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Ndutu: lion in a tree - Lake Eyasi

Goodbye Ndutu, hello Lake Eyasi

View Baby Boomers - Tanzania 2020 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Having enjoyed our picnic breakfast, we set off again for more game viewing.

Dik Dik

We are heading back to Ndutu Lodge to use the facilities before we leave the area, but the route Malisa wants to take is impassable. “There used to be a road here” he explains.


A Greater Spotted Thick Knee doing her best to hide from us

Malisa drops us off at the lodge while he goes off to get fuel for the car.


Meanwhile, we spend our time walking around the grounds, looking for birds and taking it all in for the last time.


Northern Grey Headed Sparrow

Great White Pelicans flying in formation

I can't believe how overgrown the gardens are at Ndutu Lodge, after all the recent rains.

Hildebrand Starling

I am really impressed with the individual terry towels in the 'public' toilets at Ndutu!

Malisa returns and we make our way towards the gate that takes us out of Ngorongoro Conservation Area, of which Ndutu is a small part.

Black Faced Sandgrouse

Lesser Flamingo

Southern Red Bishop

Lesser Masked Weaver

They weave the most exquisite nests!

Strange horizontal rainbow


Malisa hears on the radio that a lioness has been spotted in a tree near the lake – it sounds like our lady from earlier this morning. We go to check it out.



The lioness looks most uncomfortable and keeps shifting her position.


Under the tree is a male lion, who is periodically sniffing the air, hoping for his mate to come back down.


Meanwhile tourists are busy taking selfies with the lions – I wonder if you can actually see the big cat in that photo, or just the outline of a tree?


Much as we'd love to stay and see what happens with our two kitties, we have to leave in order to get to the gate. Permits are strictly timed and any overstay faces a heavy fine.

There is still quite a lot of flooding in Ndutu.








Just less than an hour ago we travelled through heavy flooding, now the roads are annoyingly dusty!


The dust covers everything in a thin layer of dirt – look at the state of my camera!


The dirt being thrown up by passing vehicles also plays havoc with the windscreen of our Landcruiser. A crack developed earlier on the trip, and now, every time we meet a car travelling at speed, Malisa has to hold on to the glass in fear that it would shatter if a stone was to hit it.



We join up with the main road through Serengeti, where a new gate post has been erected since we first started coming here, with tourists lining up to have their photos taken, and vendors hoping to sell them some souvenirs.

The original gate

The new sign

Ndutu Lodge also has a new sign, with the new brand created since the lodge changed ownership.

Sculpture advertising the Museum of Mankind at Oldupai - also new

A would-be vendor heading for the tourists


Lots of giraffes - we count twenty of them!


We stop at Seneto Descent Road (the entrance to Ngorongoro Crater) for a picnic lunch, as are several other people. This is the most crowded I have ever seen this spot. It seems it is not just the camera that is covered in dust – my face was pretty dirty too!

The cloth after wiping my face


We see a small baby playing, but as soon as we stop, the parents gather him up and leave.




There are more baboons at Lodoare Gate (the exit from Ngorongoro Conservation Area), including one that jumps on the bonnet of the car while I am in the loo. David tries to quickly grab a shot with my camera.




Once we're through the gate, we hit the sealed road – the first time for eleven days! Not for long though, a mere five kilometres down the road, we turn off right, onto another fairly rough dirt track. This is all new and unexplored territory for us now.

We later turn off the dirt track to an even smaller and narrower lane, winding its way through small hamlets and into the wilderness. This is real off-the-beaten-path stuff, and a completely different type of vegetation – thick and verdant, more jungle-like - to anything we've seen in Tanzania before.



Kisima Ngeda Lodge

As we pull up in the lodge car park, an army of helpers appear out of nowhere. Unless we really want to, there is no need to carry any of our own luggage. After a welcome drink while signing in at the reception, we are shown to our room.




Our room is, in fact, a large tent on a wooden base with a thatched roof. The room is well furnished and there is an en suite western style toilet and shower at the rear of the tent.



The local guide, who will be with us tomorrow for our excursions, arrives to give us a briefing. As he walks up onto our balcony, I get an instant feeling of recognition. He looks familiar. As he introduces himself as Alex, my mind starts ticking. I am not even sure what I am trying to think of, but suddenly it hits me. “Alex” I ask, “what is your surname?” As soon as he replies “Puwale”, I smile – we are already friends on Facebook! What a small, small world!

Alex's Facebook page

After a quick shower and change, we pop down to the bar for a drink, delighted that we can walk about freely without having to call an askari (a Maasai security guard armed with a spear) to protect us from any potential wild animals. It's the first time on this trip that we've had some time to spare before dinner, and Malisa soon joins us.


There is one other group of tourists staying tonight, six people from from the US. I am horrified when I overhear them asking their guide if hunting is allowed, as they'd really like to be able to kill something. Malisa's face is a picture, and I really feel for their guide having to explain to such misinformed and misguided visitors. They are also querying the availability of public conveniences during their trip to see a hunter-gatherer tribe tomorrow. What do they think this is? Disneyland?

As they start to discuss US politics (they are all ardent Trump supporters – there's a surprise!), we try our best to ignore their conversation, which proves rather difficult due to the volume at which they speak. We have a good laugh with Malisa, however, joking about the overheard comments by Whatsapping each other across the table. Little things for little minds.


Tomato soup for starters, followed by pork medallions with creamed potato and vegetables, and finished off with a passion fruit mousse.


As always, I am impressed with the arrangements Calabash Adventures have made for us – they really are the best in their field.


Posted by Grete Howard 15:59 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds pelicans wildlife africa safari rainbow tanzania zebra birding lions baboons flooding sparrow flamingo giraffes trump ngorongoro dust starling weaver diesel bird_watching ndutu calabash calabash_adventures seneto seneto_descent_road ngorongoro_conservation_area oldupai thick_knee lions_in_a_tree sandgrouse wildlife_photography windscreen lake_eyasi red_bishop american_tourists ndutu_lodge african_animals african_birds alex_puwale animals_of_africa birds_of_africa cracked_windscreen serengeti_gate lodoare lodoare_gare museum_of_mankind kisima_ngeda trump_supporters

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I love your photos of the Masai trader, and of course the lions :) I like the look of that tent too - comfortable but still with a bit of a camping vibe! But I can't believe in this day and age tourists could think hunting was a possibility!

by ToonSarah

Thanks so much Sarah. We were so shocked overhearing that - they didn't even seem to think there was anything odd about it. I so felt for their guide.

by Grete Howard

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