A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about heron

Abuko

Big day today: Lifer # 1000


View Galavanting in The Gambia 2019 on Grete Howard's travel map.

I spent most of the night tossing and turning, trying to find a position that didn't hurt my arm. That'll teach me for spending so long at the waterhole photographing the birds. Not. I even struggle to bring my hand up to my face this morning, affecting washing, brushing my teeth and hair, and eating. Photographer's elbow. A bit like a tennis player having played in an all day tournament after normally just having a game once or twice a week. The pain won't stop me going out taking photos of birds though.

Abuko

This morning Malick is taking us to Abuko. He's decided that we are going to be better off walking along the plantations just on the outskirts of the woods, rather than inside the thick forest itself, where the conditions will be rather difficult in terms of photography: dark and too many branches in the way. Sounds good to me.

large_fcdcc380-7338-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg

large_e5507950-7338-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg

large_f1299db0-7338-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg
Onions

large_c922c520-7339-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg
Bitter Tomato

large_df0a11e0-7339-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg
Sweet Potato

large_ee887080-7339-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg
Mango

large_fc48f280-7339-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg
Tapping the palm toddy

large_2b3346c0-7341-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg

large_38d12590-7341-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg

large_43f59ff0-7341-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Scarecrow. Or should that be scaredog?

large_5db544e0-7341-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
I don't think the strips of cloth hung from this pole to keep the birds away from the crops are working too well.

We almost immediately spot birds in the trees and on the ground. As before, any lifers (new species to me) will be denoted with *

large_3eb8a850-7339-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg
Sacred Ibis

large_4dc1afe0-7339-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg
African Grey Hornbill

large_659c4120-7339-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg
Hooded Vulture

large_89b34c70-7339-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg
Blue Breasted Kingfisher*

large_a243e740-7339-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg
Grey Woodpecker*

large_b17e8620-7339-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg
Woodland Kingfisher

large_175589d0-733a-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg
Spur Winged Plover

large_5fc08260-733a-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg
Striated Heron

large_90014310-733a-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg
Black Crake

Malick warns us to be careful as we step over the ants who are making their way along a well-defined path.

large_c0148b20-733a-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg

large_d7498d90-733a-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg

large_e411a5d0-733a-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg
African Jacana

large_0b3777c0-733b-11e9-bcc1-930d38e69529.jpg
Senegal Coucal

large_9d80c7a0-733e-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
White Billed Buffalo Weavers*

large_b05ecc00-733e-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Two different species of Egrets - Intermediate and Cattle

large_c70ee700-733e-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Squacco Heron

large_d588a6e0-733e-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Black Heron

large_eeaf6730-733e-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
David testing out his directional microphone, hoping to cut out some of the "click click click" he normally gets on his videos from my photography.

large_1cd250f0-733f-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Blue Bellied Roller*

large_2fd47f20-733f-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Giant Kingfisher with a Tilapia in his beak

large_45043bb0-733f-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Rose Ringed Parakeet

large_5868ae20-733f-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Pied Crow

large_64f65570-733f-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Gull Billed Tern*

large_79dcacf0-733f-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Red Eyed Dove

large_8e40b510-733f-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Long Tailed Cormorant

large_a2c95c30-733f-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Senegal Thick Knee*

This is a very special and important moment in my birdwatching mission – my 1000th lifer!

Ta da!

While I have been interested in seeing and photographing birds for a very long time, it is only in the last 13 years or so that I have taken it to the next level and making a point of identifying and recording the birds I see. I would not consider myself a serious birder, but I am an ardent list-maker, so to make 1000 different species makes me jubilant and proud.

large_1088cca0-7341-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Little Bee Eater

large_8602a6e0-7341-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Hammerkop

large_afe0ec10-7c97-11e9-8a03-bd7d481cd39d.jpg
Broad Billed Roller

large_bcc18b60-7341-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Hooded Vulture

large_ccb60460-7341-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Reef Heron

large_da0d1630-7341-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Purple Heron

large_e86b10b0-7341-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Long Tailed Cormorant

large_f5e2f0f0-7341-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg
Great White Egret

