The Milky Way was gorgeous at 5:00 this morning. We took the comforter from our bed out to the deck behind our tent, wrapped ourselves in it on the lounge chairs, and watched the stars for an hour. I swear one of the constellations looked just like a scorpion, so whether that was actually Scorpio I don’t know but it sure looked like it. In addition to all those gorgeous stars, we saw a few planes way up high (looking like little moving stars), a satellite, and a shooting star. We also heard hippos bellowing, something that sounded like a dog barking (definitely not a monkey but could have been a jackal), and an odd little purring noise. Mystery sounds! Little by little the sky brightened behind us in the east and we finally went back inside and got ready to go up for breakfast.
At this place, the restaurant has one side completely open, with seating on a covered deck, and a tent-type canvas wall that rolls up. We were seated just inside, next to the deck and the rolled-up canvas. They first brought us a wooden tray with assorted fruit, a little croissant, and a fruit/nut bar. We had eaten some of the fruit, but not the croissant or bar, when our orders came and we shifted our attention to that. Then, SOMETHING jumped down onto our table from the rolled-up canvas! I looked up, and it was a monkey! I was so startled I screamed a little, and it looked right back at me, grabbed the croissant in one little hand and the fruit/nut bar in the other, and leapt back up to the canvas. From there it went out to a tree right next to the deck and proceeded to enjoy its stolen prizes. The whole thing took about 5 seconds. Of course, we just cracked up – and talk about adrenaline spikes!!! – but the staff were quick to make sure we were ok. Two guys were posted on the deck after that to make sure it didn’t happen again.
Then it was off to the airstrip for our final location, the Ngorongoro Conservancy. After landing, we drove through a couple of towns – more people than we’ve seen since leaving Nairobi – and ended up at our lodging, The Manor at Ngorongoro. We are not staying in tents now. This is an extremely luxurious establishment modeled on colonial Dutch architecture, and a lovely way to end our African adventure. We had the luxury of a free afternoon, which was wonderful. Tomorrow, we are off to the Ngorongoro Caldera, which is the largest in the world.
View of our room from the outside