A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about animal

Lake Manyara - Serengeti - Mating Hyena, Serval

Not just one serval, but two! And a surprise camp.


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

Ngorongoro Crater Viewpoint

This is one of my most favourite places on this earth. I will never tire of seeing this view of the Ngorongoro Crater from above.

large_9e171fe0-5c0c-11ea-b7b9-8f541ac820f2.jpg

When we came to Tanzania with our friends Lyn and Chris in 2016 for their very first safari, Chris was totally overwhelmed when we arrived at this point, and for the first time on the trip exclaimed: “WOW”. He is not normally a 'wow-man', so that was saying something.

Lyn and Chris we unable to accompany us on this trip, but we did manage to sort out a second best – having brought large photographs of them with us to recreate this 'wow-moment' in this place.

large_a8d0ca80-5c0c-11ea-b7b9-8f541ac820f2.jpg

Nyati Picnic Site

We stop for lunch at a designated site overlooking the crater. Hoping guests will leave a few crumbs behind, there are always a lot of birds to be found here.

large_e2ae7b30-5c0c-11ea-b7b9-8f541ac820f2.jpg
Black Kite

large_f04d4460-5c0c-11ea-b7b9-8f541ac820f2.jpg
Red Collared Widowbird - an exciting lifer!

large_0238ab60-5c0d-11ea-b7b9-8f541ac820f2.jpg
Baglafecht Weaver

large_125015b0-5c0d-11ea-b7b9-8f541ac820f2.jpg
Common Bulbul and Baglafecht Weaver

large_243c8e20-5c0d-11ea-b7b9-8f541ac820f2.jpg
White Necked Raven - another lifer

large_3266a760-5c0d-11ea-b7b9-8f541ac820f2.jpg
Black Kite circling above

As we are eating, the temperatures suddenly falls considerably, and soon we feel the arrival of large, heavy rain drops. Getting a little wet along the way, we hurriedly return to the car to continue on our journey. We still have a couple of hours' drive before we even reach Serengeti National Park at Naabi Hill Gate, and then there is a further half an hour drive to our camp.

large_8f707c40-5c0f-11ea-b7b9-8f541ac820f2.jpg

When the heavens open and we get a torrential rain shower, Malisa starts to worry about a certain river we have to cross on the way. As we are on the only road to Serengeti in this area, it would be a major problem if we were to be unable to get across.

large_c8d887c0-5c0f-11ea-a2be-f9db636cfe19.jpg

When the rain stops, the road becomes steamy in the oppressive heat.

large_4c8e5590-5c10-11ea-a2be-f9db636cfe19.jpg

Zebra

Here in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, we often see wild animals intermingling with domestic sheep, goats or cattle; or even humans, such as here.

large_97feed90-5c7f-11ea-ade9-e31846de5859.jpg

large_cfd27b90-5c6d-11ea-a047-b757a1db4f3d.jpg
Zebra mum with her three day old baby

We are initially concerned when we see this tiny baby lying motionless next to his mother, but much to our relief, he eventually sits up.

large_f06f6430-5c81-11ea-9098-0f9e4bf55493.jpg

large_42fcb3f0-5c83-11ea-9098-0f9e4bf55493.jpg

It looks like the ink ran out during the printing process of this one.

large_8f7d9f60-5c82-11ea-9098-0f9e4bf55493.jpg

large_58954f00-5c84-11ea-be23-a9fb4b5fff0d.jpg

This sculpture is new since we were here last, some fifteen months ago – advertising Oldupai Gorge, AKA The Cradle of Mankind, where hominid footprints were found and a new museum has opened up.

large_fc73a120-5c8a-11ea-854c-c79fdf1a0379.jpg
The skulls are not life sized

large_69c243d0-5c8b-11ea-854c-c79fdf1a0379.jpg

As we make our way across the area known as the Short Grass Plains, we see the tail end of the migration – the horizon is dotted with the black outlines of wildebeest making their way to the Ndutu area for the birth of their babies.

