A Travellerspoint blog

Naabi Hill - Kubu Kubu

The BIG FIVE are in the bag!


View The Howards' 40th Anniversary Tour on Grete Howard's travel map.

large_899CE1E3BC4B462A0B437892287D59AF.jpg

So called because they were the five most dangerous (and desired) animals for hunters to capture. These days of course 'hunters' are replaced by 'photographers'.

large_8B5AFB09BFA5B418C74B6E000564A4AA.jpg

At the entrance gate to the Serengeti National Park, we take our lunch picnic overlooking a small bird bath for entertainment.

large_Starling__Superb_103.jpg
Superb starling partaking in their daily ablutions

large_Starling__Superb_104.jpg

large_Dove_Laughing_201.jpg
Laughing Dove

large_Pigeon__Speckled_21.jpg
Speckled Pigeon

large_Starling__Ashy_101.jpg
Ashy Starling

large_Weaver__Lesser_Masked_104.jpg
Lesser Masked Weaver

large_Starling__Superb_101.jpg
Superb Starling

large_Starling__Superb_102.jpg
Superb Starling having a wardrobe malfunction.

large_Weaver__Re..d_Buffalo_3.jpg
Red Billed Buffalo Weaver

large_Starling__Hildebrand_1.jpg
Hildebrand Starling

large_Weaver__Sp..d_Fronted_1.jpg
Speckled Fronted Weaver

large_Starling__Wattled_106.jpg
Wattled Starling

With all those breadcrumbs flying around, it is not just birds who are attracted to this picnic area.

large_Mouse_1.jpg
Field mouse?

We also watch a small herd of elephants walk past. As you do.

large_Elephants_at_Naabi_Hill_1.jpg

large_Elephants_at_Naabi_Hill_2.jpg

Having failed miserably to get his beloved Savannah Cider in Arusha, David is delighted to find that the small grocery store at Naabi Hill sells it.

large_David_with_Savannah_Cider.jpg

large_92641FB6CAAADA3B232721888BB0D15B.jpg

The UNESCO Heritage ecosystem of Serengeti is one of the oldest and most diverse in the world, and has barely changed in the past million years or so.

large_B4251CD0FB95E9FC9DAEE3F2C0F08E70.jpg

It is, however, the annual migration that the Serengeti is most famous for, consisting of over a million wildebeest and some 200,000 zebra making their way from the north to south and back to the north continuously every year following the rain in search of greener pastures.

Below is a map of the Serengeti showing approximately where the migration usually is during the month of May. This morning we left Lake Masek Tented Camp at the bottom right of the map and later we entered the park through Naabi Hill Gate. We are heading for the Seronera area tonight.

large_Migration_Map.jpg

Soon after we enter the park, we encounter a few thousand of the migrating animals. It is hard to get my head around the fact that all those little dots in the distance are animals

large_B42D2F15E882DECB128787EDFDFCAFA3.jpg

large_B42F328395C79FE67D009E918B93E9AC.jpg

large_B431969499398AA82D476F8EEF35003E.jpg

Serengeti has to be one of my favourite places in the world, but today I seem to be sleeping my way through the wilderness. I guess those antibiotics must be working. I feel totally knocked out. Fortunately David and Malisa do wake me up when they see something of interest.

large_Leopard.jpg

Such as this leopard with her kill in a tree, resting on a branch right above the road.

large_Leopard_101.jpg

large_B474D6AFF5B3CCF528CC811E95700C0C.jpg

There are already a few cars at the scene – we have been so spoilt in Ndutu by mostly being completely on our own at animal sightings, that having company takes a bit of getting used to.

large_Other_Safari_Vehicles_1.jpg

Malisa points out the bad form by this driver – he has a full vehicle, yet he positions himself face on to the sighting, which means his passengers (seated in three rows) have to try and dodge each other to be able to photograph the leopard.

large_Other_Safari_Vehicles_2.jpg

Looking around at the other cars, we seem to be the only ones that are not taking selfies with the leopard. It's not just youngsters either, it seems 'everyone' is doing it, even people our age. I just don't get it....

