Ngorongoro and the Serengeti Plains

1950~

Book ID 12

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Ngorongoro and the Serengeti Plains, 1950~

From the rim of Empakaai crater

From the rim of Empakaai crater one can enjoy the superb view of the still intermittently active 'Mountain of God' [Ol Doinyo Lengai] , with the pale glimmer of Lake Natron beyond it and eight thousand feet below. The last eruption [as of ~1950] was in 1940, when at times a column of smoke, lit at night by glowing internal fires, rose as high again as the mountain to nearly 20,000 feet and spread a film of ash far and wide over the highlands and north Serengeti.

Extract ID: 756

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Ngorongoro and the Serengeti Plains, 1950~

The most impressive sight of the Crater Highlands

The most impressive sight of the Crater Highlands is at present [~1950] one of the most inaccessible, involving a long walk from where the track ends at Nainokanoka ('the place of heavy mists'), beyond the far northern rim of Ngorongoro and at least one night's camping.

The crater [Empakaai] is set in the summit of a 10,000 ft mountain, is four miles wide and over three thousand feet deep. Often as the clouds roll over and perhaps a single shaft of sunlight strikes down into the depths, the scene is eerie and awe inspiring and one can little wonder at the tales of monstrous serpents lurking in the dark waters. In fact there are two cattle tracks descending to its shores and the only monster likely to be encountered are rhino and buffalo, which although extremely common are never harried and seldom aggressive. ....

Extract ID: 219

See also

Ngorongoro and the Serengeti Plains, 1950~

The road to the crater

From the turn off the Great North Road 50 miles south of Arusha, the route to Ngorongoro soon begins to lead down into the rift and a splendid view unfolds: the silver gleam of Lake Manyara to the left, the white encrusted cone of Ol Donyo Lengai ("Mountain of God"), a periodically active volcano, far away to the right and, beyond, the deep blue ridge of 9,000 ft hills, in which the Ngorongoro lies, forming the western wall of the Great Rift Valley. We cross the valley, here 20 miles wide, 3,500 ft above sea-level and sprinkled with giraffe, zebra, buck and other plains animals, including a few magnificent but seldom seen black-manned lion, and, unless we can spare the time for a visit to Lake Manyara where millions of rosy flamingos and pelicans vie for admiration with the elephant, buffalo and rhino which haunt its shores, pass through the little trading centre of Mto wa Mbu ("Mosquito River") and over the streams which give it its name, and climb out of the heat up the magnificent buttress of the west wall of the rift by a series of hairpin bends.

There follows a stretch of undulating park-like country and, just short of the European farming community of Oldeani, one turns right and one is almost immediately negotiating a mountain road twisting up the flank of thickly wooded gorges. Suddenly Ngorongoro bursts into view - there is no more apt phrase, for the road turns a corner and there at the side of the road the world end. At least so it seems until far below in a hazy golden glow, one sees the sunlit floor of the Crater or giant cauldron, and 15 miles away the pale mauve mountains of its further rim.

Extract ID: 3693
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