A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about balloons

Serengeti Day 3 Part 1 - Tommy porn, jackal w/rabbit, croc

Elephants galore


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

Even before we are dressed and getting ready to go out on today's safari, at the unearthly hour of 05:15, we can hear the roar of a lion. It sounds terribly close by.

Giraffe

Our 'breakfast this morning' (as in the first animal we see today) is a giraffe, just sauntering past the camp. The sun is still considering its next move while painting the sky with purples and pinks.

large_e8f916b0-0f66-11e9-a4f5-e9811ab4bab4.jpg

large_91502e70-0f67-11e9-a4f5-e9811ab4bab4.jpg

Topi

A few metres further along, we see a mother topi with her very young baby, the kid being maybe a day or so old.

large_395cd200-1060-11e9-b77c-ff15515a57c5.jpg

large_42d37550-1060-11e9-beec-e58a23025e00.jpg

Spotted Hyena

Hyenas are Malisa's favourite animals. While at certain angles and in a certain light, they can look kinda cute (I suppose); at other times the hyena's sloping back gives it a rather menacing demeanour.

large_84bc6df0-106a-11e9-a490-1f6922a2c6ad.jpg

large_918bb220-106a-11e9-a490-1f6922a2c6ad.jpg

large_a366ec80-106a-11e9-a490-1f6922a2c6ad.jpg

large_c45da500-106a-11e9-a490-1f6922a2c6ad.jpg

Dik Dik

These, the smallest of Tanzania's antelopes, mate for life and are often found in family units of three such as this.

large_3f21b6f0-106b-11e9-a490-1f6922a2c6ad.jpg

large_7d10dbc0-106c-11e9-9f21-2d9ca284a3cb.jpg

Tommy Porn

Avert your eyes as a couple of Thomson's Gazelles put on an energetic display of early morning sex for us.

large_eff46960-10dd-11e9-9c95-9bd3ed2303a5.jpg

When I say “energetic”, I mean that he is putting a lot of effort in, while she is so not interested (preferring to continue eating), resulting in a number of aborted attempts.

large_fa9582f0-10dd-11e9-9a32-67dbba123502.jpg

This must be particularly frustrating as Thomson's Gazelles only mate twice a year to coincide with babies being born at the end of the rainy season after a gestation period of 5-6 months.

large_64584a50-10df-11e9-9c95-9bd3ed2303a5.jpg

Success at last! Although you may notice she is still eating.

large_78d22460-10df-11e9-9c95-9bd3ed2303a5.jpg

Pygmy Falcon

This bundle of fluff is just about the cutest thing we'll see this morning.

large_81f1fbe0-1131-11e9-a4c8-ed5cc4055f64.jpg

Black Breasted Snake Eagle

large_9a5b3890-1131-11e9-a4c8-ed5cc4055f64.jpg

Black Backed Jackal

We come across this jackal having his breakfast and stay with him for a while as he (unsuccessfully) tries to get the last leg of a hare down his throat.

large_0ead5120-1131-11e9-bce5-0fb813f8873e.jpg

large_188c5330-1131-11e9-bce5-0fb813f8873e.jpg

large_25ecdae0-1131-11e9-bce5-0fb813f8873e.jpg

large_369f9ad0-1131-11e9-a4c8-ed5cc4055f64.jpg

large_3f0ee040-1131-11e9-a4c8-ed5cc4055f64.jpg

large_567dde70-1131-11e9-a4c8-ed5cc4055f64.jpg

large_61fa63e0-1131-11e9-a4c8-ed5cc4055f64.jpg

Balloons

A few hot air balloons glide effortlessly by.

large_1b2821d0-1133-11e9-8ec1-3919d4fb3963.jpg

Marabou Stork

While Pygmy Falcons score highly on the cuteness scale, the Marabou Stork has to have been hiding behind a bush when looks were given out. There is nothing remotely attractive about this scavenger bird.

large_3827d690-1133-11e9-8ec1-3919d4fb3963.jpg

large_6c065770-1133-11e9-8ec1-3919d4fb3963.jpg

They seem to be 'everywhere'.

large_e517b050-1133-11e9-8ec1-3919d4fb3963.jpg

large_3ee52970-1137-11e9-9f29-25b65ad429a2.jpg

large_57464fd0-1137-11e9-9f29-25b65ad429a2.jpg

large_6fe62ce0-1137-11e9-9f29-25b65ad429a2.jpg

Nile Crocodile

The pond is also home to a rather large crocodile, sunning himself on the bank. Crocodiles are often found with their mouths wide open like this, hoping that any rotting food leftover in their teeth will attract insects and the insects in turn will draw birds to enter the cavity... and wham!

large_82e35200-1137-11e9-9f29-25b65ad429a2.jpg

Also hippo wallowing in the mud. As they do.

large_c2e12800-1137-11e9-9f29-25b65ad429a2.jpg

Suddenly an almighty racket occurs as the Egyptian Geese on the shore start urgent and deafening honking.

large_9eb2e3d0-113a-11e9-bdae-e3162fab02f4.jpg

We soon discover the reason for their panic: Mr Crocodile is on the move. How exciting, it is something we have very, very rarely seen, if at all.

