A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about birds

Pench - Tadoba

A lovely surprise awaits us in Tadoba


View Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright - India 2017 on Grete Howard's travel map.

This morning we are treated to a breakfast fit for a king, with cereal, fruit, watermelon juice; followed by egg, vegetable sausage, tomatoes. Then they bring out the kedgeree. I walk away from there absolutely stuffed.

Sorry, no photos.

Pench - Tadoba

We are having an easy day today, just driving between Pench National park and our next – and final – tiger reserve: Tadoba National Park.

There is not much to say about the first part of the journey, until we start seeing signs for Tadoba, so I will just leave you with a few photos from the road trip.

large_BFFE50ACB74151B8021161A5797ADF4D.jpg
Yet another bullock cart photo

large_C00029AEBF47B7DB158A6ACAC465413B.jpg
Village life

large_BFFEE9C0A904877483B380328E22E91B.jpg

Rakesh stops the car for us to get out and take some pictures as well as a stretch of legs.

large_Our_car_an.._the_driver.jpg

large_BFFFA339FF610DA212ED63E4EE93EB5D.jpg

After quite a few miles of rural lanes, we venture on to the highway of sorts. It's a little disconcerting when you are faced with a long line of trucks coming towards you, on both sides of the road with no obvious space for it to pull in.

large_Trucks_1.jpg

The same goes for those trucks driving the same direction as us – this one only narrowly misses the red car coming the other way.

large_C03017DAE0D174AF20A45042D804E509.jpg

Border crossing

For the last six days we have been in the state of Madhya Pradesh, and today we are crossing over the border to Maharashtra State.

large_Madhya_Par..ra_Border_1.jpg

It doesn't affect us in any way, but trucks have to have a special licence for each of the states and are required to pass through border control.

large_Madhya_Par..a_Border_2A.jpg

I love the beautifully decorated trucks that you find in India. You can see on this one that he has a sign saying: “All India permit”, meaning he is allowed to travel to other states too.

large_Trucks_3.jpg

They do like to overfill their trucks here though.

large_Trucks_4A.jpg

The large, overfilled trucks play havoc with the road surface, leaving huge potholes and slowing down our journey considerably.

large_C154E55FAE80276BAD8DAEEEB7830C0F.jpg

large_C1558230A955D5A119EC15D9C6771532.jpg

large_C155FF050776D0D0AB7FE5281DBD9F43.jpg

large_C17C56D4900A440D50A58FF98B6681A8.jpg

Although the fact that we are slowing right down, means I have more of a chance to photograph the street scenes, such as these two men sitting at the road-side.

large_C1BA90C0EDCCA329F364EC6F1C3A4C9D.jpg

Tadoba

We see signs for Tadoba, and turn off the main road. I have the name of the village where the lodge is located and the closest gate. The road scenes are getting much more rural again now.

large_C3F4A928D03A6C693BDD9880B8AC5013.jpg

We see signs for the gate, and soon afterwards stop and ask the way to the hotel.

large_Bullock_Cart_76.jpg

We ask again.

large_Bycycle_1.jpg

We know we are getting close to a park when we see this sign.

large_Dribe_slow..fe_crossing.jpg

The fourth time Rakesh stops to ask for directions, we are sent in the opposite direction. Groan. Here we go again.

It seems the whole village of Bhamdeli (where the lodge is located) is gated, as we have to wake up the guard to let us through. Rakesh shows him the piece of paper with the lodge name and address, and he points in the general direction we are heading.

After passing a few cotton fields, we find ourselves driving through this linear village, lined with hotels, lodges and camps either side. This is obviously where the bulk of the accommodation for the park is found.

large_C3FCD45F941DABE47DAE741C51BB1E52.jpg
Cotton

Suddenly we see a unassuming looking sign at the side of the road, and turn into a side track. The first impression from the sign is a little worrying, this is the only hotel on this trip I didn't choose (I left it to our tour operator), and I don't know what to expect.

large_Irai_Safari_Retrest_sign.jpg

My expectations rise considerably when I see the entrance gate to the lodge, however.

large_C42FA911F0807BDBE5361F84DA782AD4.jpg

Irai Safari Retreat

We get a warm welcome at the reception from the very friendly manager who not only has a great sense of humour, but also speaks excellent English. He scans our passports – or rather, tries, to, as a power cut interrupts the action. Fear not, his mobile phone does the job just as well.

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_22A.jpg
The bar and reception area

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_23A.jpg
The comfortable lounge

After a briefing about the hotel and its facilities, we are shown to our rooms. From the website I wasn't sure what to expect, but I am very pleasantly surprised.

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_16A.jpg
Paved paths lead to the accommodation

Rooms are located in cottages spread around the well kept gardens, and each cottage houses two rooms. Other than our immediate neighbours who are in a room within the same building (in this case it is our friends Lyn and Chris, of course), we are far enough away from the other cottages for it to feel very private and exclusive.

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_17A.jpg

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_18A.jpg

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_20A.jpg

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_19A.jpg
Our side of the cottage - steps on the left of the photo lead to the roof terrace - more about that later

Each of the rooms has a covered seating area outside the front door, making for quite a romantic little niche.

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_3A.jpg

There is also a sunny balcony with a hammock for a relaxing afternoon siesta. There's even a BBQ in the corner – not that I am thinking of doing any cooking while I am here!

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_4A.jpg

The bedroom is spacious, with a separate cosy seating area.

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_6A.jpg

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_7A.jpg

The bathroom features double basins and a proper bath tub. Personally I prefer a walk-in shower, but I know Lyn likes to have a bath.

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_5A.jpg

The lodge is owned by a member of the local royal family, and most of the furniture and ornaments are from his personal collection. I particularly like these horse-shaped door handles on the wardrobe.

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_8A.jpg

Swimming Pool

The lodge also has a very inviting-looking pool, so we get changed and head over there while it is still sunny.

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_9A.jpg

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_10A.jpg

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_11A.jpg

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_12A.jpg

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_13A.jpg

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_14A.jpg

large_Irai_Safari_Retreat_15A.jpg

Just as I am about to get undressed, I discover a series of tiny little blisters on my shin, plus one that is quite large. They cover an area about the size of a mobile phone, in the exact spot that I had cellulitis earlier in the year. If this is a sunburn, it is rather worrying, as I have only been outside in the sun for around 15 minutes, and a large proportion of that was walking in the shade. After much deliberation I decide it is probably best not to go in the pool after all.

large_Blisters_1A.jpg

large_Blisters_2A.jpg

Sunset

Instead I climb to the roof terrace with my camera equipment and wait for the sunset.

large_Sunset_fro.._terrace_1A.jpg

The sky is a dreamy pink, later to turn a glowing orange; and I can see the lake from which the lodge takes its name from up here.

large_Sunset_fro.._terrace_5A.jpg

large_Sunset_fro.._terrace_9A.jpg

large_Sunset_fro..terrace_10A.jpg

large_Sunset_fro..terrace_24A.jpg

Being situated in the buffer zone of the national park, there are naturally a number of birds in the vicinity, many of which are coming back to roost for the night. They fly around a bit before descending into the surrounding trees, rustling the leaves as they land, making quite a noise.

large_Sunset_fro..terrace_26A.jpg

large_Sunset_fro..terrace_40A.jpg

On closer inspection, most of the birds are cormorants.

large_23BADBB9CE4E97E86704153CABBDE352.jpg

large_Cormorants_2.jpg

With a few storks.

large_Storks_1A.jpg

And a Red Vented Bulbul thrown in for good measure.

large_Red_Vented_Bulbul_32A.jpg

Plus a Rufous Treepie.

large_Rufous_Trepie_31.jpg

Although the evening started off with a beautiful pink sky; as the sun gets lower, the mist wins the battle and colours the sky a dirty brown. The sun holds its own for a while as a golden globe sinking slowly to earth.

large_Sunset_fro..terrace_44A.jpg

large_Sunset_fro..terrace_45A.jpg

large_Sunset_fro..terrace_46A.jpg

Once the sun has gone down, I go in and have a shower (without getting my poorly leg wet – quite a feat and requiring me to be a bit of a contortionist) before dinner.

Dinner

Dinner tonight is buffet and very good it is too. We have dhal fry (a nice spicy lentil dish), vegetable keema (minced vegetable curry), jeera rice (rice with cumin seeds), methi mattar makhani (a buttery curry with fenugreek and peas).

large_Dinner_-_d..r_machani_A.jpg

It is all very tasty and I go to bed a happy bunny, ready for another day in another safari park tomorrow.

large_5B4A97D608027FB412D631C3CC53F0B3.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 12:12 Archived in India Tagged birds sunset road_trip india hammock dinner safari border bbq lost swimming_pool maharashtra trucks sunburn royal_family tadoba blisters pench bullock_cart irai_safari_retreat madya_pradesh cotton_plantation all_india_permit ask_directions buffer_zone Comments (4)

Pench National Park - Part I

A very rare and endangered sighting this afternoon


View Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright - India 2017 on Grete Howard's travel map.

There appears to be some sort of confusion about our park tickets for today. It seems our agent booked them for the wrong gate, some 60km away. Hence the very early start of 04:30. Rakesh (the driver who brought us down from Jabalpur) is picking us up and driving us to the gate in his car, where we will change into the open top safari vehicle (known as a 'gypsy'), so that we won't get frozen solid by taking the long journey in an open top car. Wise move.

4:30 comes and goes. No Rakesh. At 05:00 I ask the young receptionist what is happening. He wanders off to check with the manager. After a few minutes, he comes running back and continues on to the car park.

A short while later a Gypsy arrives for us. There has been a change of plan. We are going to the nearest gate just a few kilometres away after all; and will pay for a new ticket instead, saving all the hassle of the long journey. That sounds good to me, as it would take well in excess of an hour to travel 60 km on these roads.

large_Pench_National_Park_1.jpg

We also have to pay for a (compulsory) park guide who will accompany us on this morning's safari. Once that is all in order, we can enter the park.

The first thing we spot, is an Oriental Honey Buzzard, another new tick on our life list.

large_Oriental_Honey_Buzzard_1.jpg

Seeing very fresh tiger pug marks is promising for a sighting this morning.

large_Tiger_Pug_Marks_51.jpg

The sun is just beginning to break through the mist as we make our way deeper into the forest.

large_Sunrise_in_Pench_1.jpg

Dhole
We are very excited when our guide spots a rare and endangered dhole (Indian wild dog) in between the trees. Our very first sighting of this species in the wild.

large_Dhole_1.jpg

There are thought to be fewer than 2500 of these animals left in the wild, so it is in fact even more rare than the tiger.

large_Dhole_3.jpg

large_Dhole_4.jpg

large_Dhole_7.jpg

We follow him as he makes his way through the forest.

large_Dhole_9.jpg

large_Dhole_11.jpg

large_Dhole_13.jpg

large_Dhole_14.jpg

large_Dhole_20.jpg

large_Dhole_25.jpg

large_Dhole_36.jpg

large_Dhole_38.jpg

Indian Ghost Trees
Found all throughout the park (as well as being quite common elsewhere on the subcontinent), the bark of this very distinctive tree (Sterculia urens) exudes a gum that is used for laxatives.

large_B0AB48BAB04B7825698154CE2A8FF2B0.jpg

large_B0DA86FCBA38AC50F337DBA89354F6B1.jpg

large_Rufous_Treepie_21.jpg

Rufous Treepie

Jungle Fowl

large_Jungle_Fowl_21.jpg

large_Jungle_Fowl_22.jpg

large_Jungle_Fowl_23.jpg

The sun is slowly warming up the air, but the mist is still hanging over the lower ground, creating a mystical and eerie atmosphere.

large_B4432C0DDADA42A8C91BCBAF81D7E696.jpg

large_B4550353AFDE25DF96F567A0C82C5BDC.jpg

large_B45815ACB21BBF4028A7F74A0CB41DA0.jpg

large_B46D590ABBBA51C0D61B9AA78696AD2A.jpg

large_Yellow_Foo..n_Pigeon_52.jpg
Yellow Footed Green Pigeon

large_Spotted_Dove_51.jpg
Spotted Dove

large_Peacock_51.jpg
Indian Peafowl

large_Indian_Pond_heron_51.jpg
Indian Pond Heron

large_Indian_Pond_heron_52.jpg
Indian Pond Heron

Changeable Hawk Eagle

large_Changeable_Haw_Eagle_51.jpg

large_Changeable_Hawk_Eagle_52.jpg

large_B50F7AF5BB64590C7C89FEC017802288.jpg
Another Peacock sunning himself

large_B52EBD4B9A45C1D95AC3080467CD2ACA.jpg

large_B53981FDCDA3A0F014674D026855E3CD.jpg

Brown Fish Owl
The guide keeps telling us the name of this bird, but I just can't get what he is trying to say. It sounds something like 'ground peace owl'. It is not until very much later that I realise he is saying 'Brown Fish Owl'.

large_Brown_Fish_Owl_3.jpg

large_Brown_Fish_Owl_1.jpg

We pass a flooded area with a Green Sandpiper feeding in the shallows.

large_A13.jpg

large_B5880977DBB2A25AC45F62631E8AF3E1.jpg

large_Green_Sandpiper_1.jpg

large_Golden_Jackals_51.jpg
Golden Jackals in the far distance

large_Indian_Roller_52.jpg
Indian Roller

Breakfast
We stop for breakfast in a dedicated picnic area. A structure has been created to provide shade or shelter you from the rain, but as the temperature this morning is still very much on the cool side, everyone remains outside to catch some warmth from the sun's rays.

large_A14.jpg

large_Breakfast_Picnic_52.jpg

The breakfast box is rather disappointing this morning, especially considering how superior the food was at the lodge yesterday.