We have now arrived at the river crossing that Malisa was worried about previously. He gingerly makes his way through the flooded river, and thankfully we make it to the other side without incident. Phew!

large_f2437830-5c92-11ea-8a6e-054be8c88feb.jpg

Vultures on a carcass

A number of various vultures have descended on a predator's leftovers, and have now eaten so much they are unable to fly for the moment.

large_72d64930-5c95-11ea-a9c7-239d4bdf5d6b.jpg

Look at this guy at the front: he is so full he can't even move, let alone fly!

large_b437cde0-5c95-11ea-a538-7159602f3413.jpg

Ostriches

This family consists of seven babies who are around two-three months old. Unusually, we only see one female adult: male ostriches have been known to take a harem of up to fifteen concubines!

large_57bb0480-5c98-11ea-9062-ad901cb5fe2d.jpg

large_5fc23950-5c98-11ea-9062-ad901cb5fe2d.jpg

To think how wet and muddy everything was earlier – look at the dust generated here by the other car!

large_3e495780-5ca3-11ea-83b2-91743d46ed18.jpg

large_a15ddfd0-5ca3-11ea-83b2-91743d46ed18.jpg
Migratory Abdim's Storks flying in from Europe

large_e9700a00-5ca3-11ea-88ad-dd9e5b8e0ca1.jpg

Hyenas

We see a couple of hyenas strutting their stuff, before 'getting intimate'.

large_a44d82b0-5cc4-11ea-af29-d53a97374bfa.jpg

large_b040e5d0-5cc4-11ea-af29-d53a97374bfa.jpg

Jealousy is not a pretty emotion – a third hyena takes great interest in what they are doing, but gets chased off by the initial suitor.

large_f45c5a60-5cc4-11ea-af29-d53a97374bfa.jpg

large_05bd82c0-5cc5-11ea-af29-d53a97374bfa.jpg

large_160a06d0-5cc5-11ea-af29-d53a97374bfa.jpg

A Golden Jackal comes over to investigate. This confuses me: why would a jackal be interested in a couple of mating hyenas? Malisa explains that the growling sound made by the male seeing off his rival, is like the noise they make when squabbling over food.

large_711dea00-5cc5-11ea-af29-d53a97374bfa.jpg

The jackal shakes his head and makes a dozen or more tsetse flies homeless.

large_ff952aa0-5cc5-11ea-af29-d53a97374bfa.jpg

He realises that food is the last thing on the hyenas mind, and slopes off, disappointedly.

large_a95b3bb0-5cc6-11ea-af29-d53a97374bfa.jpg

Meanwhile, our hyena ménage à trois are back at it.

large_a872b6d0-5cce-11ea-928b-8506a63f1ab0.jpg

And the interloper is still not welcome.

large_178fff00-5ccf-11ea-928b-8506a63f1ab0.jpg

Neither of them are prepared to give in, and they go round in circles for a while.

large_55291490-5cd0-11ea-928b-8506a63f1ab0.jpg

Quite literally.

large_32a63670-5cd3-11ea-8119-854aa274de4d.jpg

Eventually he manages to get rid of his rival for good.

large_ac503af0-5cd5-11ea-8fee-ddc809056728.jpg

large_bc402010-5cd5-11ea-8fee-ddc809056728.jpg

We too move on as we still have quite a long way to go.

large_3752d1c0-5cd7-11ea-8a31-cfdb268af43b.jpg
Gabar Goshawk

There are several of these on the ground and in the trees.

large_e3d4a770-5cd7-11ea-88b6-85a520179562.jpg

More Hyenas

A few miles later two males are in a dispute over a female. Again.

large_572d9620-5cdb-11ea-a6ad-8159afe0763a.jpg

large_649aa0f0-5cdb-11ea-a6ad-8159afe0763a.jpg

Naabi Gate

The entrance gate to Serengeti National Park at Naabi Hill is one giant building site at the moment, and the lovely little pool which always used to attract such a great variety of birds, has all gone; as have the birds. David is also disappointed that the grocery store doesn't stock any of his favourite Savanna Cider; so we both sit and sulk in the car until Malisa comes back from registering us into the park.

