inPhotograph | On Assignment: National Geographic – Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
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On Assignment: National Geographic – Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

10 Apr 2012, Posted by Jeff Mauritzen in National Geographic Photography, On Assignment, Photo Blog

Photo of a male lion.

©National Geographic Society – Photo by Jeff Mauritzen

After a great first day in Lake Manyara, I couldn’t wait to see what our second day in the field at Ngorongoro Crater had to offer.  The Ngorongoro Crater is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Tanzania.  Its one of the world’s largest calderas and home to roughly 25,000 animals.
Due to the abundance of prey, the crater also boasts a very high density of well fed lions.

Image of a lion at rest in the Ngorongoro Crater

©National Geographic Society – Photo by Jeff Mauritzen

The crater floor was very hot, and had very little in the way of shade.  Most of the lions we came across were just lounging about.

Image of a lion laying next to a safari land cruiser.

©National Geographic Society – Photo by Jeff Mauritzen

One opportunistic lion even came over and laid down right in the shade of our truck.

Spotted hyena walking on the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.

©National Geographic Society – Photo by Jeff Mauritzen

We only spent 1 day inside the crater floor itself, due to schedule constraints.  The next time I visit, I’ll plan on spending 2 days there for sure.

©National Geographic Society – Photo by Jeff Mauritzen

That afternoon we stopped and ate lunch beside a hippo pool.  They seemed to be one of the few animals that had the heat beat.

Image of a Black-backed Jackal

©National Geographic Society – Photo by Jeff Mauritzen

We also saw our first jackals here.  Throughout the journey we would see several more, usually around sunrise, and usually in pairs.

Tawny Eagle

©National Geographic Society – Photo by Jeff Mauritzen

This tawny eagle had killed a smaller bird and was enjoying its dinner.

Image of a white stork in flight over the Ngorongoro Crater floor.

©National Geographic Society – Photo by Jeff Mauritzen

 White stork in flight.  One of several hundred that we saw that day.

African elephant

©National Geographic Society – Photo by Jeff Mauritzen

On the way out of the crater that evening, we encountered savanna woodlands and forests, which is where we found this elephant enjoying his dinner.

Image of a Maasai farmer walking with his cattle.

©National Geographic Society – Photo by Jeff Mauritzen

 Unfortunately, all vehicles have to be out of the crater by 6pm.  So while we didn’t get to  stay for sunset inside the crater floor, we still enjoyed a breathtaking sunset near on the way to our lodging at Endulen Hospital that night.  In the coming days, I’ll be posting images from the Serengeti as well as explaining the purpose of my assignment.  I’ll also be telling you about my assistant, a former NFL star, now friend, who offered to carry my bags on the journey.

National Geographic Society has allowed me to offer a limited edition, signed print run of 25 select images from my recent assignment.  To view or buy a print from that collection please click here.  Wildlife Photography Fine Art Prints

To see more images from Kenya, Tanzania and the Galapagos, as well as read more about my assignment with National Geographic, please click here:  National Geographic Wildlife Photography