Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

Third World Problems

Posted from Tarangire Sopa Lodge, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania at 9:39 pm, August 9th, 2014

The Cheesemans group has five vehicles that carry four people each and different people ride with different drivers each day, so every day people come back with different experiences. Through an exhaustive mathematical process, I figured out that one lady in particular saw the best things each day, and thus as a scientific fact, it’s clear that I should always be trying to ride in whatever vehicle she is in. Today I was in that vehicle, and before we had descended into the Ngorongoro Crater we’d already seen two cheetahs. On arriving at the crater floor word came over the radio that the hyenas had another zebra cornered, but after waiting for fifteen minutes while the hyenas mostly slept we all agreed to move on, and I was spared another spectacle of nature’s cruelty (the hyenas were apparently full, and word is the zebra survived the day, but as it appeared sick and the hyenas will be hungry again soon, its odds of making it through the night aren’t good).

The luck continued as we arrived at a den of lions and the two mothers decided to parade the three cubs from the den down to the road, where frolicking commenced. Many pictures were taken as too many vehicles jockeyed for position. We left when the cubs fell asleep, only to stumble on an old buffalo carcass being eaten by hyenas. Shortly after we arrived the hyenas moved off, and thirty vultures immediately descended from all corners in a feeding frenzy. When finally we arrived at lunch and stories of our morning got out, requests to ride with Kitty (the lady with the luck) were made by several other passengers.

On our way out of Ngorongoro and on to Tarangire National Park we hit a snag – the steep ascent road out of the crater was partially blocked by a massive bull elephant, a third-world problem of the first order. We sat there a dozen feet away as he ate trees, and as we drove past about six feet from him the guide was oddly silent when asked “is this safe”? Consensus was that since we all emerged unscathed, it was most definitely an extraordinarily cool experience.

The drive to Tarangire took a few hours, and after arriving we spent a couple of hours touring the baobabs and looking for wild dogs, and while the park is chock full of elephants and zebra, the dogs proved elusive. We’ve got a full day here tomorrow, and I’m in the Magic Bus with Kitty again, so luck should hopefully follow us for another day.

Lions in Ngorongoro Crater

The lions left a den that was 150 feet off the road to play and nurse right next to the road. Guess who was in the vehicle that they sat down next to? Our guides are AWESOME.

White-backed vulture in Ngorongoro Crater

One of about thirty vultures that jet-landed next to a dead cape buffalo once the hyenas had moved off. Someone in our vehicle was literally calling out “here comes another one” about every thirty seconds as the pile of birds on the carcass kept growing.

2 responses to “Third World Problems”

  1. Ryan Holiday, I knew you had a gift for photography when you snapped my Grandpa at turkeybowl, but now you have outdone yourself. Thanks for sharing these amazing photos. Have a great trip and don’t hug any honey badgers. D.P.

    1. Very much appreciated Mr. Pugmire. I can’t promise not to hug a honey badger if the opportunity presents itself, but I can guarantee you that hyena hugging will not be a part of this trip.

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