Death by Poison

It is hard to see from this photo, but there is a carcass of a wildebeest, with a dead hyena next to it. Malisa believes that the wildebeest died from eating poison grass, which was so toxic that the hyena died almost as soon as he tucked into the meat! Now the two bodies lie there decomposing as a stark warning to other animals not to get anywhere near it for fear of death! Instinct tells animals to leave well alone - isn't nature grand?

large_ac42b8e0-5d42-11ea-80c6-af92b21e4b03.jpg

large_dda8ff10-5d48-11ea-9124-5d08f4da0c63.jpg
Immature Steppe Eagle

large_7b1dd590-5d49-11ea-9124-5d08f4da0c63.jpg
Black Backed Jackal

large_6fe19800-5d4a-11ea-9124-5d08f4da0c63.jpg
Tawny Eagle

There is so much water about after the rains, with flooding everywhere, and the Short Grass Plains will have to be renamed, as the grass is no longer short.

large_d1b66270-5d4c-11ea-88a0-e59c35b1c59a.jpg

large_934ac860-5d50-11ea-871e-416c8e4637c8.jpg

large_a946ae90-5d50-11ea-871e-416c8e4637c8.jpg

large_b49bd5e0-5d50-11ea-871e-416c8e4637c8.jpg

large_be19f340-5d50-11ea-871e-416c8e4637c8.jpg

Serval

Suddenly Malisa spots something altogether more interesting. This timid cat doesn't hang around long enough for us to photograph him properly and with the aforementioned 'short grass' being so long, it makes it all too easy for him to hide.

large_428a7740-5cdd-11ea-a6ad-8159afe0763a.jpg

large_51ca6d50-5cdd-11ea-a6ad-8159afe0763a.jpg

All we can see is a couple of black stripes in amongst the vegetation.

large_5c3d9910-5cdd-11ea-a6ad-8159afe0763a.jpg

He turns around briefly, but is still very obscured by the greenery.

large_6650ca80-5cdd-11ea-a6ad-8159afe0763a.jpg

Wandamu River

“You cannot be serious Malisa?”

large_7b636f70-5d5c-11ea-a7bc-bde23a055fa1.jpg

The crossing looks completely and utterly impossible. I cannot believe that Malisa would even think of attempting this! I hold my breath as he gingerly moves the car along the 'road', hidden somewhere under an unknown depth of water cleverly disguised as a river.

large_997864c0-5d5c-11ea-a7bc-bde23a055fa1.jpg

We are surely going to get washed away?

large_a8ddbd20-5d5c-11ea-a2a6-737c065709b9.jpg

This image is not taken from the safety of a bridge, it is looking straight down out of the car window.

large_b94c9640-5d5c-11ea-a2a6-737c065709b9.jpg

Phew! I breathe a huge sigh of relief as we get to the other side without incident. I am not a nervous passenger by any stretch of the imagination, but I have to admit even I had serious concerns about our safety here. Thankfully Malisa really knows what he is doing and I should have realised that he would never attempt it if he's had any doubts. Sorry Malisa.

large_4fb67240-5d5d-11ea-a2a6-737c065709b9.jpg

Geese

Meanwhile, on the dam by the ford, there is a family of Egyptian Geese with several babies. My racing heart has still not settled down from the river crossing as I try to enjoy looking at the chicks.

large_1a1ad0b0-5d60-11ea-a2a6-737c065709b9.jpg

large_23298a70-5d60-11ea-a2a6-737c065709b9.jpg

large_4d9df4b0-5d6c-11ea-bd80-192b1c7d5308.jpg

large_c231b4b0-5d6c-11ea-bd80-192b1c7d5308.jpg

large_04b7e340-5d6d-11ea-bd80-192b1c7d5308.jpg

large_509482f0-5d6d-11ea-bd80-192b1c7d5308.jpg

large_9abc1fa0-5d6d-11ea-bd80-192b1c7d5308.jpg

large_dd1d8820-5d6d-11ea-bd80-192b1c7d5308.jpg

large_c853a760-5d6f-11ea-92bc-9f62bf1159fe.jpg

large_b4cf5940-5d61-11ea-9c0c-6d735756af75.jpg
There are also hippos in the water

large_0cdf5c30-5d6b-11ea-bd80-192b1c7d5308.jpg

large_ae866ab0-5d6b-11ea-bd80-192b1c7d5308.jpg

large_f43e2950-5d9b-11ea-8e03-9546c4988617.jpg
Giraffes in the distance

Serval

Would you believe it! Servals are such rare cats to spot, and here we see two different ones within an hour of each other!

