From Serengeti to Ndutu
08.02.2020 - 08.02.2020
I slept well last night, but am awake at 4:30 this morning. As usual we set off before daybreak at around 6:00.
With no rain overnight, the roads are slightly less muddy this morning, but there are some very deep ruts. Even when it dries up completely, it is going to take some major maintenance to get all these tracks back to 'normality'.
It is still pretty dark out, so this photograph is not going to be able to show you how the soldier ants stand to one side of the 'path' created by the workers, in order to protect them as they collect building materials and food.
David recorded a couple of videos, however.
The sun is just starting to make its appearance over the horizon. We are hoping for another rainless day.
Not only does the pond provide a great setting for the sunrise, there is quite a bit of wildlife around here too.
We see a lone old chap in the green grass.
And a hot air balloon on the horizon
White Browed Coucal
An exciting lifer.
I am so busy photographing this bird, that I totally miss a hyena walking right by the car.
The newly formed puddles in the road provide a great place for various ducks to hang out.
Word has it there are elephants up on the hillside. We go to check it out.
The tracks are not in a good state, however.
The car ahead is abandoned, with the passengers rescued and taken off in another vehicle. It must be bad around here. Malisa goes off on foot to check out the conditions before continuing.
Not even the grassy verges look solid enough to drive on. Malisa deems the risk of getting bogged down too great, and decides to turn around.
As it is, the puddles are so deep, the water goes over the top of the bonnet of the car!
We see two male lions in the far, far distance, extremely well hidden by the long grass. They are watching a herd of wildebeest even further away.
Serengeti Visitors Centre
We stop at the picnic area for breakfast, and as usual the place is overrun with rock hyrax.
And a pair of Marico Sunbirds – another nice little lifer.
Lilac Breasted Rollers
We leave the picnic site and continue this morning's game drive.
We see a car leaning dangerously to one side, stuck in the mud on the track. There are lots of people helping, with many hands making light work.
They're a little bit muddy, but otherwise fine; and the clients are still smiling. It's all part of the fun.
We rush through as I have some 'urgent business' to attend to. I do not understand what Malisa shouts out at the other drivers for them to move aside as you would for an ambulance; but I gather it is in the vein of “toilet emergency”. We are heading for the small airstrip at Seronera, and the same thing happens there: the gates magically open as Malisa calls out to the security guard. The toilets at the airstrip are clean, modern and there is thankfully no queue. Phew.
After my urgent visit, we are able to continue on our quest to “see what nature has to offer us”, along more muddy tracks and through more dirty puddles.
I still think giraffes are my favourite animal, and seeing them close by like this is always special.
Fan Tailed Widowbird
A colourful widowbird flits around, but never gets close enough, nor sits still long enough, to get a decent photo of him.
As usual, a lion sighting has attracted quite a crowd, and there is a bit of a queue to get near enough to actually see these three males. While we wait for our turn, I amuse myself by taking photos of tourists taking photos of.... themselves (despite being in a prime viewing spot for the lions).
While big cats have always been big draws, this is currently compounded by the fact that huge parts of the Serengeti is out of bounds as a result of flooding and inaccessible roads; concentrating safari traffic in a much smaller area.
This guy decides to leave the cool shade under a tree to go and lie in the midday sun. Is he mad?
His brother looks very old and scruffy – look at the state of his mane and the skin in folds across his torso. He seems to have lost the will to live!
We leave the lions – and the crowds they've drawn – behind and head south towards the park gate at Naabi Hill. We had been hoping to drive down to Ndutu via Moru Kopjes, but that whole area is inaccessible at the moment, which only leaves us this one option.
Verreaux's Eagle Owl
He is one large owl!
Look at those pink eyelids.
As we get nearer the gate, we see lots of tiny specs on the landscape: literally thousands of zebra! I don't think I have ever seen so many in one place over such a large area before.
Naabi Hill behind
Dust baths seem popular.
The other three zebra seem to be looking on with bemusement
There are not as many babies as I expected to see.
We enjoy our packed lunch while watching the zebra.
I love these sweet little finger-sized bananas
We do, unfortunately, have to leave this stripey spectacle in order to get to our lodge at Ndutu before dark.
Thank you Calabash Adventures yet again for all the arrangements.