater. It is the world’s largest unbroken volcanic caldera, which formed when the volcano’s cone collapsed more than two million years ago. Ngorongoro Mountain might have been taller than Mt. Everest and was among the tallest mountains before its volcano erupted and collapsed millions years ago. Covering about 100 square miles, the crater floor is home to over 25,000 large animals including the big five (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhino). The crater is known as Africa’s last Garden of Eden. 

 

While heading out at the break of dawn for a game drive on the floor one beautiful day, the guide commented that everything we saw on the floor that day is also how it looked millions years ago. The land is in the same form. Natural disasters and other inevitable changes by nature must have happened, but that was it. Not counting dirt tracks for jeeps in restricted areas and Maasai people coming into the crater with their animals for water, it was all pure nature for millions of years. The thought itself sent chills down my spine. I felt like I hopped into a time machine and went back millions of years. The crater looked like a scene out of some Hollywood movie about dinosaurs or time machines except that it was real life.

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I only covered one site that I went to during my trip, but you should have a better idea of how wild Africa can be by now. I will save everything else for future posts. Until next time!

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