Our final safari day brought us an incredible sunrise at the crater's rim on Ngorongoro - once, again, a photo can't capture the beauty of what we experienced but here are a couple that try.
The white clouds surrounding the crater cradled the soft pink sunrise as it came up over a new beautiful day - a day where we would come face-to-face with the reality of life in the wild. This is the day where I would finally have to see what I never would see in a zoo and what I would switch the channel on if it appeared on television - yep, I'm a squeamish one, not good with the realities of blood and violence in any setting. But as they say, the circle of life...
We first noticed this herd of zebra who had come to complete "attention," across a ravine from our jeep.
They were standing perfectly still because this lioness, who had just fed on a zebra (we found the carcass later - no pic, yuck), was approaching on the other side of the ravine.
Yes, that is what it looks like in and around her mouth
In case you really needed a close-up
While most of the herd remained at attention, out of the shot, we watched a few adult zebras shepherd a baby zebra far out of harm's way.
The lioness got closer and closer.
But the herd remained completely still.
And as the lioness began growling for her pride, we saw not just zebra, but also, wildebeests and gazelles standing perfectly still.
For quite a while, it looked like it would be a stand-off.
When we finally left her, the lioness had claimed her spot this side of the ravine, still growling, calling for her pride.
A little later in the day, we came across another pride where two lionesses had taken down a wildebeest. Here was an example of the hierarchy of "the kill and the feast." After the lionesses had made the kill and their lion had eaten (see last photo, right), the lionesses shared a meal.
I think either hubby or Andrew was taking the photos at this point as I remember one of them saying, "Ooh, they're pulling off its leg! Cool!" Yeah, I was covering my eyes.
The cubs were off to the side, waiting for their turn.
And, pacing "patiently" back and forth in the background, waiting for everyone to be done so that he could pick at the leftovers was a jackal.
A place for everyone in the circle of life.
Next week - the exotic and historic Zanzibar