Harriet Smith Photography


"For The Love of Africa"

AFRICAN SAFARIS - Trips Of A Lifetime


Country: Tanzania            
Location: Ngorongoro Crater
Lodge: Ngorongoro Crater Lodge


This picture shows two giraffes companions standing in the early morning, rising sunlight.  The bright yellows, sparkling greens, skeleton of a leafless tree set against a bright blue sky beautifully silhouette our giraffe. The two giraffes keep a vigilant eye for danger. When safe, giraffes can flourish in most areas of sub-Saharan Africa where food is abundant year round.

Early written records described the giraffe as magnificent in appearance, bizarre in form, unique in gait, colossal in height and inoffensive in character. Ancient cultures in Africa revered the giraffe and commonly depicted it in prehistoric rock and cave paintings. Unknown outside of Africa, this animal so excited man's curiosity that it was sometimes sent as a diplomatic gift to other countries. The animal was thought to be a cross between a camel and a leopard, a mistake immortalized in the giraffe's scientific name of Giraffa camelopardalis.

This picture was taken in the Ngorongoro Crater, the largest intact caldera in the world, sheltering one of the most beautiful wildlife havens anywhere. Unmatched for its natural variety, there are few places on earth where such a tremendous diversity of wildlife and landscape exist inside a region this small. The Ngorongoro Crater is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated along the eastern arm of the Rift Valley, part of the Serengeti ecosystem, and adjoins the Serengeti National Park. The Ngorongoro Crater is a natural amphitheatre created about 2 million years ago when the cone of a volcano collapsed into itself, leaving a 100 square mile caldron-like cavity. This caldera, protected by a circular unbroken 2,000-foot high rim, contains everything necessary for Africa's wildlife to exist and thrive. Estimates of the height of that original volcano range from  fifteen to nineteen thousand feet high.
The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the world and research there has been instrumental in furthering understanding of early human evolution. Based on fossil evidence found at the Olduvai Gorge, it is known that various hominid species have occupied the area for 3 million years.

The Maasai are the current human inhabitants and are at liberty to live within the sprawling 2,500 square mile conservation area around the crater. The Maasai never cultivate land as they consider it demeaning. Instead they graze cattle, which hold a god-like status in Maasai culture

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