A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about big bertha

Serengeti III: lost lion cub, pond life, croc, leopard

What an amazing afternoon!


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

Serengeti Visitors Centre

Always busy at lunchtime, we get the last free picnic table in the grounds. The place may be commercialised, but it has a very decent toilet block these days, and there are always lots of birds, rock hyraxes and lizards around to amuse us.

large_fc0d69b0-60c6-11ea-a72c-e9f79a90b576.jpg
D'Arnaud's Barbet

large_0d8f8790-60c7-11ea-a72c-e9f79a90b576.jpg
Grey Headed Social Weaver

large_1dd295c0-60c7-11ea-a72c-e9f79a90b576.jpg
Rock Hyrax

large_2d14aeb0-60c7-11ea-a72c-e9f79a90b576.jpg
Hildebrand Starling

large_3beb82b0-60c7-11ea-a72c-e9f79a90b576.jpg
Speckled Fronted Weaver

large_4a6bab30-60c7-11ea-a72c-e9f79a90b576.jpg
Mwanza Flat Headed Rock Agama

Once we have finished eating, we move on “to see what else nature has to offer us” - Malisa's favourite saying.

Warthog

large_ed3412c0-60c8-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg
He looks like he is smiling

Impala

large_afbe51c0-60c9-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg

large_ffa0c240-60c9-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg

This poor guy has a bad limp and barely gets out of the way of the passing car.

large_34b997e0-60ca-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg

I fear he will come a cropper sooner rather than later.

large_e7203790-60ca-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg

Pond Life

We spend a long time watching the comings and goings at a small pond.

large_ae4178f0-60cd-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg
Grey Heron

A baby baboon has found a bottle top that someone has dropped. He hope he doesn't choke on it.

large_605f3ab0-60cc-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg

large_03a00690-60ce-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg
Big Bertha* tries to get inside the nostrils of a hippo (*my 600mm lens)

large_23ea8410-60cf-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg
Spur Wing Plover

large_77f604d0-60cf-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg
Marabou Stork

large_b5bd99e0-60cf-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg
"Look into my eyes..."

large_e53230f0-60cf-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg
Another Grey Heron

large_fdb8eb40-60d0-11ea-ad99-c3d565536f38.jpg
Three Banded Plover

large_a65c0d40-612b-11ea-82b6-5372ef74f57e.jpg
A Rueppell's Long Tailed Glossy Starling shows off his beautiful feathers

He later also shows off his singing voice – he's a bit of an extrovert, this one.

large_cedd8220-612c-11ea-82b6-5372ef74f57e.jpg

large_5cc41b80-612d-11ea-82b6-5372ef74f57e.jpg
Black Crake

large_f3bdbef0-612e-11ea-b986-f9e98796429c.jpg
Marabou Stork

large_4e213de0-612f-11ea-b986-f9e98796429c.jpg
Nile Crocodile

large_09962220-6130-11ea-b986-f9e98796429c.jpg
Blacksmith Plover

Olive Baboons

Nearby a family of baboons eat their way through the vegetation.

large_9f151700-6132-11ea-8756-d75903fd6027.jpg

large_b61e9ca0-6132-11ea-8756-d75903fd6027.jpg

large_bfe35ff0-6132-11ea-8756-d75903fd6027.jpg

We reluctantly tear ourselves away from all the activities that are going on here by the water's edge, and move on to pastures new.

Banded Mongoose

large_53aacbb0-6133-11ea-8756-d75903fd6027.jpg

large_b77de910-6133-11ea-8756-d75903fd6027.jpg

large_f4a23940-6133-11ea-8756-d75903fd6027.jpg
A young giraffe

The sky is dark and foreboding and a sudden gust of wind blows across the savannah. Are we in for a storm?

Dik Dik

I love how names in Swahili are very often repeated, such as Dik Dik. These, the smallest of Tanzania's antelopes, mate for life, and when you see one of them, there is usually another one nearby - here you can see his mate in the bushes behind.

large_ab22ce00-6134-11ea-8756-d75903fd6027.jpg

Lion Cub

When a lioness with young goes off hunting, she will leave her cubs behind, with strict instructions to stay where they are (we have seen this in action previously – fascinating!). This little cub obviously did not do as he was told, and wandered off. Now he can't find his siblings, nor his mum.

large_8203b230-6136-11ea-8c5d-11705ce6b505.jpg

large_af4df9c0-6137-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

He walks out onto the road, but is unsure of which way to go.

large_07ee9300-6138-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

large_35c44720-6138-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

Maybe she went this way?

large_8fc24d80-6138-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

Maybe not...

large_d80aa2e0-6138-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

He strikes a lonesome, forlorn figure. We follow him for a while as he makes his way along the road, aimlessly darting into the grass on the left, only to pop over to the right hand side soon after.

large_80863d20-613a-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

large_e379a8e0-613a-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

large_edbb3d50-613a-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

large_1af28e90-613b-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

Eventually he changes his mind completely, and walks back the way he came, right by our car.

large_4eae6c40-613b-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

large_79ee8160-613b-11ea-b9e1-9b0cf1c1d881.jpg

large_d95709f0-6141-11ea-a124-fb582e0ee04c.jpg

Providing he doesn't deviate too far from where she left him, there is every chance that they will be reunited. When the mum gets back, she will call out for him.

large_efecbf20-6141-11ea-a124-fb582e0ee04c.jpg

Rain Storm

I was right earlier when I surmised we'd get a bit of a storm – after some huge lightning bolts and deafening thunder, the heavens open.

large_bdb5de50-6142-11ea-a124-fb582e0ee04c.jpg

Followed by a rainbow.

large_3481e5a0-6144-11ea-a124-fb582e0ee04c.jpg

Nile Crocodile

This one is very much bigger than the one we saw earlier.

large_5a0b1e90-6144-11ea-a124-fb582e0ee04c.jpg

African Hoopoe

It is still raining, and the poor hoopoe is looking somewhat bedraggled.

large_037972b0-6145-11ea-a124-fb582e0ee04c.jpg

large_fd5168b0-6145-11ea-a124-fb582e0ee04c.jpg
Two Banded Courser

large_a4d280e0-6148-11ea-b1aa-b55d3745b4b1.jpg
Nubian Woodpecker

Giraffe

An old male giraffe is being greatly bothered by the Oxpeckers all up his spine. His tail cannot reach that far so he shakes his neck violently to try and rid himself of the birds.

large_92545d80-614d-11ea-9ce7-8f2a921cd45e.jpg

large_88aa3c30-614f-11ea-bffa-1df090d2390e.jpg

large_923eeed0-614f-11ea-bffa-1df090d2390e.jpg

large_9d767c00-614f-11ea-bffa-1df090d2390e.jpg

Unusually, he is feeding on the ground rather than from a tree.

