Steaming coffee was delivered to my room in the pre-dawn. I quickly got ready and made my way up to the dining area, ready for our early departure. We were staying at the luxurious Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, and today were driving down into the magnificent wildlife-packed caldera.
My guests hadn’t arrived, and eager to get us down early when the predators and black rhinos are more active, I walked out onto the large balcony from where I could see their cottage, to check if the lights were on and there was activity. The dawn sky was almost bright enough to see an outline of the massive crater that dominated the view.
I was welcomed by a magnificent explanation to the delay.
Right in from of their room was a huge bull elephant feeding on a Sodom apple bush (Solanum). They were on the upper step of the cabin with the askari (security guard) watching the spectacle. After a few minutes the enormous pachyderm ambled past them and between the steps, where I was, and their cottage. His huge grey form was only a few centimetres from the little window in their porch. I could see a flicker of the flash from their cameras light up a portion of his form (I posted a video of this here).
What a way to start the day!