In the midst of the migration
10.02.2020 - 10.02.2020
The day does not start well. I have a dreadful night, wheezing and squeaking, and constantly waking up in a panic thinking I can't breathe. This is too much like our trip here in 2017, when I was suffering from pneumonia, and I feel very concerned this morning.
Trying to get out of bed, I drop my mobile phone on the floor, and it lands on the charging lead, which promptly bends. Thankfully I always carry a spare, but when I get that out of my bag, I discover that I have picked up a wrong cable and it doesn't fit! Doh!
Finally making it to the bathroom, I find the toilet full of excrement and blocked. In his sleepy state, David flushed the toilet during his night time visit, but didn't hang around to ensure the flush worked – which obviously it hadn't.
Bleary eyed, I look in the mirror. Last night as I got back to the room, my lips felt sore, and this morning I wake up to a large blister on my bottom lip. I suffer from photo-sensitive dermatitis, and am quite freaked out by this – last time I sun-burnt my lips, I ended up with a secondary infection and three lots of antibiotics. I do not want a repeat of that, so I cover the blister with a couple of Compeed cold sore plasters. They are great for helping to heal cold sores as well as keeping dust out of the wounds and make the sores almost invisible.
As we open the front door, we see that the safari has come to us this morning, in the form of a herd of impala right outside the room.
We have the last room in a row of 12, so we look out onto the bush. I do love this place.
As we walk to the restaurant, we also see some birds along the path. I particularly requested to stay here at Ndutu Lodge for this safari, partly because the grounds usually attract a number of feathered friends to its lovely bird bath near the restaurant. Unfortunately, as a result of the recent heavy rains, the bird bath is completely overgrown and even if there were birds in it you wouldn't be able to see them!
I'm sure there's a bird bath in there somewhere!
With Malisa getting back so late last night from his adventures stuck in the mud, we suggested he slept in this morning. We are therefore having breakfast in the lodge before heading out today – an absolute rarity for us.
We finally leave around 08:00 to “see what nature has to offer us today” as Malisa likes to say.
Red Necked Spurfowl
We notice that this guy only has one short tusk. Not sure what happened but he could have damaged them while trying to bring down a tree.
We thought we were in trouble yesterday getting stuck, but this water tanker really is well and truly bogged down. It will take quite some effort to get that out again!
It is unusual – and always exciting – to see hippo out of the water. This guy is going for a little stroll in the shallows.
It looks like he is going for a roll!
The Great Migration
The annual movement of wildebeest and other grazing herbivores across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is one of the greatest spectacles in the natural world.
Today we watch the wildebeest – and a few zebra - running and jumping, then turning back the way they came from, fickle creatures that they are.
A few zebra join them
We head for the lakeside where a lot of expectant mothers are gathered, plus a few with newborn babies. Again we are hoping to witness a birth.
Looking at the way this young lady is lying down and the shape of her rear, we feel sure she is going to drop a baby any minute, and we spend the next fifteen minutes or so watching her stand up, sit down, walk a few steps, then sit down again. Is she going to give birth?
No such luck. We do see a number discarded placentas around though, but we seem to be either too early or too late to witness the birth itself. We do see a couple of wildebeest sparring, however.
A pair of Lilac Breasted Rollers
The wildebeest all start moving en masse towards the water, and soon they are crossing the shallow lake, one by one in a single file.
First it is just adults, then the odd youngster appears too.
There is a gap in proceedings, which the zebras take advantage of. They are much more nervous than the wildebeest.
The second wave of wildebeest cross in a slightly different place, where the water is considerably deeper. There is a lot of jumping and splashing going on.
We worry for the youngsters, as they can barely hold their heads above water.
We move along the shore a little to get a different view of the animals as they cross.
As soon as we see this little baby set off across the lake, we hold our breath – the water is way too deep for him.
Thankfully mum realises the dangers and turns around.
More and more birds arrive at the lake.
It's a miracle that they don't collide when they land!
It looks like we missed a birth over at the Maternity Ward – this baby is just a few minutes old, and mum still has the afterbirth attached.
And a slightly older one – maybe one or two days.
He still doesn't look too steady on his feet.
Another new-born, still wet with and the afterbirth still attached to the mother.
We move on to have out picnic breakfast and to see what else nature has to offer us. Stay tuned.
Thank you Calabash Adventures for arranging this amazing safari for us.