large_f4b932f0-614f-11ea-bffa-1df090d2390e.jpg

large_0ea73ae0-6150-11ea-bffa-1df090d2390e.jpg

large_4a739c30-6150-11ea-bffa-1df090d2390e.jpg

large_9b7eae30-6150-11ea-bffa-1df090d2390e.jpg
Augur Buzzard spreading his wings to dry after the rain

large_d7a37dd0-6152-11ea-8a57-fb8af77c89fe.jpg
Fischer's Lovebird

Leopard

Seeing a leopard on safari is always rewarding, as they are the most difficult of the three big cats to spot. Seeing two leopards is lucky! Seeing THREE leopards in the same day is just greedy! (we saw two others earlier in the day at two different sightings)

large_fea662b0-62f8-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

This guy is posing beautifully for us.

large_18743870-62f9-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

large_27f221e0-62f9-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

He's a big male, and judging by his restlessness, he's about to jump down from the tree.

large_5e287570-62f9-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

large_a542f930-62f9-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

He is soon on the move.

large_7c333190-62f9-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

Is he going to jump or just rearrange himself in a different branch?

large_c7e20a80-62f9-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

As he disappears the other side of the trunk, I expect he will be gone without a sight now.

large_449c9540-62fa-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

There he is! He's coming down!

large_8c05d540-62fa-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

All around me I can hear the high speed clicking of cameras. Unlike everywhere else we've been at any time in Tanzania, this sighting has attracted a number of serious photographers, including half a dozen other Big Berthas.

large_9ab2da20-62fa-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

Having a high frame rate certainly increases the odds of capturing the animal just at the right time.

large_afe57ce0-62fa-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

large_cf1f4320-62fa-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

large_d8f8ee00-62fa-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

Soon all we can see is the top of his tail. I can't believe just how long the grass is!

large_f87e6340-62fa-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

It looks like he is making his way towards the road.

large_266ecb50-62fb-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

Could we be lucky?

large_31d027a0-62fb-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

There he goes, between the cars!

large_55e3fea0-62fb-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

He re-emerges briefly the other side of the road, and disappears into the bush for the night.

large_61d7d6f0-62fb-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg

We really need to get going anyway, as the day draws to a close.

large_867fd7a0-62fb-11ea-84cf-9b06067574c7.jpg
We make a brief stop at a very exciting lifer - the Green Winged Pytillia

There is not much of a sunset tonight, but Malisa does stop a couple of times for me to photograph some dramatic cloud formations.

large_aec26760-62ff-11ea-95ac-df9471c7af68.jpg

large_b95bb8c0-62ff-11ea-95ac-df9471c7af68.jpg
Looks like rain in the distance

Sunburn

My lips feel very sore this evening when I get back to the tent. After a couple of incidents over the years, my bottom lip in particular has developed photosensitive dermatitis, and I am quite paranoid that they have become sunburnt. Three years ago an innocent sunburn turned into a secondary infection covering my entire mouth is open sores, something I really don't want a repeat of.

large_39765e70-6300-11ea-95ac-df9471c7af68.jpg

Insect Bites

My arms are itching like mad and I soon discover why – the bites from those horrible little tsetse flies have turned into blisters and angry red patches. I smother them in antihistamine cream and hope they get better overnight.

large_c98b4980-6300-11ea-95ac-df9471c7af68.jpg

Dinner

We have company this evening in the restaurant: a Swedish couple and their driver.

large_f8e1d140-6300-11ea-95ac-df9471c7af68.jpg

After another delicious dinner, starting with green banana soup (which tastes much better than it sounds); we retire to bed to the sounds of a not-so-distant lion.

large_430bdef0-6301-11ea-95ac-df9471c7af68.jpg
Main course: tender steak with croquette potatoes, vegetables and a fruity salad

large_5d7e5920-6301-11ea-95ac-df9471c7af68.jpg
Peach cobbler to finish

Thank you Calabash Adventures for yet another amazing day on safari.

large_6d7d5970-6301-11ea-95ac-df9471c7af68.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 15:06 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds sunset wildlife africa dinner safari rainbow tanzania crocodile lizard birding picnic lion giraffe hippo baboon serengeti leopard woodpecker heron stork sunburn steak impala starling weaver mongoose warthog hyrax barbet courser bird_watching hoopoe big_bertha calabash_adventures serengeti_visitors_centre plover dik_dik agama_lizard picnic_lunch pond_life wildlife_photography crake lion_cub lost_lion_cub rain_storm oxpecker lovebird pytillia dermititis insect_bites tsetse_fly tse_tse_fly peach_cobbler green_banana_soup Comments (2)

Lake Manyara: Tree Climbing Lion, Leopard -Treetop Walkway

Some great sightings in a park without high expectations


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

Breakfast Picnic, Lake Manyara National Park

We find ourselves at a large picnic site overlooking the valley below, with several picnic tables dotted about, and thankfully no other tourists.

large_aaf0f690-5bb8-11ea-9155-91a74e0e554e.jpg

large_b814c360-5bb8-11ea-9155-91a74e0e554e.jpg

large_c77783b0-5bb8-11ea-9155-91a74e0e554e.jpg

Last night the chef asked us what we wanted for our packed breakfast for today, and he suggested that we might like some croissants with bacon. It didn't expect three of them, plus boiled eggs and bacon, two yogurts and three bananas. We are certainly not going to starve on this trip. The croissants are, as you'd expect from an establishment such as the Kilimamoja Lodge, freshly made this morning, and were still warm when Malisa collected the boxes at 6am.

large_d564bb00-5bb8-11ea-9155-91a74e0e554e.jpg

We are joined by an army of ants.

large_e4509da0-5bb8-11ea-9155-91a74e0e554e.jpg

Later three cars with American tourists turn up. They are not the least bit interested in the view or other surroundings, they all want to see, feel, lift and have their photos taken with Big Bertha (my 600mm f/4 lens). It's a bit like having a puppy that everyone wants to stroke – she is certainly a talking point and a way of meeting people.

I use Bertha hand held to take this picture of elephants in the river way, way below us. With the 1.4x converter and the 7DII body, it makes an effective focal length of 1344mm. Bertha is really a bit too heavy to hand hold, so I used a 1/4000 second exposure, resulting in an ISO of 1000. Unfortunately the 7DII doesn't fare well with high ISO and the image is rather grainy as a result.

large_585a6d20-5bb9-11ea-9155-91a74e0e554e.jpg

Detour

Not even Malisa and his super-skilled driving can manage to get us across this ravine where the road has been washed away as a result of recent heavy rain.

large_e628b1a0-5bbb-11ea-8531-d5a4d2a1d7e8.jpg

We, and the three cars behind us, have a bit of a job trying to reverse back to a place suitable for turning.

