I woke up at 05:30 today (disappointed because the hyenas never woke me up at night – we think this may have been due to four of us pissing in a line outside, at the edge of the camp, which then caused the hyenas to stay away – because of the strong scent given off from our territorial marking), stayed in my tent until it stopped raining, then got ready, packed my bags, and had coffee in the dining area. Then I loaded my bags in to the vehicle and we all loaded in to our respective cars. We started our safari at 06:30 and even watched the sun break over the horizon; we then saw a hot air balloon in the distance (a great way to watch the wildebeest migration if you can afford it), buffalo, and a bat-eared fox; we also came across a group of nineteen lionesses and cubs just hanging out by the side of the road; the lionesses then picked up the scent of three buffalo nearby and they took off in a line to get their breakfast; we followed them in our vehicle, but it got harder and harder to see as they walked further away toward the buffalo; in the distance, we could make out six lionesses drawing in close for the kill; then two of them took off . . . not at full speed, toward the buffalo; the buffalo then ran off, circling away from the lionesses; the buffalo ran away and the lionesses sat around looking dumbfounded (I assume, I couldn’t see their facial expressions); they had half-assed their attack and failed miserably, cheating us out of viewing what would’ve been an awesome kill (even at that distance it would’ve been awesome). We continued on our safari and saw warthogs, ostriches, some crowned cranes, dik-diks (the smallest gazelles in the Serengeti), a hyrax, a giraffe, a larger gazelle species, and a lot of elephants (I counted over twenty) in about four groups, but close by each other. Next, we drove up close to a cheetah laying on a termite hill (we had left the dirt road trail to do so – a big “no-no” in Serengeti National Park, but of course I wasn’t going to remind our driver of the rules); we then saw more gazelles, wildebeests, and hippos in a pond. We then stopped on the road where many other vehicles were stopped to try and see a leopard hiding in the grass, but I could not see any evidence of it all (even with the assistance of the binoculars). After continuing on, we saw more giraffes, a velvet monkey hanging out in a tree, more lions (this time with an adult male with a proper mane), more hippos, a large crocodile, and many zebras. We then drove back to the campsite to have lunch at 11:00, which was actually a well prepared meal by our cooks (it’s amazing what they are capable of when not drunk, not on drugs, and when they have all morning to cook); lunch consisted of tea, popcorn, French fries, a vegetable quiche, avocado salad, and a stew. After lunch, the drivers and cooks cleaned the dishes and loaded the gear up on top of the vehicles; we helped some, but mostly joked around and posed for pictures using a dried buffalo skull, giving ourselves horns. Once we were ready to leave (at about 14:00), we loaded in to our cars and drove toward the hilltop campsite in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. On the way, we saw antelope, more warthogs, more lions (this time just chilling in the plains – once again we left the dirt road trail to get up extra close), ostriches, many more zebras, and another cheetah (amongst a group of zebras, but obviously not hungry). We then reached Naabi Hill and while our drivers took almost an hour to take care of paperwork business, the older of the two Austrian brothers bought a small bottle of Konyagi and I bought some more Gordon’s Gin for tonight; then, as we were waiting, a storm passed through, drenching everything in its path with rain. We took cover under the ticket office building and after a while of trying not to get wet, the driver from the other vehicle in our group used an umbrella to get each of us in to the vehicles so that we could continue on our journey. Once everyone was back inside our vehicles (relatively dry), we drove off to Ngorongoro, through some pretty flooded dirt roads; we then came across two adult male lions with proper manes and watched them cross the road (one behind the vehicle I was in and the other in front, leaping over the pool of water on the edge of the road); next, we drove through the wildebeest migration and were finally able to get some great photographs of this monumental event (though our photos do not capture the enormity of the scope and certainly do not do it justice) – at this point we were now out of the rain and back on dry roads (we also exited Serengeti National Park and entered in to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area); we also saw a lone giraffe before climbing in altitude toward the hilltop campsite, passing by more Masai people and their dwellings, as well as many thorny trees (our driver told us that the Masai people use the bark to help cure malaria – good to know); we passed through some interesting terrain on the way up to the hilltop campsite inside Ngorongoro, but it was slow going on account of the other safari vehicle overheating on the way up. We reached the campsite at about 18:00, the Frenchman and I observed three elephants nearby going through a pile of burnt rubbish (so sad; equally sad was the armed park ranger continually reminding us not to get too close and to stay away from the elephants in the little English that he knew), and then we immediately built our tents next to a large ficus tree, hoping lightning would not strike it while we slept. Once the tents were completed, we got to work on the camp fire; a Masai man had collected the wood earlier and had helped start it; soon we had a decent fire going and we stood around it as we waited for dinner; while standing around, we discovered that a bar is situated only ten to fifteen minutes away from the campsite and some Canadians were on a beer run; we then decided that we needed a shit-ton of beer too, so the older Austrian brother, the Frenchman, and the Scotsman joined one of our driver to complete a beer run before dinner. When dinner was ready, we went inside of the dining area and left the fire to be monitored by two Americans on a college trip. For dinner, we had a soup, bread, rice, and fried vegetables covered in a sauce (which still needed some added chili sauce for flavor); as the main course was being served, the beer-run party returned with about sixteen bottles and cans of local brew (tonight was going to be great). After dinner, I checked on the fire and found it was surrounded by three Canadians (whom had told us about the bar and their beer-run) and the American college students (on a school trip from Colorado); eventually the Austrian brothers, the Frenchman, the Scotsman, the beer, the liquor, and I all joined the gathering around the campfire; we began to drink at an exponential rate and had many varied and drunken conversations with each other. At one point a German man from a neighboring campfire came over and asked us to join his party, which had loud music, more booze, more Germans, and probably the most liberal Kuwaiti woman in existance; some of us checked out the party, but overall we remained loyal to our fire, which was slowly dying a dignified death. At about 23:00, the remaining partiers from our campfire decided to join the German party (which had already drew noise complaints); we walked over and were greeted with inebriated hospitality (the best kind); one of the Canadian men used two sticks to bring one of our burning logs from our fire to the Germans’ fire; he kept dropping the log on the ground and embers were getting everywhere; it was actually quite amusing, especially when it nearly rolled on to one of the tents; once the transfer of the burning log was successfully completed, the Canadians and the Germans sang a Canadian song as loud as they could in an attempt to wake up everyone sleeping and not having a great time; then they proceeded to sing German songs as well as many others (more noise complaints followed). Unfortunately, since we were waking up at 05:30 tomorrow morning; everyone from the tour company I was with retired for the night except for the Frenchman and myself. We proceeded to get shit-faced. We talked with the Kuwaiti girl and the Germans (one really loves David Hasselhoff – completely fitting the stereotype; “I’m hooked on a feeling and I’m high on believing . . .”) and went on partying until 02:30; at this point the Germans had run out of steam and they sat down on their camping chairs and passed out; the Frenchman and I then retired for the night (or morning). I found out the next day that after we had gone to our respective tents, the Frenchman returned to the German campsite and audaciously entered in to the Kuwaiti girl’s tent to ask if he could join her (why not? after all, she was attractive . . . and very liberal); unfortunately for him – and this story -, she was sharing the tent with two other women and she refused to join him outside; oh well, c‘est la vie.