large_Selfie_2.jpg

large_B5DCAB5CE3EEAAC30E8F7010752BBAD6.jpg

Our leopard is most definitely not comfortable, and keeps fidgeting and moving to a different position.

large_59F98076AE1B5AD5150EB19BA6B2446F.jpg

large_59FDC8AEE7BF3DD081B9014B25E5A1EA.jpg

large_5A01CDEACFC680848805EBED99EBB5E9.jpg

large_Leopard_14.jpg

large_Leopard_21.jpg

Feeling sure she is going to jump down from the tree and head off for a drink shortly, we stand around in the vehicle, waiting, waiting, waiting, while all the leopard does is shuffle around some more. I am feeling rather fatigued by it all, but I don't want to miss any action by sitting down.

large_Leopard_31.jpg

large_Leopard_32.jpg

large_Leopard_34.jpg

large_Leopard_35.jpg

large_Leopard_39.jpg

large_Leopard_44.jpg

large_Leopard_45.jpg

large_Leopard_46.jpg

Malisa believes that if the leopard yawns three times in a quick succession, it is an indication she will leave the tree and go for a drink.

large_5C664DB7ED1481985927BF22F5D61231.jpg

One.... two...

large_5C66F2B4BEB6A19749DF79082B95584A.jpg

Three.... four....

Bang goes that theory.

Or does it? Maybe she was particularly tired and just wanted an extra yawn today? We all get very excited when she stands up.

large_Leopard_60.jpg

large_Leopard_61.jpg

Excitement over. It seems she is just hungry.

large_Leopard_62.jpg

large_Leopard_63.jpg

She then proceeds to pull off the tuft on the baby wildebeest's tail with her teeth, getting quite distressed when she gets a mouthful of hair, trying desperately to spit it out.

large_Leopard_65.jpg

large_Leopard_66.jpg

large_Leopard_68.jpg

large_Leopard_76.jpg

large_Leopard_77.jpg

large_Leopard_78.jpg

large_Leopard_84.jpg

large_Leopard_94.jpg

large_Leopard_96.jpg

Obviously feeling hungry - again - from all that effort required to de-tail the wildebeest, she tucks into some juicy leg meat.

large_Leopard_97.jpg

large_Leopard_99.jpg

Right! She has finished eating, maybe she will now go for a drink?

large_Leopard_108.jpg

Apparently not, although we hope she may just move the kill to a better and safer position, then jump down to look for a drink.

large_Leopard_110.jpg

Ooops! Almost dropped it!

large_Leopard_111.jpg

With some serious effort, she manages to haul her trophy back onto the branch again.

large_Leopard_113.jpg

She puts her dinner back in the fork of the tree where it was before. Well, that was really worth the effort wasn't it?

large_Leopard_115.jpg

Determined to find a better place to store the kill (to safeguard it while she leaves the tree for a drink hopefully), she has another go at moving it.

large_Leopard_117.jpg

large_Leopard_118.jpg

Sigh. She has another feed. Doesn't look like she is going anywhere for a while.

large_Leopard_121.jpg

large_Leopard_122.jpg

Suddenly her ears prick up and she sits bolt upright looking to our right. With eyesight and hearing five times as good as humans, our leopard has sensed something in the long grass.

large_Leopard_125.jpg

She goes off on another branch to investigate.

large_Leopard_126.jpg

It takes a couple of minutes before us humans can make out what she is looking at: a hyena.

large_7E473419FEB364E022713B3A37D1FB11.jpg

Being able to smell the much coveted fresh kill, the hyena makes his way towards the tree.

large_7E49B6B79699E35F8ACCB9A90311B732.jpg

large_7E94AF51C4E4757841442993F12391C9.jpg

Under the watchful eye of the leopard at all times of course.

large_Hyena_and_Leopard_1.jpg

The hyena finds a few small morsels of meat that dropped onto the ground when the leopard moved the prey earlier.

large_Hyena_5.jpg

The light is fading fast (it was never very good for this whole encounter to be fair, it is just as well my Canon EOS 5D IV performs so well under low light / high ISO), and it is getting very late, so we have to leave the leopard and hyena to make our way to our lodge for the night.

large_Leopard_127.jpg

Despite the fact that she never actually did leave the tree while we were here, it is still the best leopard sighting we have ever had in Tanzania (or anywhere else for that matter, we've been lucky enough to see them in Kenya, South Africa, Sri Lanka and India as well), so it is two very happy campers who drive away into the sunset.

large_7F96B9D2ABCB50423C59FAC378757F06.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_21.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_22.jpg

I offer no apologies for the number of sunset pictures I have included in this blog.