Tree-Climbing Lions

Lake Manyara National Park is supposedly famous for its tree-climbing lions. On neither of our two previous visits to the park did we see a lion, let alone one aloft any branches. Malisa hears on the radio that one has been spotted not far away, so sets off in hot pursuit.

We are not alone, and initially we can't get anywhere near the cats!

large_31e6e1f0-5bbe-11ea-a779-9b95415e50d7.jpg

With a bit of skilful manoeuvring, however, and the goodwill of others drivers, we do eventually get to see one of the famous tree-lions of Manyara!

large_d7e7ada0-5bbe-11ea-a779-9b95415e50d7.jpg

large_182ffa20-5bbf-11ea-a779-9b95415e50d7.jpg

large_b4cccab0-5bc0-11ea-a779-9b95415e50d7.jpg

Under the tree we pick out two more. No, three. Actually, there are FOUR!

large_80db4190-5bc1-11ea-a779-9b95415e50d7.jpg

She doesn't look comfortable in her tree, and fidgets a lot, trying out different positions.

large_11a5e810-5bc2-11ea-b30c-e1c1e4336ed8.jpg

large_a822afd0-5bc2-11ea-b30c-e1c1e4336ed8.jpg

Neither are we. The pesky tsetse flies are irksome to say the least, and I feel like I am being eaten alive.

Leopard

So, do we hang around here, hoping the lioness will jump down, or do we follow the news on the radio that there is a leopard in a tree too? We opt for the latter.

large_5c08bc30-5bc6-11ea-894b-697b5d5eb9af.jpg

She is some distance away from the road (and my camera), and very well hidden in amongst the tree branches, making it very hard to focus. She too is unsettled.

large_cf9ede20-5bcd-11ea-9e09-9f846923645d.jpg

Not long after we arrive, she starts to make her way down from the tree. We are very lucky to have got here just in time. She didn't hang around for me to get a clear photo of her.

large_f3f22f20-5bcd-11ea-9e09-9f846923645d.jpg

large_fe162970-5bcd-11ea-9e09-9f846923645d.jpg

Blue Monkey

On our way out of the park, we spot the Blue Monkey, a species that we have seen rarely on our previous safaris.

large_82627bd0-5bd7-11ea-bdf5-a9e0de69ec16.jpg

large_8e2fe060-5bd7-11ea-bdf5-a9e0de69ec16.jpg

large_98040d00-5bd7-11ea-bdf5-a9e0de69ec16.jpg

Treetop Walkway

A new treetop walkway has opened up, just a five-minute drive from the main gate, and we stop there on our way.

large_bbf36c10-5bd7-11ea-bdf5-a9e0de69ec16.jpg

First we take a short walk through the woods, and our guide explain a few things along the way.

large_bc9040f0-5bda-11ea-8adb-bbf2aab1ed02.jpg
Mahogany Pod

large_c9877f80-5bda-11ea-8adb-bbf2aab1ed02.jpg

large_f6d8cbf0-5bdb-11ea-8adb-bbf2aab1ed02.jpg
So this is what the baboons were picking up from the floor and eating earlier.

large_409fb590-5bdd-11ea-84a8-d59b780cfa0f.jpg
Golden Orb Spider; a common insect in the forest

A gentle slope leads up to the first of ten platforms, and the start of the hanging rope bridges.

large_ba147210-5c07-11ea-b883-5f71b7ffc646.jpg

I start off nonchalantly, almost cocky, on the first bridge. Until it starts to sway. Considerably! Fear grips my like an iron glove and I feel myself starting to panic. Concentrating on breathing heavily, I stop and let the bridge settle down before continuing, this time much more gingerly and much less confidently.

large_32575760-5c08-11ea-803a-4b2c5eae08d8.jpg

I made it! Still shaking, only eight more bridges to go.

large_c6b879a0-5bdd-11ea-84a8-d59b780cfa0f.jpg

Even Malisa wavers a little at the swaying. To be fair, he is carrying my big camera in one hand, David's video camera in the other and his own over his shoulder.


.

It is the first treetop walkway in Tanzania and with a total of 370 metre,s one of the longest in Africa!

large_9a4db8a0-5c08-11ea-803a-4b2c5eae08d8.jpg

large_c75ac590-5c08-11ea-803a-4b2c5eae08d8.jpg

There are nine bridges and ten platforms.

large_eac03420-5c08-11ea-803a-4b2c5eae08d8.jpg

By the time I get to the end of bridge number four, I have regained my confidence, and am beginning to enjoy it.

large_251d26f0-5c09-11ea-803a-4b2c5eae08d8.jpg

Having been on several of these in the past, I have no expectations of seeing any animals or even birds from it; I am just here to 'enjoy' the experience. I am therefore very surprised to see a couple of Blue Monkeys.

large_53559480-5c09-11ea-803a-4b2c5eae08d8.jpg

large_6009d6a0-5c09-11ea-803a-4b2c5eae08d8.jpg

large_6a6b0100-5c09-11ea-803a-4b2c5eae08d8.jpg
Look at the length of that tail!

large_8a055dd0-5c09-11ea-803a-4b2c5eae08d8.jpg

The walkway’s highest point is 18 metres above the ground.

large_c6b84e90-5c09-11ea-803a-4b2c5eae08d8.jpg

It's all downhill from now on.

large_e57df640-5c09-11ea-803a-4b2c5eae08d8.jpg

large_5cebff60-5c0a-11ea-803a-4b2c5eae08d8.jpg

large_68113d10-5c0a-11ea-803a-4b2c5eae08d8.jpg

large_876b3580-5c0a-11ea-aff2-41ae6f406101.jpg

Just a short walk through the woods back to the car and we'll be on our way for the third part of today's adventures. Stay tuned!

large_bda35dd0-5c0a-11ea-803a-4b2c5eae08d8.jpg

Thank you Calabash Adventures for arranging all this for us.

large_cccee180-5c0a-11ea-803a-4b2c5eae08d8.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 13:12 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds wildlife elephants breakfast africa safari spider birding picnic lions flooding ants manyara leopard fear blue_monkey detour bird_watching panic lake_manyara big_bertha calabash_adventures tse_tse_flies big_cats breakfast_picnic ravine breakfast_box wildlife_photography picnic_site kilimamoja_lodge canon_600mm american_tourists tree_climbing_lions treetop_walkway canopy_walkway hanging_bridges rope_bridges manyara_treetops_walkway mahogany_pod Comments (2)

Bristol - Arusha

Heading back to our beloved Tanzania


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

For a number of years we have talked about visiting Tanzania during the 'Baby Season', ie. the time of year when the wildebeest and zebra return to their place of birth to to continue the circle of life with a new generation of babies.

