The Elephant Cloud


The Elephant Cloud header image 2


December 12th, 2009 by · 7 Comments · Africa, Tanzania

ncnp-2942For those who don’t know, I have a minor obsession with the rhinoceros and from our back porch I can see the Ngorongoro Crater, which is full of them. For weeks I’ve stared at it’s rim over morning tea and evening beers. Naturally, I needed to look inside.

Tourism in Tanzania is very expensive. It costs fifty bucks a person to get into a park, two hundred bucks to get a vehicle into the park, and then you need to hire a guide at going rate, and when all is said and done you need to tip the guide. But a friend of a friend knows a ranger, just “tell the park guards that you are from the ecological society.” We also signed a document stating we were East African residents, the text of which we only discovered later.

ncnp-3003This didn’t save us much, but as a ranger’s guest, it bought us the right to go off road. So when we saw a huge male lion wander off into the brush we were able to run our little Land Rover right in after him. My door, coincidentally didn’t really shut and rattled delicately on its hinge. It also bought me the freedom, provided no one was looking, to get out and take pictures, but though he looked well fed, I stayed in the vehicle to see the lion.

ncnp-3073If you can imagine Crater Lake, the Ngorongoro is bigger, warmer, and with a lot less water. It’s sparsely forested in spots, but otherwise flat enough and big enough to host the 2010 World Cup, all games played simultaneously.

Along with three of the other big five, we saw eight rhinos scattered thru the park. The black rhinos are endangered so we gave them respectable space. “That’s M7, male seven over there. His mother is F7, female seven, off in the distance.” My pleasure at seeing those magnificent and peacefully grazing tanks is beyond my ability to articulate. But as we stayed and watched I chose to think of them informally as Roslyn and Jeremy, though I kept that to myself.



  • December 17th, 2009 by Bernie

    Those shots are amazing Jay!

  • December 15th, 2009 by susan

    Spectacular scenery! Any descriptions of the clinic coming?

  • December 14th, 2009 by Carey

    My mouth is agape.
    These are your must stunning images to date.
    And they are accompanied by words that make me miss Mama Africa so!
    Thank you for sharing!!

  • December 14th, 2009 by Joni Kabana

    I love that skull pic! So much fun to see these.

  • December 14th, 2009 by Jennie

    I don’t know if Darlene looks stoked or terrified.

  • December 14th, 2009 by carol/ /aunt

    The Ngorongoro was the highlight of our trip there, too. The black rhinos are powerfully built and very fast. We saw two lionesses consuming a zebra after a gorged lion moved away. We also saw some lion lovemaking. Enjoy, enjoy. But stay in the vehicle!

  • December 13th, 2009 by David

    Wow, best yet!

Leave us a message