large_ce572380-5d9c-11ea-8e03-9546c4988617.jpg

This one is also almost completely hidden by the tall grass though.

large_d96c5ba0-5d9c-11ea-8e03-9546c4988617.jpg

Helmeted Guineafowl

More babies!

large_e587eac0-5d9d-11ea-8e03-9546c4988617.jpg

large_060888e0-5d9e-11ea-8e03-9546c4988617.jpg

large_0fe80020-5d9e-11ea-8e03-9546c4988617.jpg

Sunset

It is getting late now and the daylight is fading fast. Here, so near the equator, the twilight is short and darkness descends quickly.

large_b4eee390-5e2f-11ea-b472-f1242bd2f98e.jpg

Matawi Serengeti Camp

We knew earlier today that we wouldn't be staying at the 'advertised' accommodation, but Malisa would not tell us where Tillya had (yet again) upgraded us to.

The approach road to the camp is no more than a couple of tyre tracks in the grass, and the reception area is extremely low key. With only six luxury tents, this camp is very exclusive and private, with exceptionally friendly service.

large_76c84f80-5e38-11ea-9c68-e52781d27fa6.jpg
The communal tent where the reception, lounge, bar and restaurant are found

We are asked if we'd prefer a double or a twin room, and on confirming the latter, we are taken to our tent by an askari (Maasai guard).

large_eb39ba70-5e38-11ea-9c68-e52781d27fa6.jpg

The tent is large, with one double and one single mosquito-screened bed; two armchairs and a small coffee table, a little fridge (great for keeping the Coke and cider cold), a writing desk and chair, free standing claw-feet bath, and a separate shower and toilet.

large_7da62a10-5e39-11ea-9c68-e52781d27fa6.jpg

large_8781d0c0-5e39-11ea-9c68-e52781d27fa6.jpg
What a strange idea to put spiky branches in a vase on the coffee table!

large_9c553c80-5e39-11ea-9c68-e52781d27fa6.jpg

large_a4e94800-5e39-11ea-9c68-e52781d27fa6.jpg

Dinner

As the only guests staying we are greeted warmly when we arrive in the restaurant. I try out my little bit of Swahili, much to the delight of the staff.

“Habari za jioni?” (good evening, how are you)
“Nzuri, asante, ne wewe?” (well, thank you, and you?)
“Nzuri sana, asante” (very well, thank you)
“Samahani, ongeza pilpili tafadhali” (excuse me, I'd like some more hot sauce please)
“Chakula nikitamu, asante” (the food was delicious, thank you)
“Usiku mwema” (goodnight)
“Lala salama” (sleep well)
“Tutaonana kesho” (see you tomorrow)

It may be just a greeting and a few pleasantries, but everyone joins in and one guy whispers to Malisa: “Does she speak Swahili? We have to be careful what we say...”

The food is delicious, with a very peppery butternut squash soup to start, followed by what they describe as “ram meat”, which turns out to be a goat curry.

large_eaa143a0-5e3b-11ea-a848-8590507cb216.jpg

large_f5055430-5e3b-11ea-a848-8590507cb216.jpg
The chocolate dessert is very creamy with a hint of coffee.

As the askari walks us back to the tent after dinner, we can hear the hyenas very close by. Thank goodness he has a big stick to protect us! We can still hear them from the inside of the tent, and the sound of hyenas mating carries on most of the night. I struggle to sleep, not just because of the hyena porn going on outside; but I have not so much 'restless legs', as 'restless body'. I am twitching and itching and unable to find a comfortable position.