Today we set out on the journey to make this happen.

Packing light is not an option when you are a photographer, and we are also taking a number of gifts for our Tanzanian 'family' this time. With my 600mm f/4 lens, known as Big Bertha, travelling in its own flight case, we are dangerously near the 60kg checked in luggage limit for the two of us.

large_38d2d130-5246-11ea-8630-f5a8df5e6ea6.jpg

Big Bertha has to be sent as Oversized Luggage, as does the soft bag with gifts, and we reluctantly wave them goodbye at the special desk at Heathrow, and watch them being wheeled off into the belly of the airport. “Take good care of my baby now!”

large_feb9f7c0-52ff-11ea-8bee-894aac4f11fd.jpg

Dinner

Once we are rid of the checked in luggage, we proceed through immigration and go to The Commission pub to grab something to eat.

large_5fc8ec10-5300-11ea-b6fa-851e8cea7c76.jpg
Salmon with curried cauliflower

large_6e1f4570-5300-11ea-b6fa-851e8cea7c76.jpg
Fish finger toasted sandwich

large_7ce96f40-5300-11ea-b6fa-851e8cea7c76.jpg
Rekorderlig Strawberry and Lime

large_8df090c0-5300-11ea-b6fa-851e8cea7c76.jpg
I didn't quite manage Dry January, it's another three hours to go. Cheers!

Qatar Airways

Thankfully the plane for the first leg of the journey (London to Doha) is not full, and we are able to spread out a little with three seats for the two of us.

large_e54289f0-5300-11ea-b6fa-851e8cea7c76.jpg

There is a screaming child behind us, constantly screeching, crying and whining. While David finds it super-annoying, after years of working in a nightclub I can mostly tune out unwanted noise. I put my cervical collar on and drift off to sleep.

large_331b6ed0-5301-11ea-b6fa-851e8cea7c76.jpg

Doha

The city looks quite spectacular as we approach the landing, all lit up in the early morning. I try to take some photos through the aircraft window, but fail miserably.

To reach the terminal building, we have a long bus journey following a slow luggage truck around the aiport apron. One we get inside, we are a little dismayed to find our connecting flight to Tanzania is not showing on the Departures Board.

large_e204f5b0-5301-11ea-b6fa-851e8cea7c76.jpg

We follow everyone else downstairs to the departures hall anyway, where an official scans our boarding cards and tells us the gate number. It is a long way to reach the other terminal, and involves a train journey. It seems everyone in the entire airport are right here right now, and I find it a little uncomfortable when there is a massive crush for the down escalator.

large_414ae9d0-5302-11ea-b6fa-851e8cea7c76.jpg

Like we did on the first flight, we have plenty of space on the aircraft for the next leg too, with two seats each. By the time we take off from Doha, it is daylight, and we have a great view of the city below.

large_ad87ce60-5302-11ea-b6fa-851e8cea7c76.jpg

The flight is reasonably uneventful, and although I do manage to grab some sleep, it is very disturbed sleep as a result of taking Lariam this morning (antimalarial prophylaxis which causes dreadful nightmares), restless legs and the overwhelmingly bad BO wafting from the seat in front.

large_99bf2670-5303-11ea-9fbb-9107caf3ef07.jpg

Approaching Kilimanjaro Airport, we initially fly over the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which looks surprisingly dry, with clearly defined animal paths. Later we see cultivated areas, with green patterned fields; followed by the urban areas of Arusha. I cannot believe how much more sprawling the city has become since the fist time we visited in 2007.

Kilimanjaro Airport

After landing at Kilimanjaro, the international airport servicing Arusha and the northern safari circuit, we have to wait ages for the aircraft steps to arrive. The flight goes on to Dar es Salaam, and a number of passengers are continuing rather than de-planing here. A very inconsiderate such lady passenger decides that re-arranging her luggage is much more important than letting the other travellers off the plane, and spends ages blocking the aisle. Eventually she reluctantly steps aside, while still leaving her trolley bag in the gangway for us to step over. Some people should not be allowed to fly!

large_55ee8110-5304-11ea-9fbb-9107caf3ef07.jpg

Before we are allowed into the terminal building, we all have to line up outside and disinfect our hands.

There is a long queue for Visa on Arrival, and as we walk directly up to the immigration counter we are extremely grateful that we applied for ours before we left home.

Both Malisa (our driver-guide) and Tillya (the owner of Calabash Adventures, the company who arranged our safari) are there to greet us with enormous hugs! It feels like coming home to family!

Soon after we leave the airport, Malisa stops to get a small treat out of the car fridge for David – a Savanna Cider, David's favourite!

large_e822f0c0-5304-11ea-9fbb-9107caf3ef07.jpg

Gran Melia Hotel

We see the rear side of the hotel from a distance, and comment on how lovely the balconies look. Expecting to be driving to the other side of Arusha to check in to the A1 hotel (a modern but somewhat soul-less establishment), we are delighted to be staying here instead. Despite being a large hotel, the Gran Melia is extremely nice and a completely different class to the A1. We are greeted with the customary welcome drink before checking in to our room.

large_bc797600-5305-11ea-bb1b-f79283c75781.jpg

It is good to see that they are well ahead of the eco-game, using bamboo straws in their drinks

large_cd0d1530-5305-11ea-bb1b-f79283c75781.jpg

large_d7f6a970-5305-11ea-bb1b-f79283c75781.jpg

large_f22e8ba0-5305-11ea-bb1b-f79283c75781.jpg

large_0624ddd0-5306-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg

Our balcony looks out over the front of the building, and we love the plants on the roofs below, making the outlook softer, adding insulation and creating more of a green space!

large_3d875550-5306-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg

We have a couple of hours before we are meeting Tillya and his wife Halima for dinner, so we take a walk around the resort.

large_9eada230-5306-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg
The central atrium

large_bf579a40-5306-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg
Giant chess set on the patio

large_d7ce6b80-5306-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg
The lobby

large_ed2203c0-5306-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg
The lounge

large_07c32f10-5307-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg
Sculpture at the entrance

large_1d7ab940-5307-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg
The front entrance, providing a covered drop-off point for guests

large_2f75fec0-5307-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg
Love the old car!

large_4d44c350-5307-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg
Ponds with mosquito-eating fish along the covered walkway from the drop-off point to the reception and lobby

The grounds are more akin to a botanical garden, with the large free-form swimming pool blending in with a natural lake and waterfalls, all connected by walkways and bridges.

