Tanzania: Ngorongoro Campsite Encounters

by on March 2, 2014; Africa; Tanzania; Travel

The Ngorongoro campsite was another unfenced camp, perched on the rim of the crater. It’s a lot larger than the Sergenti campsite we had stayed in previously, set in a large clearing with a huge fig tree in the centre. It’s also much, much colder due to the altitude, the first time we’ve been properly cold in months. Everyone in the campsite, bar one overland group, was staying on the one side (closest to the mess hall).  This also meant that the toilets and showers on the far side of the camp were always in a much better condition, definitely worth the hundred metre walk.

After our walking safari, Farah went off to investigate the the possibility of a hot water shower, and came back reporting success. So I packed up my toiletries and headed over, stripped down to my under wear, only to find I had forgotten my towel.  Great.

At this point in the story it’s important to note that my head torch had been complaining of lower batteries all week and I had been stubbornly not changing them.  Suffice to say, visibility wasn’t what it should have been, probably in the ±5 metre range. This didn’t occur to me at the time however, and I decided that the best course of action would be to just quickly run back to the tent, grab my towel and run back.  It’s dark outside, no one will see me, running will keep me warm and soon I’ll be in that hot shower. Perfect plan.

So I’m running through the camp, wearing nothing but my under wear, head torch blinking at me every ten seconds to remind me that I’m doing something stupid, when suddenly three big figures emerge from the darkness and I suddenly realise that I’m, far, far to close.  Before I even have time to register what they are, the three buffalo decide that I’m the bigger threat, turn tail and run for the safety of the bush.  After spending a minute extracting my heart from my throat and contemplating how much worse this situation could have ended up, I head back to tent and immediately changed the battery in my headlamp.

On returning to the showers (headlamp on full beam) I find all the hot water gone, and end up having a freezing cold shower anyway.

The following morning we woke up early to catch the sun rise over the crater.  While we’re enjoying the view, an elephant casually strolls into campsite and starts munching on the fig tree less than 15 meters from our tent.  Totally unphased by the large group of campers in various stages of dress, he then heads over to the mess hall and helps himself to the camp water supply tank, like it was put out just for him.

Great start our last day of Safari.