At 23:30 I hear vehicles arrive and people chatting. Malisa was telling us earlier that a group of Korean tourists (three cars) were unable to reach their accommodation further north this evening because of the bad state of the roads and the amount of flooding (large parts of the Serengeti are completely inaccessible at the moment for that reason); and they were heading to our camp. They have obviously arrived.

In addition to the sex-mad hyenas and lost tourists, I am kept awake by the rain; as well as dust on my lungs, resulting in wheezing and squeaking when I breathe. When I finally manage to drop off, I suffer a terrible nightmare in which I fall off a high walkway! Thanks Lariam!

This safari was arranged by Calabash Adventures, the best safari operator by far!

large_31657490-5e3d-11ea-a848-8590507cb216.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 16:30 Archived in Tanzania Tagged birds rain wildlife raven tent africa dinner safari animal zebra eagle hawk birding adventures picnic national_park hippo flooding serengeti ngorongoro hyena stork vultures geese ford glamping weaver olduvai jackal poison swahili ngorongoro_crater bird_watching african_safari wild_animals ostriches serval serengeti_national_park fording calabash oldupai tse_tse_flies askari guineafowl golden_jackal picnic_lunch goshawk naabi_gate wildlife_photography steppe_eagle black_kite river_crossing abdim's_stork ngorongo_conservation_area nyati_picnic_site lunch_box widowbird baabi_hill wildebest short-grass_plains vultures_on_kill menage_a_trois gabar_goshawk wandamu_river matawi matawi_serengeti_camp matawi_camp permenent_tented_camp Comments (2)

Serengeti Day 2 Part 1 - Anniversary Breakfast

Lyn & Chris' 40th Wedding Anniversary


View Tanzania for Lyn and Chris' 40th Anniversary 2018 on Grete Howard's travel map.

The morning greets us with the promise of a beautiful day while sporting an orange glow over the horizon blending through hues of pink into a deep purple sky.

large_e9e559d0-0070-11e9-87c8-5f54889df89b.jpg

We can still hear the lion roar this morning, presumably the same one that was calling out last night.

Cape Buffalo

Each morning we go out with Malisa as our wonderful guide, we discuss what our 'breakfast' is going to be, referring to the first animal spotted that day. Today it is a herd of buffalo just a few minutes after leaving the camp.

large_4209a740-00aa-11e9-8701-07ad8a902a46.jpg

large_600a5140-00aa-11e9-8701-07ad8a902a46.jpg

I do find their stare rather unsettling.

large_9173da80-00aa-11e9-8701-07ad8a902a46.jpg

large_9c72cb80-00aa-11e9-8701-07ad8a902a46.jpg

Topi

A small herd of Topi enjoy their breakfast near the road this morning, including several young babies.

large_e25384d0-00ac-11e9-8701-07ad8a902a46.jpg

Sunrise

The sun fully emerges from its daily hibernation, casting a golden glow over everything in its wake.

large_602c6780-0113-11e9-8338-d917f49d62fd.jpg

large_6ce1e220-0113-11e9-8338-d917f49d62fd.jpg

Including this giraffe

large_92d352c0-0113-11e9-8338-d917f49d62fd.jpg

And a magnificent impala

large_3f506d80-0114-11e9-8338-d917f49d62fd.jpg

large_22079340-013f-11e9-a0ed-b39781f94795.jpg

White Bellied Bustard

Mr and Mrs Bustard are both rather well camouflaged.

large_89e90f50-0173-11e9-a5d9-cd153e8a8684.jpg

large_956a0190-0173-11e9-a5d9-cd153e8a8684.jpg

large_a0fbe3c0-0173-11e9-a5d9-cd153e8a8684.jpg

large_7b1c09e0-0174-11e9-a5d9-cd153e8a8684.jpg
Lilac Breasted Roller

large_3bab5fe0-014c-11e9-9d4e-c743008560a5.jpg
A couple of Bat Eared Foxes in the far distance