large_6d33a8c0-5307-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg

large_7f2d8eb0-5307-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg

large_95915e70-5307-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg

large_a237bde0-5307-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg

large_b772c510-5307-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg

large_ccb5bb80-5307-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg

large_d8908d90-5307-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg

large_e93f07c0-5307-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg

Dinner

Having known Tillya for 13 years, and also communicated with his wife on several occasions via email, it is great to finally meet Halima in person.

large_5dc3fab0-5308-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg

The hotel buffet is very nice, especially the dessert section, and we have a lovely evening catching up on news, hearing about Tillya's future plans and discussing politics and current affairs.

large_6bd338f0-5308-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg
Tender beef kebabs, fried yam, a local green vegetable similar to spinach, taro crisps, chicken kebabs, prawns with sesame seeds and a spicy sauce, plus a bowl of delicious dhal

large_b1cff0a0-5308-11ea-a0a4-1b46e9aefbb1.jpg
Some of the selection from the dessert buffet. Shhh, don't tell anyone, but I went back for seconds. With so many different dishes to choose from, it would be rude not to!

And so the first day (and second, technically, as we left the UK yesterday) of our latest trip comes to and end; and after 32 hours of travelling, it is a relief to get into bed.

Thank you Calabash for arranging yet another safari for us.

large_84048040-5309-11ea-9e9b-c51796fa7d5c.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 07:51 Archived in Tanzania Tagged safari tanzania heathrow cider doha arusha big_bertha calabash_adventures ngorongoro_conservation_area kilimanjaro_airport qatar_airways savanna_cider the_commission_pub oversized_luggage malisa gran_melia_hotel psanone_supermarket tillya halima dessert_buffet Comments (5)

Ngorongoro Crater Day 2 Part 2 - kingfisher, baby zebra

From breakfast until lunch


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

Picnic Breakfast

We stop at the now very familiar Lerai Picnic Site for breakfast. On most of our previous visits to the crater we have stopped here, either to have a picnic or simply to make use of the facilities. The first time we came, in 2007, the toilets were pretty horrendous, but these days they are very much improved, with an attendant looking after cleanliness and stocking up on soap and paper.

large_93ca19c0-fc7c-11e8-b191-f3c80407b8dd.jpg

large_87daae40-fc7c-11e8-b191-f3c80407b8dd.jpg

large_a0a85210-fc7c-11e8-b191-f3c80407b8dd.jpg
David is ready to get going "to see what nature has to offer us" (one of Malisa's favourite sayings)

We share our picnic this morning with a cheeky little monkey and a Hildebrand Starling.

large_57208cf0-fc7e-11e8-b191-f3c80407b8dd.jpg
Black Faced Vervet Monkey

large_5fa09b40-fc7e-11e8-b191-f3c80407b8dd.jpg

Defassa Waterbuck

large_88ce9940-fc7e-11e8-b191-f3c80407b8dd.jpg

large_0d17ef80-fcb6-11e8-b88e-03fcd8a2c05d.jpg

large_6f99d4c0-fcb6-11e8-bcf2-ef801f38ba54.jpg

You can easily tell the Defassa from the Common Waterbuck, providing you see them from behind: the Defassa has a circular white spot on its rear, while the Common Waterbuck features a much more prominent 'toilet-seat-shaped' white mark on its bum.

large_cf8aa950-fc7e-11e8-b191-f3c80407b8dd.jpg

Bird Pond

Initially attracted by a Hammerkop, we stop at a marshy area and soon discover the site is teeming with colourful birdlife.

large_16108a00-fc86-11e8-9ad5-a17937ed8aaa.jpg
Hammerkop

large_213be230-fc86-11e8-9ad5-a17937ed8aaa.jpg
Sacred Ibis

large_2df83aa0-fc86-11e8-9ad5-a17937ed8aaa.jpg
Egyptian Goose

large_3e1f0e40-fc86-11e8-9ad5-a17937ed8aaa.jpg
Black Headed Heron

large_500a2720-fc86-11e8-b191-f3c80407b8dd.jpg
Immature Yellow Billed Stork

Malachite Kingfisher

I spot something colourful out of the corner of my eye, and ask Malisa to reverse to a different view, where I am delighted to see a Malachite Kingfisher sitting on some reeds.

large_8f580e10-fc86-11e8-8dbc-7b93f7753808.jpg

I grab Big Bertha (my 600mm lens) and wait for him to go fishing. He does, but he misses and so do I. He does fly around a bit and offers me a few different poses though.

large_c657cc20-fc86-11e8-8dbc-7b93f7753808.jpg

large_d4a41360-fc86-11e8-8dbc-7b93f7753808.jpg

large_de546450-fc86-11e8-9623-97aa9238ca27.jpg

large_ebfcf180-fc86-11e8-9623-97aa9238ca27.jpg

large_f58fcf60-fc86-11e8-9623-97aa9238ca27.jpg

large_fd730170-fc86-11e8-9623-97aa9238ca27.jpg
Bad hair day!

Finally he settles on a reed nearer to us, without a distracting background. Yay!

large_08e72270-fc87-11e8-9623-97aa9238ca27.jpg

Rasta Lion

That lump you see under the tree is a sleeping lion. Honestly.

large_b0a8d730-fcb7-11e8-8fea-55469072df54.jpg

large_0af69c80-fcbe-11e8-a52f-87bd833fb06b.jpg
Hildebrand Starling

Ring Necked Dove

I get really excited about seeing this dove until I realise it is the same ones as we have in abundance back home in the garden. Doh.

large_c317e8f0-fcbe-11e8-b7a1-f367489f6685.jpg

large_95bc0340-fcbf-11e8-9d4f-130fe5b1af79.jpg
African Hoopoe

Lions

These are the same lions we saw yesterday devouring their kill. Having filled their bellies with zebra, they do not need to eat again for three days or so, rather they will now spend the time resting in the shade while they are digesting their food.

large_f2f31f20-fcc0-11e8-b7a1-f367489f6685.jpg

large_ba9dedc0-fcc1-11e8-b7a1-f367489f6685.jpg
Hippo and Zebra

Thomson's Gazelles

Cute little Tommy babies (Thomson's Gazelle). The good news is they are the second fastest animal in Tanzania. The bad news is, the cheetah is faster.

large_daf6a6a0-fcc3-11e8-80dd-a57d685a507a.jpg

large_e4aac820-fcc3-11e8-80dd-a57d685a507a.jpg

large_ee85d290-fcc3-11e8-80dd-a57d685a507a.jpg

Wildebeest

These odd-looking ungulates are renowned for being incredibly stupid with a dangerously short memory. Here they prove that theory by suddenly forgetting why they are fighting.