large_d44e7370-1139-11e9-9f29-25b65ad429a2.jpg

He soon settles down and the geese seem to be almost mocking him by getting dangerously close.

large_c00a8100-113a-11e9-bdae-e3162fab02f4.jpg

Meanwhile, the hot air balloon has finished its morning flight and landed safely. As safely as you can while surrounded by wild animals.

large_eb977da0-113a-11e9-bdae-e3162fab02f4.jpg

Lilac Breasted Roller

No blog entry from Tanzania is complete with at least one roller picture.

large_15694370-1140-11e9-a7c9-550e61028327.jpg

Sausage Tree

The original vegetarian sausages anyone? These elongated fruits are much loved by a variety of animals, and, although poisonous in their raw state, humans have been known to use them for medicinal purposes to treat fungal infections, eczema, psoriasis, boils, diabetes, pneumonia. More importantly, the fruit can also be used to ferment beer!

large_5c1ade00-12c6-11e9-8651-53ea9ff2bc87.jpg

Lions

Lazing in the shade, the four lions are nonetheless very aware of the Thomson's Gazelle not terribly far away behind them. The Tommy, however, is totally oblivious to the danger lurking underneath the tree.

large_76d9fc20-12c7-11e9-9a12-837412aa34fe.jpg

large_80d42750-12c7-11e9-9a12-837412aa34fe.jpg

large_89fef490-12c7-11e9-9a12-837412aa34fe.jpg

With a jolt, he realises that he could so easily become breakfast and runs for his life. Good move Tommy, good move.

large_23bd8ef0-12ca-11e9-849c-17e57140a2a9.jpg

Yellow Throated Sandgrouse

Often found in large flocks, these noisy birds seem to just keep coming and coming until there are sandgrouse everywhere.

large_61712330-1340-11e9-8632-31c9cd20ab39.jpg

large_6d01f3f0-1340-11e9-8632-31c9cd20ab39.jpg

large_7ad86ef0-1340-11e9-8632-31c9cd20ab39.jpg

large_876b6d70-1340-11e9-8632-31c9cd20ab39.jpg

Immature Silverbird

large_a6a18a30-1340-11e9-8632-31c9cd20ab39.jpg

White Rumped Helmetshrike

large_c728b800-1340-11e9-8632-31c9cd20ab39.jpg

Cape Buffalo

large_d853dc40-1340-11e9-8632-31c9cd20ab39.jpg

large_e54f1270-1340-11e9-8632-31c9cd20ab39.jpg

Elephants

This is by far the largest herd of elephants I have ever seen. Just as we think we have counted them all, more appear. And then some. There are at least 75 of them, with elephants as far as the eye can see in two directions. Wow, wow and wow.

large_1e31ea70-14d8-11e9-8a34-d74e04c50a28.jpg

large_61525d30-14d8-11e9-8731-59f48d861984.jpg

large_783a9f30-14d8-11e9-8731-59f48d861984.jpg

large_82fab270-14d8-11e9-8731-59f48d861984.jpg

large_8fa46d40-14d8-11e9-8731-59f48d861984.jpg

large_9fbb3b50-14d8-11e9-8731-59f48d861984.jpg

Giraffe

large_62f51210-1517-11e9-b793-07627f3d78dc.jpg

Lion Crowd

Nestled in the shade of a tree, three lionesses with two cubs seem to have drawn quite a crowd with more coming all the time.

large_9474ec90-1592-11e9-82ab-273fb301e11a.jpg

large_9d5913e0-1592-11e9-82ab-273fb301e11a.jpg

Having had the luxury so far of generally being on our own at sightings (or at most, a couple of other vehicles), seeing so many trucks in one place comes as a bit of a shock. It doesn't take long, however, before photographing the lions seems to take second place for these people as their attention is drawn away from the cats to our vehicle. Big Bertha is now the main attraction and 'everyone' wants to take her photo. For those who have not been following this blog, Big Bertha is my newly acquired, and impressively massive, 600mm lens.

large_b1577c60-1592-11e9-82ab-273fb301e11a.jpg

Banded Mongoose

On a small mound just behind the lions, is a band mongooses, with their sentries keeping a close eye on the big cats and other dangers.

large_32424350-1593-11e9-82ab-273fb301e11a.jpg

large_454f6e00-1593-11e9-82ab-273fb301e11a.jpg

Leaving the lions behind, we make our way to one of our favourite picnic sites for breakfast.

Thank you Calabash Adventures for yet another fantastic morning in the bush.

large_e2d02300-15a1-11e9-8113-b70f205f90b5.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 01:27 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds elephants africa safari tanzania crocodile buffalo balloons lions giraffe hippo roller hyena stork geese topi mongoose hot_air_balloon jackal bird_watching game_drive calabash_adventures marabou_stork banded_mongoose spotted_hyena dik_dik thomson't_gazelle tommy_porn pygmy_falcon lilca_breasted_roller sausage_tree sandgrouse silverbird large_herd_of_elephants Comments (1)

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 - 2 of 2) Page [1]