Topi

This little baby is less than one month old; they don't start getting their distinctive 'stocking' markings until they reach three months.

large_20729a60-014a-11e9-9d4e-c743008560a5.jpg

large_8cf1db20-0176-11e9-a5d9-cd153e8a8684.jpg

large_9be95680-0176-11e9-a5d9-cd153e8a8684.jpg

Here you can quite clearly see how the youngsters get darker as they age.

large_a5587fc0-0176-11e9-a5d9-cd153e8a8684.jpg

large_deb4cb70-0176-11e9-a5d9-cd153e8a8684.jpg

Mum looks rather thin.

large_414ab870-0178-11e9-a5d9-cd153e8a8684.jpg

Brown Parrot

large_4c9e5d20-014c-11e9-9d4e-c743008560a5.jpg

And he's off...

large_88ec2370-014c-11e9-9d4e-c743008560a5.jpg

large_7707de00-0170-11e9-a5d9-cd153e8a8684.jpg
Rattling Cisticola

Lion

Just like smaller pussycats, lions eat grass when they have a bad tummy, as this old male does. He is terribly thin and probably around eleven or twelve years old. Lions live for around 12-15 years, so this guy is an old chap who is most likely on his last legs. He will have been kicked out of the pride when he was no longer able to provide for the females, with another younger male coming along to replace him. No longer having a pride to depend on for food has meant he has been starved of regular fresh meat and judging by the matted mane he is unable to look after himself properly too.

large_00b04590-017e-11e9-a5d9-cd153e8a8684.jpg

large_2110ffa0-017e-11e9-a5d9-cd153e8a8684.jpg

Spotted Hyena

I wonder if this scavenger is hoping for the old lion's immediate demise?

large_da109390-017d-11e9-a5d9-cd153e8a8684.jpg

He assesses the situation and decides it is probably not worth the wait. Any Monty Python fans may, like me, be thinking about the "I'm not dead yet" sketch.

large_2116e1f0-0150-11e9-8664-ef8445062225.jpg

large_2938f1c0-0150-11e9-8664-ef8445062225.jpg

We follow the old lion for a while, as he staggers around looking food.

large_615aabb0-017e-11e9-a5d9-cd153e8a8684.jpg

large_f46dbc60-014e-11e9-8a9d-9d6a7ae66566.jpg

Having lost sight of the lion, we stop nearby at a mobile camp site (now empty) for breakfast. Is that wise? We may be upwind from the lion, but even so...

Anniversary Breakfast Picnic

On this day forty years ago, Lyn and Chris said “I do” and became husband and wife. I feel so honoured that they chose to spend their special day in Tanzania with us. Back home we have a 'community flagpole' where we hoist various different flags for various different celebrations ~ and of course we (secretly) packed one of those flags for this trip.

large_6b1a2450-022d-11e9-bce6-650dd8811785.jpg

The Ole Serai has not just provided the customary breakfast boxes, they have given us a posh food hamper today, containing little tiffin containers with sausages, bacon, and pancakes in an attempt at keeping the food hot.

large_e41344d0-022e-11e9-bce6-650dd8811785.jpg

Plus eggs and pastries – we are certainly not going to go hungry this morning.

large_13301ef0-022f-11e9-bce6-650dd8811785.jpg

large_2119acc0-022f-11e9-bce6-650dd8811785.jpg

large_3137a6c0-022f-11e9-bce6-650dd8811785.jpg

What a way to start the 40th wedding celebrations!

large_4bf078c0-022f-11e9-bce6-650dd8811785.jpg

This Superb Starling is hoping we'll leave some food behind for her.

large_7574add0-02c3-11e9-9d19-1dd3b427bd50.jpg

She's having a bad hair day as a result of the very strong wind today.

large_87f01fd0-02c3-11e9-9d19-1dd3b427bd50.jpg

More in the next blog entry.