A rather hideous plastic Mowgli adorns the site, which is appropriately called Mowgli Picnic Area.

large_Mowgli.jpg

We continue to a large wetlands area that is teeming with birds, and spend some time with binoculars picking out various species, many of which are new to us. It is all rather exciting.

large_Indian_Cormorant_51.jpg
Indian Cormorant

large_Bonelli_s_Eagle_1.jpg
Bonelli's Eagle

large_Green_Sandpiper_52.jpg
Green Sandpiper

large_Little_Ringed_Plovers_51.jpg
Little Ringed Plovers

large_Painted_Storks_51.jpg
Painted Storks

large_White_Rumped_Vulture_51.jpg
White Rumped Vulture

large_Indian_Pond_heron_53.jpg
Indian Pond Heron having a bad hair day

large_Greta_Egret_51.jpg
Great Egret

There are also a couple of jackals around.

large_Golden_Jackal_53.jpg

large_Golden_Jackal_54.jpg

large_Golden_Jackal_55.jpg

We reluctantly leave the pond area behind to go in search of more wildlife.

Hanuman Langurs

large_A15.jpg

large_B622291DBEEE36213B976B37E2CAA607.jpg

large_Red_Wattled_Lapwing_51.jpg
Red Wattled Lapwing

large_Hoopoe_51.jpg
Hoopoe

large_Chital_51.jpg
Chital

Nilgai
This is the first nilgai we see on this trip, and then only for a few seconds as she disappears into the forest.

large_Nilgai_51.jpg

large_Nilgai_53.jpg

large_Nilgai_54.jpg

large_Jungle_Owlet_53.jpg
Jungle Owlet

large_Black_Drongo_52.jpg
Black Drongo

Upon hearing loud warning calls, the driver stops the car and we sit and wait. There is obviously a predator in the vicinity, and a lot of very distressed langurs. We wait. And wait. And wait. As time is now getting on, we eventually have to move, despite not having seen any tigers.

It is time to leave the park and return to the Lodge as the park rules have very strict timings for just morning and evening safaris rather than the whole day as we are used to from Africa.

large_Time_to_Leave.jpg

On the way we spot these two gorgeous Indian Rollers, one with his lunch.

large_Indian_Rol..ith_Worm_52.jpg

large_Indian_Rol..ith_Worm_51.jpg

As we were up so early this morning (plus I didn't sleep well last night), I decide to forego lunch and spend the time snoozing instead.

Stay tuned for the next entry.

large_B694ABCDBB94D181D226E67C4276A731.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 02:37 Archived in India Tagged animals birds india sunrise breakfast safari eagle mist birding picnic national_park pigeon peacock roller heron egret stork vulture dove langur gypsy owl cormorant jackal chital drongo bird_watching pench nilgai buzzard early_morning hanuman_langur owlet plover tiger_park breakfast_picnic pench_tiger_park pench-tree-lodge pench_national_park tiger_pug_marks dhole indian_wild_dog wild_dog ghost_tree indian_ghost_tree treepie jungle_fowl early_morning_mist mowgli sandpiper hoppoe snooze Comments (3)

Tarangire Part I

Elephants galore


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

It is still dark when we leave the lodge this morning, just as it has been every single morning since we arrived here. Today is our last day in Tanzania, so it won't be long before we are able to have a lie-in once we get home.

There is no sign of the lion from last night around the hotel grounds this morning, but we do see a lot of giraffe close to the lodge today, as well as a couple of waterbuck.

large_Waterbuck__Common_1.jpg

large_Waterbuck__Common_2.jpg

large_Tarangire.jpg

large_Baobab_2.jpg

The weather is still pretty murky by the time we reach the Tarangire National Park gates, hence the quality (graininess) of the first handful of photos.

large_FC971745EB8D8B5BAB498FA802228A04.jpg

These girls belong to a harem. Male impala sometimes have as many as 50 or so females in his harem, here there are nowhere near that many. Where there is an impala harem, there is usually a bachelor herd nearby waiting for the polygamous husband to retire (or maybe just tire, with so many females to service) so that they can move in.

large_Impala_Harem_1.jpg

large_Impala_Harem_2.jpg

large_Impala_61.jpg

large_FCCEE478F2E9DDC7DE3E4EAE7408703E.jpg

Tarangire is famous for its incredible bird life, especially at this time of year, with nearly 500 species recorded in the park. We see quite a few this morning, including a few species that are new to us (known as a lifer - a new addition to the life list)

large_FD2D9082FCE73C5358A22F6E0E9D39CA.jpg

Ashy Starling

large_Widow_Bird..te_Winged_1.jpg

White Winged Widow Bird (a lifer)

large_Parrot__Brown_1.jpg

Brown Parrot

large_Spurfowl__Yellow_Necked_2.jpg

Yellow Necked Spurfowl

large_Barbet__D_Arnaud_s_31.jpg

D'Arnaud's Barbet

large_FF000275DFED6DAD7773C149B9BE6208.jpg

Speckled Fronted Weaver

large_Whydah__Br.._Paradise_1.jpg

Broad Tailed Paradise Whydah (another lifer)

large_Weaver__Lesser_Masked_61.jpg

Lesser Masked Weaver (above) construct elaborate and fanciful hanging nests (below)

large_Weaver_Nes..r_Masked__2.jpg

large_Weaver_Nes..r_Masked__1.jpg

large_Shrike__Magpie_61.jpg

Magpie Shrike

large_Starling__Wattled_81.jpg

A rather wet and bedraggled Wattled Starling

large_FE0118BECEA8918296C31CA4C44E9E69.jpg

large_FE0923A2E2FE678C034E07241D619BF8.jpg

large_FE0F360ADB970BFC1280BD4BE253107B.jpg

large_FE154509FC33C9BAD48EF486DFB7F373.jpg

large_FE64E47DA2B61493B4090AA7B8331250.jpg

We're having to put the roof up, down, up, down this morning as the showers come and go at various intervals. I think you could call the weather changeable.

large_06C38526B503B8F6F21C0BDFAA4986F0.jpg

large_01A6F84FF68678C4D36C2B8676463606.jpg

large_Ostrich_31.jpg

large_052A849FA160FBB5581E3C1B9AEA3099.jpg

large_05550C77D62EDF76154694469FC3138A.jpg

large_Guineafowl__Helmeted_31.jpg

large_05730C47F181A78DE02B6251D53122DD.jpg

large_White_Bell..o_Away_Bird.jpg

large_Go_Away_Bi..e_Bellied_3.jpg

large_Go_Away_Bi..e_Bellied_2.jpg

large_Dwarf_Mongoose.jpg

large_Mongoose_Dwarf_1.jpg

large_Mongoose_Dwarf_2.jpg

large_More_Birds.jpg

large_Coucal_White_Browed_1.jpg

White Browed Coucal

large_Sandgrouse__Black_Faced_1.jpg

Black Faced Sandgrouse

large_Weaver__Wh.._Buffalo_41.jpg

White Headed Buffalo Weaver

large_0755D27DA20A37DBA1E7001DA241B299.jpg

Brown Snake Eagle

large_Eagle__Brown_Snake_2.jpg

Brown Snake Eagle

large_Spurfowl__..w_Necked_71.jpg

Yellow Necked Spurfowl

large_Spurfowl__..w_Necked_73.jpg

Yellow Necked Spurfowl

large_279A9A01CEABBC6D3D6B7576D017F170.jpg

While the mongooses we saw earlier were quite some distance away, these are really close by the road, where an abandoned termite mound has been converted into social housing for a family on mongooses.

large_Mongoose__Dwarf_1.jpg

large_Mongoose__Dwarf_2.jpg

large_Mongoose__Dwarf_6.jpg

As we stay to observe them for a while, small, furry heads pop out of various orifices in the mound, including some cute babies.

large_Mongoose__Dwarf_3.jpg

large_Mongoose__Dwarf_7.jpg

large_Mongoose__Dwarf_5.jpg

And angry little not-so-cute adults.

large_Mongoose__Dwarf_9.jpg

large_Red_Billed_Hornbill.jpg

large_Hornbill__Red_Billed_72.jpg

large_Hornbill__Red_Billed_73.jpg

large_Hornbill__Red_Billed_74.jpg

large_Hornbill__Red_Billed_75.jpg

large_Hornbill__Red_Billed_79.jpg

large_29209AB7DC4383F3DFD80307DD9D3FEF.jpg

large_Warthog_71.jpg

large_Warthog_72.jpg

large_Common_Waterbuck.jpg

You can distinguish the Common Waterbuck from the other species found here, the Defassa Waterbuck, by the white markings on its rump, commonly referred to as the toilet seat.

large_Waterbuck__Common_91.jpg

large_2A51F6319E9365C694D0E5A858EF6248.jpg

Tarangire National Park is famous for its huge herds of elephants, so we are quite surprised to not have seen any yet this morning, just damage caused by these large animals as they passed through.

large_Elephant_Damage_1.jpg

Not long afterwards, when we are on on our way to the Matete Picnic Site for breakfast, we see a lone elephant, as if on cue.

large_30236F860E05E4EF0FCBC61BBEAED90E.jpg

Then a large bachelor herd appears.

large_Elephants_31.jpg

large_Elephants_32.jpg

Time for morning ablutions, in the form of a little dust bath.

large_Elephants_36.jpg

large_Elephants_39.jpg

The mood suddenly turns nasty, with an unfriendly mob marching angrily towards us. Malisa proves that he is just as capable (and safe) a driver backwards, as he has to quickly reverse the car out of the way of the bullies. Never argue with an angry elephant.

large_349BA7FEA8CF8B506D1CF443F94322DB.jpg

large_349E83259A390D94D147FA17EE84A9AB.jpg

It's not all anger management issues this morning, however, there's a bit of bonding session going on here with two teenage brothers butting against each other.

large_Elephants_46.jpg

large_5BFADC3ED7FBCCAE6C49318BAAE93DEC.jpg

When they have finished showering each other with affection, they walk right past out car, so close I could reach out and touch them. I have to really restrain myself not to.

large_5C0B9FC6EC68A4964692974EE5776916.jpg

large_Elephants_51.jpg

large_Elephants_54.jpg

large_618CDCEBB02D0644BEAE121A3370DD76.jpg

I feel so incredibly privileged to be here so close to these majestic giants, watching them go about their daily lives and be party to their family interactions, I almost cry with happiness.

large_Elephants_53.jpg

All around us are elephants, in every direction we look. I have to pinch myself to make sure this is really happening. To think I was only complaining a couple of minutes ago that we hadn't seen any elephants yet.

