Wednesday, September 10, 2014 – Northern to Central Serengeti

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Sorry for all my emails coming through at once, but we had no cell service/internet until we reached the central Serengeti today. Danielle was going through withdrawals, but I am happy to say she survived. Currently she’s downloading and  sending emails using a WiFi hotspot I have set up on my iPad and she’s very, very happy.

Meanwhile, back to the Serengeti, Tanzania and East Africa. No matter how often I visit this country I am never bored and I am simply amazed driving along the same strip of dirt road I did even the day before. It’s just a magical place and I wish everyone could experience it.

We left our camp this morning around 8 am after getting up early to watch sunrise. It was gorgeous and made even more thrilling considering we had the constant bellowing of a male lion  just outside of camp. It was a tough call whether to watch the sun coming up or the edge of the trees to make sure the lion didn’t come running after us. Danielle and I were trying to decide who could run faster and I’m afraid I’d have to say she had the advantage. Luckily the lion wasn’t hungry. He had been bellowing all night so I think he was actually looking for a mate and not a meal. Neither of us would have satisfied his need.

Saddle-billed stork

Saddle-billed stork

Driving from Bologonja through Lobo we took a large game loop heading to the Seronera or the Central Serengeti. Towards the end of the loop we arrived immediately after a lioness had taken down a zebra colt. When I say immediately it is meant to convey that that zebra was still alive on our arrival and the lioness was still clamped down on its throat to finish suffocating it. The zebra herd wouldn’t leave the vicinity and they were all bobbing their heads as a sign of loss and the stallion was challenging the lioness repeatedly. She then began to drag the dead animal away as she most likely had very little cubs that she had hidden somewhere. It was an amazing feat to see her dragging this pretty weighty carcass albeit a baby some several hundred years then down a 15 foot embankment and up the other side and onto a kopjes (exposed mound of large boulders dotting the Serengeti and meaning “little heads” in Dutch. We never got to see the cubs, but they were surely in there. What a sight and what an experience.

A fresh kill for the lioness

A fresh kill for the lioness

Dragging her prey to her cubs

Dragging her prey to her cubs

Our next encounter was with a cheetah on the open plain. The funny thing was that I was sitting down for a sec and Danielle was standing and spotted the cheetah simply screaming “cheetah, cheetah, cheetah” as quickly as one can with me replying “where.” I think she screamed once more and I grabbed my camera to take some shots. She looked like she was hunting, but was heading away from us and all the thompson gazelle knew exactly where she was making it very difficult for her to catch anything. She’s fast, but not that fast and they have to have some element of surprise to catch the fastest antelope with running out of juice. Danielle bagged her cheetah so we’ve had plenty of lions, a couple of rhino, lots of antelope, giraffe, Cape buffalo, and more. Now we just have to see a leopard over the next several days and our game viewing would be complete.

A cheetah on the prowl

A cheetah on the prowl

After that we saw loads of hippos in two hippo pools, a huge herd of giraffe immediately next to the road and almost close enough to touch and then some amazing elephants. We pulled up an appropriate distance form them so as not to threaten them especially since they had lots and lots of babies, but another safari car pulled around us and blocked our view not to mention parking much too close. Slowly the elephants made their way up the road and we just sat there several feet away from them enjoying watching the babies play and the adolescents fighting.

Playful children

Playful children

Keeping clean....

Keeping clean….

Grey-backed Fiscal Shrike

Grey-backed Fiscal Shrike

Our camp in Seronera is also gorgeous and while typing this email an entire heard of elephants wandered in front of us about a couple of hundred yards. The sun is close to setting and we have plans for sunrise game drive tomorrow so it will be early to bed and early to rise…..

A quick mention about Abuu our guide. He has been a treasure to have along and so easy going and has a great sense of humor. He is such a friend to both of us. If anyone has any interest in taking a safari here I could highly recommend Abuu, these camps and a similar itinerary to ours for at least the Serengeti part of things. Add on Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Tarangire and you’d have an amazing safari.

Kesho,

Mike

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