large_61ca87e0-fcc5-11e8-80dd-a57d685a507a.jpg

large_7086f610-fcc5-11e8-80dd-a57d685a507a.jpg
Kori Bustard

Bateleur Eagle

These striking raptors have no tail to steady them in flight, instead they use their wings and body weight.

large_dacd5790-02b4-11e9-90f6-59d91e6f0cb8.jpg

Lions

These three lions are brothers, and while the one at the front is older, the other two hail from the same litter.

large_239937b0-fcc9-11e8-a564-8dc9c70d40ba.jpg

large_19b357d0-fcc9-11e8-a564-8dc9c70d40ba.jpg

Male lion

Yet another lion just lazing around, sleeping the day away, not realising that he should be performing for the camera-wielding tourists.

large_a3f41ab0-fcc9-11e8-a564-8dc9c70d40ba.jpg

large_aa44d070-fcca-11e8-a564-8dc9c70d40ba.jpg
Augur Buzzard

Zebra

Less than one week old, this baby zebra is torn between exploring the world and sticking close to his mum. When he is spooked by another zebra, mum jumps to his defence and sees the intruder off.

large_c5686000-fd6b-11e8-afab-dd9872b5a730.jpg

large_d5f150d0-fd6b-11e8-afab-dd9872b5a730.jpg

large_e03dbab0-fd6b-11e8-afab-dd9872b5a730.jpg

large_e9f05590-fd6b-11e8-afab-dd9872b5a730.jpg

large_17fd5b70-fd6e-11e8-8313-175c5fabe5c5.jpg
Golden Jackal

Rhino

Malisa assures us that the blurry blob we see in the far distance is in fact a rhino. We have to take his word for it. Heat haze, dust, and atmospheric distortions make it impossible to take a decent photo, or even verifying his claim.

large_3a0b5050-fd6e-11e8-8313-175c5fabe5c5.jpg

large_ec6b4700-fd73-11e8-be99-e7b73634d934.jpg
Eurasian Hobby

Cape Buffalo

With a baby just a few days old, the mother looks painfully and alarmingly thin.

large_57219b80-fd88-11e8-b73b-33d870c1ca94.jpg

Thomson's Gazelle

Although in some ways, and certainly from a photographer's point of view, it is great that the animals in Tanzania's national parks have become so accustomed to tourists that they no longer see the vehicles as a threat; the danger lies when they don't even bother to get out of the way – we almost run this little Thomson's Gazelle over as he isn't the least bothered about moving from our path as we approach.

large_f68324d0-fd9e-11e8-90f2-bf7f1ac65788.jpg

Hippo Pool

Some years ago when we came to the Crater, we had our picnic in this spot, and the pond was teeming with hippos (the aroma of 50 hippos belching, farting and crapping is not a good accompaniment to a tasty packed lunch), but today there are only a few of them around.

large_1282a7a0-fd9f-11e8-90f2-bf7f1ac65788.jpg

Great White Pelican

There are, however, quite a number of Great White Pelicans showing off their breeding plumage.

large_4612ec00-fda0-11e8-90f2-bf7f1ac65788.jpg

large_4e797ee0-fda0-11e8-90f2-bf7f1ac65788.jpg

This is what a pelican looks like when it's yawning:

large_89db5e90-fda0-11e8-90f2-bf7f1ac65788.jpg

large_92ae20c0-fda0-11e8-90f2-bf7f1ac65788.jpg

Cattle Egret

large_a2e5bd40-fda0-11e8-90f2-bf7f1ac65788.jpg

large_affbce70-fda0-11e8-90f2-bf7f1ac65788.jpg

Hyena

Through all the distortions it is impossible to make out what this hyena is carrying in its mouth, even with powerful binoculars or Big Bertha. Could it be a baby Tommy? Or maybe a Kori Bustard?

large_7a00aa50-fdfc-11e8-ace4-39556f57f191.jpg

Windy

The wind has really blown up today, creating havoc with any dust kicked up by moving vehicles and blowing my hair in all directions (especially in front of my eyes as I am trying to take a photo)

large_c8adf630-fdfc-11e8-ace4-39556f57f191.jpg

Grey Crowned Cranes

It seems I am not the only one having a bad hair day.

large_eafc2860-fdfc-11e8-ace4-39556f57f191.jpg

large_f38bee20-fdfc-11e8-ace4-39556f57f191.jpg

In particularly arid areas where there is no vegetation to hold on to the soil, the sand gets blown into the car and we end up quite literally eating grit.

large_e267b240-fdfd-11e8-ace4-39556f57f191.jpg

Warthogs

Looking like they are praying, warthogs eat by kneeling on specially adapted pads on their front legs. This is because their short necks and relativity long legs make it difficult for their mouth to reach the ground in a conventional feeding position.

large_b6b7aa00-fe0d-11e8-8893-9baceb9ab71a.jpg

large_c0c66ea0-fe0d-11e8-8893-9baceb9ab71a.jpg

Golden Jackal

large_22529320-fe17-11e8-91d3-d52e218ee159.jpg

large_2bad7110-fe17-11e8-91d3-d52e218ee159.jpg

Kori Bustard

large_2f029a10-fe18-11e8-91d3-d52e218ee159.jpg

large_38ca4390-fe18-11e8-91d3-d52e218ee159.jpg

large_5fe1b9a0-fe44-11e8-94ed-2f27a15f9bbb.jpg
Flamingos

large_6e2f8780-fe44-11e8-94ed-2f27a15f9bbb.jpg
Yellow Billed Stork

large_7a3f9a60-fe44-11e8-94ed-2f27a15f9bbb.jpg

Secretary Bird

The same bird we spotted last night is still busy on her nest. I am not sure if she is still building it or just rearranging the furniture.

large_c41d9170-fe24-11e8-80f8-872e7b16d8da.jpg

large_cea70450-fe24-11e8-a0c3-ab2904e493a3.jpg

It is time to leave the Ngorongoro Crater – one of my favourite places in the world - for this time. We will be back.

Thank you Tillya of Calabash Adventures for arranging this superb safari.

large_9784b830-fe26-11e8-99fb-87489cc6061b.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 04:48 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds travel breakfast sand africa safari tanzania pool zebra birding picnic buffalo lion windy rhino hippo wind crane hobby dust hyena heron egret stork ibis pelican waterbuck gazelle kingfisher warthog goose kori_bustard grip big_bertha calabash_adventures hammerkop secretary_bird picnic_breakfast augur_buzzard breakfast_box lerai_picnic_site malachite_kingfisher rasta_lion crowned_crane cattle_egret thomason's_gazelle golden_jackal baby_zebra Comments (2)

Arusha - Ngorongoro Crater Day 1 Part 1

Worth the early start


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

Lyn and Chris are nearly always up before us and are such sticklers for time-keeping that we are very surprised when they don't arrive at the agreed time for breakfast.