Safari organised by Calabash Adventures, the best safari company by far.

large_19252590-017f-11e9-a5d9-cd153e8a8684.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 01:08 Archived in Tanzania Tagged birds sunrise safari tanzania parrot animal birding fox buffalo lion giraffe roller serengeti hyena impala topi bird_watching bustard game_drive bat_eared_fox cisticola game_viewing ole_serai lion_roaring calbash_adventures scavenger Comments (2)

Serengeti Day II Part I - Hyenas, Lions and more

Never a dull moment on safari


View The Howards' 40th Anniversary Tour 2017 on Grete Howard's travel map.

I guess the lioness we heard calling out for her babies yesterday afternoon didn't find them, as she was roaring all night. Hearing nature in all its raw glory is always exciting, but not necessarily conducive to a good sleep. With that and my incessant coughing, I didn't get a lot of rest last night. I feel embarrassed and concerned about keeping other guests awake too, so I am grateful there are no other tourists around in the lodge when we leave this morning.

large_Kubu_Kubu_..st_Tables_1.jpg

The tables are laid out ready for breakfast, which starts from 06:00. I always find it strange that people don't want to make the most of their day on safari by getting out into the park at the earliest opportunity (06:00), which is also when the animals are at their most active. After all, a safari is not a cheap holiday, and for a number of people, a holiday of a lifetime. If you want to relax, build in some chill time at a beach resort afterwards.

Now getting off my soap box.

large_502A813AC1BEF4CCA52AE5FEDC7A3DEC.jpg

We leave the lodge in darkness. As the light of day starts to brighten up the sky, the promise of a beautiful sunrise teases us with a warm yellow glow above the savannah and a blue sky sporting fluffy clouds edged with crimson.

large_Sunrise_16th_May___5.jpg

It is not long, however, before the sun sends its first rays of the day over the horizon, warming the cool morning air.

large_Sunrise_16th_May___1.jpg

large_51496A58E18AF92D78F9005053A1C6DB.jpg

A wobble of ostriches (I love discovering apt and humorous collective nouns of animals) enjoy the warm glow of the sun. One male can have a dozen or more females in his harem.

large_Ostriches_21.jpg

large_Ostriches_22.jpg

He is in his breading colours as evidenced by his red neck and legs.

large_Ostriches_23.jpg

large_53A05B0AF86952AF48CE14D692412141.jpg

large_Buffalo__Cape__B_W_1.jpg

Having recently been kicked out of the herd (or obstinacy, as I am on a roll with collective nouns), the bull buffalo has anger management issues, as can be seen from his sweaty nose.

large_Buffalo__Cape_22.jpg

Having a 700 pound animal's stare directed right at me is more than a little intimidating, especially as he keeps walking closer and closer, while snorting angrily. Not that it seems to bother the oxpecker much.

large_Buffalo__Cape_21.jpg

large_Buffalo__Cape_23.jpg

Time to make a move.

large_Balloons_over_Serengeti.jpg

large_Balloons_over_Serengeti_1.jpg

Oh, to be in that basket floating effortlessly over the African plains in the early morning sun.

large_Balloons_over_Serengeti_2.jpg

If it wasn't for the price tag I'd be there like a shot! I do realise, however, that part of the reason for the high cost is the huge fee they pay to the park authorities to be able to drive off-road to retrieve the balloon and its passengers.

large_Balloons_over_Serengeti_3.jpg

large_8AB5A01EE18800AF1F1BECF0A1DB9370.jpg

Almost totally hidden by the tall grass, a lone hippo wanders towards a small pond. All we can see is the top of his back.

large_8AC02DF0DAB4664FD53DEF39ACCAF5DD.jpg

large_8F783770F76A8C5C2CF8A9CAFBAFF67C.jpg

large_Hyenas_21.jpg

It is hard to describe the feeling of awe I get when we drive along and encounter wildlife – such as these hyenas – in the road. Being part of, or rather guests in, their natural habitat is an experience I will never tire of. It is at times like this that I realise that it is me who is the stranger here; this is their home. I feel incredibly humbled to have the privilege of being included in their lives, even for a short while.

large_Hyenas_22.jpg

There is some serious 'establishing of territory' going on here, with chasing, growling, barking and baring of teeth.

