The road to Ngorongoro Crater was just as bad as the road to Seronera. If you can ignore the bumps caused by the grading technique used to make the road, it's possible to spend the journey in awe of the landscape. The Serengeti plains were made by layers and layers of volcanic ash from the huge volcano that collapsed into the Ngorongoro Crater. The soil is thin, which accounts for the tree-less plains punctuated by kopjes - the tops of what were once mountains, now just rocks on the surface of the plains.
We passed the turn off for Olduvai Gorge and the landscape changed again, now ascending into verdant green hills, passing Maasai herders as we climbed higher and higher. The temperature dropped quickly and dramatically, and we arrived at the edge of the crater in the middle of the afternoon - lucky to grasp a brief moment of clear before the clouds swept across the rim.
The next morning, after much discussion and debate, we decided to splurge and pay the fee to go into the crater. We got this far...
After a visit to the Crater Park HQ for fees and fuel, we descended into the crater. The setting seemed surreal, with the lake rimmed with pink flamingos and a giant male lion napping next to the road.
ah, I'm so full, I'm just gonna lay here and zzzzz.........
The blues and greens of the walls were a dramatic backdrop for the yellow grasses of the floor. We mostly just drove around for a while, seeing zebra, elephant, and rhino in the distance. We had to make our way back to Seronera to camp, so after a quick drive around, we had to get back to the ascent road and make our way back. The whole time we were in the crater, I couldn't help but think about the geological process that created it - the instantaneous collapse of an enormous volcano - bigger than Kilimanjaro. I wondered which was more impressive - the volcano in its mighty, natural state, or the depression caused by its collapse?