large_6211DA30C788F7C520590E53F7E5B441.jpg

large_Elephants_57.jpg

large_621955B3D732550A98EAC87FF8E5A789.jpg

large_Elephants_701.jpg

large_Elephants_704.jpg

More family snuggles. This is like reality TV but with animals. Much more interesting.

large_Elephants_60.jpg

large_62575AEDD3342CAE67F60036CCD7256C.jpg

large_62A1C170E432D8194EA18AA1A10995FC.jpg

For some reason this next picture reminds me of Colonel Hathi in the Jungle Book cartoon.

large_62408268915A9461E0802324F98F5290.jpg

large_Jungle_Book.jpg

I have heard of 'pink elephants', but never 'red'. These eles have obviously been rolling in the mud. Or maybe it's the latest must-have face mask.

large_62BDECB2D23937BE6D7504AC9D0CA326.jpg

large_62EEEAA7F1E7D24F0D8CB0E4B10EE137.jpg

She has a young baby with her, probably around four months old. We can only just see the top of his back over the long grass.

large_Elephants_66.jpg

In places the grass is shorter so we can see him better.

large_62FC6284CE2315BD17A2E185A531BD72.jpg

On the other side of the car is an even younger baby, this one is less than 2 weeks old. All together now: “awwwww”

large_631867049D902A332A8494D23904B1F6.jpg

large_Elephants_702.jpg

Look at the difference in size!

large_Elephants_703.jpg

We leave the elephants behind (pun intended) and (yet again) try to make our way towards the picnic site. This could take a while, depending on what we see on the way.

large_66417AA5D765B94E0EBC652496DB46B0.jpg

large_Roller__Lilac_Breasted_34.jpg

large_White_Head..falo_Weaver.jpg

large_Weaver__Wh.._Buffalo_91.jpg

large_Matete_Picnic_Site.jpg

We finally make it for breakfast, to a completely empty picnic site. This place has changed beyond all recognition since we were first here ten years ago: back then there was one squalid long-drop toilet. Now there is a very modern facilities block with clean flushable toilets, lockable doors, water, soap and toilet paper.

large_Matete_Picnic_Site_1.jpg

Check out my next blog entry for more animal encounters with Calabash Adventures, the best safari
operators by far.

large_C94A6755AE2467398EDEE276FEA1B52E.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 02:38 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds rain travel elephants africa safari tanzania parrot eagle picnic giraffe tarangire impala waterbuck starling weaver mongoose shrike barbet bird_watching hornbill lilac_breasted_roller mongooses calabash_adventures maramboi coucal best_safari_operator widow_bird impala_harem spurfowl guineafowl guinea_fowl go_away_bird dwarf_mongoose matete matete_picnic_site picnic_breakfast Comments (4)

Serengeti Day II Part III - The Maasai Pride

Lions, lions and more lions


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

large_Cuteness_Overload.jpg

large_F7081E6EA3D4621A57312D13F42BED7A.jpg

The Rasta Lions we saw this morning are still under the same tree several hours later, and still not doing anything. But they have moved to the other side of the tree (presumably as the sun moved around), and they do pop their heads up as we pull up alongside them. Briefly.

large_Lions_Z_1.jpg

large_Lions_Z_2.jpg

large_Lions_605.jpg

large_Lions_614.jpg

They look kinda cute and soft when they're asleep, but not so much so when they open their eyes and stare right at me from close quarters like that!

large_Lions_615.jpg

large_Lions_601.jpg

large_Lions_603.jpg

Look at those paws! They could do some serious damage!

large_Lions_609.jpg

large_Lions_610.jpg

The antibiotics I have been taking completely knock me out and I go into a deep sleep while David and Malisa look out for animals. I wake up an hour or so later when it starts to rain and we have to put the roof down.

large_Rainbow.jpg

Some of the delights about the ever-changing weather in Serengeti at this time of year, are the dramatic clouds and the number of beautiful rainbows that appear periodically.

large_Clouds_over_Serengeti_1.jpg

large_Clouds_ove..ngeti_2_B_W.jpg

large_Raibow_1.jpg

And a strategically-placed Grey Kestrel. I wanted a giraffe or an elephant silhouetted in the foreground, but I guess this kestrel will do.

large_Kite__Black_Shouldered_2.jpg

In the road we can see animals tracks, lion paw prints with one big and one little one. They were made before the recent rain shower by the looks of it, and they went the same way as we are going. Oh goody!

large_Lion_Paw_Print_1.jpg

large_Lion_Paw_Print_2.jpg

large_Lion_Paw_Print_3.jpg

The wet mud on top of compacted baked earth makes for an interesting drive, doing the 'Serengeti Samba' sliding our way along the track!

large_2E98A876ADB272A0AB476984338A9952.jpg

We swing by the Maasai Kopjes on our way back to base, hoping to see a cat or two. We are not disappointed.

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_301.jpg

A lioness and her cub sit in amongst the shrubbery. These is the same ones as we saw earlier so they don't count towards my total tally of lions seen on this trip (for the record, we finished at 118 individual lions).

A few minutes later we see several more lions almost hidden by the long grass.

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_302.jpg
Trust me, those are lions.

We hear thunder in the distance and while I am busy looking all around me for possible lightning, the lions in the long grass have made their way down to the track along from us.

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_303.jpg

There are eight cubs and two adults.

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_304.jpg

We drive nearer to take a closer look at the action. We are not alone, but I can cope with just one other vehicle.

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_305.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_310.jpg

If you can't find a pal, play with some elephant dung!

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_311.jpg

The Maasai Pride often come down to the smooth track at this time of day, especially after a rain shower, in order to avoid the damp grass.

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_314.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_320.jpg

The cubs head off into the undergrowth, with the adults in hot pursuit, trying to keep an eye of the mischievous youngsters.

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_325.jpg

The cubs have found an interesting tree to explore and where they can test out their climbing skills.

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_328.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_330.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_333.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_335.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_336.jpg

They may only be young, but I still wouldn't like to mess with those claws!

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_407.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_515.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_516.jpg

And don't even think about getting on the wrong side of their mum... even the babies back off when confronted!

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_420.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_421.jpg

Just a gentle tap with that giant paw and the cub is on the floor.

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_422.jpg

"Hey bro, I found a stick!"

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_535.jpg

“My stick is bigger than yours!”

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_588.jpg

Only one small issue there Buster, it is still attached!

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_590.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_346.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_347.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_350.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_351.jpg

It's getting crowded around the base of the tree, everyone wants to play in the same place at the same time.

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_363.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_364.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_371.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_391.jpg

Mum shows the kiddies how it is done.

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_392.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_395.jpg

Is she going to jump?

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_399.jpg

It seems her courage fails her and she tries to (awkwardly) turn around on the small branch.

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_400.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_401.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_404.jpg

One of the braver cubs tries it for himself.

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_521.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_522.jpg

Like his mum before him, he too considers the option of jumping down.

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_523.jpg

He is not sure about this...

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_524.jpg

"Maybe I should try and walk down?"

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_526.jpg

“I wonder what happens if I try and go this way.”

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_528.jpg

“Or maybe I can jump down on this side?”

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_537.jpg

“It's a long way down.”

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_540.jpg

“Yikes, this is not as easy as it looks.”

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_541.jpg

“Aargh, I think I am stuck. I'm scared! It looked so easy when mum did it.”

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_543.jpg

“Phew! Nearly there.”

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_544.jpg

“That's not the greeting I was expecting, I was kinda hoping for admiration for my bravery. You're only jealous!”

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_545.jpg

“Ow! That's my paw!"

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_551.jpg

"Get off!”

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_552.jpg

“I'm out of here!”

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_547.jpg

A couple more cubs decide to give it a go, some with more 'encouragement' than others.

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_571.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_577.jpg

Just like they were this morning, the pride is spread out over several rocks and we see lions in almost every direction we look, such as this girl on top of a rock...

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_370.jpg

… and these lions frolicking in the long grass.

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_374.jpg

They are heading off to join the little group over by the tree root.

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_376.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_405.jpg

The Maasai Pride consists of eleven cubs to five mothers, and we see all of them here this evening at various locations. It is not a question of looking for them, it's a question of deciding where to look: on the tree, the rocks, the root, the road...?

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_428.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_430.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_433.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_440.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_445.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_455.jpg

Wanting to keep an eye on her offspring, mum joins them on the road. The cubs think she has come to play.

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_481.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_482.jpg

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_484.jpg

“Mum! Don't go! Play with me...”

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_486.jpg

“Will. You. Leave. Me. Alone!”

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_488.jpg

“Sorry mum.”

large_Lions_of_M.._Kopjes_504.jpg

We have stayed far too long with the lion cubs and I have taken far too many photos of them, so now we have to rush to get back to the lodge before dark. As usual.

[Post note: I took 1600 photos of those cubs, of which I selected 300 to be edited as 'keepers'. It was extremely hard narrowing it down to 'just a few' to include here in the blog, so I make no apologies for the overload of cuteness photos.]

Alternatively, if you still haven't had enough of these adorable babies, check out my Flickr album.

The light is amazing this evening, with more rainbows, strangely localised rain showers, impressively moody clouds and a glorious sunset. I try my best to photograph it all from a fast moving car on a bumpy gravel track.

large_Lion_Cub_with_Rainbow_1.jpg
Spot the lion on top of the rock!

large_Localised_Rain_1.jpg

large_CEAA7B7EA9EF060A3A5040D6F830507D.jpg

large_Rainbow_4.jpg

large_Rainbow_6.jpg

large_Sunset_May_16th___2.jpg

large_Sunset_May_16th___4.jpg

large_Sunset_May_16th___5.jpg

large_Sunset_May_16th___7.jpg

large_Sunset_May_16th___8.jpg

large_Sunset_May_16th___9.jpg

Back at the tent, as I am enjoying a shower under the stars (or rather the menacing clouds), the sky is lit up by nature's own fireworks. The perfect finish to a perfect day: thunder and lightning! Looking up at the flashes in the sky as the warm water washes off the dust from the mighty Serengeti after a wonderful day with magnificent animal encounters, I feel overcome with a multitude of emotions: happiness, gratitude, appreciation and it makes me feel incredibly small and insignificant. What a wonderful world we live in ♥

large_Lightning_Storm_1.jpg

All that is left to say about today is THANK YOU to Calabash Adventures for making this all possible.

large_D1236C61EDC1346902DFF3153848FD12.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 16:50 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds travel africa safari tanzania birding lions serengeti bird_watching calabash _adventures rasta_lions Comments (6)

Serengeti Day II Part II - Research Ponds

A smorgasbord of animals


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

Making our way across the savannah, I am surprised to see how dry the grass is already considering we are still in the wet season, albeit towards the end.

large_Driving_Ac.._Savannah_1.jpg

Parched from the hot sun, the surface of the earth has cracked, forming a thin crust easily disturbed by passing animals.

large_Parched_Earth_31.jpg

large_Parched_Earth_33.jpg

large_Parched_Earth_34.jpg

large_Hartebeest.jpg

large_C8EB6BAFB69BDA14A2F17106D9F49F5C.jpg

With the gentle movement of the car, the warm sun and the number of tablets I am taking for my chest infection; I go into a deep sleep. Only when the car slows to a standstill nearly an hour later, do I wake up.

large_2CD3DCB9F77E261F87E03B60AD1D89E1.jpg

Our reason for stopping soon becomes obvious.

large_C906B975BBE3D091C956C48C4A342D55.jpg

On a nearby rock, another lioness is sunning herself.

large_CA927CC1DB70B6BFDA43042E4C5F52BA.jpg

While we are busy photographing the cats, my Facebook friend Jim and his family / friends turn up. Serengeti is a large place, so the chances of seeing him here today is very small. We have already seen them once in Ndutu. It really is a small world.

large_Photographing_the_Lions_1.jpg

large_Jim_and_Co_1.jpg

large_Jim_and_Co_2.jpg

Bored with sunbathing, the lioness jumps down and takes a stroll in morning heat.

large_Lion_402.jpg

large_Lion_403.jpg

large_Lion_404.jpg

large_Agama_Lizard.jpg

The Red Headed Rock Agama doesn't seem the least bit bothered about a lioness walking past his rock.

large_Lizard__Re.._Rock_Agama.jpg

large_F5B024640CF632DD74DBB7E0EAB4C84E.jpg

Nor does the Black Backed Jackal.

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_401.jpg

large_C8CC8114071D6FB6E70223DFF83FEC7E.jpg

Resting peacefully in the shade of a tree, two 'Rasta Lions' momentarily sit up, barely opening their eyes to check us out, then lie down to sleep again. Oh, it is such a hard life to be a lion here.

large_Lion_405.jpg

large_Lion_407.jpg

large_Lion_408.jpg

large_Lion_411.jpg

large_Lion_406.jpg

large_Lion_414.jpg

large_Lion_415A.jpg

large_Starlings.jpg

This picture shows the difference between the Superb and the Hildebrand Starlings.

large_Starling__..debrand__51.jpg

The Superb in the foreground has a white band on his chest and a white eye; whereas the Hildebrand (singing his little heart out) has no marking between the orange and blue, and the eye is black.

large_2F5B535BC9DD3276919D06563851258B.jpg

large_Topi_101.jpg

large_2F59BD14B0603A3D9F5F35B4A3B2C32F.jpg

This guy has obviously lost a horn while fighting for a female. I hope she was worth it!

large_Gazelle__G..-horned__51.jpg

large_2F7FB22BF85A5D6BF32747968362234E.jpg

A very similar antelope to the topi, but as you can see, the colouring is not the same (the topi has very dark markings on the head and legs), and the horns are different shapes.

large_2FA166D60CEC515F1F50224F146F7BF3.jpg

large_Endless_Plains.jpg

The name 'Serengeti' comes from a local Maa word 'sirenget' (the language spoken by the Maasai tribe) meaning 'endless plains'. Driving for what seems like an eternity (in reality probably no more than around half an hour) across the flat, parched landscape, seemingly devoid of all life, I can certainly see that the name is very fitting.

large_300C229BF3DB474D2C59E8A6757F8D52.jpg

large_Research_Ponds.jpg

Arriving at a series of waterholes known as Research Ponds, we stay for a while to watch the goings on at the water's edge. Although initially appearing somewhat uninspiring, with just a couple of buffalo and some Grant's gazelle grazing in the background, this place proves to be rather fruitful in terms of animal sightings and interactions.

large_Buffalo__Cape_201.jpg

A dazzle of zebra (other collective nouns for zebra include zeal and cohort) make their way to the ponds.

large_Zebra_405.jpg

More and more animals arrive as we sit by the ponds in the oppressive midday heat.

large_Zebra_407.jpg

It's like Happy Hour at our local bar!

large_Zebra_408.jpg

Additional animals are constantly appearing, their hooves throwing up clouds of dust that hang heavily in the hot air.

large_Zebra_415.jpg

large_Zebra_417.jpg

The zebra, like the buffalo before them, immerse themselves in the still water, drinking, bathing and cooling down.

large_Buffalo_and_Zebra_1.jpg

large_Zebra_418.jpg

On the horizon a herd of eland nervously make their way towards the waterhole. Normally extremely shy (as a result of being endlessly hunted for their delicious meat), we wonder if – or more likely when – they will start running in the opposite direction.

large_657861BFB6313B83A88516F0DFCB85B6.jpg

So far so good as they cautiously move nearer and nearer the water.

large_Eland_32.jpg

large_84A467539A1CA41F3CC93E36A89B780A.jpg

large_Eland_and_Zebra_2.jpg

I am so excited to see them drinking – this is definitely a first for us!

large_Eland_33.jpg

The other elands are looking at us apprehensively, as they consider whether it is safe enough to quench that thirst.

large_Eland_and_Zebra_4.jpg

The zebra, on the other hand, do not seem to have a worry in the world.

large_Zebra_423.jpg

Another eland has braved it to the water's edge.

large_Eland_34.jpg

But will he drink?

large_Eland_35.jpg

Yes, he will. They are getting very brave now.

large_Eland_36.jpg

The zebra look on with amazement (or is that my overactive imagination again?) as a band on mongooses make their way down to the water for a drink.

large_Mongoose__Banded_101.jpg

large_Mongoose__Banded_103.jpg

large_Mongoose__Banded_104.jpg

They are loving the water, rolling around in the mud at the shoreline.

large_Mongoose__Banded_106.jpg

large_Mongoose__Banded_107.jpg

From a quiet waterhole with just a couple of sleepy buffalo, the place has now come alive with activity and several different animal species. This is awesome!

large_6693D618D192EC1A5365F785AD4FFBAA.jpg

large_Eland_and_Zebra_5.jpg

There is even a couple of amorous Egyptian Geese on the water.

large_Zebra_and_Eland_1.jpg

Having all these newcomers disturbing his hitherto peaceful morning siesta, Mr Buffalo gets up and moves on to pastures new.

large_Buffalo__Zebra__Eland_1.jpg

large_Buffalo__Cape_204.jpg

He looks thoroughly pissed off.

large_Buffalo__Zebra__Eland_2.jpg

large_Buffalo_and_Eland_1.jpg

The mongoose have had enough too.

large_Mongoose__Banded_108.jpg

Even the zebra are on the move.

large_Zebra_425.jpg

large_Zebra_426.jpg

large_Zebra_428.jpg

I have never noticed before that zebras vary so much in colouration. Look at how dark the one on the left is compared to the zebra behind him.

large_Zebra_429.jpg

large_Zebra_430.jpg

Just as we decide to leave, a European White Stork arrives. They are not native to the African continent (the clue is in the name), rather a migrant. A bit like us then.

large_Stork__European_White_4.jpg

large_Stork__European_White_1.jpg

large_Stork__European_White_3.jpg

Another stork arrives, much to the bemusement of the eland.

large_Stork__European_White_5.jpg

And another.

large_Stork__European_White_7.jpg

large_Stork__European_White_8.jpg

The moment Malisa starts the car engine, the shy elands scatter. As expected. I am surprised they stayed this long.

As we travel towards Ogol Kopjes, we see a few animals on our way.

large_F5C23575C8FA5687678B82963F3B836D.jpg

A spotted hyena who barely raises his head from the puddle he was sleeping in when we pass.

large_Hyena_201.jpg

large_Pratincole.jpg

Common Praticole - a nice little lifer (a new bird species for us)!

large_Pratincole__Common_1.jpglarge_Pratincole__Common_4.jpg

large_Eurasian_Roller.jpg

Another lifer, the European Roller. This one has been on my wish list for a while now, so I am particularly excited to see him. Or her. I really can't ell from this distance.

large_Roller__Eurasian_2.jpg

large_F598253FC7B765094B2CD3639F22F3FA.jpg

large_Hartebeest_401.jpg

large_F59E09B9C46CD3B6B1C00BEE621DB3B7.jpg

A couple of topi on a mound looking out for predators.

large_Topi_401.jpg

large_F59FAA61A93BC1BAA2B82F4DA2D3012E.jpg

A cute little zebra foal, grazing with his mummy.

large_Zebra_438.jpg

large_Zebra_439.jpg

large_F5CE97BA0DFC355C868D47592CE26B7F.jpg

And some eland - running away from us of course.

large_Eland__Running_21.jpg

large_Eland__Running_22.jpg

Eland are pretty huge animals (around the size of an average horse), and create quite a considerable amount of dust as they gallop across the dry savannah.

large_Eland__Running_23.jpg

large_Eland__Running_29.jpg

We leave Ogol Kopjes behind and search for some shade for our lunch picnic.

large_Lunch_Picn..ol_Kopjes_2.jpg

large_Lunch_Picn..ol_Kopjes_1.jpg

large_Lunch_Picn..ol_Kopjes_4.jpg

Be sure to check out my next blog entry for the rest of this afternoon's safari experiences with Calabash Adventures, the best safari operator by far.

large_F533EA9E9BF1CED0A446583FB1CABAB7.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 05:56 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds travel africa safari tanzania zebra lizard birding dry buffalo lions roller serengeti hyena stork starlings topi mongoose jackal bird_watching eland calabash_adventures hartebeest cape_buffalo kopjes grant's_gazelle endless_plains research_ponds cracked_earth parched pratincole eurasian_roller agama_lizard ogola_kopjes 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)

Serengeti Day I Part III - Birds, Mongoose, Topi & Warthogs

A day cut short


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

When on safari, we spend all day every day in specially adapted Landcruisers, with a lifting roof and large opening side window for all-round viewing.

large_Breakfast_.._Airstrip_4.jpg

We either sit down to view and photograph the animals...

large_Calabash_Vehicle_2.jpg

... or stand up for a 360° view of the savannah around us.

large_Calabash_Vehicle_3.jpg

We are also lucky to have our amazing guide Malisa with us, who is not just a great friend, but an exceptional spotter and extremely knowledgable about animals and birds, the environment, geology, ecology, history, culture, animal behaviour....

large_2191E3B594EDD846C4F101C59C054809.jpg

large_Malisa_ith_Binoculars_1.jpg

large_Malisa_31.jpg

More sleep in the car for me this afternoon, this chest infection sure is taking its toll on me. The boys make sure I am awake for any bird or animal sightings though, such as the wildlife we find when we stop at this small pond.

large_25353464F7BAE081FA5AC243C002D998.jpg

large_253E5854BBF0807E0BAADB53E2F9684E.jpg

large_2542CF81C6F1A360CD5D4B770064C97A.jpg

large_Nile_Crocodile.jpg

A very uncooperative crocodile refuses to turn around and face the camera on request. Pfft. Doesn't he know who we are? So, it looks like a bum shot it is then.

large_2572EB16D04C322836BEBF58C82FE54F.jpg

large_257D08BAD4588CA1AA3FF860C01E593E.jpg

The hippo aren't much better – all we can see is the top of their backs. We can certainly smell them though!

large_25A78C8DEAE7A07C5ACF1F5006951E8D.jpg

large_Mawe_Meupe_Picnic_Site.jpg

large_Mawe_Meupe_Picnic_Site_2.jpg

Every picnic site should have a giraffe in the distance...

Mawe Meupe, which means “The White Rocks”, is a small hillock dotted with picnic tables and a great place to spot birds.

large_Roller__Lilca_Breasted_2.jpg
Lilac Breasted Roller

large_Weaver__Wh..d_Buffalo_3.jpg
White Headed Buffalo Weaver

The birds are so used to people and quite unafraid. They come right up to our table hoping for a small offering from our lunch. I hold my hand out with a few crumbs and a starling lands on it and sits there while he is eating. I also get a severe telling off – quite rightly – by Malisa. The birds and animals in the Serengeti are wild and should remain so. They can find their own food and should not be encouraged to rely on humans. I consider myself properly chastised and promise not to do it again. Then feel guilty about it for the rest of the trip.

large_Starling__Ashy_1.jpg
Ashy Starling

large_Starling__Superb_31.jpg
Superb Starling

As “Never pass a toilet without using it” is my travel motto, I make a point of visiting the facilities before we leave. They are nice and clean with a lock on the door, paper and running water. Although the walk is a very short distance, it totally wears me out and I get back to the car completely breathless and coughing wildly. Being ill on holiday sucks!

large_2826D8D1FA85EA1401C44E0E7A8AD628.jpg

Our path is blocked by a giraffe as we leave the picnic site to continue our afternoon game viewing.

large_29963243B554CF44471576FB3602228C.jpg

large_299D84C7CC455BF8B112C5C9FCD71FFB.jpg

large_Banded_Mongoose.jpg

A group of banded mongoose is called a band of mongoose of course.

large_Mongoose__Banded_2.jpg

large_Mongoose__Banded_3.jpg

large_2827FCF8BEEEB5868976AD7B596BFACC.jpg

large_Topi_21.jpg

large_2A5E2159D495342F4C23EADE333FD200.jpg

large_Courser__Two_Banded_21.jpg

large_29E3AB8E96BE19677E8409AF92E4B993.jpg

large_2A0FE46902C4DD946AF6EEF42CAE7B46.jpg

The grass here is so long during the rainy season that it manages to almost completely lose the adult warthog. And that is why they run with their tails straight up, so that their babies can see them and follow.

large_Warthogs_23.jpg

large_2A2739F9DF176AF307486D96787D23E4.jpg

large_2A2C1C710A9584F3E2837EC76C91328A.jpg

large_2A5BE29E0389CDB74563E1D40A97D9CB.jpg

Judging by the number of cars (I counted eleven) parked by the tree, it is obvious that the leopard we saw last night is still there.

large_Leopard_102.jpg

And judging by the number of times she tosses and turns in the short time we are here, she obviously still hasn't found a comfortable position in that tree.

large_Leopard_104B.jpg

large_Leopard_103.jpg

large_2826D8D1FA85EA1401C44E0E7A8AD628.jpg

A very pale baby giraffe with his mummy - they get darker as they age.

large_2B30ADFBB90BBE2F58689FC426486DB5.jpg

large_2B37AFFAC836C2205C9DCEC6449CCAB1.jpg

large_2B6E18D1DF9F7E51EEA20CABE73588D4.jpg

Look at that hairstyle!

large_2B7D3ECEC1775CF6C3EB87F11E7A8670.jpg

And look at that nose! The dik dik has an elongated snout which is very mobile, constantly twitching, with bellows-like muscles through which blood is pumped to help prevent the animal from over-heating. The flow of air and subsequent evaporation cools the blood before it is recirculated to the body. How ingenious!

large_Dik_Dik_2.jpg

Dik diks are monogamous, so you will almost always see them in pairs (or three, with their single offspring).

large_Dik_Dik_3.jpg

large_2BD50571CAAE4037DBF1468F18689F4B.jpg

The female is looking for her babies. She walks into the long grass and stops to let out an almighty roar, a sound that carries a long distance, hoping that her offspring will make their way to where she is. There is no sign of any cubs though.

large_Lions_203.jpg

large_Lions_202.jpg

large_Lions_201.jpg

large_Defassa_Waterbuck.jpg

large_Warerbuck__Defassa_1.jpg

large_Warerbuck__Defassa_2.jpg

large_Warerbuck__Defassa_3.jpg

large_Warerbuck__Defassa_4.jpg

large_Early_Night.jpg

For the first time ever in our thirty years of safaris, I ask to be taken back to the lodge early. Malisa is so sweet, knowing that I would never want to return to base before sunset unless I am really ill, he is obviously concerned about me. He keeps offering me advice and suggestions, plus lots of sympathy. All I want right now is my bed though.

When I get back to the room I watch a couple of buffalo walk past the tent on the slope below, then go to bed. With some serious coughing fits and the lioness still roaring for her cubs, I struggle to stay asleep for more than a few minutes at a time. This is going to be a long night.

With thanks to Calabash Adventures for arranging this safari.

large_2DDFD29EEEE592089438688D5482AF3D.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 15:47 Archived in Tanzania Tagged birds travel africa safari tanzania crocodile birding picnic lion giraffe experience hippo serengeti leopard waterbuck topi starling mongoose warthog courser bird_watching calabash_adventures dik_dik lion-roaring Comments (4)

Naabi Hill - Kubu Kubu

The BIG FIVE are in the bag!


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

large_899CE1E3BC4B462A0B437892287D59AF.jpg

So called because they were the five most dangerous (and desired) animals for hunters to capture. These days of course 'hunters' are replaced by 'photographers'.

large_8B5AFB09BFA5B418C74B6E000564A4AA.jpg

At the entrance gate to the Serengeti National Park, we take our lunch picnic overlooking a small bird bath for entertainment.

large_Starling__Superb_103.jpg
Superb starling partaking in their daily ablutions

large_Starling__Superb_104.jpg

large_Dove_Laughing_201.jpg
Laughing Dove

large_Pigeon__Speckled_21.jpg
Speckled Pigeon

large_Starling__Ashy_101.jpg
Ashy Starling

large_Weaver__Lesser_Masked_104.jpg
Lesser Masked Weaver

large_Starling__Superb_101.jpg
Superb Starling

large_Starling__Superb_102.jpg
Superb Starling having a wardrobe malfunction.

large_Weaver__Re..d_Buffalo_3.jpg
Red Billed Buffalo Weaver

large_Starling__Hildebrand_1.jpg
Hildebrand Starling

large_Weaver__Sp..d_Fronted_1.jpg
Speckled Fronted Weaver

large_Starling__Wattled_106.jpg
Wattled Starling

With all those breadcrumbs flying around, it is not just birds who are attracted to this picnic area.

large_Mouse_1.jpg
Field mouse?

We also watch a small herd of elephants walk past. As you do.

large_Elephants_at_Naabi_Hill_1.jpg

large_Elephants_at_Naabi_Hill_2.jpg

Having failed miserably to get his beloved Savannah Cider in Arusha, David is delighted to find that the small grocery store at Naabi Hill sells it.

large_David_with_Savannah_Cider.jpg

large_92641FB6CAAADA3B232721888BB0D15B.jpg

The UNESCO Heritage ecosystem of Serengeti is one of the oldest and most diverse in the world, and has barely changed in the past million years or so.

large_B4251CD0FB95E9FC9DAEE3F2C0F08E70.jpg

It is, however, the annual migration that the Serengeti is most famous for, consisting of over a million wildebeest and some 200,000 zebra making their way from the north to south and back to the north continuously every year following the rain in search of greener pastures.

Below is a map of the Serengeti showing approximately where the migration usually is during the month of May. This morning we left Lake Masek Tented Camp at the bottom right of the map and later we entered the park through Naabi Hill Gate. We are heading for the Seronera area tonight.

large_Migration_Map.jpg

Soon after we enter the park, we encounter a few thousand of the migrating animals. It is hard to get my head around the fact that all those little dots in the distance are animals

large_B42D2F15E882DECB128787EDFDFCAFA3.jpg

large_B42F328395C79FE67D009E918B93E9AC.jpg

large_B431969499398AA82D476F8EEF35003E.jpg

Serengeti has to be one of my favourite places in the world, but today I seem to be sleeping my way through the wilderness. I guess those antibiotics must be working. I feel totally knocked out. Fortunately David and Malisa do wake me up when they see something of interest.

large_Leopard.jpg

Such as this leopard with her kill in a tree, resting on a branch right above the road.

large_Leopard_101.jpg

large_B474D6AFF5B3CCF528CC811E95700C0C.jpg

There are already a few cars at the scene – we have been so spoilt in Ndutu by mostly being completely on our own at animal sightings, that having company takes a bit of getting used to.

large_Other_Safari_Vehicles_1.jpg

Malisa points out the bad form by this driver – he has a full vehicle, yet he positions himself face on to the sighting, which means his passengers (seated in three rows) have to try and dodge each other to be able to photograph the leopard.

large_Other_Safari_Vehicles_2.jpg

Looking around at the other cars, we seem to be the only ones that are not taking selfies with the leopard. It's not just youngsters either, it seems 'everyone' is doing it, even people our age. I just don't get it....

large_Selfie_2.jpg

large_B5DCAB5CE3EEAAC30E8F7010752BBAD6.jpg

Our leopard is most definitely not comfortable, and keeps fidgeting and moving to a different position.

large_59F98076AE1B5AD5150EB19BA6B2446F.jpg

large_59FDC8AEE7BF3DD081B9014B25E5A1EA.jpg

large_5A01CDEACFC680848805EBED99EBB5E9.jpg

large_Leopard_14.jpg

large_Leopard_21.jpg

Feeling sure she is going to jump down from the tree and head off for a drink shortly, we stand around in the vehicle, waiting, waiting, waiting, while all the leopard does is shuffle around some more. I am feeling rather fatigued by it all, but I don't want to miss any action by sitting down.

large_Leopard_31.jpg

large_Leopard_32.jpg

large_Leopard_34.jpg

large_Leopard_35.jpg

large_Leopard_39.jpg

large_Leopard_44.jpg

large_Leopard_45.jpg

large_Leopard_46.jpg

Malisa believes that if the leopard yawns three times in a quick succession, it is an indication she will leave the tree and go for a drink.

large_5C664DB7ED1481985927BF22F5D61231.jpg

One.... two...

large_5C66F2B4BEB6A19749DF79082B95584A.jpg

Three.... four....

Bang goes that theory.

Or does it? Maybe she was particularly tired and just wanted an extra yawn today? We all get very excited when she stands up.

large_Leopard_60.jpg

large_Leopard_61.jpg

Excitement over. It seems she is just hungry.

large_Leopard_62.jpg

large_Leopard_63.jpg

She then proceeds to pull off the tuft on the baby wildebeest's tail with her teeth, getting quite distressed when she gets a mouthful of hair, trying desperately to spit it out.

large_Leopard_65.jpg

large_Leopard_66.jpg

large_Leopard_68.jpg

large_Leopard_76.jpg

large_Leopard_77.jpg

large_Leopard_78.jpg

large_Leopard_84.jpg

large_Leopard_94.jpg

large_Leopard_96.jpg

Obviously feeling hungry - again - from all that effort required to de-tail the wildebeest, she tucks into some juicy leg meat.

large_Leopard_97.jpg

large_Leopard_99.jpg

Right! She has finished eating, maybe she will now go for a drink?

large_Leopard_108.jpg

Apparently not, although we hope she may just move the kill to a better and safer position, then jump down to look for a drink.

large_Leopard_110.jpg

Ooops! Almost dropped it!

large_Leopard_111.jpg

With some serious effort, she manages to haul her trophy back onto the branch again.

large_Leopard_113.jpg

She puts her dinner back in the fork of the tree where it was before. Well, that was really worth the effort wasn't it?

large_Leopard_115.jpg

Determined to find a better place to store the kill (to safeguard it while she leaves the tree for a drink hopefully), she has another go at moving it.

large_Leopard_117.jpg

large_Leopard_118.jpg

Sigh. She has another feed. Doesn't look like she is going anywhere for a while.

large_Leopard_121.jpg

large_Leopard_122.jpg

Suddenly her ears prick up and she sits bolt upright looking to our right. With eyesight and hearing five times as good as humans, our leopard has sensed something in the long grass.

large_Leopard_125.jpg

She goes off on another branch to investigate.

large_Leopard_126.jpg

It takes a couple of minutes before us humans can make out what she is looking at: a hyena.

large_7E473419FEB364E022713B3A37D1FB11.jpg

Being able to smell the much coveted fresh kill, the hyena makes his way towards the tree.

large_7E49B6B79699E35F8ACCB9A90311B732.jpg

large_7E94AF51C4E4757841442993F12391C9.jpg

Under the watchful eye of the leopard at all times of course.

large_Hyena_and_Leopard_1.jpg

The hyena finds a few small morsels of meat that dropped onto the ground when the leopard moved the prey earlier.

large_Hyena_5.jpg

The light is fading fast (it was never very good for this whole encounter to be fair, it is just as well my Canon EOS 5D IV performs so well under low light / high ISO), and it is getting very late, so we have to leave the leopard and hyena to make our way to our lodge for the night.

large_Leopard_127.jpg

Despite the fact that she never actually did leave the tree while we were here, it is still the best leopard sighting we have ever had in Tanzania (or anywhere else for that matter, we've been lucky enough to see them in Kenya, South Africa, Sri Lanka and India as well), so it is two very happy campers who drive away into the sunset.

large_7F96B9D2ABCB50423C59FAC378757F06.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_21.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_22.jpg

I offer no apologies for the number of sunset pictures I have included in this blog.

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_1.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_6.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_9.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_11.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_12.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_14.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_15.jpg

Before we left home, Tillya told us he had a surprise for us for our wedding anniversary, and this evening's accommodation is it.

large_Kubu_Kubu.jpg

Spectacularly situated on the slope of an escarpment, we can see the lodge from a distance as we approach.

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_2.jpg

We arrive at the lodge and are helped with our luggage by the local porters. One of them promptly grabs my camera and proceeds to take several photos.

large_Kubu_Kubu_Arrival_2.jpg

As I try to get it off him again, he is full of apologies, but all I want is to change the settings on the camera so the pictures won't be so grainy (It is pretty dark by now). Then I give it back for him to play with again.

large_Kubu_Kubu_Arrival_3.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Arrival_1.jpg

At first glance the lodge looks very much like so many other tented camps in Tanzania, but this one is rather special.

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_6.jpg

We are shown down into the main building which houses the reception, bar and restaurant, plus a large open atrium in the middle. Outside is a lovely wooden deck with far-reaching views of the Serengeti plains and a swimming pool on a lower level.

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_17.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_14.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_15.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_19.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_23.jpg

Our room – named Swala, which means gazelle in Swahili – is about half way down the path. In all the hotels I have been trying to ask for a room as close to the reception as possible, as I am still feeling pretty awful and struggle to breathe, making walking a real effort, especially uphill.

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_24.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_25.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_13.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_9.jpg

Our tent is beautifully furnished, with a large four poster bed, a seating area, a writing desk, a water cooler / heater and an outside terrace on stilts with a table and chairs.

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_26.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_27.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_28.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_29.jpg

A large dressing area leads to the separate toilet and outside shower room – which has amazing views.

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_30.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_31.jpg
Views from the outdoor shower

Hot water is plentiful, heated by large solar panels during the day.

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_11.jpg

After a refreshing shower, we go for dinner – the best meal so far on this trip, with a BBQ chef cooking steaks to our liking and other dishes (lamb, chicken, okra curry, crispy spinach and macaroni) brought to our table. If ever proof was needed that I am quite ill, it is this: I didn't take any photos of our dinner!

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_20.jpg

Making our way slowly back to our room accompanied by an askari (Maasai guard), we see the eyes of three hyenas in the long grass on the slope between the tents. As we walk along, so do they, constantly following us with their eyes. Although hyenas are not generally known for attacking people, I still find it a little disconcerting and I am pleased when we make it to the safety of our room.

This blog was made possible thanks to Calabash Adventures – the best safari operator by far!

large_9182BD20A9C2AF3A46A361CC1EC8F0DB.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 15:50 Archived in Tanzania Tagged birds adventure africa safari tanzania birding serengeti leopard hyena bird_watching african_safari tented_camp calabash_adventures naabi_hill seronera african_bush kubu_kubu kubu_kubu_tented_camp Comments (6)

Ndutu - Naabi Hill

And now for a little light relief


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

Those of you who read my previous blog entry, will be pleased to know that all that blood and gore is followed by a large dose of cuteness.

large_A_little_Light_Relief.jpg

large_Pygmy_Falcon.jpg

Aren't these baby falcons cute?

large_Falcons__Pygmy_1.jpg

large_Great_Sparrowhawk.jpg

A nice little lifer for us this morning (a 'new' bird which we haven't seen before)

large_Sparrowhaw..t__Black__1.jpg

large_F3645B3AF72EF8403B334451E53A317F.jpg

Having spent nearly two hours with the lions, we head for Ndutu Airstrip to have our picnic.

large_Breakfast_.._Airstrip_2.jpg

large_Breakfast_.._Airstrip_1.jpg

large_Baby_Giraffe.jpg

large_9123D51DB8FC8685ED4FFB35F0CCE64D.jpg

large_F485889AC89FDC62D9E89EFD7139A88A.jpg

large_F49484EDDE42F70804A1CECF88BB0FD9.jpg

large_Steenbok_72.jpg

large_Steenbok_75.jpg

Malisa spots something moving in the grass and sets off across country.

large_Black_Bellied_Bustard.jpg

“It's only a chicken.”

large_Bustard__Black_Bellied_22.jpg

There's a bit of a story behind this saying: back in 2008, in Sikkim (India), David spotted something and shouted excitedly from the back of the car: “It's a colourful bird!”. With an obvious tone of despair and disinterest, the driver replied: “It's only a chicken”. Malisa has perfected that same tone and the expression has become synonymous with disappointment at seeing something not as exciting as expected.

large_F5758B170B14DA867E2D6B7C15BBFEF9.jpg

The black bellied bustard is followed very shortly by a couple of White Bellied Bustards.

large_Bustard__White_Bellied_51.jpg

large_Bustard__White_Bellied_52.jpg

This place is full of bustards!

large_F5CDB79095A64E0ACB7D4657AD0DF403.jpg

Running away from us of course.

large_Elands_71.jpg

large_F5CECB1AA75E21E9778A26D99BF2370C.jpg

large_Ostrich_71.jpg

large_22DF0B03BDF6A81CA3F88CA60115F171.jpg

Having not encountered any other cars since we've been here in the Ndutu area, we are almost startled by the vehicles down on the marsh watching the elephants.

large_Elephants_101.jpg

One of the cars carries a Facebook friend, Jim, his wife and their friends. I knew he was going to be in the area at the same time as us, but not exactly where or when, so it is quite a coincidence that he is the first person we see after three days of not seeing any other human activity outside the lodge.

large_Elephants_104.jpg

large_Facebook.jpg

There are two groups of elephants here, this one on the right with 17 members...

large_Elephants_105.jpg

large_Elephants_109.jpg

large_Elephants_107.jpg

...and a similar sized herd coming in from the left.

large_Elephants_110.jpg

large_Elephants_111.jpg

large_Elephants_112.jpg

We speculate what will happen when they all meet in the middle. Are they fractions of the same herd, or will there be conflict?

large_Elephants_113.jpg

Apparently not. After some initial trumpeting (which we take to mean "hello, how are you doing, long time no see", they seem to just mingle and chill. I guess they are all the same family.

large_Elephants_114.jpg

large_Elephants_115.jpg

Gotta love those little ones.

large_Elephants_116.jpg

large_Elephants_118.jpg

large_Elephants_123.jpg

large_Elephants_126.jpg

large_Elephants_127.jpg

large_Elephants_133.jpg

large_Elephants_153.jpg

They all meander as one down to the small pond, enjoying the green grass and fresh, cool water.

large_Elephants_120.jpg

large_Elephants_124.jpg

large_Elephants_132.jpg

The herd has yet again split up, which means that everywhere you look, all around us, are elephants.

large_Elephants_140.jpg

Some of the group decide to head for the trees rather than the water.

large_Elephants_137.jpg

large_Elephants_138.jpg

large_Elephants_160.jpg

large_Elephants_161.jpg

large_Elephants_164.jpg

Elephants are very protective of their little ones, and will usually try their best to hide them in the middle of the herd.

large_Elephants_141.jpg

But when you have an itch, you've got to scratch it! And trees make very good scratching posts.

large_Elephants_142.jpg

large_Elephants_144.jpg

But mum soon appears to offer her baby protection from any would-be predators. Although it is unusual, lions have been known to attack young elephants.

large_Elephants_145.jpg

large_Elephants_148.jpg

large_Elephants_149.jpg

When the tree doesn't do the trick, our little fellah resorts to using his own legs to soothe that itch.

large_Elephants_152.jpg

Check out David's video for an extra dose of cuteness.

.

We spend a considerable amount of time watching the elephants, taking great delight in their shenanigans and interactions with each other.

large_Elephants_173.jpg

large_Elephants_189.jpg

large_Elephants_186.jpg

large_Elephants_188_B_W_1.jpg

We watch the elephants slowly make their way into the forest, before turning our attention to other attractions in the immediate surroundings.

large_Elephants_190.jpg

The pond is also home to a number of birds

large_Heron__Grey_2.jpg
Grey Heron

large_Heron__Grey_4.jpg
Black Headed Heron

large_Dove__Laughing_2.jpg
Laughing Doves

large_Terrapin__Serated_1.jpg
Serrated Terrapin

large_Buzzard__Augur__Flying_1.jpg
Augur Buzzard

large_Heron__Black_Headed_3.jpg
Another Black Headed Heron

large_Tortoise__Leopard_2.jpg
Leopard Tortoise

We also come across a lone elephant taking a shower.

large_Elephant_H.._a_Shower_3.jpg

large_Elephant_H.._a_Shower_6.jpg

large_7C150990A8E500F759101557BBCE765B.jpg

We say goodbye to the Ndutu area as we make our way towards Serengeti this morning, with a last look at Lake Ndutu and the animals it attracts.

large_Lake_Ndutu_101B.jpg
Lake Ndutu

large_Giraffe_at_Lake_Ndutu_21.jpg
Giraffe

large_Hartebeest_and_Zebra_31.jpg
Hartebeest and zebra

large_Hartebeest_101.jpg
Hartebeest

large_Eagle__Bla..d_Snake_101.jpg
Black Breasted Snake Eagle

large_Gazelle__Grants_101.jpg
Grant's Gazelle

And here they are all together: Grant's Gazelle and Hartebeest with the snake eagle in the tree
large_Grant_s_Ga..ake_Eagle_1.jpg

large_Courser__Two_Banded_22.jpg
Two Banded Courser

large_Ndutu_Ranger_Station.jpg

In order to save time at the Serengeti Gate, we sign out of Ngorongoro Conservation Area at the Ndutu Ranger Station.

large_Ndutu_Ranger_Station_1.jpg

At Malisa's recommendation, I resist using the toilets here, preferring to wait until we get to the proper Serengeti gate at Naabi Hill, where I know the facilities are modern and clean.

large_Ndutu_Rang..ion_Toilets.jpg

With the correct paperwork in hand, we leave Ndutu behind and make the journey across the Short Grass Plains to reach the official gate to enter the Serengeti for the next chapter of our adventure.

large_Malisa_wit..ger_Station.jpg

On the way we meet up with James and his client in one of the other Calabash vehicles.

large_Calabash_Vehicle_32.jpg

Another drinking giraffe.

large_Giraffe_Drinking_201.jpg

And a huddle of zebras under a tree.

large_Zebras_201.jpg

This Long Crested Eagles takes off and we follow him - at the same speed and height - down the road for some time. A very cool experience.

large_Eagle__Long_Crested_101.jpg

Much as I hate to say goodbye to Ndutu (it is one of my favourite places in Tanzania), I am looking forward to seeing what Serengeti has to offer us. Thank you Calabash Adventures for giving us this opportunity.

large_91135D63D9A37C79671502FE5D5FECE8.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 06:31 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds elephants africa safari tanzania terrapin buzzard ndutu calabash_adventures ngorongoro_conservation_area Comments (3)

Ndutu Day II Part II (Wedding Anniversary)

Finally, some cats


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

We're ready to roll for another afternoon of exciting adventures in the African wilderness.

large_Calabash_V..Tented_Camp.jpg

large_Speckled_Mousebird.jpg

large_Mousebird__Speckled_1.jpg

large_5518B5AA983A3D84BDDAE8832C3EC6CB.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_61.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_62.jpg

Dik diks mate for life, so more often than not you find two together or even three, like here with their offspring.

large_Dik_Dik_63.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_64.jpg

large_Lesser_Masked_Weaver.jpg

large_Weaver__Lesser_Masked_1.jpg

large_5A2DA3CA9C767722239D238321545DA9.jpg

large_Giraffes_61.jpg

large_Giraffes_62.jpg

“Sit down and close your window!” comes the urgent call from Malisa as we find ourselves right in the middle of a swarm of bees flying from one nest to another. Phew, that could have been nasty!

large_Black_Faced_Vervet_Monkey.jpg

large_Monkeys__B..ed_Vervet_1.jpg

large_Monkeys__B..ed_Vervet_2.jpg

large_5A6C2D360130A38084E072768EDCCF4B.jpg

large_Secretary_Bird_42.jpg

large_Vultures.jpg

We see three different vultures (Lappet Faced, African White backed and Hooded) sitting in a tree and wonder if there is a kill somewhere.

large_Vultures__..__Hooded__1.jpg

It's mid-afternoon and we still haven't seen any cats today.

large_5B0C3E0D9ED41FC8C664AE51D645DACA.jpg

large_Eagle__Tawny_42.jpg

large_5B4AA755BD7FDA88011156D0A9B14142.jpg

Cute little baby, some 3-4 months old. Later we see an adult wildebeest, on his own, limping badly. I cannot help to think he will be someone's dinner tonight.

large_Wildebeest_61.jpg

large_White_Bellied_Bustard.jpg

large_Bustard__White_Bellied_2.jpg

There's a lot of dust around this afternoon and I am seriously worried about my lungs. They do not feel good. I am therefore grateful when the skies start getting darker and more threatening.

large_Stormy_Weather.jpg

With a strange light, dark clouds and rain on the horizon; it looks like we are in for some inclement weather.

large_Stormy_Clo..er_Ndutu_51.jpg

I am hoping for a dramatic thunder storm.

large_Stormy_Weather_at_Ndutu_3.jpg

No such luck though. The rain is somewhat localised, and fortunately not in our locale.

large_Stormy_Clo..er_Ndutu_52.jpg

large_Stormy_Clo..er_Ndutu_41.jpg

But I guess it is best to start heading towards the camp.

large_Stormy_Clo..er_Ndutu_42.jpg

Before long, the skies are blue with pretty pink clouds. Talk about changeable!

large_Blue_Skies_over_Ndutu_1.jpg

large_5D212AC1EF3C22AD779CBE436E26EBFC.jpg

Time is getting on, the light is fading fast, and we have given up all hope of seeing any big cats today, which means these two lions are a real bonus.

large_Lion_75.jpg

Not that they do much, but enough to get a few nice photos to round the day off nicely.

large_Lion_65.jpg

large_Lion_71.jpg

large_Lion_74.jpg

She is greatly bothered by flies, and tries to wipe them off with her paw.

large_Lion_69.jpg

It doesn't last long, however.

large_Lion_77B.jpg

large_Lion_78.jpg

Time is moving on, the lions are tired and we really should be getting back to camp.

large_Lion_86.jpg

large_Lion_88.jpg

large_Lion_72.jpg

large_Lion_76.jpg

large_829610EFD33604AC033E53D120490B68.jpg

On the way we see a lone buffalo in the sunset.

large_Buffalo_23.jpg

large_Buffalo_22.jpg

And then another.

large_Buffalo_24.jpg

large_Black_Brea..Snake_Eagle.jpg

large_Eagle__Bla..ted_Snake_1.jpg

large_83E4FF21AC2F1382E39E40AC004764C5.jpg

large_Sunset_Over_Ndutu_72.jpg

large_Sunset_Over_Ndutu_73.jpg

large_Sunset_Over_Ndutu_74.jpg

large_Night_Sky.jpg

One of the things I love about a safari in Africa is that we get well away from any light pollution, making the stars all the more visible at night. I am very surprised, and delighted, that we are able to see any stars at all this evening after all the thick, dark clouds that covered the sky just a couple of hours ago.

The downside of being in the wilderness, of course, is the fact that we are surrounded by wild and dangerous animals, which means I can't stray far from the lodge and the armed askari guards.

Setting up my tripod just outside the entrance to the lodge means I do get some stray light from behind, but we can still see the milky way quite clearly.

large_Stars_over_Lake_Masek_21.jpg

large_Wedding_Anniversary.jpg

As I said in the very first blog post from this trip, the reason for being here in our favourite part of the world at this time, is to celebrate forty years of married bliss.

We brought with us a bottle of bubbly from the UK, which Nina, the waiter, kindly opens for us at dinner.

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_1.jpg

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_2.jpg

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_3.jpg

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_4.jpg

I clear my throat, bring out a scroll tied with red ribbon, unroll it and begin to read:

large_Scroll_1.jpg

Ode to marriage

The year was 1974
In Wembley near London Town
A boy wooed a girl with flowers and more
He wanted to settle down

The girl was from Norway, her English not good
He loved her accent and eyes
Always a gentleman, just as he should
Much better than other guys

She was so young and impressed by his car
Just 16 years old, in her prime
He chatted her up in the Century bar
Into his Lotus she'd climb

Education finished, she left her school
To Norway she must return
If he let her go, he would be a fool
He knew he would always yearn

He told her he loved her and would she be his?
She said “yes” straight away
They must stay together, she surely agrees
“Let's get married, without delay”

Friday the 13th the engagement took place
But the very next day she left
He jacked in his job and took up the chase
To Norway, feeling bereft

Friday the 13th, such a special date
“Let's see when the next one is”
The following year was the estimate
To enter married bliss

By 1977 they wed
In Oslo Town Hall it was
From the bright lights of London to Bristol they fled
In a fancy car of course

They easily settled as husband and wife
Both working as hard as they could
To pay for their major passion in life
Exploring the neighbourhood

Their travels took them to near and far
A never-ending quest
From Antarctica, to China to Zanzibar
They were totally obsessed

The years quickly passed amid work and fun
And travels to faraway lands
A number of bucket list items were done
Scuba, canoeing, and boarding on sands

Work in IT and banking, a means to an end
For funding the thrill-seekers' aim
Rafting and driving a tank round the bend
Quite the daredevils they became

Zeppelin, bobsleigh and bamboo raft
Plus driving a Formula Ford
They sailed and quad-biked and often laughed
Even bungy, but never bored

DIY, cars and cycling too
Always busy, he loved to be
Participating in local voodoo
He even learned to ski

Her passions are cooking and photography
And travelling as much as she can
Sociable, smiling and very carefree
She idolises her man

Old age has crept up, with health not so great
But they're only as young as they feel
Troubles are easy when shared with your mate
Which was always part of the deal

To mark this occasion, where should they be?
A favourite haunt for sure
Tanzania of course, for a safari
Such a wonderful place to explore

As they sit here tonight, celebrating their love
Memories plenty to look back on
They thank their stars and heavens above
For the 40 years that have gone

It's 40 years since she gave him her heart
And she loves him more than ever
She said she's be with him “till death us do part”
And even then it's forever

By the time I am finished there is not a dry eye in the house, even the waiter has to wipe away a tear.

large_ACA22F60E53BBAA2FD1414941E5856E9.jpg

As was the case at lunch, a selection of several dishes are brought to our table: stir fried chicken, curried vegetables, lentils, potatoes and rice, preceded by soup and followed by fresh fruit.

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_6.jpg

large_Celebration_Cake.jpg

Malisa also has a surprise up his sleeve: he has arranged for the lodge to make us a cake. The entire staff of the lodge accompany it is brought out, singing traditional Tanzanian songs and keeping the rhythm by banging kitchen utensils. Love it!

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_7.jpg

.

Who would have thought, all those years ago, that this young couple would be here in the African wilderness forty years later, drinking champagne and eating celebration cake.

large_The_Wedding.jpg

Calabash Adventures really are the best, thank you so much for all the arrangements.

large_AD7CE4CDE2B1505AD1736FA3FE3F135B.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 15:09 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds monkeys rain elephants cake clouds africa safari tanzania celebrations birding lions vultures weaver wildebeest bird_watching bustard ndutu calabash_adventures ngorongoro_conservation_area lake_masek_tented_camp dik_dik wedding_anniversary champage mousebird stormy_weather Comments (4)

Ndutu Day II Part I (Mist, Dung Beetle and Elephant Mudbath)

From misty beginnings


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

I drag myself out of our tent at 05:45 only to find that the world outside is enveloped in a thick mist this morning.

large_Mist_2A.jpg

It is not easy to spot any animals in the thick pea-soup surrounding us. These hartebeest are so close to the vehicle it would be hard to miss them, but goodness knows what else is hiding behind nature's grey cloak.

large_Hartebeest_in_the_Mist_1.jpg

large_Hartebeest_in_the_Mist_2.jpg

The sun is trying its best to burn off the low cloud, which it manages eventually, but meanwhile it turns the mist a delicate shade of pink.

large_Misty_Morning_5A.jpg

large_Misty_Morning_7.jpg

large_Misty_Morning_8.jpg

large_Misty_Morning_9.jpg

The morning mist has also ensured that dew drops on the spider's webs glow delicately in the low sun.

large_Spider_s_Web_1.jpg

large_Kittlitz_s_Plover.jpg

large_Plover_Kittlitz_1.jpg

large_Plover_Kittlitz_3.jpg

large_Blacksmith_Plover.jpg

large_Plover__Blacksmith_21.jpg

large_Plover__Blacksmith_22.jpg

large_Plover__Blacksmith_24.jpg

large_Bat_Eared_Fox.jpg

large_Fox__Bat_Eared_22.jpg

large_Fox__Bat_Eared_26.jpg

large_Fox__Bat_Eared_28.jpg

large_Fox__Bat_Eared_29.jpg

large_Two_Banded_Courser.jpg

large_Courser__Two_Banded_1.jpg

large_F4065494CE00FB5CA58FCF411C40F6DC.jpg

large_Eagle__Brown_Snake_11.jpg

large_Giraffe.jpg

large_Giraffe_21.jpg

large_F4598820B341A42664E62A028A24D5AD.jpg

large_F45F680FC345C65928CD780BBE8079C4.jpg

large_Helmeted_Guineafowl.jpg

With cute little babies.

large_Guineafowl__Helmeted_11.jpg

large_Guineafowl__Helmeted_12.jpg

large_Guineafowl__Helmeted_13.jpg

large_Guineafowl__Helmeted_14.jpg

large_Guineafowl__Helmeted_15.jpg

large_Long_Crested_Eagle.jpg

large_Eagle__Long_Crested.jpg

large_F5746519DCB0C9E9034BE510F0F3D097.jpg

Life is always more colourful with a Lilac Breasted Roller

large_Roller__Lilac_Breasted_25.jpg

large_Roller__Lilac_Breasted_27.jpg

large_F5EF19ACE80D575C682A14F7CA4021B3.jpg

Another one. They're common as muck around here.

large_Eagle__Brown_Snake_31.jpg

large_138AEB7FF1427E1498F305AA34F26177.jpg

We find a suitable place in the shade of a tree, with no obvious predators in the vicinity, to stop and have our breakfast.

large_Breakfast_..3th_May___6.jpg

large_Breakfast_..3th_May___1.jpg

large_Breakfast_..3th_May___5.jpg

large_Breakfast_..3th_May___3.jpg

David doing his artistic bit

large_Breakfast_..3th_May___8.jpg

large_14AF82F1B2ADB50D3501C29DE4B7344F.jpg

We are soon on our way again “to see what nature has to offer us” out here on the Short Grass Plains.

large_Time_to_Move_On.jpg

large_1525C75FE89840FC567A367EBD75733E.jpg

large_Jackal__Black_backed_32.jpg

large_Jackal__Black_backed_34.jpg

large_155301F7D93C68B33791D0AD71474D2F.jpg

With a tiny baby, no more than than two weeks old.

large_Gazelle__Grant_s_31.jpg

large_Wildebeest_Migration.jpg

The wildebeest have scent glands in their hooves helping the others to follow the leader. The theory is: if their man (beast) at the front gets through, then it must be safe.

large_165FBD2A9274068AFB722F6521372A33.jpg

That is why you often see them walking in a single file, keeping their heads down.

large_Wildebeest_Migration_2.jpg

large_Wildebeest_Migration_3.jpg

large_Wildebeest_Migration_4.jpg

large_Wildebeest_Migration_5.jpg

As always, lots of dust being kicked up.

large_Wildebeest_Migration_6.jpg

large_Wildebeest_Migration_7.jpg

large_Wildebeest_Migration_9.jpg

large_Ostrich.jpg

large_Ostrich_32.jpg

large_18F5E60A0B009EEABFC6452C8EAF7BC9.jpg

It makes such a pleasant change to see these ungulates standing still rather than running away from us for dear life.

large_Eland_31.jpg

large_192A2A0DA8E973A3B046CBCB41DA4A82.jpg

large_Zebra_31.jpg

large_Zebra_32.jpg

large_Zebra_33.jpg

large_1958224FE0C92B864F70EF2366F01599.jpg

Or rather, just her eggs. I have no idea how Malisa manages to spot these things as he is driving along, they are so well camouflaged!

large_Plover__Crowned_Eggs_1.jpg

large_Eastern_Chanting_Goshawk.jpg

large_Goshawk__E.._Chanting_2.jpg

large_Goshawk__E.._Chanting_1.jpg

large_1EF80EDDA4FD8F4DB3BD5D0A2030C5C8.jpg

large_Steenbok_31.jpg

large_Steenbok_32.jpg

large_470CBF9DE5F5C4AC86486F5A11279438.jpg

Those of you who followed my blog from Tanzania last year, will probably remember my fascination with dung beetles.

large_Dung_Beetle_1.jpg

This little stretch of land is Dung Beetle Central! Everywhere you look there is a beetle rolling its prized poo ball across the plains.

large_Dung_Beetle_4.jpg

large_Dung_Beetle_5.jpg

So what's the collective noun for a gang of dung beetles? Shitload. Not sure if that is the official term, but it sure fits!

large_Dung_Beetle_6.jpg

As the original recyclers, dung beetles are probably the most industrious resident on the savannah, clearing up the mess left behind by other animals.

large_Dung_Beetle_7.jpg

Imagining the savannah knee-deep in excrement, makes you appreciate the importance of these tiny animals.

large_Dung_Beetle_8.jpg

large_479387330ACED31FAFF8276A6C596524.jpg

“Let me whisper sweet nothings in your ear...”

large_Zebra_42.jpg

“Lean on me”

large_47A518D4AE1F81D1553FAA096D01CB1B.jpg

large_47A993B2D148A6D84DF461E9651ECC20.jpg

large_47CDAA5593C5FB57D3D78F7E5BDE2F37.jpg

large_Helmetshri..e_Rumped_41.jpg

large_Hyena.jpg

We see a hyena hiding in the undergrowth and drive nearer to take a better look, by which time she has completely disappeared, so I guess she has a den hidden somewhere in the grass.

large_47DEE78BC45B2A3A0032B0EEBA9F2499.jpg

Keen to locate a big cat of some sort, Malisa drives from tree to tree, copse to copse to check out what is hiding in the shade, but no luck.

We do see a few other birds and animals though.

large_47EC1508EF32A85DCE35066C52FFA2FB.jpg

large_Eagle__Long_Crested_41.jpg

large_47EDB5B50C526709572668AA66D40C4C.jpg

It is strange how the distribution of animals is so different from this same week last year – so far we have seen more steenbok in the first couple of days than we saw on the entire trip in 2016.

large_Steenbok_41.jpg

large_47EC1508EF32A85DCE35066C52FFA2FB.jpg

Another Long Crested Eagle – this one is having a bad hair day.

large_Eagle__Long_Crested_42.jpg

large_483821F6ADF2BC07E2807596FD7128D1.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_41.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_42.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_43.jpg

large_Lake_Ndutu.jpg

large_Lake_Ndutu_21.jpg

large_Lesser_Flamingo.jpg

large_Flamingo__Lesser_21.jpg

When eating, the flamingo shift their legs up and down to disturb the algae, a movement Malisa likens to a dance. To me it looks more like little kids hopping from leg to leg shouting: “Mum, I need to pee!” Malisa agrees with me and finds my analogy particularly amusing.

large_Flamingo__Lesser_22.jpg

large_Marsh_Sandpiper.jpg

large_Sandpiper__Marsh.jpg

large_48A49EF2904632F92779A898DE5C792C.jpg

The elephants love to cover themselves in mud as this helps to get rid of any ticks.

large_Elephant_Mudbath_3.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_6.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_11.jpg

The small herd look like they are really enjoying their wallow – I expect the mud is nice and cooling in the midday sun too.

large_Elephant_Mudbath_2.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_4.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_8.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_9.jpg

They are so ungainly when they try to get out of the water!

large_Elephant_Mudbath_12.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_15.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_16.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_17.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_22.jpg

This little one is rubbing her belly on the ground to ensure the mud sticks.

large_Elephant_Mudbath_18.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_19.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_20.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_21.jpg

large_495ADF14DD1914A890F5631CFD1219C5.jpg

large_498579E7F319DEDFC6D4D57C1E2C9216.jpg

large_Giraffe_43.jpg

large_Giraffe_57.jpg

large_Blue_Naped_Mousebird.jpg

large_Mousebird__Blue_Naped_1.jpg

large_Mousebird__Blue_Naped_2.jpg

large_Black_Winged_Red_Bishop.jpg

In their breeding plumage. Here seen with a Blue Capped Cordon Bleu.

large_Bishop__Bl..rdon_Bleu_1.jpg

large_49A655FFFE2D17D55D33A18D0F624028.jpg

To me, this is the quintessential African safari scene – zebra and giraffe grazing on a dry, flat savannah.

large_Zebra_and_Giraffe_1.jpg

large_Zebra_and_Giraffe_2.jpg

large_Zebra_and_Giraffe_4.jpg

large_49C1FFA390B99AD64F6580411BD6E500.jpg

large_Zebra_46.jpg

Nothing worse than being photobombed by a giraffe.

large_Zebra_and_Giraffe_5.jpg

large_4A001FBFEA40966B931EEA13B2BFF4DA.jpg

large_4A114D44F4C45F443B84A1502EBD2B8E.jpg

large_Warthogs_22.jpg

large_4A411089B0B2838ABFB8B7602D8F260A.jpg

It always amuses me the way they have to kneel when they eat because their neck isn't long enough to reach the ground.

large_Warthogs_25.jpg

large_Warthogs_26.jpg

Apart from this guy at the back who seems to have perfected the art of eating standing up.

large_Warthogs_29.jpg

Another giraffe photobomb.

large_Giraffe_55.jpg

Giraffe are at their most vulnerable when drinking. Despite their long necks, they have to get themselves into a very awkward yoga pose in order to reach the water. Not only do they then struggle to get up again, they are also not able to keep a close eye on any predators that may be approaching.

large_Giraffe_Drinking_1.jpg

Not that it looks like there is much water there.

large_Giraffe_Drinking_2.jpg

As soon as the giraffe stands up, a number of oxpeckers fly off.

large_Giraffe_Drinking_4.jpg

large_4F501137EC313ABD52B1E37E1C1806A7.jpg

The oxpecker has a symbiotic relationship with many of the larger animals on the savannah, cleaning its host by feeding on the ticks, horsefly larvae and other parasites that make their home on the skin. The bird also acts as an early warning signal, alerting the other animals to danger by making loud chirping and hissing noises.

large_Oxpecker__Red_Billed_22.jpg

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath.jpg

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath_1.jpg

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath_2.jpg

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath_6.jpg

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath_7.jpg

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath_10.jpg

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath_12.jpg

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath_14.jpg

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath_15.jpg

It seems they are enjoying themselves.

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath_17.jpg

large_531693CD05B275EDCC91BE5081AF93B7.jpg

large_Buzzard__Augur_32.jpg

large_Hippo.jpg

In Lake Masek

large_Hippo_31.jpg

large_538CB4A1CAE2DACCA7D8536FC9D56CA1.jpg

Normally we like to stay out all day, taking a picnic box with us for both breakfast and lunch, but today I thought it would be nice to go back to the camp for a meal in the middle of the day as it is our wedding anniversary.

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_25.jpg

There is only us staying here these last two nights, but they have made us an impressive spread with a choice of dishes: spaghetti with a bolognaise sauce, okra curry with rice and mixed vegetables. Soup to start and fresh fruit to finish.

large_Lunch_at_L..Tented_Camp.jpg

After another amazing morning's safari with Calabash Adventures, it is time for a short break before we go out exploring again.

large_877911C6FD83125866CD00268040C5F4.jpg

large_53F3BA2DBDFC69D371AB7176A3DD9178.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 03:11 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds travel adventure africa safari tanzania zebra giraffe bird_watching african_safari ndutu calabash_adventures ngorongoro_conservation_area Comments (1)

Montrouis - Moulin sur Mer beach resort

More chill time

storm 36 °C
View Fet Gede - Haiti's Day of the Dead 2016 on Grete Howard's travel map.

I am up early this morning for some bird watching in and around the hotel grounds.

large_Yellow_Faced_Grassquit_4.jpg
Yellow Faced Grassquit

large_Hispaniolan_Woodpecker_1.jpg
Hispaniolan Woodpecker

large_Palmchat_1.jpg
Palmchat

large_0D8A4F8DD8598858B7A92C57611CC0D4.jpg
Hispaniolan Woodpecker

large_0D8BAD990D5257ABEE754C2F7F60419E.jpg
White Necked Crow

large_0D8CBA90A7F2C31AD0248ED8EFB177E8.jpg
Bananaquit

large_0D8DE16707823362D823866B38731677.jpg
American Kestrel

large_Grey_Kingbird_1.jpg
Grey Kingbird

The hotel also has domestic ducks and geese on its ponds; as well as a pigeon loft.

large_0DC5B86DD2123BE1C2B70D2D2F53E3CF.jpg

large_0DCA2807A8BFCF12BA9623AB31E4799F.jpg

large_Pigeon_Loft_1.jpg

Breakfast

large_David_at_t..ast_table_1.jpg

large_French_Toa..fruit_Juice.jpg
Lots of lovely fresh mango, and French toast with bacon - one of my favourite breakfasts!

Montrouis Beach

Apart from a conch shell salesman, and a sunbed stacker, we have the beach to ourselves this morning.

large_Montrouis_Beach_27.jpg

large_Montrouis_Beach_29.jpg

large_Montrouis_Beach_31.jpg

large_Montrouis_Beach_21.jpg

large_Montrouis_Beach_23.jpg

large_Montrouis_Beach_30.jpg

large_Montrouis_Beach_37.jpg

It is blisteringly hot and suddenly my tummy doesn't feel good at all. In fact, it is so sudden that I don't make it back to the bathroom on time – a most unpleasant experience.

large_Montrouis_Beach_32.jpg
You'll be glad to know that there are no photos of my little "accident".

Lunch

Today is Sunday, so lunch is a buffet.

large_Buffet_Lun..omato_salad.jpg
Chicken curry, national rice, fried plantains, creamed corn and tomato salad

large_Passionfruit_Mousse.jpg
A delightfully tart passionfruit mousse

Rain? What rain?

The forecast for this weekend (and beyond) has consistently showed rain, rain and more rain, plus the odd thunder shower. There is certainly no sign of that this afternoon, the sea is sparkling in the sunshine.

large_Weather_Forecast_PAP_3.jpg

large_Sparkling_Water_4.jpg

We sit for a while just gazing out to sea and those mesmerizing sparkles of sunshine dancing across the water like little luminous fairies. Life is good, until my tummy tells me that the lunch is an unwelcome guest and is about to be evicted, so we retire to the cool room. Next door is a lovely local family who are here for the weekend with their small child. I am unconcerned when I hear hear the key being turned in the connecting door as it is surely locked from both sides; but before I have had the chance to say “I'd better put some clothes on”, the girl and her father are in our room. I don't know who is most shocked: the kid or her dad! For the rest of their stay he avoids all eye contact with me.

I guess that is my cue to get dressed and head out to wait for the sunset.

There are a few more people down at the beach this afternoon; both in and out of the water.

large_Enjoying_a_Beer_1.jpg

large_Paddle_Boarding_1.jpg

large_Waterskiing_2.jpg

Tonight's sunset is not a patch on yesterday's, but the 'Bushwacker' cocktail more than makes up for it: Khalua, Amaretto, Baileys, cream and ice cream. Heaven in a glass!

large_Bushwacker_Cocktail_1.jpg

large_Sunset_ove..h_Day_2___1.jpg

large_Sunset_ove..Day_2___104.jpg

large_Sunset_ove..Day_2___105.jpg

What the evening sky lacks in terms of colour, intensity and clouds, it more than makes up for in a passing lightning storm.

large_Lightning_10A.jpg

Dinner

On the menu tonight is langoustine thermador – one of my favourite dishes. It certainly lives up to expectations.

large_Langoustine_Thermador.jpg

Thank you to Jacqui of Voyages Lumiere for yet another day here in Haiti.

large_23C341B0053F7BCCE13C071083C0C66D.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 03:05 Archived in Haiti Tagged birds sea water sunset ocean beach storm caribbean sleep drinking birding photography lightning thunder woodpecker cocktail haiti lightning_storm langoustine bird_watching kestrel american_kestrel moulin_sur_mer montrouis voyages_lumier twitcher hispaniolan_woodpecker grassquit yellow_faced_grassquit bananaquit kingbird grey_kingbird waterskiing bushwalker_cocktail langoustine_thermador Comments (0)

(Entries 61 - 72 of 91) Previous « Page 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 8 » Next