large_Hyenas_23.jpg

large_Hyenas_24.jpg

large_Hyenas_25.jpg

large_Hyenas_27.jpg

A cackle of hyenas (♥collective nouns) can be enormously intimidating, especially when they are plotting gang warfare such as here. Or maybe I just have an over-zealous imagination.

large_Hyenas_29.jpg

large_Hyenas_32.jpg

large_Hyenas_43.jpg

Although sometimes they can look almost cute.

large_Hyenas_33.jpg

large_Hyenas_37.jpg

large_Hyenas_39.jpg

Three amigos saunter off down the road...

large_Hyenas_51.jpg

… while another goes for a drink.

large_Hyenas_52.jpg

large_Hyenas_53.jpg

large_Hyenas_55.jpg

And then lies down in it to cool off.

large_Hyenas_56.jpg

large_Hyenas_57.jpg

large_Three_Banded_Plover.jpg

The hyenas do not seem to bother this three banded plover though.

large_Plover__Three_Banded_21.jpg

large_B6AC92A5C3DA284DE168559553CF54BF.jpg

Hippo flatulence gives off a powerful ammonia-like aroma, with the result that you can usually smell the hippos before you see them, especially when they are present in numbers such as these.

large_B6EE2812D4D24F010B759FCB3907CC0F.jpg

large_B72B6A84A2041C0A346E5F4B2B4B0F2A.jpg

Meanwhile, we head back to the Maasai Kopjes, where we immediately see a collared lioness atop a rock.

large_Maasai_Kopjes_41.jpg

large_Lion__Maasai_Pride__1.jpg

It looks like she has a cub with her.

large_Lion__Maasai_Pride__2.jpg

large_Lion__Maasai_Pride__5.jpg

As one cub walks off to the right, another one can be seen sitting up on the left.

large_Lion__Maasai_Pride__9.jpg

large_Lion__Maasai_Pride__4.jpg

Mum goes off to join the youngster on the left, and we discover another cub in the shade of the tree.

large_Lion__Maasai_Pride__8.jpg

large_Lion__Maasai_Pride__10A.jpg

The Maasai Pride is huge, and rarely venture far from this collection of rocky outcrops known as the Maasai Kopjes (hence the name of the lion pride, of course).

large_Maasai_Kopjes_42.jpg

large_Maasai_Kopjes_43.jpg

At the base of the rocks we see another lioness, hiding five young cubs in the long grass.

large_Lion__Maasai_Pride__7.jpg

The mum on top of the rock leaves her three cubs behind to go for a wander.

large_Lion__Maasai_Pride__12.jpg

Prompting her babies to explore too.

large_Lion__Maasai_Pride__13.jpg

large_Lion__Maasai_Pride__15.jpg

Maasai kopjes is teeming with big cats this morning, spread out over a large area. Everywhere we look there is a lion; some seeking the cool shade of the shrubby undergrowth, others the warmth of the sunbaked rocks.

large_Lion__Maas..ide__ZZZZZZ.jpg

large_Lion__Maasai_Pride__17.jpg

large_Lion__Maasai_Pride__18.jpg

large_Lion__Maasai_Pride__19.jpg

The kopjes are also home to a number of other species, such as this Dark Chanting Goshawk.

large_Goshawk__Dark_Chanting_31.jpg

And the Crested Lark.

large_Lark__Crested_1.jpg

The lark has a most beautiful song, as you can hear in David's video below.

large_Lark__Crested_2.jpg

.

.

More lions to follow in the next instalment of my blog. Our safari was arranged by Calabash Adventures, the best safari operators by far.

large_C92D2B77DC2E21BBA22E8DD007371629.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 01:03 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds travel adventure hot_air_balloons bird sunrise africa safari tanzania animal birding buffalo balloons lion lions watching hippo ostrich hyena bird_watching hippopotamus ostriches calabash_adventures maasai_kopjes cape_buffalo spotted_hyena plover hippo_pool hyenas spotted_hyenas kopjes Comments (4)

(Entries 1 - 3 of 3) Page [1]