It's Ngorongoro Crater, one big happy caldera.
Necessary statistics: 20 km across (12.5 mi) and...
...600 meters (2000 ft) from the rim to the floor.
Get this: "Flamingos have a
complicated and sophisticated system for filtering
the foodstuffs out of the water. This is because the highly alkane water would be toxic
if consumed in large quantities. The deep-pink lesser flamingo filters algae and diatoms
out of the water by vigorous suction and expulsion of the water in and out of its beak
several times per second. The minute particles are caught on fine hairlike protrusions
which line the inside of the mandibles. This is all done with the bill upside down in the water.
The suction is created by the movement of the thick and fleshy tongue which lies in a
groove in the lower mandible and works to and fro like a piston."
-- from Lonely Planet's East Africa.
Welcome to the hippo pool.
It's funny to watch these guys do barrel rolls in the water too:
With so many animals around,
and because they're so accustomed to the vehicles,
it's very common to get very close for nice tight shots like this lioness. She looked up when
we drove up and then just yawned and went back to sleep.
However, not every beast is so
common any more. Namely, rhinos are extremely endangered.
There are very few left in the world and only seven in Ngorongoro crater --
so you're not very likely to even spot one,
let alone get a close view.
At a rest room stop just
seconds after we had all stepped out of our vehicle,
one of many monkeys hanging 'round the area made a dash in through an open window,
rifled through someone's lunch
bag just long enough for me to catch him in the act,
and made off with a sandwich!
A bunch of jackals (I think) looking cute.
We camped one night on the rim
of Ngorongoro Crater
and split up the next morning into two groups -- one group heading directly for the lodge at Lake Manyara,
and the other group dropping back into the crater for more game driving.
We managed to spot a far off
pair of lions making a bloody mess of themselves
over a meal in a mud bog. With some extended scrutiny under binoculars, it appeared
the unfortunte victim this time was a young hippo.
A very majestic animal indeed...
but I can't keep the sound of
the elephant marching song from Disney's Jungle Book
out of my head.