Endless Plains – the Masai translation for Serengeti. And they are right!
Entering Serengeti from the south east takes you first through the Ngorogoro Crater Conversation Area. The crater was formed millions of years ago by a huge eruption of the volcano that used to stand there, apparently bigger than Kilimanjaro. The rocks and ash from that eruption all settled to the north west, forming the vast plains of Ngorogoro and Serengeti, in stark contrast to the rich agricultural lands south east up to the edge of the crater. The name Nogorogoro is taken from when the Masai first came to the crater and found bush people living there, killing wild animals and feeding on them. They also found a bell there, asked the bush people what it was, and they said they didn’t know, so the Masai took it with them. When they returned to their tribe and were discussing the crater area, they referred to it as the noise of the bell – Ngologolo, which over time became Ngorogoro. As it happened, the Masai were worried the bush people would come and kill their herds, so they went back to the crater and killed all the bush people instead, and have lived there ever since.
I stayed two nights in the park, both at different Serena Lodges arranged by the Serena Lodge at Lake Manyara. The first night was tented accommodation, and the second night in a rondawel (round hut), both very nice. I was told on both nights to call reception if I needed to move around the camp at night, as neither are fenced. The first night I could hear two lions grunting and growling to each other. The one didn’t sound too far away, the other maybe 100m or so. No matter, leave them to it and just listen to them I thought. After about 20 minutes or so they moved off. It wasn’t until I got back to Serena Lake Manyara that Zegge, the guy who sorted out all the arrangements for me, came up to me wide eyed and asked if I heard the lions at the tented camp the first night!? I said I did, and he told me apparently the one was about 10m from my tent, and the night guards who are in another shelter just the other side of my tent were making ready for chaos!
The two days in the park were and absolute treat, even though the park fees are many and eye wateringly expensive. Anyway, time for me to stop attempting to explain how great it was, and let the photos speak for themselves.