They finally show up some 20 minutes later – it turns out they had set the alarm time but not turned the alarm on. No harm done, thankfully, and we are all ready to go when Malisa arrives.

large_451695b0-f02e-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Augur Buzzard

A mere 100 metres down the road from the hotel we spot our first wildlife of the day: the regal Augur Buzzard.

large_08f998d0-f02d-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Not so welcome this morning are the police checks on our way to Ngorongoro, we get stopped at two of them for Malisa to show them his paperwork – which is all in order, of course - so we are soon on our way to “see what nature has to offer us today” (one of Malisa's favourite sayings).

Lodoare Gate

While Malisa waits for the paperwork at the entrance gate to Ngorongoro Conservation Area, we make use of the facilities and free wifi. We notice they have painted the gate a different colour to how it was when we came here last (it was a safari-beige, it is now a jade-green).

large_5beab370-f02e-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Crater View Point

Even here, miles from anywhere, free wifi is being advertised. I guess it is good for a brief 'boast post' on social media, but I do feel somewhat sad that being surrounded by wonderful nature and amazing wildlife is no longer enough.

large_43af6f20-f02f-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

large_6ba3dbb0-f02f-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

large_5e05fce0-f02f-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

large_b02d5450-f02f-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Malisa assures us that the small blob we see in the far, far distance is in fact a rhino.

large_98ae0270-f02f-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Porcupine

As I mentioned in yesterday's blog entry, I usually bring along a 'wish list' on my safaris, and porcupine is on this year's list. The next best thing to a live animal is seeing these porcupine spines. The meat has gone, of course, as it would most likely have been killed by a leopard for its dinner last night.

large_b7fac990-f031-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Chameleon

My wish list is going really well and so early on in the safari, with another item being ticked off when Malisa spots this Flap Necked Chameleon by the side of the road. I don't know just how he manages to spot it; as you can see it blends perfectly with its surroundings. I am excited about this small reptile as it is the first time I have ever seen a chameleon in Tanzania.

large_365b8a40-f032-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Ngorongoro Crater

We take a different route down into the crater today than the one we normally do: this time using the Lemala Descent Road. We have come down this track once before, a few years ago, and I love the way the track makes its way underneath the majestic Flat Topped Acacia Trees.

large_3eb958a0-f034-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

The trees, with their characteristic flat tops (hence the name), act as umbrellas and protect the soil from erosion during heavy rains.

large_4a4a2960-f034-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Look at how dense that canopy is ~ isn't nature wonderful?

large_5503d400-f034-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Sodom's Apple

Although this fruit belongs to the tomato family, you won’t find it in any salads. Known as Sodom’s Apple as it is said to be the first plant to grow again after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; the small, yellow fruit is used as a medicine for stomach ache, diarrhoea and to treat external wounds. When you see this plant growing, you know that the soil in the area is not of high quality as it grows best in poor soil.

large_60010750-f0e4-11e8-a491-55362bc2dc4d.jpg

Olive Baboons

A large troupe of baboons crosses our path.

large_19125c40-f0e9-11e8-88dd-8956a1e55cc2.jpg

large_29b64f20-f0e9-11e8-88dd-8956a1e55cc2.jpg

large_55ede3a0-f0e9-11e8-88dd-8956a1e55cc2.jpg

The little one who almost got left behind.

large_38f35f00-f0e9-11e8-88dd-8956a1e55cc2.jpg

large_4748ce00-f0e9-11e8-88dd-8956a1e55cc2.jpg

It is so sad to see empty water bottles littering the crater floor. Malisa explains that the Maasai tribesmen who come this way are guilty of this.

large_6672dcd0-f0e9-11e8-88dd-8956a1e55cc2.jpg

large_f3595200-f0ee-11e8-863a-bfbf30c24805.jpg
Love the human-like expression on the face of this baboon as he ponders his next move

This little guy appears to be trying to get some sleep while being carried on his mother's back.

large_795a4850-f0ef-11e8-863a-bfbf30c24805.jpg

Speckled Mousebirds

Sociable creatures, Speckled Mousebirds often huddle together for warmth and company. It was only when they moved apart that I realised this was in fact TWO birds, they were so close together initially.

large_148962a0-f0f2-11e8-863a-bfbf30c24805.jpg

Cape Buffalo

large_ea5d1d20-f162-11e8-9731-e5ceb92e53ba.jpg
He is right beside the car

large_fd3c9630-f164-11e8-9731-e5ceb92e53ba.jpg

large_4b9def80-f166-11e8-9731-e5ceb92e53ba.jpg
Unpredictable and highly dangerous, these guys have the most impressive horns. They reportedly charge thousands of people a year, and gore over 200. They can attack and cause serious injury with the tips of their huge, curved horns, or by head butting with their "boss" which is the solid shield of horn that covers the skull where the horns emerge.

Got to scratch that itch!

large_2b6f7390-f167-11e8-9731-e5ceb92e53ba.jpg

large_b9236ac0-f194-11e8-9c12-85044454dce8.jpg
Northern Wheatear (non-breeding female)

Warthogs

large_f6403220-f19a-11e8-9c12-85044454dce8.jpg

The sort of face only a mother could love

large_06e42500-f19b-11e8-9c12-85044454dce8.jpg

Uncharacteristically, these warthogs do not run away as we stop to take photos – they are usually such skittish creatures and these are remarkably close to the vehicle. They just lift their head and make a cursory glance in our direction before resuming their grazing.

large_f3c66310-f19b-11e8-9322-9f537e62e4eb.jpg

large_8eb8fb80-f19c-11e8-944e-bbf9bb1146b6.jpg

Ostrich

You can tell from the pink colouration to the neck and legs that this huge bird is on heat and ready to fertilise those all-important eggs.

large_e57a6290-f19e-11e8-9322-9f537e62e4eb.jpg

large_b34aa880-f1b1-11e8-b960-75ed12430189.jpg
Augur Buzzard, apparently in a 'strop', stamping his feet: "I don't want to fly off!"