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_1.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_6.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_9.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_11.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_12.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_14.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_15.jpg

Before we left home, Tillya told us he had a surprise for us for our wedding anniversary, and this evening's accommodation is it.

large_Kubu_Kubu.jpg

Spectacularly situated on the slope of an escarpment, we can see the lodge from a distance as we approach.

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_2.jpg

We arrive at the lodge and are helped with our luggage by the local porters. One of them promptly grabs my camera and proceeds to take several photos.

large_Kubu_Kubu_Arrival_2.jpg

As I try to get it off him again, he is full of apologies, but all I want is to change the settings on the camera so the pictures won't be so grainy (It is pretty dark by now). Then I give it back for him to play with again.

large_Kubu_Kubu_Arrival_3.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Arrival_1.jpg

At first glance the lodge looks very much like so many other tented camps in Tanzania, but this one is rather special.

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_6.jpg

We are shown down into the main building which houses the reception, bar and restaurant, plus a large open atrium in the middle. Outside is a lovely wooden deck with far-reaching views of the Serengeti plains and a swimming pool on a lower level.

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_17.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_14.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_15.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_19.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_23.jpg

Our room – named Swala, which means gazelle in Swahili – is about half way down the path. In all the hotels I have been trying to ask for a room as close to the reception as possible, as I am still feeling pretty awful and struggle to breathe, making walking a real effort, especially uphill.

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_24.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_25.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_13.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_9.jpg

Our tent is beautifully furnished, with a large four poster bed, a seating area, a writing desk, a water cooler / heater and an outside terrace on stilts with a table and chairs.

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_26.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_27.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_28.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_29.jpg

A large dressing area leads to the separate toilet and outside shower room – which has amazing views.

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_30.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_31.jpg
Views from the outdoor shower

Hot water is plentiful, heated by large solar panels during the day.

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_11.jpg

After a refreshing shower, we go for dinner – the best meal so far on this trip, with a BBQ chef cooking steaks to our liking and other dishes (lamb, chicken, okra curry, crispy spinach and macaroni) brought to our table. If ever proof was needed that I am quite ill, it is this: I didn't take any photos of our dinner!

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_20.jpg

Making our way slowly back to our room accompanied by an askari (Maasai guard), we see the eyes of three hyenas in the long grass on the slope between the tents. As we walk along, so do they, constantly following us with their eyes. Although hyenas are not generally known for attacking people, I still find it a little disconcerting and I am pleased when we make it to the safety of our room.

This blog was made possible thanks to Calabash Adventures – the best safari operator by far!

large_9182BD20A9C2AF3A46A361CC1EC8F0DB.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 15:50 Archived in Tanzania Tagged birds adventure africa safari tanzania birding serengeti leopard hyena bird_watching african_safari tented_camp calabash_adventures naabi_hill seronera african_bush kubu_kubu kubu_kubu_tented_camp

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

Super leopard sighting! Kubukubu is just the best...that shower! :-) :-)

by Friedrich von Horsten

Fabulous photography! Quie amazing!

by ADAMYAMEY

Thank you Adam and Friedrich. And yes, I agree, Kubu Kubu is awesome!

by Grete Howard

What a fabulous place to stay - such stunning views! I would love a swim in that pool :) But even better are the leopard photos - amazing! Loved the sunset ones too, and the birds, especially the splashing shots

by ToonSarah

Fabulous Leopard dinner pictures ! Never seen before from so close!!! Weldon Grete !!

by Goutam Mitra

It was a lovely place Sarah, but as is always the case on safari, I wish we could have more time in the lodges, but I don't want to miss out on animal watching.

Thank you Goutam, it was out best sighting too.

by Grete Howard

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint