A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about birds

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)

Danube Delta

A day on the Delta

semi-overcast 31 °C
View The Undiscovered East (of Europe) - Moldova, Transdniestr & Romania 2016 on Grete Howard's travel map.

large_A_Day_on_the_Delta.jpg

After the wine and moonshine last night, we both slept well. A little too well I think, as David wakes up with a bad back this morning.

Breakfast consists of a typical continental selection, although I can’t say fish balls appeal this morning.

large_Breakfast_..a_Oprisan_2.jpg

Today we are fulfilling a long-time dream of mine; exploring the Danube Delta by small boat has been on my wish list for as long as I can remember.

large_Morning_Bo..be_Delta_25.jpg

Although this is one of the most popular tourist areas in the Danube Delta, it never feels crowded. We do see other boats, of course, but for a lot of the time, it is just us and the awesome nature around us.

large_Morning_Bo..be_Delta_18.jpg

large_Morning_Bo..e_Delta_105.jpg

large_Morning_Bo..e_Delta_17A.jpg

large_Morning_Bo.._Delta_106A.jpg

large_Morning_Bo.._Delta_112A.jpg

large_Morning_Bo..ube_Delta_8.jpg

large_Morning_Bo.._Delta_114A.jpg

large_Morning_Bo..e_Delta_117.jpg

The Danube Delta is not only the world’s largest wetlands; it is also a paradise for wildlife, with over 300 species of birds in its numerous lakes and marshes.

large_Grey_Heron_4.jpg
Grey Heron

large_Black_Headed_Gulls_1.jpg
Black Headed Gulls

large_Hooded_Crow_4.jpg
Hooded Crow

large_Mallard_1.jpg
Mallard

large_Squacco_Heron_5.jpg
Squacco Heron

large_Whiskered_Tern_3.jpg
Whiskered tern

large_Swans_4.jpg
Mute Swan Cygnets

large_Herring_Gull_1.jpg
Herring Gull

large_Common_Tern_1.jpg
Common Tern

It is a struggle to get good pictures of the birds – as soon as we get anywhere near them; they fly off en masse. I am guessing the sound of the outboard engine is scaring them off.

large_Pygmy_Cormorants_1.jpg

large_Morning_Bo..e_Delta_120.jpg

I try to capture the birds in flight, but my success rate is rather low.

large_Pygmy_Cormorants_3.jpg
Pygmy Cormorant

large_Marsh_Harrier_1.jpg
Marsh Harrier

large_Swans_7.jpg
Mute Swans

large_Hooded_Crows_3.jpg
Hooded Crow

large_Great_Egret_4.jpg
Great Egret

large_Purple_Heron_1.jpg
Purple Heron

large_Great_Cormorant_2.jpg
Great Cormorant

large_Grey_Heron_9.jpg
Grey Heron

large_02BC5D510C816AC1E568BEBFD6AE0449.jpg
Little Egret

The Danube Delta consists of an intricate network of waterways and lakes, and we transverse many of the tranquil canals this morning. Some are wider than a motorway, others so narrow that two boats cannot pass easily.

large_Morning_Bo..ube_Delta_5.jpg

large_Morning_Bo..19_-_Andrei.jpg

large_Morning_Bo..be_Delta_11.jpg

large_Afternoon_..he_Danube_3.jpg

large_Morning_Bo..e_Delta_115.jpg

large_Little_Egret_5A.jpg

large_03A8543BECC2898C66A6D274761919A2.jpg
Little Egret

large_Morning_Bo..e_Delta_103.jpg
Floating hotel

The marshes are studded with glorious water lilies.

large_Water_Lily_4A.jpg

large_Water_Lily_26A.jpg

large_Water_Lily_5A.jpg

large_Water_Lily_22A.jpg

large_Water_Lily_32.jpg

large_Water_Lily_34.jpg

After a while David’s back begins to really bother him on the bench-seat – which offers no back support – so he lies down across the boat instead. It’s a hard life here on the water.

large_Boat_Trip_..ube_Delta_5.jpg

large_Morning_Bo.._and_Andrei.jpg

large_Morning_Bo..10_-_Andrei.jpg
Our cheeky guide Andrei

Out on the lake, the sun glistens magically on the surface of the water.

large_Morning_Bo..e_Delta_109.jpg

large_Morning_Bo..20_-_Andrei.jpg

A great number of Egyptian White Pelicans arrive here every spring to raise their young, but are usually gone again by this time of year, so I am very excited to see a small flock of them flying in formation right above us.

large_Pelicans_Flying_2.jpg

large_Pelicans_Flying_3.jpg

From time to time we stop for Pavet, our trusted captain, to remove reeds that have stuck in the propellers. The Delta has the largest reed beds in the world (625,000 acres), which provide ideal spawning and nesting grounds. The floating reed beds – known as plaur in Romanian - are a mixture of reeds, roots, soil, and grasses. Reed was intensively harvested, and large areas drained, during the Communist era; as the regime had plans to transform the Delta into a large agro-industrial zone. These days the reeds are slowly invading the water surface, extending the delta into the Black Sea at a rate of 24m a year!

large_Reflections_58.jpg

large_Little_Egret_8.jpg
The tall reeds dwarf a Little Egret!

The Danube Delta is home to 60% of the world's population of Pygmy Cormorants.

large_Pygmy_Cormorants_12.jpg

large_Pygmy_Cormorants_13.jpg

large_Squacco_Heron_6.jpg
Squacco Heron

The serenity of these calm backwaters attracts fishermen, sightseers and people just wanting to get out into nature for a few hours.

large_Fisherman_1.jpg

large_Morning_Bo..e_Delta_124.jpg

The floating hotels look rather cool, but are not as practical as they first appear – their size means they are unable to enter the smaller canals.

large_Morning_Bo..e_Delta_125.jpg

large_Marsh_Sandpiper_2.jpg
Marsh Sandpiper

large_Grey_Heron..eat_Egret_2.jpg
Grey Heron and Great Egret

large_Northern_Lapwing_3.jpg
Northern Lapwing

There is said to be a lot of wildlife – in addition to the birds – here at the Delta, but all we see this morning is a few horses and some cows.

large_477C9D61B550221CFAB0D7DE0B86152D.jpg

large_Cows_1.jpg

More waterlilies.

large_Water_Lily_37.jpg

Lunch

After a beautiful morning on the water, it is time to return to Crisan and our guest house for lunch.

large_Crisan_21.jpg

For lunch we have …. wait for it…. fish ball soup, followed by…. fish. This time Prussian carp (with the fetching name “crap” in Romanian), as well as the catfish we didn’t eat yesterday; served with the ever-present polenta.

large_Fishball_Soup_at_Lunch_2.jpg

large_Fishball_Soup_at_Lunch_1.jpg

large_Carp__prus..for_Lunch_2.jpg

After a short walk to the local ‘supermarket’ to buy some wine for tonight, it is time for a siesta (and a cuddle with the resident cat) before this afternoon’s boat trip on the Danube Delta.

large_FF7AD8999EE3FF024B63D040865970E6.jpg

large_Afternoon_Boat_Trip_11.jpg

This 5000 km² area of floating reed islands, forests, pastures and sand dunes is inscribed as a UNESCO Heritage Site. The still afternoon and lack of other boats on the smaller canals, makes for some gorgeous reflections.

large_Reflections_51_Nik.jpg

large_Reflections_54_Nik.jpg

large_Reflections_57_Nik.jpg

The Danube Delta is home to 70% of the world’s white pelican population.

large_White_Pelican_2.jpg

large_White_Pelican_4.jpg

large_White_Pelican_5.jpg

large_White_Peli..tle_Egret_2.jpg

As well as other birds, of course

large_Seagull_53.jpg
Common Gull

large_Squacco_Heron_52.jpg
Squacco Heron

large_Cormorant_and_Seagull_2.jpg
Great Cormorant and Common Gull

large_Coot.jpg
Coot

large_Mallards_1.jpg
Mallards

large_Black_Headed_Gull_51.jpg
Black Headed Gulls

The Danube River is the most international river in the world - its course runs through or alongside nine countries: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine.

large_Afternoon_..ip_17_Nik_1.jpg

large_Fishermen_51.jpg
Unfortunately one of the fishing lines gets stuck in the propeller of the boat and we drag it along with us as we move on.

large_Afternoon_Boat_Trip_18.jpg

Stormy clouds + low afternoon sun + glistening water = some awesome photo opportunities.

large_0B42C59DD288B2EDB4E38DF88DF87869.jpg

large_Crepuscular_Rays_1.jpg

large_Glistening_Water_1.jpg

large_Glistening_Water_4.jpg

.

The Danube Delta Reserve has the third largest biodiversity in the world, exceeded only by the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Galapagos Archipelago in Ecuador.

large_Frogs_1.jpg
Frogs on the lily leaves

As we make our way back towards Crișan, the low, pink sun shows some promise of a good sunset to come.

large_Afternoon_Boat_Trip_16.jpg

large_Crow_Silhuettes_1.jpg

large_Sunset_on_the_Danube_1.jpg

large_Sunset_on_the_Delta_3.jpg

large_Sunset_on_the_Delta_5.jpg

Dinner

Concerned that as tourists we may not wish to eat fish for every single meal, our host serves us pork chops with rice and pickles for dinner today.

large_Pork_Chops..and_Pickles.jpg

We share the bottle of red wine we bought from the shop earlier, but David is the only one who enjoys it, so he finishes the bottle off.

large_Romanian_Wine.jpg

I stick to the double distilled plum moonshine. It goes well with the cake made from grapes grown in the guest-house garden.

large_Grape_Cake..d_Moonshine.jpg

Yet another day – the last one in Romania – has come to an end. Thank you Undiscovered Destinations for this totally fascinating private tour of Moldova, Transdniestr and Romania.

large_37A69072C08ECFBC156D5652C5CDB6DB.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 03:37 Archived in Romania Tagged birds fish boat travel marshes destinations photography soup delta boat_trip bird_watching danube_delta undiscovered_destinations crisan fishball_soup Comments (0)

Mbuzi Mawe - Seronera Part II

Rain doesn't stop play, it creates photo opportunities


View The Gowler African Adventure - Kenya & Tanzania 2016 on Grete Howard's travel map.

large_Game_Drive_5.jpg

Lake Magadi

After leaving the ‘Lion Tree’, we try to find somewhere to stop for our picnic lunch. Malisa’s initial plan is to park down by Lake Magadi, but there is no shade whatsoever and the sun is relentless.

large_Lake_Magadi_11-2.jpg

large_Lake_Magadi_11-1.jpg

large_Lake_Magadi_11-4.jpg

Terns

On the shores of the lake, a number of terns are congregating: Whiskered, White Winged Black and Black.
As we get closer, they all take off en masse.

large_Terns__Whiskered_11-1.jpg

large_Terns__Whi.._Black_11-1.jpg

large_Terns__Whi.._Black_11-2.jpg

large_92293589E279EAF774E0BB8D5DE58DA1.jpg

large_922BB5F0A4BAA11F98DFF7462EC3233A.jpg

large_Terns__Whi.._Black_11-3.jpg

large_Terns__Whi.._Black_11-4.jpg

large_Terns__Whi.._Black_11-5.jpg

Rueppell's Long Tailed Starling

large_Staling__R..Tailed_11-1.jpg

Grey Backed Shrike

large_Shrike__Grey_Backed_11-1.jpg

large_Picnic_8A.jpg

We finally find a tree to take our picnic under, listening to the grunting of hippo as we eat. When Lyn comments to Malisa that the sounds appear awfully near, his reply doesn’t exactly re-assure her: “This is leopard country…” Seeing the paw prints in the sand, Lyn makes a hasty retreat to the car.

Banded Mongoose

This is an enormous family!

large_31845AAB0B69C485DEA4B3439F971CF2.jpg

large_Mongoose__Banded_11-12.jpg

large_Mongoose__Banded_11-13.jpg

large_Mongoose__Banded_11-14.jpg

large_Mongoose__Banded_11-15.jpg

Cape Buffalo

A buffalo tries – unsuccessfully – to hide in the long grass.

large_Buffalo__Cape_11-11.jpg

Ostrich

A male ostrich shows off his typical breeding plumage: bright pink legs and neck.

large_Ostrich_11-21.jpg

large_Ostrich_11-22.jpg

Moru Kopjes

large_Moru_Kopjes_11-1.jpg

large_Moru_Kopjes_11-2.jpg

large_Musical_Notes.jpg

Gong Rock

On top of one of the kopjes is a strategically placed, strange-shaped rock. This large rock with holes emits quite a gong when hit with a stone. In the old days – before the Maasai were relocated to make this an animal-only national park - it was used as a form of communication, to call together clan members to meetings. These days I guess they use mobile phones.

large_Gong_Rock_11-0.jpg

large_Gong_Rock_11-1.jpg

large_Gong_Rock_11-3.jpg

large_Gong_Rock_11-21.jpg

large_Gong_Rock_11-22.jpg

large_Gong_Rock_11-23.jpg

.

large_Gong_Rock_11-6.jpg

Maasai paintings

The kopjes here at Moru also hide a number of rock paintings believed to be several hundred years old. The colours used are similar to those on the Maasai shields, so it is thought that they were painted by a band of young Maasai warriors who wandered this area for several years before settling down to their pastoral life.

large_Maasai_Paintings_11-31.jpg

large_Maasai_Paintings_11-6.jpg

large_Maasai_Paintings_11-7.jpg

The colours used were created from plant matter: the black from volcanic ash, the white and yellow from different clay, and the red from the juice of the wild nightshade.

large_Maasai_Paintings_11-1.jpg

large_Maasai_Paintings_11-2.jpg

I am intrigued by the bicycle.

large_Maasai_Paintings_11-3.jpg

large_Maasai_Paintings_11-4.jpg

Rock Hyrax

The area around the kopjes is supposed to be home to Serengeti’s last remaining black rhino and is a favourite hangout of leopards apparently. But all we see are a few rock hyraxes.

large_Rock_Hyrax_11-101.jpg

large_Rock_Hyrax_11-103.jpglarge_Desperation_2.jpg

My tummy really is in a bad way now, causing me quite some concern; and I beg Malisa to find me a proper toilet. “We are very near” he tells me.

Dark Chanting Goshawk

large_Goshawk__D..nting_11-11.jpg

large_Goshawk__D..nting_11-12.jpg

Serengeti Rhino Project Visitors Centre

large_Walking_Rhions.jpg

Half an hour later, we reach the Rhino Information Centre, where the toilets are indeed very good.

large_F97E3C20BA1C45B593AEAA91F2945623.jpg

Phew!

Mostly as a result of poaching, the black rhino population has declined to a critically endangered point, with an all time low of 2,300 individuals in the wild. Fewer than 700 eastern black rhinos survive in the wild, with Serengeti being home to around 30 of them.

large_Rhino_Info..Centre_11-2.jpg

large_Rhino_Info..Centre_11-5.jpg

Named after the German conservationist Michael Grzimek who devoted his life to the Serengeti, the Visitors Centre has displays about the rhino and how the conservation strategies are being employed to ensure the continued survival of the rhino.

large_Rhino_Info..Centre_11-1.jpg

large_Rhino_Info..Centre_11-6.jpg

large_Rhino_Info..Centre_11-4.jpg

The exact location of the park’s rhino population is a well kept secret, with a small army of rangers and wardens looking after the animals 24/7.

large_Rhino_Info..Centre_11-7.jpg

large_Rhino_Info..Centre_11-3.jpg

large_EF6CCC68A0C7FA755079B1A3FA4E1B58.jpg

One of the reasons the crocodile is often found with his mouth wide open, is to attract insects, who are drawn to bits of meat left in the croc’s teeth. The insects again attract birds, and as soon as an unsuspecting bird enters the mouth – slam! The bird is no more.

large_Crocodile_11-11.jpg

large_Crocodile_11-12.jpg

For some reason that reminds me of this Youtube clip.

.

Squacco Herons

large_Herons__Squacco_11-1.jpg

large_Hamerkop_Nest_1.jpg

These enormous nests take the birds up to three months to build, and are the height of sophistication, with three rooms inside. The nests can weigh up to 90kg, measure 1.5 metres across, and are strong enough to support the weight of a man! These birds are compulsive nest builders, constructing three to five nests per year whether they are breeding or not. When the hamerkop abandons a nest, Egyptian Geese move in.

large_Hammerkop_Nest_11-1.jpg

large_Hammerkop_Nest_11-2.jpg

Many local people believe the hamerkop to be a ‘witch bird’ because they collect all sorts of stuff for their nest building, including human hair!

More Ostriches

large_Ostrich_11-71.jpg

Giraffe

large_Giraffe_11-81.jpg

Rain

large_Rain_10.jpg

In Africa, rain is a blessing, for humans, animals and the environment.

♪♫♪ I bless the rains down in Africa… ♪♫♪

"Africa" by Toto

I hear the drums echoing tonight
But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation
She's coming in twelve-thirty flight
Her moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation
I stopped an old man along the way
Hoping to find some old forgotten words or ancient melodies
He turned to me as if to say: "Hurry boy, it's waiting there for you"

It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do what's right
Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti
I seek to cure what's deep inside, frightened of this thing that I've become

It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

.

Rain can also be a blessing for photographers, creating some lovely moody shots.

large_Rain_and_Mist_11-6.jpg

Lions

Seeing a herd of Lancruisers in the distance, and knowing that they always hunt in packs, we surmise there must be a suitable prey around.

large_Landcruise.._Packs_11-1.jpg

We are not disappointed. Wet and bedraggled, there is a pride (or sawt) of lions in the long grass, with what’s left of a dead wildebeest.

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-5.jpg

Two mums and three cubs (around 1½ - 2 months old) gather around the carcass.

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-6.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-7.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-9.jpg

The rain is persistent now; so we put the roof down to stop everything in the car getting wet. Although, looking to the west, it does seem that it might clear up soon.

large_Weather_Clearing_Up_11-1.jpg

Actually, almost as soon as we put the roof down, the rain eases off. Typical. We leave it down for a while to see what happens, but as the rain seems to hold off, we raise it again to allow for more movement and ease of photography.

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-12.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-13.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-15.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-18.jpg

One of the mums has had enough, and goes off, growling.

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-20.jpg

She then lies down in the short grass to tidy herself up from the eating and the rain.

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-26.jpg

Followed by a quick roll on the ground.

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-27.jpg

Before continuing her stroll.

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-28.jpg

The other mum watches her girlfriend with interest.

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-30.jpg

And decides that she too would like a roll in the long grass. Copy cat!

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-31.jpg

Obviously her tummy is not quite full yet: she goes back to the wildebeest for another bite or two.

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-33.jpg

The cubs try to emulate mum, tugging at their dinner.

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-36.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-37.jpg

I have to say that the normal cuteness associated with lion cubs is not very evident in the wet!

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-45.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-50.jpg

Eating is boring when you’re a young lion cub, playing with mum is much more fun!

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-57.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-58.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-65.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-59.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-60.jpg

Mum, on the other hand, is not impressed. “Will you stop that for goodness sake, I am trying to eat!”

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-61.jpg

"But muuuuum..."

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-63.jpg

Sunshine

Meanwhile, the sun is trying to come out.

large_The_Sun_is..me_Out_11-1.jpg

large_The_Sun_is..me_Out_11-2.jpg

It seems mum number two has also had her fill for the day, leaving the kill behind; licking her chops as she wanders off through the long grass.

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-68.jpg

She stops to sniff the air; her face still bloody from dinner.

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-72.jpg

Aha! So, that is what she could smell!

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-75.jpg

Dad settles down for a rest – or at least that’s what he thinks. The cubs have other ideas.

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-76.jpg

Just like mum, dad is not amused either and growls at the playing cubs, who have been jumping up and down on his back and rolling around all over him.

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-77.jpg

The playful kitties go back to annoying mum for a while.

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-87.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-78.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-95.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-96.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-97.jpg

She is still having none of it.

large_4FB6CFB89AA4C0B42D238E095A0813BC.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-89.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-86.jpg

I am sure this is an expression mothers throughout the world can relate to: the sheer frustration of pleading young eyes.

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-90.jpg

Eventually they realise it is less hassle to just play amongst themselves.

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-81.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-79.jpg

large_Lions_in_the_Rain_11-83.jpg

Time to get a move-on

We reluctantly leave the playing kitties to head for camp. It is already 18:15 and we have another 45 minutes drive from here. "Depending on what we see on the way", as Malisa always says when we ask him how long it will take to get somewhere.

The roads are wet and slippery and in his rush to get to camp before we get into trouble, Malisa starts to skid on the muddy track, then over-compensates. For a brief moment we are hurtling sideways at some speed before he manages to skilfully correct the car. Well done that man! Although I found the ‘Serengeti Drift’ quite exhilarating!

Hyenas

This weather seems to have really brought out the hyenas, as we see a dozen or more during one particular stretch of road. Or perhaps they just like this specific area.

large_Hyena_11-31.jpg

Shooting straight into the setting sun makes for some spectacular backlit images.

large_Hyena_11-33.jpg

large_Hyena_11-35.jpg

Rainbow

large_Stormy_Clo..unset_11-30.jpg

Seeing the rainbow, I ask Malisa to find me a giraffe for the foreground. Not too demanding then!

The nearest I get is an elephant and a tree. Beggars can’t be choosers, I guess.

large_Elephant_and_Rainbow_11-1.jpg

Sunset

This evening’s stormy clouds have created one of the most spectacular sunsets I have ever seen in Africa, with moody, threatening clouds and ever-changing colours.

I hang out of the window with my camera all the way to the lodge; constantly changing the settings (mainly exposure and white balance) to try and achieve different effects. You can see some of the end results below.

large_Stormy_Clo..Sunset_11-7.jpg

large_Stormy_Clo..Sunset_11-8.jpg

large_Stormy_Clo..unset_11-12.jpg

large_Stormy_Clo..unset_11-13.jpg

large_Stormy_Clo..unset_11-14.jpg

large_Stormy_Clo..unset_11-15.jpg

large_Stormy_Clo..unset_11-18.jpg

large_Stormy_Clo..unset_11-23.jpg

large_Stormy_Clo..unset_11-27.jpg

large_Stormy_Clo..unset_11-28.jpg

large_Stormy_Clo..unset_11-41.jpg

large_Stormy_Clo..unset_11-43.jpg

Serengeti Serena Lodge

Just as we arrive at the lodge – in the dark – a long tailed mongoose crosses the road. A very rare animal to spot, it is a first for us. Even Malisa is exciting about it!

large_Serengeti_Serena_Hotel.jpg

The car park is full and very dark; and we have to negotiate lots of obstacles to get to reception. They are busy and check-in is the slowest we have experienced so far. Eventually we are taken to our rooms – it is a great shame that we cannot see them, as they look very unusual and rather fancy from the post card!

large_Serengeti_..afari_Lodge.jpg

The design of this hotel is based on traditional Maasai dwellings, with a number of thatched-roofed rondavels dotted around the ground. We give it the nickname of the ‘Nipple Hotel’ due to…. well, I am sure you can figure that out yourself.

large_Serengeti_.._Lodge_12-1.jpg

large_Serengeti_..ari_Lodge_2.jpg

The restaurant is disappointing, with no available tables when we arrive, and most of the buffet food is finished. I am feeling quite weary this evening, and I can’t even finish my one bottle of beer. I must be tired!

As he walks us back to the room, the escort points out a bush baby in the trees.

large_Bush_Baby_11-1.jpg

Lyn and Chris' room.

large_Lyn_and_Chris__Room_11-1.jpg

The room is much too hot despite a fan, and I cannot bear to be surrounded by the mosquito net, so I remove it. I am covered in bites anyway, and they itch like mad in the heat this evening so I struggle to sleep.

Despite an unsatisfactory evening and night, we had an otherwise excellent day on safari. Again. Thank you Calabash Adventures and guide Malisa.

large_61A8088894DB3FC19F810A5F31C5C4B1.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 13:15 Archived in Tanzania Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises trees birds sky rain beer sunset road_trip restaurant travel vacation hotel roads museum cute holiday fun africa safari rainbow tanzania crocodile mist moon unesco birding tourists picnic wet photography buffalo lions giraffe hippo roadtrip lion_cubs ostrich conservation serengeti hyena heron terns starling misty mongoose hyrax jackal skidding rock_art stunning bird_watching hippopotamus game_drive backlit road-trip adorable safari_vehicle canon_eos_5d_iii calabash calabash_adventures the_best_safari_operators which_safari_company best_safari_company hammerkop lion_kill serena_hotels long_grass_plains central_serengeti kopje stormy_clouds rock_hyrax banded_mongoose moru bedraggled black_backed_jackal nile_crocodile squacco_heron lions_in_the_rain serena_serengeti seronera rhino_project muddy_roads mud_on_road controlled_skid lake_magadi hamerkop hamerkop_nest rhino_conservation cape_buffalo moru_kopjes gong_rock maasai_paintings mosquito_bites rim_lighting Comments (0)

Mbuzi Mawe - Seronera Part I

Zany zebras, baby baboons, eccentric elephants and lounging lions


View The Gowler African Adventure - Kenya & Tanzania 2016 on Grete Howard's travel map.

large_Day_11_of_..Adventure_3.jpg

large_AF2EFA62F25B0195EE356C0E5BD757A1.jpg

Another early start in the dark today, complete with luggage as we are moving on to pastures new. Leaving Mbuzi Mawe this morning, we are all feeling the cold.

large_Chris_feel..e_cold_11-1.jpg

large_David_feel..e_cold_11-2.jpg

Lilac Breasted Roller

Much as I really enjoy leaving at the crack of dawn to make the most of the day on the savannah, this first hour or so is not conducive to photography. Darkness = high ISO = grainy and dull images.

large_Roller__Li..easted_11-1.jpg

Wildebeest

large_Annual_Migration.jpg

This morning we appear to be in the heart of the migration, with wildebeest all around us. Unfortunately, with the animals come the tse tse flies. Nasty little buggers and they are particularly numerous and bothersome where there are trees, such as here.

large_Wildebeest_11-2.jpg

large_Wildebeest_11-4.jpg

large_Wildebeest_11-21.jpg

Hot Air Balloon

A hot air balloon glides gracefully over the savannah as we make our way through the park.

large_Balloons_o..engeti_11-2.jpg

Grey Headed Kingfisher

large_Kingfisher..Headed_11-1.jpg

Flooded River

I think it must have rained heavily during the night, as the river is flowing over the causeway this morning.

large_Flooded_River_11-1.jpg

large_Flooded_Ri..eafowl_11-1.jpg

large_Flooded_River_11-3.jpg

large_Flooded_River_11-4.jpg

Lappet Faced Vulture

large_Vulture__L.._Faced_11-2.jpg

Zebras

Everywhere we look there are zebras. A huge herd – or dazzle – of zebras. Long lines of zebras. Adult zebras. Baby zebras. Lactating zebras. Mating zebras. Eating zebras. Zebra crossings. And more zebras. And then some.

large_Zebra_11-3.jpg

large_Zebra_11-4.jpg

large_Zebra_11-6.jpg

large_Zebra_11-8.jpg

large_Zebra_11-9.jpg

large_Zebra_11-11.jpg

large_Zebra_11-12.jpg

large_Zebra_11-14.jpg

large_Zebra_11-17.jpg

large_Zebra_11-20.jpg

Cheetah

Two young brothers can barely be seen above the long grass. Having just eaten (we missed it), they saunter off into the distance.

large_Cheetah_11-1.jpg

large_Cheetah_11-4.jpg

large_Cheetah_11-6.jpg

Olive Baboons

We follow a troop of baboons along the road for a while.

large_Baboon__Olive_11-1.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_11-6.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_11-7.jpg

The baby is very young - no more than two or three days old at the most.

large_Baboon__Olive_11-9.jpg

But I still think he looks like an old man.

large_Baboon__Olive_11-13.jpg

Such a tender family moment!

large_Baboon__Olive_11-14.jpg

That moment when your dad has got you by the scruff of the neck but mum is looking out for you.

large_Just_Don_t.._again_son_.jpg

Giraffe

large_Giraffe_11-11.jpg

large_Giraffe_11-13.jpg

large_Serengeti_..Centre_11-2.jpg

Located in Seronera in Central Serengeti, the visitors centre is a good place to stop for several reasons:
1. they have new and very clean / modern toilets (I have a problem again today)
2. there is a nice picnic area with lots of semi-tame birds, hyraxes and mongooses
3. an intersting exhibition displays information about Serengeti in general and the wildebeest migration in particular
4. there is also a nice little nature walk on elevated wooden walkways.

Banded Mongoose

large_Mongoose__Banded_11-3.jpg

large_Mongoose__Banded_11-2.jpg

Sadly the boardwalk is closed for crucial repairs today, but we are given a guided tour of the information centre.

large_Serengeti_..entre_11-21.jpg

Hippo Jaw

large_Serengeti_..po_Jaw_11-1.jpg

Buffalo Skulls

large_Serengeti_..Skulls_11-1.jpg

Those of you who have been following this blog from the beginning, will know that I have a wish list, and that aardvark is on that list (and has been for the last four safaris here in Tanzania - it became a running joke with our previous driver Dickson). I still haven’t seen one, so I have to make do with a mural on the wall.

large_Serengeti_..Centre_11-5.jpg

Rock and Tree Hyrax

It is very hard to tell the difference between these two different animals – the tree hyrax has a lighter stripe down the back, but it is not always obvious.

large_Hyrax__Rock_11-31.jpg

And I guess the Tree Hyrax is more often found in …. yes, you guessed it … trees.

large_Hyrax__Tree_11-1.jpg

large_Hyrax__Tree_11-2.jpg

But not always.

large_Hyrax__Tree_11-3.jpg

large_Hyrax__Tree_11-4.jpg

large_Hyrax__Tree_11-5.jpg

Although the hyrax, also called rock rabbit or dassie, are similar to the guinea pig in looks, its closest living relative is the elephant! They are present throughout most of Sub-Saharan Africa, and in some places they can become quite unafraid of humans and are considered a pest!

large_Hyrax__Rock_11-2.jpg

large_Hyrax__Rock_11-3.jpg

large_Hyrax__Tree_11-7.jpg

A hyrax with ambition: pretending to be a wildebeest.

large_Hyrax__Rock_11-5.jpg

large_Hyrax__Tree_11-8.jpg

Grey Capped Social Weaver

large_Weaver__Gr..Social_11-2.jpg

large_Weaver__Gr..Social_11-1.jpg

The Gowler African Adventure

On previous holidays with Lyn and Chris (canal barge cruising) we have always had a themed day where we all dress up for a bit of fun, so this time I made these T-shirts for us all to wear, with the ‘team logo’. This safari has been in the planning stages for well over a year, and along the way we have had a lot of fun.

large_The_Gang_11-1.jpg

After our usual packed breakfast at the picnic site here in the Visitors Centre, we continue our game drive, exploring more of the Serengeti.

Black Faced Vervet Monkey

large_Black_Face..Monkey_11-1.jpg

large_Black_Face..Monkey_11-2.jpg

large_Black_Face..Monkey_11-3.jpg

Hippo

large_Hippo_11-21.jpg

Although we can only just see the tops of their backs, we can certainly smell them!

large_Moving_Quickly_On.jpg

Black Headed Heron

large_Heron__Black_Headed_11-1.jpg

large_Heron__Black_Headed_11-2.jpg

Spotted Flycatcher

large_Flycatcher__Spotted_11-1.jpg

large_Flycatcher__Spotted_11-3.jpg

Wire Tailed Swallow

large_Swallow__Wire_Tailed_11-1.jpg

Giraffes

Q: What do you call a group of giraffes?
A: A tower, journey, corps or herd.

There’s a bit of trivia for your next pub quiz.

large_Giraffes_11-31.jpg

Suddenly they all turn to face the same direction and continue staring that way for quite some time. I wonder what they have spotted?

large_Giraffes_11-32.jpg

We'll never know.

Olive Baboons

large_Baboons__Olive_11-51.jpg

large_Baboons__Olive_11-52.jpg

Elephants

large_Elephants_11-1.jpg

large_Elephants_11-505.jpg

They’re everywhere. So many of them – we count 31!

large_Elephants_11-3.jpg

large_Elephants_11-22.jpg

One of the older ladies appear a little ‘eccentric’, carrying grass on the top of her back.

large_Elephants_11-31.jpg

Having a good scratch.

large_Elephants_11-32.jpg

You know the grass is long when you can lose a couple of baby elephants in it.

large_Elephants_11-45.jpg

For the next half an hour, the herd of elephants (also known as a memory or parade) slowly meander all around us – sometimes very close - as they munch their way across the savannah.

large_Elephants_11-501.jpg

large_Elephants_11-30.jpg

large_Elephants_11-42.jpg

large_Elephants_11-43.jpg

large_Elephants_11-47.jpg

large_Elephants_11-49.jpg

large_Elephants_11-51.jpg

large_Elephants_11-56.jpg

large_Elephants_11-64.jpg

large_Elephants_11-503.jpg

large_Elephants_11-70.jpg

large_Elephants_11-59.jpg

large_Elephants_11-72.jpg

large_Elephants_11-69.jpg

large_Elephants_11-67.jpg

Lion

A lone male lion tries to hide in a prickly bush.

large_Lion_11-201.jpg

Giraffe

Earlier we saw an almost white giraffe, whereas this one is very dark. I had no idea giraffes vary so much in their colouration!

large_Giraffe_11-310.jpg

White Browed Coucal

large_Coucal__White_Browed_11-1.jpg

Impala

large_Impala_11-2.jpg

large_Impala_11-1.jpg

Tse Tse Flies

This area seems to be teeming with these pesky little flies, and I get bitten around fifteen times in as many minutes. They hurt when they bite you and itch like **** afterwards.

large_Go_Away.jpg

Lions in a tree

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-101.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-102.jpg

Just like I was complaining about the tse tse flies a few minutes ago, lions sometimes climb onto tree branches to get away from them, but as you can see from the photo below, it doesn’t seem to make any difference.

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-2.jpg

On the other side is another lion in another tree.

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-4.jpg

After a while, another car pulls up. As usual, we can hear the Americans before we see them. They take a few shots with their mobile phones and numerous more selfies before they move on again. They are not even here for three minutes.

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-103.jpg

large_Photograph.._Lions_11-1.jpg

large_Lion_Selfies_4.jpg

We, on the other hand, stick around to see what the lionesses might do, and are rewarded with a bit of action. If you can call it that – at least it is some movement rather than just photographing sleeping lions. Or photographing ourselves with sleeping lions in the background.

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-6.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-11.jpg

The lone lioness from the other tree decides to join her mates.

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-8.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-5.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-13.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-14.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-16.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-17.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-19.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-21.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-22.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-23.jpg

There is a lot of shuffling going on, they never seem to find a particularly comfortable position. I can see why you'll never see a male lion in a tree!

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-26.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-29.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-107.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-39.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-33.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-32.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-36.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-41.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-42.jpg

Look at the number of flies on this poor girl's face! It's no wonder she is not comfortable.

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-44.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-46.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-48.jpg

Well, that was certainly worth enduring the tse tse flies for!

large_ADC09FF8DC74B54B9D7E8300CE12D840.jpg

Time to stop for lunch, and a convenient time to break this blog entry. This afternoon’s game drive will feature in a new entry

Thank you so much to our guide Malisa and Calabash Adventures - the best safari company by a long shot.

large_F752D402D2F7E6CC0EDD50393B8DD826.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 02:35 Archived in Tanzania Tagged landscapes trees animals birds monkeys road_trip travel elephants roads scenery cute holiday africa safari tanzania unesco birding cheetah photography lions giraffe hippo baboons roadtrip ballooning serengeti vulture memory flycatcher impala kingfisher mongoose wildebeest shrike hot_air_balloon hyrax bird_watching hippopotamus game_drive tented_camp lilac_breasted_roller road-trip adorable safari_vehicle calabash calabash_adventures the_best_safari_operators which_safari_company best_safari_company vervet_monkeys black_faced_vervet_monkeys tower_of_giraffe serena_hotels central_serengeti tse_tse_flies lions_in_a_tree mbuzi mawe grey_headed_kingfisher lappet_faced_vulture serengeti_visitors_centre wildebeest_migration rock_hyrax tree_hyrax banded_mongoose swallow barn_swallow coucal grey_backed_shrike moru Comments (0)

Serengeti Part II

Finally! The BIG FIVE!


View The Gowler African Adventure - Kenya & Tanzania 2016 on Grete Howard's travel map.

large_Mawe_Mupe_Picnic_Site_1.jpg

As we arrive at our lunch stop, a memory of 29 elephants wander past in the distance. As they do.

large_Elephants_10-1.jpg

We are the only humans here and have a choice of tables – we pick a couple in the shade.

large_Mawe_Mupe_Picnic_Site_3.jpg

What a delightful picnic area – there are so many birds here I am too busy photographing to eat!

large_Weaver__Sp..ronted_10-1.jpg
Speckled Fronted Weaver

large_Weaver__Ru..ailed_10-14.jpg
Rufous Tailed Weaver

large_Starling__Superb_10-14.jpg
Superb Starling

large_Silverbird_101-4.jpg
Silverbird

large_Sparrow__Grey_Headed_10-1.jpg
Grey Headed Sparrow

large_Weaver__Ru..ailed_10-12.jpg
Rufous Tailed Weaver

large_Shrike__Magpie_10-2.jpg
Magpie Shrike

large_Starling__Superb_10-12.jpg
Superb Starling

White Headed Buffalo Weavers

A family of White Headed Buffalo Weavers amuses me for quite some time with their antics.

large_Weaver__Wh..uffalo_10-3.jpg

large_Weaver__Wh..ffalo_10-10.jpg

large_Weaver__Wh..ffalo_10-11.jpg

large_Weaver__Wh..ffalo_10-13.jpg

large_Weaver__Wh..ffalo_10-14.jpg

large_Weaver__Wh..ffalo_10-15.jpg

large_Weaver__Wh..ffalo_10-17.jpg

large_Weaver__Wh..ffalo_10-19.jpg

large_Weaver__Wh..ffalo_10-21.jpg

large_Weaver__Wh..ffalo_10-22.jpg

large_Weaver__Wh..ffalo_10-25.jpg

Giraffe

All the time we’ve been here the giraffe has been standing perfectly still, staring at something in the distance. However much we train our binoculars in that direction, we cannot fathom out what is grabbing his attention.

large_Giraffe_10-301.jpg

large_Twende.jpg

With full bellies we continue our afternoon game drive.

Leopard

We see a couple of cars in the distance, near a tree, and go off to investigate. It’s a leopard and she has something up in the branches with her that she is eating.

large_Leopards_in_a_Tree_10-2.jpg

large_Leopard_10-12.jpg

On closer inspection, we can see that she is trying to pull the fur off some skin, most likely from a baby wildebeest.

large_Leopard_10-13.jpg

On a branch the other side of the tree is her cub, a one-year old male, fast asleep.

large_Leopard_10-33.jpg

Mum is making sure nothing is wasted, pulling and tugging at the hide.

large_Leopard_10-18.jpg

large_Leopard_10-21.jpg

When nothing edible is left, she takes the skin off to a hiding place for safekeeping.

large_Leopard_10-26.jpg

large_Leopard_10-30.jpg

large_Leopard_10-32.jpg

Making her way down the tree, she calls out to her son, then jumps down to the ground.

large_Leopard_10-36.jpg

large_Leopard_10-37.jpg

large_Leopard_10-38.jpg

large_Leopard_10-40.jpg

The cub wakes up and follows his mum down into the long grass where they disappear from our view.

large_Leopard_10-41.jpg

large_Leopard_10-43.jpg

large_Leopard_10-47.jpg

large_Leopard_10-48.jpg

large_Leopard_10-49.jpg

How exciting! Being nocturnal hunters and solitary animals, leopards are the most difficult of the cats to see on safari.

large_The_Big_Five.jpg

This now completes the BIG FIVE on this safari - a term coined by big-game hunters, referring to the five most difficult – and dangerous - animals in Africa to hunt on foot: elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo.

As I have said a couple of times before, Lyn and Chris are having such incredible luck out here – we’d been on several safaris before we saw all the Big Five on the same trip!

Olive Baboons

large_Baboon__Olive_10-31.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_10-32.jpg

More Elephants

large_Elephants_10-201.jpg

And a couple of giraffes

large_Giraffe_10-402.jpg

Vultures

Spotting a tree full of vultures, my first thought is “what’s died?”

large_Vulture_Tree_10-101.jpg

large_Vulture_Tree_10-102.jpg

large_Vulture_Tree_10-103.jpg

They are also circling above in great numbers, but however much we look on the horizon, straining our eyes through the binoculars, we cannot see anything of significance.

large_Vultures_Circling_10-1.jpg

Hippo

During the day hippos generally wallow in shallow water such as rivers and lakes, coming out at night to graze. It is therefore quite unusual to see them on land in the day.

large_Hippo_10-1.jpg

This guy cannot stop yawning – he is obviously dazed and confused. Maybe he just flew in from Europe and is jet-lagged?

large_Hippo_10-2.jpg

large_Hippo_10-4.jpg

large_Hippo_10-8.jpg

large_Hippo_10-11.jpg

large_Hippo_10-18.jpg

large_Hippo_10-19.jpg

large_Retima_Hippo_Pool_1.jpg

Formed at the meeting of three rivers, Retima Pool attracts a great number of hippos, who are believed to crowd here in order to protect their calves against crocodiles.

large_Hippos_at_..o_Pool_10-1.jpg

large_Hippo_at_R..o_Pool_10-1.jpg

large_Hippo_at_R..o_Pool_10-3.jpg

large_Hippo_at_R..o_Pool_10-8.jpg

large_Hippo_at_R.._Pool_10-22.jpg

The noise of 200 hippos (the American guy next to me claims he counted them) belching, grunting, farting, pooping and splashing, is a sound I won’t forget in a hurry. I am just very grateful that videos don’t record aromas. Yet.

.

large_Hippo_at_R..o_Pool_10-9.jpg

large_Hippo_at_R.._Pool_10-10.jpg

large_Hippo_at_R.._Pool_10-13.jpg

large_Hippo_at_R.._Pool_10-14.jpg

large_Hippo_at_R.._Pool_10-16.jpg

large_Hippo_at_R.._Pool_10-19.jpg

large_Hippo_at_R.._Pool_10-20.jpg

Brown Snake Eagle

large_Eagle__Brown_Snake_10-1.jpg

large_Eagle__Brown_Snake_10-2.jpg

large_Eagle__Brown_Snake_10-3.jpg

‘White’ Giraffe

Having read about a white giraffe (appropriately named Omo) that had been spotted a few months ago in Tarangire National Park, I added that to my wish list this year. We didn’t see it, but I am quite excited to see a rather pale baby giraffe this afternoon.

large_Giraffe_with_Leucism_10-1.jpg

Not an albino, the giraffe is suffering from leucism, a condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation resulting in pale or patchy colouration of the skin.

large_Giraffe_with_Leucism_10-2.jpg

large_Giraffe_with_Leucism_10-3.jpg

More Hippos

We see more hippos as we cross the river again making our way back to camp.

large_Hippos_10-211.jpg

large_Hippos_10-212.jpg

Kimasi Kopje

large_Kimasi_Kopje_10-1.jpg

The sun is getting low now, painting the sky with yellows, pinks and purples.

large_Kimasi_Kopje_Sunset_2.jpg

large_Kimasi_Kopje_Sunset_4.jpg

Our tented camp is built in amongst the rocks that constitute the Kimasi Kopje, and we can just about make out the tents in the failing light.

large_Mbuzi_Mawe..Sunset_10-1.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe..Sunset_10-2.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe..Sunset_10-3.jpg

Mbuzi Mawe

Amazingly it is still not completely dark when we reach the camp – it’s the first day we have had some real chill time since we arrived in Tanzania: we actually have half an hour spare this evening!

large_Mbuzi_Mawe..Sunset_10-5.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe..Sunset_10-6.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_at_Sunset_10-1.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_at_Sunset_10-2.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_at_Sunset_10-3.jpg

When we go to into the bathroom, we discover that while we were out, squatters have moved in, clinging to dear life on our shower curtain.

large_Lizard_on_..urtain_10-1.jpg

large_Dinner_8.jpg

Mbuzi Mawe is a super place, and the restaurant is intimate, friendly and relaxed, yet luxurious. The general manager walks around the tables this evening, making sure everyone is happy. Tonight they are celebrating a honeymoon couple, with more singing, clapping and cake!

Yet again the food comes out under shiny domes, but there is some confusion as to which plate is which. I guess it is not so easy to see when it is all under wrap like that.

.

That's magic!

large_Garlic_Sal..uction_10-1.jpg
Starter of garlic salami, Waldorf salad and balsamic reduction.

large_Rajma_Masa..Curry__10-1.jpg
Main course: Rajma Masala - a 'curry' of red beans in s spicy sauce - absolutely delicious!

We retire to bed and a restful sleep after another amazing day in the mighty Serengeti! Calabash Adventures - and Malisa of course - have done us proud yet again.

large_AE1EA017E6A1F6EB1B522C0DABE7975F.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 16:13 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds monkeys restaurant travel views hotel elephants adventure roads scenery holiday africa tanzania lodge lunch birding tourists giraffe hippo baboons roadtrip serengeti leopard heron memory gourmet glamping impala good_food spicy stunning bird_watching sundowners game_drive tented_camp road-trip african_food canon_eos_5d_iii calabash calabash_adventures the_best_safari_operators which_safari_company best_safari_company vervet_monkeys black_faced_vervet_monkeys mbuzi_mawe serena_hotels central_serengeti kopje retima_hippo_pool leucism Comments (1)

Serengeti Part I

The lions of Togoro Plains and much more


View The Gowler African Adventure - Kenya & Tanzania 2016 on Grete Howard's travel map.

large_Day_Tenof_.._With_Photo.jpg

large_Early_Morning_Start_4.jpg

As we wait for Malisa to come and collect us for today’s safari, Chris catches up on some sleep.

large_Chris_feeling_tired.jpg

The sun has not yet made an appearance and darkness hangs over the camp when we leave, so I still have no idea what this place looks like: the layout, or the surroundings. Usually I do a lot of research of each accommodation before we leave home, but this lodge is a complete surprise for everyone - an alien concept to me.

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-11.jpg

It's quite exciting really, like a mystery tour!

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-12.jpg

Sunrises (and sunsets) are pretty speedy affairs this close to the equator, so we haven’t travelled far before we can start making out the outlines of the kopjes around the camp.

large_Kopje_arou..unrise_10-2.jpg

Initially just as a silhouette, but within a few minutes we can distinguish some features on the landscape.

large_Kopje_arou..unrise_10-3.jpg

Cape Buffalo

So these are the guys we heard chomping last night, right outside our tent, and whose eyes the escort shone the torch into while (over) dramatically telling us how dangerous they are?

large_Buffalo_10-1.jpg

large_Buffalo_10-2.jpg

The temperature this morning is a little on the cool side.

large_David_feeling_cold_10-1.jpg

It will soon warm up when the sun comes out.

large_Sunrise_ov..engeti_10-1.jpg

large_Sunrise_ov..engeti_10-2.jpg

Lions

Chris isn’t the only one who is feeling tired this morning it seems.

large_Lions_10-2.jpg

On a meadow of fluffy grasses, a lion pride made up of nine members, gathers around a kill. A wildebeest. Or rather an ex-wildebeest. It could even be the mother of the orphaned calf we saw yesterday.

large_Lions_10-39.jpg

large_Lions_10-4.jpg

large_Lions_10-5.jpg

large_Lions_10-9.jpg

large_Lions_10-12.jpg

large_Lions_10-13.jpg

large_Lions_10-14.jpg

The pecking order is very evident here as a couple of the youngsters try to join dad for breakfast. He tells them what he thinks of that in no uncertain terms, while mum looks on with resignation: “They’ll learn”.

large_Lions_10-15.jpg

large_Lions_10-16.jpg

large_Lions_10-17.jpg

large_Lions_10-18.jpg

The cubs are soon distracted. “We’ll have a play instead”

large_Lions_10-19.jpg

large_Lions_10-21.jpg

large_Lions_10-22.jpg

large_Lions_10-24.jpg

Wildebeest

All around us, literally hundreds of thousands of wildebeest greet the rising sun. Individually their grunt sounds a little like a human groan, but in these numbers the noise they make becomes a hum, like an enormous swarm of bees!

large_Wildebeest_10-11.jpg

large_Wildebeest_10-12.jpg

large_Wildebeest_10-13.jpg

Speaking of sounds – we can clearly hear the lion crunching the bones as he devours his prey.

large_Lions_10-32.jpg

large_Lions_10-51.jpg

Dad licks his plate, then moves his breakfast a few feet along the open plains. Erm… why?

large_Lions_10-34.jpg

large_Lions_10-35.jpg

large_Lions_10-36.jpg

In the crater we had a Rasta Lion and at Ndutu there was a Punk Lion. Here we have a Hippy Lion – just look at that hair… I mean mane. It is like a 70s rock star!

large_Lions_10-40.jpg

Well, kiss my ass!

large_Lions_10-44.jpg

“Do you think a fringe suits me? I’ve heard it is all the rage this year.”

large_Lions_10-49.jpg

The youngsters wait in the wings for dad to finish his meal.

large_Lions_10-59.jpg

On every bush and in every tree is a vulture hanging around until it is their turn too.

large_Vulture__Hooded_10-2.jpg

large_Vulture__Hooded_10-3.jpg

Wildebeest

A long line of wildebeest is heading straight for the lions. Their poor eyesight is leading them into trouble again.

large_Wildebeest_10-15.jpg

The young lionesses realise that there is a potentially earlier - maybe even easier - breakfast than having to wait for dad to finish eating.

large_Lions_10-61.jpg

large_Lions_and_Wildebeest_10-1.jpg

The wildebeest have also spotted the lions and are running for their lives. Literally.

large_Lions_and_Wildebeest_10-2.jpg

large_Lions_and_Wildebeest_10-3.jpg

She’s closing in, aiming for that baby at the back. An easy prey…

large_Lions_and_Wildebeest_10-5.jpg

She has to be quicker than that, it’s no good just sitting there looking at them; they’re not going to come to you.

large_Lions_and_Wildebeest_10-6.jpg

The last of the wildebeest makes it alive past the lions. Phew! I can breathe again now.

Meanwhile dad continues to eat his breakfast.

large_Lions_10-81.jpg

While the rest of the family lie around licking their chops impatiently for when they will be allowed to have some.

large_Lions_10-88.jpg

“Let’s go and harass dad”

large_Lions_10-89.jpg

Dad, however, is totally unperturbed by the whole thing.

large_Lions_10-90.jpg

large_Lions_10-91.jpg

large_Lions_10-92.jpg

Has he finished?

large_Lions_10-100.jpg

Nah.

large_Lions_10-99.jpg

large_Lions_10-101.jpg

Finally?

large_Lions_10-103.jpg

It certainly looks that way, as with a full tummy he wanders off to find water.

large_Lions_10-104.jpg

Typical male: once he’s had his meal he goes off to the pub for a drink, leaving his wife to do the clearing up!

large_Lions_10-111.jpg

The rest of the family descend on the dining table like hungry… well, lions.

large_Lions_10-105.jpg

large_Lions_10-106.jpg

I notice dad hasn’t left much to be divided between the remaining eight. You could say he's had the lion's share. I can certainly see where that expression comes from.

large_Lions_10-107.jpg

large_Lions_10-109.jpg

large_Lions_10-110.jpg

This guy has managed to secure himself a tasty little morsel, however.

large_Lions_10-108.jpg

The vultures move in a little closer, and noisy plovers circle above screeching out distressed warning signals. “Yes, we know there are lions. Thanks anyway guys".

large_Vulture__A..Backed_10-1.jpg

As we wonder how many lions you can fit around a scrawny wildebeest carcass, we leave them – and the constant wildebeest hum - to it and move on to our next wilderness experience.

large_Lions_10-114.jpg

Jackal versus Vultures

We come across another kill where the predators have moved on, leaving what little is left in the hands of the scavengers, in this case some White Backed Vultures and a couple of Marabou Storks.

large_Vultures__..Backed_10-3.jpg

large_Vultures__..Backed_10-2.jpg

large_Stork__Marabou_10-1.jpg

large_Vultures__..Backed_10-4.jpg

large_Vultures__..Backed_10-5.jpg

All is reasonably calm until a couple of Black Backed Jackals arrive.

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_10-5.jpg

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_10-1.jpg

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_10-3.jpg

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_10-4.jpg

large_Vultures__..Jackal_10-1.jpg

End of Round One: Vultures 1 Jackals 0

large_Vultures__..Jackal_10-2.jpg

large_Vultures__..Jackal_10-3.jpg

Round Two: the jackal seems to have managed to somehow get hold of a slither of meat, and the vultures go all out for the tackle. The ensuing squabble is reminiscent of the scenes I once witnessed in Tesco when the reduced items came out on a Saturday afternoon.

large_Vultures__..Jackal_10-5.jpg

The vultures bring in the reserves.

large_Vultures__..Jackal_10-7.jpg

large_Vultures__..Backed_10-9.jpg

large_Stork__Marabou_10-3.jpg

large_Vultures__..acked_10-10.jpg

Despite this somewhat unfair advantage, the score at the end of Round Two is Vultures 1 Jackals 1

large_Vultures__..Jackal_10-9.jpg

large_Vultures__..ackal_10-10.jpg

large_Vultures__..ackal_10-11.jpg

The opposition team regroup to work out their next move.

large_Vultures__.._Stork_10-1.jpg

It seems they don’t quite agree on tactics.

large_Vultures__.._Stork_10-2.jpg

large_AE123110CFF3C25B5BD1CF6BFB4D21FD.jpg

With all the internal politics, and no real action, the audience looks bored.

large_Vultures__Hooded_10-5.jpg

While not exactly bored, we leave the jackals and vultures to fight it out between them and drive a little further north.

Lion and Jackal Prints

large_Lion_and_J..prints_10-1.jpg

More Lions + Another Kill = More Vultures

Further along we see seven lions on a kill (that’s the fourth kill we’ve seen this morning, and it's only 08:15) and another ‘Vulture Tree’ full of birds waiting to swoop on the carcass.

large_Lions_10-151.jpg

large_Lions_10-154.jpg

large_Vulture_Tree_10-1.jpg

large_Vultures__..acked_10-12.jpg

large_Vultures__..acked_10-11.jpg

As soon as the lions move off, the vultures descend en masse.

large_Lions_and_..res__10-154.jpg

large_Lions_10-153.jpg

large_Vultures_Swooping_10-1.jpg

large_Vultures_Swooping_10-3.jpg

The lions and a jackal look on with bemusement.

large_Lion_and_Jackal_10-1.jpg

Topi

Does my bum look big in this?

large_Topi_10-101.jpg

Wildebeest Rutting Season

This time of the year is when the males compete for the attention of the females – they have been known to fight until death!

large_Wildebeest_10-203.jpg

large_Wildebeest_10-205.jpg

large_Wildebeest_10-204.jpg

This morning, however, hunger wins and they go back to grazing. So do we.

Picnic Breakfast

large_Picnic_9.jpg

When we made our choices last night for the breakfast box, Chris crossed everything out on the menu except the muffin. That was all he wanted for breakfast – a muffin. Fair enough. Imagine his disappointment when he opens his box this morning, and finds everything in there, EXCEPT the muffin!

large_Picnic_Breakfast_10-1.jpg

large_Picnic_Breakfast_10-3.jpg

All around us is the hum of the wildebeest.

large_Picnic_Breakfast_10-5.jpg

It is very much cooler this morning than any previous days.

large_Picnic_Breakfast_10-7.jpg

Although Malisa doesn’t seem to feel it as he wears his Rasta Lion T shirt and motorcycle-tyre sandals.

large_Picnic_Breakfast_10-8.jpg

Grey Crowned Cranes

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_10-1.jpg

Lions Re-Visited

We go back to see our lions, who have their eye on another wildebeest.

large_Lions_10-155.jpg

They do some more half-hearted stalking, but they are obviously not that hungry.

large_Lions_10-156.jpg

large_Lions_10-157.jpg

The vultures hover expectantly above, but this time they are out of luck.

large_Vulture__L..Faced_10-51.jpg

large_Vulture__L..Faced_10-53.jpg

large_Vulture__A..acked_10-51.jpg

As we're driving along, David shouts out "Oh, look: wildebeest". We all fall for it, sitting bolt upright and looking for... wildebeest? Even Malisa stops. Doh... for the last hour or so, we have been surrounded by several thousand wildebeest - they are not exactly a novelty!

large_Wildebeest_10-202.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_Title.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-51.jpg

My tummy is not at all happy today, and when I let Malisa know, he suggests going back to the camp to use their facilities, as we are very near anyway. That sounds good to me – not just because there is a proper toilet, but it will also be nice to see the camp in daylight.

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-54.jpg

Today we can see just how close to our room the buffalo do graze. Gulp.

large_19999CF4F38B53DE1203C13BD230C9F1.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe..uffalo10-54.jpg

The camp is totally devoid of human life, but we do see a few four legged critters.

large_Lizard__Fl.._Agama_10-4.jpg

large_Hyrax__Rock_10-1.jpg

large_Lizard_10-1.jpg

large_Lizard__Fl.._Agama_10-2.jpg

large_Hyrax__Rock_10-2.jpg

large_Lizard_10-2.jpg

large_Lizard__Fl.._Agama_10-3.jpg

Emergency over, we continue our game drive, this time we head south.

Klipspringer

large_Klipspringer_10-1.jpg

Red Duiker

large_Duiker__Red_10-1.jpg

Cape Buffalo

large_Buffalo__Cape_10-51.jpg

large_Buffalo__Cape_10-52.jpg

Impala

One male can have a harem of up to 60 females.

large_Impala_10-1.jpg

large_Impala_10-2.jpg

Black Faced Vervet Monkeys

large_Black_Face..onkey_10-52.jpg

large_Black_Face..onkey_10-51.jpg

Giraffe

large_Giraffe_10-202.jpg

large_Giraffe_10-201.jpg

Hippos

A couple of hippos wallow in the shallow Orangi River.

large_Hippos_in_.._River_10-1.jpg

large_Hippos_in_.._River_10-2.jpg

Olive Baboons

large_Baboon__Olive_10-1.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_10-2.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_10-4.jpg

Dust

We hit the main road through Serengeti; and while there is not much traffic compared with the main dry season, the huge trucks still throw up masses of dust!

large_Dust_10-1.jpg

Warthogs

You can only just see the top of their backs in the long grass; which is exactly why they run with their tails straight up - so that their youngsters can see them!

large_Warthogs_10-201.jpg

large_Warthogs_10-202.jpg

large_Warthogs_10-203.jpg

large_Warthogs_10-204.jpg

large_Warthogs_10-207.jpg

large_Warthogs_10-208.jpg

African Fish Eagle

large_Eagle__African_Fish_10-1.jpg

Bare Faced Go Away Bird

These noise birds get their name from the sound they make when disturbed: “kweh” “kweh”, which does sound a bit like “go way”.

large_Go_Away_Bi.._Faced_10-1.jpg

large_Go_Away_Bi.._Faced_10-3.jpg

Magpie Shrike

large_Shrike__Magpie_10-1.jpg

Tree Python

Until this trip, we had never seen a snake in Tanzania, and it is one of the items on my wish list. Not only did we see a cobra in Tarangire, and a grass snake crossing the road earlier this morning; a couple of cars stopped with people staring at a tree alerts us to an enormous python.

large_Python__Tree_10-2.jpg

At around two metres in length, this brute can swallow an antelope!

large_Python__Tree_10-1.jpg

Black Chested Snake Eagle

large_Eagle__Bla.._Snake_10-2.jpg

Little Bee Eater

large_Bee_Eater__Little_10-1.jpg

Black Headed Heron

large_Heron__Black_Headed_10-1.jpg

Serval

This wild African cat is about half way in size between a domestic cat and a cheetah and it’s a fairly rare sighting. Lyn and Chris have been so incredibly lucky with their animal spotting on this safari, although we still haven’t seen a leopard to complete the BIG FIVE.

large_Serval_10-1.jpg

large_Serval_10-2.jpg

large_Serval_10-3.jpg

large_Serval_10-4.jpg

End of Part I

As today features quite a few more sightings, I have decided to publish it in two parts; so all that remains now is to say thank you to Calabash Adventures and Malisa for an exciting morning’s game drive.

large_47869D41B9B7B95046C5F7DA66B0A840.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 03:42 Archived in Tanzania Tagged landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises birds road_trip view travel vacation views hotel adventure scenery sunrise cute holiday fun africa safari tanzania lodge lizard birding picnic photography lions giraffe hippo babies roadtrip eagles serengeti dust kill heron vultures python glamping impala topi wildebeest warthogs jackal stunning stalking bird_watching game_drive tented_camp road-trip serval safari_vehicle canon_eos_5d_iii calabash calabash_adventures the_best_safari_operators which_safari_company best_safari_company olive_baboons vervet_monkeys black_faced_vervet_monkeys lion_kill mbuzi_mawe long_grass_plains short_grass_plains central_serengeti kopje marabou_stork red_duiker klipspringer black_headed_heron african_fish_eagle tree_python jackals Comments (0)

Ndutu - Mbuzi Mawe

The Legendary Serengeti

large_Day_9_of_t..Adventure_2.jpg

large_24624F4A9BB2921EFF59F07A38680D0E.jpg

I start the day with a spot of bird watching as the sun comes up.

White Rumped Helmetshrike

Dung beetle for breakfast anyone?

large_Helmetshri.._Rumped_9-3.jpg

Superb Starling

large_Starling__Superb_9-1.jpg

Beautiful Sunbird

large_Sunbird__Beautiful_9-3.jpg

large_Backlit_Grasses_9-2.jpg

large_Sunrise_over_Ndutu_9-3.jpg

large_Breakfast_8.jpg

Unusually, we take breakfast in the lodge this morning, before setting off for another day of game viewing.

When asked if he would like egg and bacon, David jokingly says – in a lowered voice as the waiter walks away – “mushrooms, baked beans…” Of course, that is exactly what he gets!

large_Breakfast_at_Ndutu_Lodge.jpg

Aardvark

On our last couple of safaris with Calabash, I bantered with our guide Dickson about wanting to see an aardvark, and that I will keep coming to Tanzania on safari until I do.

Today I finally get to see my aardvark, in the grounds of Ndutu Lodge. Shame it is made from metal – I guess I can’t quite tick it off my wish list yet.

large_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge_9-8.jpg

Oxpeckers

These birds have a symbiotic relationship with the giraffes. The giraffe provides a happy home for ticks, which the oxpeckers eat, relieving the giraffe of the annoyance the insects can cause.

large_Oxpeckers_.._Billed_9-3.jpg

large_Oxpeckers_.._Billed_9-1.jpg

large_Oxpeckers_.._Billed_9-2.jpg

large_Oxpeckers_.._Billed_9-5.jpg

large_Oxpeckers_.._Billed_9-7.jpg

Giraffe

Today's host is an old male giraffe.

large_Giraffe_9-1.jpg

Black Faced Vervet Monkeys

As the leopard’s favourite food, the vervets go to great lengths to hide their whereabouts from their nocturnal predator, including smearing their poop on the branches at night, rather than letting it drop to the ground so that the leopard cannot easily detect where they are sleeping.

large_Black_Face..Monkeys_9-2.jpg

large_Black_Face..Monkeys_9-4.jpg

He is showing off his bright blue testicles again.

large_Black_Face..Monkeys_9-6.jpg

Dik Dik

large_Dik_Dik_9-1.jpg

Secretary Bird

On the prowl across the grasslands, looking for snakes.

large_Secretary_Bird_9-1.jpg

Spotted Hyena

large_Hyena__Spotted_9-2.jpg

large_Hyena__Spotted_9-4.jpg

large_Hyena__Spotted_9-6.jpg

large_Lyn_with_her_lens_9-1.jpg

Lions

These guys have not moved from the spot where we left them resting last night, although the missing ninth lion has rejoined them.

large_Lions_9-2.jpg

large_Lions_9-7.jpg

large_Lyn_with_her_lens_9-2.jpg

A couple of them head our way, coming right up to the car, sniffing the tyres and eventually settling down in the shade of the vehicle. That’s pretty close!

large_Lions_9-10.jpg

large_Lions_9-11.jpg

large_Lion_Check..the_Car_9-1.jpg

large_Chris_with_the_Lions_1.jpg

large_Chris_with_the_Lions_2.jpg

large_Lions_9-15.jpg

large_Lions_9-16.jpg

large_Lion_Check..the_Car_9-2.jpg

I think that means we have a symbiotic relationship with the lions – we provide them with shade, they give us some great photo opportunities.

This guy does not look too sure about Chris. It makes me wonder how high they can jump.

large_Lions_and_Chris__3_.jpg

Woolly Necked Vultures

large_Vultures__.._Necked_9-1.jpg

Engine Failure

Ten minutes after leaving the lions, the engine coughs, splutters and then dies. After a few tries, Malisa gets it going again, but not for long. We joke that he’s filled it with ‘jumpy diesel’, but eventually he cannot get it going again just by turning the key, and has to get out and under. Oh dear.

large_Engine_Repair_9-1.jpg

An area filled with lions, cheetah, leopards and hyena is not the best place to lie down on the ground under a car, so I am relieved when Malisa gets the car going again reasonably quickly – a wire had broken from all the off-roading.

large_Engine_Repair_9-2.jpg

Having a trained car mechanic as a driver-guide certainly has its advantages. Well done that man! I am surprised that breakdowns don't happen more often - this is the first one we've encountered in the four safaris we've had with Calabash.

Short Grass Plains

Heading for the entrance gate to Serengeti, the track runs across what is known as the Short Grass Plains, for obvious reasons. One of the great things about a safari on the Northern Circuit in Tanzania is that even as you drive from one place to another, there is always an opportunity to do some game viewing, and this morning we see a few animals along the way.

large_Short_Gras..kground_9-1.jpg

Here we can see Naabi Hill in the distance, which is what we are aiming for - the official entrance to the Serengeti National Park.

large_Short_Gras..kground_9-3.jpg

Grant's Gazelle

large_Gazelle__Grant_s_9-1.jpg

large_Gazelle__Grant_s_9-2.jpg

large_Gazelle__Grant_s_9-3.jpg

Zebra

large_Zebra_9-1.jpg

large_Zebra_9-3.jpg

large_Zebra_9-4.jpg

large_Zebra_9-5.jpg

Ostriches

As we approach, panic mode sets in and these enormous flightless birds start running around like headless chickens. “Don’t panic, don’t panic!”

large_Ostriches_9-1.jpg

large_Ostriches_9-2.jpg

We leave the Ndutu area behind a join the main ‘road’ to the gate.

large_Ndutu_Safa..ge_Sign_9-1.jpg

Lions

Just before the entrance, we spot a lioness with two cubs resting in the shade of a kopje.

large_Lions_9-51.jpg

Giraffe Drinking

It is fairly unusual to see a giraffe drinking from the ground like this, as being in that position makes him very vulnerable to predators.

large_Giraffe_9-51.jpg

large_Giraffe_9-56.jpg

It is even more unusual to see a three-necked giraffe!

large_Giraffe_9-53.jpg

large_Naabi_Hill.jpg

Naabi Hill

Towering above the grassy plains of the Serengeti, Naabi Hill is the location of the main entrance gate to the park, and offers amazing views over the Endless Plains below.

large_Naabi_Hill_9-1.jpg

While Malisa goes off to get our tickets and sort out the registration, we take a short walk on the Kopje Trail that leads up the scenic observation point on top of the rocky outcrop behind the information centre.

large_Malisa_get..bi_Hill_9-1.jpg

large_Naabi_Hill_9-2.jpg

The kopje appears to ‘float in the sea of grass’ that is the Serengeti Plains.

large_Naabi_Hill_9-4.jpg

From the summit we can easily understand why the Maasai named this place Serengeti – 'a vast land that runs forever, where endless plains meet the sky' in the local language.

large_Naabi_Hill_9-6.jpg

It is said that the only way you will get a better view of Serengeti, is from a hot air balloon, and that is definitely not on the agenda for this trip, not at $539 per person!

large_Naabi_Hill_9-21.jpg

large_2C1A05C10D17ADA1909ABCCC08731D0E.jpg

Naabi Hill is a haven for lizards, who lounge on the sun-baked rocks along the path, totally unperturbed by passing tourists.

large_Agama__Fla..ed_Rock_9-1.jpg

large_Lizard_at_Naabi_Hill_9-2.jpg

large_Agama__Fla..ed_Rock_9-2.jpg

large_Lizard_at_Naabi_Hill_9-3.jpg

large_Agama__Fla..ed_Rock_9-4.jpg

large_Lizard_at_Naabi_Hill_9-1.jpg

large_Agama__Fla..ed_Rock_9-5.jpg

Exit is through the shop, as usual.

large_Naabi_Hill_9-8.jpg

While we wait for Malisa to finish up the paper work, we do a spot of bird watching.

large_Martin__Rock_9-1.jpg
Rock Martin

large_Starling__..venile__9-2.jpg
Juvenile Ashy Starling (I think)

large_866593D5CC8415F77A0ADBDE8077C890.jpg
Juvenile Hildebrand Starling

large_Starling__Hildebrand_9-1.jpg
Hildebrand Starling

large_Vulture__lappet_Faced_9-2.jpg
Lappet Faced Vulture

After a while I comment that the entrance formalities seem to be taking a particularly long time today, which considering how quiet it is, I find a bit strange. It turns out that while we have been waiting for Malisa outside the information centre, he has been at the car, wondering where we are. Doh!

large_86CF2FD5F3B9A1D312521A9CD079FF8B.jpg

large_Serengeti_..l_Park_Logo.jpg

Serengeti National park

This has to be the most renowned wildlife park in the entire world, and for good reason; with over 10,000 square miles of pristine wilderness, it’s like stepping in to a wildlife documentary. The variety and abundance of wildlife here is unmatched anywhere else in Africa. Serengeti is unparalleled in so many ways – not only does it have the world's largest herd of migrating ungulates, but also the largest concentration of predators in the world.

large_Serengeti_..al_Park_9-1.jpg

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-6.jpg

Most people think of the Serengeti as being a vast endless grassy plain, as well as totally underestimating its size. In reality the park is comprised of a wide range of ecosystems, with some parts featuring areas of acacia forest, others granite mountains and soda lakes, each with its own different character and range of wildlife.

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-4.jpg

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-51.jpg

Rather than taking the main road this morning, we head east towards Gol Kopjes, an area where we need a special permit to visit.

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-1.jpg

Giraffe

large_Giraffe_9-101.jpg

large_Giraffe_9-102.jpg

large_Giraffe_9-104.jpg

Warthogs

large_Warthogs_9-1.jpg

large_Warthogs_9-3.jpg

large_Warthogs_9-7.jpg

Aren’t they just the cutest when they run with their tails straight up? They do that so that the babies can see their mums in the long grass.

large_Warthogs_9-8.jpg

Mirage

A naturally occurring optical illusion, a mirage is caused by light bending rays, giving the impression of an oasis in the distance.

large_Mirage_9-1.jpg

Steppe Eagle

For one spine-tingling moment we believe he has picked up a snake; until we realise he is merely nest building.

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-1.jpg

It is still pretty cool to see him carry it away in his beak though.

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-2.jpg

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-3.jpg

Marabou Stork

This has to be one of the ugliest birds in existence, surely?

large_Stork__Marabou_9-2.jpg

large_2B57F051CD2FD7BE486FC4F2167623F6.jpg

Lions

In the distance we spot a couple of lions. We are becoming almost blasé to them now – there is not much point in hanging around when they are so far away. We have seen them nearer and better before…

large_Lions_9-150.jpg

Gol Kopjes

Kopje_Definition_1.jpg

Nicknamed the ‘world’s largest Japanese rock garden’, this is a picturesque area, with a series of granite outcrops (kopjes) dotted on the otherwise flat short grass plains.

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-2.jpg

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-3.jpg

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-5.jpg

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-8.jpg

This area is said to have the highest concentration of cheetah in Africa, but it is not a cheetah we spot sleeping on the rocks, but a lion.

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-1A.jpg

When we go closer, we see it is in fact a collared lioness. The head of the pride, she is an exceptional hunter, which is why the authorities want to monitor her.

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-2.jpg

As this girl is a well-known matriarch, it’s a pretty good bet that there are more lions in the near vicinity; and we don’t have long to wait before another lioness appears on the top of the rock behind.

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-3.jpg

With a full belly she walks slowly and lazily, settling down in the shade of a tree.

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-4.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-5.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-6.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-9.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-13.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-14.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-15.jpg

A heaving brown lump in the long grass indicates a male lion panting heavily. The lions have obviously recently eaten and are all full to bursting.

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-16.jpg

This one seems to have the right idea.

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-17.jpg

Golden Jackal

large_Jackal__Golden_9-1.jpg

large_Jackal__Golden_9-2.jpg

Committee Meeting

The collective noun for vultures is committee, and here we have Rueppell’s Griffon, Woolly Necked and White Backed Vultures, as well as a couple of Marabou Storks.

large_Vultures_9-1.jpg

Thomson’s Gazelle

It’s that time of year – two Tommy males spar for the attention of a female.

large_Gazelle__Thomson_s_9-1.jpg

large_Gazelle__Thomson_s_9-2.jpg

Topi

large_Topi_9-2.jpg

large_Topi_9-3.jpg

Tawny eagle

large_Eagle__Tawny_9-14.jpg

large_Eagle__Tawny_9-12.jpg

Coke's Hartebeest

large_Hartebeest__Coke_s_9-1.jpg

large_Hartebeest__Coke_s_9-2.jpg

Dung Beetle

This poor little beetle is trying to roll his ball of dung into a hole in the ground, but is finding the earth too hard. He eventually just rolls it into the grass cover.

large_Beetle__Dung_9-1.jpg

.

More Lions

Another kopje, another lion pride. Such is life in the Serengeti.

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-18.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-19.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-20.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-21.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-22.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-23.jpg

The one ‘security guard’ left out on the sunny savannah looking after the remains of dinner (probably a baby wildebeest) gazes longingly at the other pride members resting in the shade.

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-27.jpg

Tortoise

One of the animals on my wish list this year is a tortoise, and this morning one strolls right by as we are watching the lions.

large_Tortoise_9-1.jpg

Steppe Eagle

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-4.jpg

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-5.jpg

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-6.jpg

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-8.jpg

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-9.jpg

Judging by the droppings, I'd say this is a favourite perch of his.

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-11.jpg

large_Picnic_4.jpg

After finding a large pride of lions at each of the last three kopjes, Lyn is not at all happy about getting out of the car when we stop at another rocky outcrop for our picnic lunch. “Is it safe” she asks Malisa, but eventually - after plenty of reassurance - she reluctantly alights the vehicle.

large_Picnic_Lun..Kopjes_9-1A.jpg

Malisa teases her about it, and even takes a photo of her still in the van to send to Tillya.

large_Picnic_Lun..Kopjes_9-2A.jpg

As we drive away from the picnic site, Lyn jokingly shouts out “Oh, look: simba!” pointing to a non-existent lion near the kopje we had just been sitting next to. Much to our amusement, Chris falls for it!

Grant’s Gazelle

A bachelor herd full of young wannabes.

large_Gazelle__G..or_Club_9-1.jpg

large_Gazelle__G..or_Club_9-2.jpg

Topi

large_Topi_9-1.jpg

After one quick look at us, he takes off. Literally.

large_DF9783D7E7A964413C9EF1EB1D9DFB7B.jpg

large_Topi_9-5.jpg

White Stork

Non-resident, they are European migrants – just like us then.

large_Stork__White_9-1.jpg

Wildebeest

We come across a small herd of migrating wildebeest.

large_Wildebeest_9-1.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-2.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-11.jpg

A few minutes later we see this lone youngster, probably left behind when the herd moved on. He seems to be rather dazed – no wonder they call a group of wildebeest a confusion.

large_Wildebeest_Baby_9-2.jpg

He looks suspiciously towards us, then misled by his very poor eyesight, runs off in the opposite direct to the group we saw earlier.

large_Wildebeest_Baby_9-5.jpg

Having eaten too much for lunch, I feel like the lazy lions we encountered this morning and all I want to do is go to sleep in the shade to digest the food. I have a little nap in the car and wake up when we stop.

Dead Wildebeest

Malisa surmises that this wildebeest mother fell during a stampede and got trampled on, and has now become food for the vultures and Marabou Stork. Each of the different vultures have beaks that are designed for different actions, so as not to cause competition at a kill. The only one who can open a carcass is the Woolly Neck; so that's who they are all waiting for.

large_Stork_and_..on_Kill_9-1.jpg

The saddest thing about this scene is the baby wildebeest just standing there, watching the scavengers eating her mum. That really breaks my heart.

large_Wildebeest_Baby_9-6.jpg

In the middle of the road there is another, much younger baby wildebeest. We are guessing that his mother has probably been taken by a predator; this guy is so weak he can hardly walk and way too young to make it on his own - he is literally just waiting to be someone’s dinner.

That’s the stark and sometimes cruel reality of the wilderness.

large_Wildebeest_Baby_9-7.jpg

Long Grass Plains

As we drive further into the Serengeti, we notice that the plains change from the short grass that is typical around Ndutu, through medium grass plains around Naabi Hill to the longer grasses in this area. The plains are framed by rocky hills and river courses, swelled by the recent rains.

So why is the length of the grass worthy of a mention?

It is not so much the grass – although length does matter dontcha know – it’s the fact that the change of grassland also brings a change in the balance of the species – for instance, we see many more hartebeest and topi here than anywhere else on this trip.

Another point - sometimes we can only just see the tops of the animals, one of the disadvantages of travelling in the Green Season.

large_Wildebeest_9-12.jpg

large_Muddy_Roads.jpg

Muddy Tracks

One of the other downsides to coming here at this time of year is that often the tracks become just pure mud after a heavy rainfall.

large_Muddy_Track_9-1.jpg

Some even turn into impromptu streams and become totally impassable.

large_Muddy_Track_9-2.jpg

Malisa engages the 4WD to make sure we can get through OK – we don’t really want to have to get out and push unless absolutely necessary.

large_Engaging_4..ddy_track_1.jpg

It’s easy peasy when you have the right tool for the job.

.

Cape Buffalo

A breeding herd – or obstinacy – of buffalo.

large_Buffalo__Cape_9-1.jpg

Bateleur Eagle

large_E590D0EBE1E2239E41D6F83BA405A249.jpg

White Bellied Bustard

large_Bustard__W..Bellied_9-1.jpg

Warthog

large_Warthog_9-11.jpg

Maasai Kopjes

Kopjes – an Afrikaans term referring to isolated rock hills that rise abruptly from the surrounding flat savannah – are remarkable in that they have their own little ecosystems with a range of vegetation and wildlife.

large_Maasai_Kopjes_9___1_.jpg

large_Maasai_Kopjes_9___2_.jpg

large_Maasai_Kopjes_9.jpg

Lions

Maasai Kopjes are home to a large pride of lions, who are the subject of numerous studies by the Serengeti Lion Project. We study them sleeping for a while this afternoon.

large_Lions_at_M.._Kopjes_9-1.jpg

Dik Dik

large_ED569FCAAC855A85B85A2EBB8741002D.jpg

White Headed Vulture

Malisa excitedly informs us this is a very rare sighting – it is certainly a new bird to us.

large_Eagle__White_Headed_9-1.jpg

large_Eagle__White_Headed_9-4.jpg

Hippo

One lump or two?

large_Hippo_9-1.jpg

large_Hippo_9-2.jpg

Greater Blue Eared Starling

large_Starling__..e_Eared_9-3.jpg

Pin Tailed Swallow

large_Swallow__Pin_Tailed_9-1.jpg

Defassa Waterbuck

large_Waterbuck__Defassa_9-1.jpg

large_Waterbuck__Defassa_9-2.jpg

large_Waterbuck__Defassa_9-3.jpg

large_Waterbuck__Defassa_9-8.jpg

Zebra

large_Zebra_9-21.jpg

large_Zebra_9-31.jpg

large_Zebra_9-32.jpg

large_Zebra_9-33.jpg

large_Zebra_9-36.jpg

large_Zebra_9-41.jpg

large_Zebra_9-44.jpg

It seems that stripes are in this year.

large_Zebra_9-45.jpg

large_Zebra_9-47.jpg

Wildebeest Migration

The rains being a month late arriving this year has confused the wildebeest, and instead of being up in the Western Corridor now, they are found in great numbers here in Central Serengeti.

large_Wildebeest_9-302.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-305.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-308.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-311.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-312.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-314.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-316.jpg

Lappet Faced Vulture

large_Vulture__l.._Faced_9-61.jpg

Coqui Francolin

large_Francolin__Coqui_9-21.jpg

He makes the most peculiar sound – as if he is laughing.

large_Francolin__Coqui_9-22.jpg

White Rumped Helmetshrike

large_Helmetshri..Rumped_9-31.jpg

Stormy Clouds

Some formidable dark clouds are building up and the light is extraordinarily intense with the low evening sun creating remarkably saturated colours! I think we might be in for some rain before long…

large_Zebra_and_..beest_9-101.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-101.jpg

large_Zebra_and_..beest_9-102.jpg

large_148FDD7BE3EFE5F69412AF591183E54B.jpg

large_Giraffe_9-76.jpg

large_Giraffe_9-78.jpg

large_Giraffe_9-81.jpg

Klipspringer

large_Klipspringer_9-1.jpg

large_Rain_12.jpg

And here comes the rain – bringing with it some even more bizzare conditions: the sunset reflecting in the water drops with a rainbow behind.

large_Rainbow_3.jpg

We move on a bit further and are able to see the whole rainbow, with the dramatic light constantly changing.

large_F7FD67C7E64E1690F839F35CB93F2F4D.jpg

Mbuzi Mawe

By the time we reach our camp, it is dark and the rain has really set in – what was a gently drizzle, is now a heavy downpour. It’s the first ‘proper’ rain we’ve had on this trip, so we shouldn’t complain.

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-6.jpg

large_Porters_6.jpg

A small army of porters with umbrellas meet us in the car park and take us to the reception. It seems a long walk.

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-5.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_9-5.jpg

large_Checking_in_1.jpg

After the usual formalities, we are shown to our tent – which ironically is half way down to the car park again. Apologies for rubbish photos taken hand held in almost pitch black.

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-2.jpg

The tents are very spacious, with two huge four-poster beds, a seating area and a writing desk. Attached to the back is a modern bathroom with double basins, shower, toilet and changing area. This is my sort of camping.

large_2C1F71ED01AEB9815BC6510D79B500E7.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_9-3.jpg

This place is as much of a surprise to me as it is to Lyn and Chris. When he knew the wildebeest migration was changing route, Tillya changed our accommodation to a more convenient position – that is one of the numerous reasons we keep coming back to using Calabash Adventures – their customer care!

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_9-2.jpg

I love it!

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_9-1.jpg

Just after we get to the room, housekeeping arrives to carry out the ‘turn-back service’. A young girl is being trained and they seem to take forever - I know they prefer to come and do it while we are in the room so that we’ll tip them; but its a bit of an inconvenience as we have just a short time between arriving back from safari and going for dinner.

large_Pre-Dinner_Drinks_10.jpg

So we have a drink instead of a shower. Shucks. Life is hard.

large_Night_Shots_4.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-1.jpg

The tents are all facing outwards on the edge of the camp, overlooking the kopje (or you would be looking at it if it wasn’t pitch black). Buffalo graze in the long grass the other side of the path.

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-3.jpg

A gentle man with a big spear, little English and a contagious laugh escorts us from the tent to the restaurant.

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-4.jpg

Rock Hyrax

On the way he shines his torch at the rocky outcrops, illuminating a huddle of rock hyrax.

large_Rock_Hyrax..zi_Mawe_9-1.jpg

large_Rock_Hyrax..zi_Mawe_9-2.jpg

large_Dinner_10.jpg

The dinner is impressive, arriving served under large silver domes, all four of which are removed at exactly the same time to reveal the piping hot food underneath.

large_Dinner_at_Mbuzi_Mawe_9-1.jpg

large_Dinner_Dome_9-1.jpg

Both David and I have Kuku Wa Kupaka – a local dish of chicken cooked in a coconut cream with ‘coastal spices’.

large_Kuku_Wa_Ku..ocont_cream.jpg

Lyn and I share a bottle of white wine, David and Chris have red.

large_Footprint_Chardonnay.jpg

The dessert gateau is a disappointment apparently, as is my self-serve cheese and biscuits: there is next to nothing left.

large_Paty_Time.jpg

The servers and kitchen staff serenade an Australian couple celebrating their silver wedding anniversary, just as the staff did for us in Maramboi.

.

We retire to our rooms after another spectacular day on safari with Calabash Adventures. Thanks again guys!

large_2311A068E1FBC175BFD0469AF7F04935.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 03:51 Archived in Tanzania Tagged landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises animals birds sky night monkeys rain hills sunset road_trip restaurant travel vacation hotel adventure roads scenery sunrise clouds holiday fun party africa mud safari rainbow tanzania lodge zebra eagle wine beetle lizard birding chicken tourists picnic photography alcohol lions giraffe hippo roadtrip serengeti hyena vulture night_time glamping waterbuck starling wildebeest stunning bird_watching game_drive tented_camp road-trip ndutu african_food dung_beetle safari_vehicle night_photography canon_eos_5d_iii testicles calabash calabash_adventures the_best_safari_operators which_safari_company best_safari_company vervet_monkeys black_faced_vervet_monkeys blue_balls ngorongoro_conservation_area tower_of_giraffe hartebeest nadutu_safari_lodge gol_kopjes maasai_kopjes mbuzi_mawe serena_hotels long_grass_plains short_grass_plains naabi_hill central_serengeti mussy_tracks kopje stormy_clouds Comments (0)

Ndutu Part II

A very rare sighting indeed!


View The Gowler African Adventure - Kenya & Tanzania 2016 on Grete Howard's travel map.

large_The_Adventure_Continues_2.jpg

large_Day_8_of_t..ture_Part_2.jpg

Ndutu Lodge

Food at Ndutu is always a pleasure and today’s lunch is no different. After a starter of soup and bread, we are served a ham salad, the taste of which is nothing short of exquisite!

large_Ham_Salad_8-1.jpg

I am feeling grateful for a relatively small portion at midday, until the accompaniments arrive: potato salad, capsicum salad, and coleslaw.

large_Lunch_at_Ndutu_8-1.jpg

large_8CB1585AED36FE3837A619EB254CB08A.jpg

Ndutu Lodge is one of the few remaining truly independent safari lodges in Tanzania, and also one of the oldest camps around, dating back to the 1960s when it was the domain of the flamboyant and eccentric professional hunter George Dove.

large_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge_9-2.jpg

large_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge_9-7.jpg

When he abandoned hunting in 1967, he made a tented camp here at Ndutu. The lodge was taken over and refurbished in 1985, with stone cottages replacing the original tents. The lodge remains an extremely popular place to stay, and rightly so.

large_Ndutu_Lodge_8-11.jpg

large_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge_9-3.jpg

Renowned wildlife researchers Jane Goodall and Hugo van Lawick used Ndutu as a base for much of their research about wild dogs and the lodge is popular with a lot of well-known wildlife photographers such as Nick Garbutt, Stu Porter and Steve Bloom. And not to forget Grete Howard and Lyn Gowler!

large_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge_9-4.jpg

large_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge_9-6.jpg

I love the lodge's motto:
“Don't expect five stars; from our campfire you will see millions.”

large_Our_Room_4.jpg

large_Ndutu_Lodge_8-13.jpg

large_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge_9-5.jpg

The lodge is also a cracking place for bird watching, with over 400 species recorded in the vicinity; so after lunch Lyn and I head out with our long lenses to see what we can shoot.

large_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge_9-1.jpg

Slate Coloured Boubou

large_Boubou__Sl..oloured_8-1.jpg

Blue Capped Cordon Bleu

large_Cordon_Ble.._Capped_8-5.jpg

Fischer's Lovebirds

large_Lovebirds__Fischer_s_8-23.jpg

Swahili Sparrow

large_Sparrow__Swahili_8-3.jpg

Speckled Mousebird

large_Mousebird__Speckled_8-5.jpg

Laughing Dove

large_Dove__Laughing_8-1.jpg

White Rumped Helmetshrike

large_Helmetshri.._Rumped_8-4.jpg

Common Drongo

large_Drongo__Common_8-1.jpg

Pool Party!

large_Canary__Wh..ax_Bill_8-1.jpg

Variable Sunbird

large_Sunbird__Variable_8-8.jpg

large_Sunbird__Variable_8-1.jpg

White Bellied Canary

large_Canary__White_Bellied_8-6.jpg

Grey Backed Camaroptera

large_Camaropter.._Backed_8-1.jpg

Scarlet Breasted Sunbird

large_Sunbird__S..hested_8-23.jpg

large_Sunbird__S..emale__8-11.jpg

large_Sunbird__S..reasted_8-2.jpg

Lesser Masked Weaver

large_Weaver__Lesser_Masked_8-2.jpg

Speckled Fronted Weaver

large_Weaver__Sp..Fronted_8-1.jpg

Steel Blue Whydah

large_Whydah__Steel_Blue_8-3.jpg

Ndutu Safari Lodge is located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, just outside the border with the Serengeti National Park. Of course, there are no physical barriers separating the two reserves, and the migrating animals aren’t too good at reading maps, so they wander in and out of the parks at will.

Dik Dik

We see these dik diks in the lodge grounds as we leave for this afternoon's game drive.

large_Dik_Dik_8-1.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_8-2.jpg

Lake Ndutu

We head for the lake again this afternoon. Lake Ndutu used to belong to Ngorongoro Conservation Area, but the authorities decided to move the border so that the lake is now inside Serengeti National Park. The reason for doing this is to do with to off-road driving, which is not permitted in the Serengeti but can - and does – take place in the conservation area. The number of cars driving too close to the lakeshore caused erosion damage and was a threat to the environment and the wildlife.

The white post marks the border, and Malisa is very careful to stick to the designated tracks here.

large_Border_bet..al_park_8-1.jpg

Lesser Flamingo

On the lakeshore we find a few Lesser Flamingo – the ones that are darker with more pink colouring, are the younger birds; they get paler as they grow older.

large_Flamingo__..e_Ndutu_8-7.jpg

large_Flamingo__..e_Ndutu_8-8.jpg

large_Flamingo__.._Ndutu_8-10.jpg

large_Flamingo__.._Ndutu_8-11.jpg

Spotted Thick Knee

We also spot a Spotted Thick Knee in the grass.

large_Thick_Knee__Spotted_8-2.jpg

A mini tornado

large_Mini_Tornado_8-1.jpg

And a couple of wildebeest carcasses

large_Wildebeest_Carcass_8-1.jpg

large_Wildebeest_Carcass_8-2.jpg

Lions

Heading towards Lake Masek, we come across the lions we saw last night feeding on the zebra carcass. Today there are only eight, not nine, so one must have gone walkabout.

large_Lion_8-102.jpg

We can still see the dried blood on this guy's face from yesterday's feast!

large_Lion_8-103.jpg

large_Lion_8-120.jpg

Because they ate yesterday, there is no need for them to kill again for another three days.

large_Lion_8-106.jpg

large_Lion_8-107.jpg

Now they are just lazing around, digesting the food.

large_Lion_8-124.jpg

large_Lion_8-117.jpg

large_Lion_8-118.jpg

large_Lion_8-119.jpg

After eating, lions do not produce any solid waste for days: they poop blood!

large_Lion_8-109.jpg

It's always such a relief to be able to 'pass through' a big meal I find.

large_Lion_8-111.jpg

large_Lion_8-113.jpg

A family of Helmeted Guineafowl stroll by. As they do.

large_Guineafowl..hicks__8-11.jpg

There is not much left of yesterday’s zebra today, and the stench is nauseating.

large_Look_Away_..e_Squeamish.jpg

large_Zebra_Carcass_8-6.jpg

The lions have had their fill.

large_Zebra_Carcass_8-1.jpg

The vultures have finished it off, and now all that is left is for the bluebottles to clean it.

large_Zebra_Carcass_8-2.jpg

large_Zebra_Carcass_8-3.jpg

We let sleeping lions be, and move on.

large_Lion_8-125.jpg

large_Lion_8-126.jpg

large_Lion_8-127.jpg

large_Lion_8-128.jpg

Caracal

We’re busy looking up into a tree at a hiding hoopoe, when Malisa gets word on the radio about a caracal being spotted down on the flats between the two lakes. Seeing this elusive cat is very rare, so it is an adrenalin-filled vehicle that rushes off in the direction of the sighting.

We can’t believe our luck when he comes rushing out of the bushes, right next to our car. He certainly isn’t hanging around, and I only manage to get a quick bum-shot as he dashes for cover!

large_Caracal_8-1.jpg

Anticipating that he may – or may not – emerge the other side; we drive around the thicket, occasionally catching a very brief glimpse of his backside as he creeps deeper into the shrubbery.

This is where having a quality guide pays off – Malisa moves with some considerable haste towards a very small clearing, urging us to get our cameras poised, ready for action so that we can shoot on the move if he emerges.

And he does. And we do.

large_Caracal_8-3.jpg

What a wondrous sighting! Knowing that this is only the third time Malisa has ever seen a caracal – it is that rare – we feel extremely honoured to have managed to catch a brief three-second glimpse of one today.

Giraffe

large_Giraffe_8-11.jpg

African Hoopoe

We finally get a picture of the hoopoe that was so rudely interrupted by a caracal earlier.

large_Hoopoe__African_8-2.jpg

Speckled Mousebird

large_Mousebird__Speckled_8-12.jpg

Lake Masek

I don’t know what it is about trees on this trip – in Tarangire I remembered the tree I photographed two years ago, and today I recognised a tree under which we had a picnic in 2011. I really do need to get out more…

large_Lake_Masek_8-1.jpg
Lake Masek 2016

large_Picnic_at_Lake_Masek_2011.jpg
Picnic at Lake Masek 2011

Cape Teal

large_Teal__Cape_8-1.jpg

Common Stilt

large_Stilt__Common_8-2.jpg

Lesser Flamingo

large_Flamingo__..e_Masek_8-2.jpg

large_Flamingo__..e_Masek_8-9.jpg

large_Flamingo__..e_Masek_8-3.jpg

large_Flamingo__..e_Masek_8-5.jpg

Hippo

The hippo only stay down this end of the lake as fresh water from the stream that runs into the lake at this point means the water is not as brackish here.

large_Hippo_8-1.jpg

large_Hippo_8-2.jpg

Augur Buzzard

large_Buzzard__Augur_8-1.jpg

The Golden Hour

large_The_Golden_Hour_8-1.jpg

large_The_Golden_Hour_8-2.jpg

As the sun dips low on the horizon, painting everything in its path a rich golden orange, we encounter an elephant with her young baby – some 1½ years old.

large_Elephants_8-2.jpg

large_Elephants_8-4.jpg

large_Elephants_8-6.jpg

large_Elephants_8-7.jpg

large_Elephants_8-16.jpg

After a while the elephants wander in to the sunset, and so do we, heading for camp.

large_Elephants_8-22.jpg

large_Sunset_in_Ndutu_8-14.jpg

large_Eagle__Cre..t_Ndutu_8-3.jpg

large_Sunset_in_Ndutu_8-16.jpg

large_Eagle__Cre..t_Ndutu_8-2.jpg
Crested Eagle

large_1CA46F45C66589E380ECF4FC57F3E6AD.jpg

After another great dinner at Ndutu Safari Lodge, we join the genets for a quick drink in the bar, marking the end of yet another glorious day in the African Bush.

large_Dinner_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge.jpg

large_Genet__Lesser_Spotted_8-2.jpg

large_Ndutu_Safa..dge_Bar_8-1.jpg

As usual, I would like to thank Calabash Adventures and our ever-wonderful guide Malisa for allowing us to experience all this.

large_1C841B19FADA498CC41E721435400DDF.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 16:23 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds sunset road_trip travel elephants adventure roads cute holiday fun africa safari tanzania lunch birding photography lions giraffe hippo flamingo roadtrip ngorongoro stilts kill good_food bird_watching hoopoe game_drive road-trip ndutu teal safari_vehicle canon_eos_5d_iii calabash calabash_adventures which_safari_company best_safari_company ngorongoro_conservation_area lion_kill thick_knee cape_teal lake_masek caracal ndutu_safari_lodge Comments (0)

(Entries 61 - 72 of 84) Previous « Page 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 » Next