Zebra

large_02af7d30-f1b5-11e8-b960-75ed12430189.jpg

large_ad9d3e00-f1b8-11e8-b960-75ed12430189.jpg

large_33c01430-f1b9-11e8-b960-75ed12430189.jpg

Grant's Gazelle

large_78c94420-f1b9-11e8-b960-75ed12430189.jpg

large_94d0dd40-f1b9-11e8-b960-75ed12430189.jpg

large_9de674d0-f1b9-11e8-b960-75ed12430189.jpg

large_a9c73a50-f1b9-11e8-b960-75ed12430189.jpg
Crested Lark

Black Backed Jackal

large_062168d0-f26d-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

large_b4132230-f26d-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

Secretary Bird

We are rather bemused by this secretary bird performing his mating ritual. We are not quite sure who it is aimed at, as there are no other birds in sight. Maybe he is just practising for the real thing.

large_1525b570-f26d-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

large_47a8ec10-f26d-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

large_51ba6fd0-f26d-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

Lion

We initially wonder why this lioness is not chasing the warthogs, as they look to us that they could be an easy lunch, but then we discover that she is heavily pregnant and thus would be concerned that any exertion could make her lose the baby.

large_a740b440-f26e-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

large_50defc90-f270-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

large_be4f1be0-f26e-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

large_6350ee20-f26f-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

large_21e138a0-f26f-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg
She's just a big pussycat really

Is she going for it? They are pretty close to her now and would make an easy target.

large_9ed46a20-f270-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

large_0a3c4b70-f271-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg
Big baby belly

Too late, they've discovered her.

large_1f3dd6a0-f272-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

Instead she saunters off to try and find a safe place to give birth. I wish we could stay around for that.

large_7a09b450-f272-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

large_e1e69a20-f272-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

By the time the lioness has disappeared, David admits that he is absolutely desperate to pee. We are just about to make a 'bush stop' when another vehicle turns up. A lot of heavy breathing and jumping from foot to foot ensues until Malisa can find a safe place for David to get out of the car. Getting back in again he lets out the largest sigh of relief you can imagine, much to everyone else's amusement.

large_ebf0d570-f273-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg
Little Bee Eater

large_582d0270-f28f-11e8-8052-7f6ad4b132c4.jpg
Levaillant's Cisticola

large_c1ed6360-f291-11e8-8052-7f6ad4b132c4.jpg
Singing his little heart out

large_601fa190-f302-11e8-b35a-7f9e459e9aed.jpg
Tawny Eagle

Hippos

It is fairly unusual to find them out on land, normally all you can see is the top of their backs as they wallow in shallow water. Hippos cannot swim, so they will always find areas where the water is no deeper than they are able to stand at the bottom while still having their heads above the water. Here we can only just see the top of their backs as the rest is hidden by vegetation. Makes a change from water I guess.

large_89ffdf20-f32f-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg

Just as we are about to leave the hippos and head to the picnic site, they get up and start to move, so we stay for a little longer, watching them splash into the small pond.

large_b5535530-f32f-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg

large_c28b4640-f32f-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg

large_d201dcb0-f32f-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg

large_e35d86d0-f32f-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg

large_f3f4f690-f32f-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg

large_02bd99c0-f330-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg

Ostrich Porn

On our way to lunch we get side tracked by another ostrich, and this one has found himself a likely suitor. Initially he pretends to be totally disinterested although it doesn't take long before he is doing his very best to impress her with a dramatic dance routine.

large_51eb0ec0-f307-11e8-b489-f979b2e7a3e9.jpg

large_787c8ff0-f307-11e8-b489-f979b2e7a3e9.jpg

large_8347c6c0-f307-11e8-b489-f979b2e7a3e9.jpg

large_91f71590-f307-11e8-b489-f979b2e7a3e9.jpg

She is bowled over by his sexy moves and capitulates to his charms.

large_c8b90750-f307-11e8-b489-f979b2e7a3e9.jpg

large_d6becfb0-f307-11e8-b489-f979b2e7a3e9.jpg

David caught it all on video, with narration provided by Chris

.

As soon as he's had his wicked way with her, he just gets up and walks away, leaving her apparently frustrated and still flapping her wings for attention, wondering what all the fuss was about. Sheesh. What a lothario!

large_1b21d490-f308-11e8-b489-f979b2e7a3e9.jpg

large_26b34190-f308-11e8-b489-f979b2e7a3e9.jpg

large_342fdcc0-f308-11e8-b489-f979b2e7a3e9.jpg

Zebras

We almost end up with a T-bone steak when a zebra without road sense decides to dart out in front of us. Thankfully no harm done.

large_919d0020-f332-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg

large_9f3dec30-f332-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg

large_aec35a40-f333-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg
European White Stork - not a permanent resident in Tanzania, the stork is a seasonal migrant visitor from Europe

Waterhole

Last time we came to Tanzania (2017) was at the end of the rainy season, a green and verdant time. Now we are here at the end of the dry season, and everything is arid, dusty and brown, which makes this waterhole even more visually striking and of course a great temptation to the animals.

large_47690130-f34f-11e8-90db-6f1a98bbbd31.jpg

large_5d17b1c0-f34f-11e8-90db-6f1a98bbbd31.jpg

large_69682900-f34f-11e8-90db-6f1a98bbbd31.jpg

I love the way Big Bertha seems to have picked out the personality of these buffalo.

large_e58af5b0-f351-11e8-90db-6f1a98bbbd31.jpg

large_f31f5ea0-f351-11e8-90db-6f1a98bbbd31.jpg

large_088aebb0-f352-11e8-90db-6f1a98bbbd31.jpg

large_f05e2cb0-f35a-11e8-b510-cf6e19121590.jpg
African Fish Eagle

Red Billed Quelea

Popularly referred to as 'feathered locusts', the Red Billed Quelea is Africa's most hated bird. For generations this small but voracious bird has gathered in huge numbers to decimate subsistence farmers' fields across the continent. With some colonies numbering into the millions, the quelea is the most abundant bird in the world, and sadly also the most destructive. With an estimated adult breeding population of at least 1.5 billion, it is believed that the agricultural losses attributable to the quelea is in excess of US$50 million annually which would be totally devastating to those already barely getting by.

large_14c568f0-f35d-11e8-b510-cf6e19121590.jpg

We finally make it to the picnic site for our lunch stop, and this is also where I will finish this blog post. Be sure to read the next entry for stories about the rest of our afternoon in the crater.

As usual, our thanks go to Tillya of Calabash Adventures and Malisa our driver, without whom this fabulous safari would never have happened.

large_3e9413c0-f35d-11e8-b510-cf6e19121590.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 02:17 Archived in Tanzania Tagged trees animals africa safari tanzania zebra national_park buffalo lion rhino baboons ostrich lioness ngorongoro acacia warthog chameleon arusha jackal hippos viewpoint porcupine big_bertha lark calabash_adventures which_safari_company best_safari_company tawny_eagle mousebird grant's_gazelle lodoare_gate red_billed_quelea quelea bee_eater africa_animals augur_buzzard safari_permit flat_topped_acacia acacia_trees umbrella_trees sodom's_apple pregnant_lioness cisticola Comments (3)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 5) Page [1]