I came to The Gambia with a very short wish list, consisting of only three species that I really wanted to see: Western Bluebill, Western Plantain Eater and the Abyssinian Roller. Having ticked off the first two yesterday, Malick promised me the roller today. He succeeded in spotting it, and the bird put on a delightful display for us.

large_4dea3060-7342-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg

large_72fd00d0-7342-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg

large_648a45d0-7342-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg

large_843f2f80-7342-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg

large_8da8b370-7342-11e9-9c75-33f8621fa256.jpg

The perfect finish to a perfect morning's birdwatching. Thank you Malick.

Posted by Grete Howard 06:36 Archived in Gambia Tagged birds crow birding mango ants roller woodpecker heron egret vulture ibis parakeet dove west_africa kingfisher plantations garlic cormorant sweet_potato tilapia gambia bird_watching hornbill hammerkop thick_knee coucal tern the_gambia malick_suso crake afraica abuko bitter_tomato palm_toddy scarecrow 1000th_lifer lifer life_tick Comments (3)

Brufut

So many lifers


View Galavanting in The Gambia 2019 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Yet again Lariam (malaria prophylaxis) upsets my sleep with a series of bad dreams: while faced with a plethora of colourful birds, my camera refuses to operate despite repeatedly and frustratingly pressing the shutter. I wake up agitated and distressed, realise it is thankfully just a dream and return to sleep. And the dream. The same horrid dream. This repeats itself time and time again and by the time the alarm goes off at 6am, I am exhausted.

Birding Pool

Knowing we are too early for the breakfast, and will be out for most of the morning, we grab some snacks from our bags and head to the bird pool to wait for the guide to arrive.

large_663ca710-724d-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg

As it is still fairly dark, photography is almost impossible, so we just sit and enjoy until Malick turns up.

Police Check Point

We pre-booked Malick – Chris Packham's birding guide of choice - through The Gambia Experience before we left home, just to make sure we had a couple of days of serious birding organised. Having someone who knows where to go and the transport to take us there is half the battle.

As with so many African countries, The Gambia has its fair share of Police Road Blocks where they check the drivers' paperwork. It also acts as an opportunity to investigate the birds that hang around here, feeling on rubbish left behind.

large_3f708680-7250-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Yellow Crowned Gonolek

large_61229fc0-7250-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Red Cheeked Cordon Blue

large_74a87ce0-7250-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Red Bellied Paradise Flycatcher

large_871521d0-7250-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Western Red Billed Hornbill

large_96ceb4b0-7250-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Brown Babbler

Brufut

Our destination for today, however, is Brufut, a community-organised bird sanctuary protected by the West African Birds Study Association.

Before we reach the woods themselves, we stop near some habitation at the edge of a few plantations and take a short walk to see what species can be found around here. We are very excited to spot so many 'lifers' (species new to us, indicated by * below) in such a small area.

large_9869aa90-7251-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Yellow Billed Shrike*

large_b80a9710-7251-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Stone Partridge*

large_cc462fa0-7251-11e9-a3a7-6571d9103ad3.jpg
Piapiac*

large_f1062520-7251-11e9-a3a7-6571d9103ad3.jpg
White Crowned Robin Chat*

large_017d3ba0-7252-11e9-a3a7-6571d9103ad3.jpg
White Faced Whistling Ducks

large_11e31410-7252-11e9-a3a7-6571d9103ad3.jpg
Greater Honeyguide*

large_2f4c11f0-7252-11e9-a3a7-6571d9103ad3.jpg
Village Weaver

large_40098040-7252-11e9-a3a7-6571d9103ad3.jpg
Blue Bellied Roller*

large_53f63580-7252-11e9-a3a7-6571d9103ad3.jpg
Senegal Wattled Plover*

large_cf911f70-7252-11e9-afff-5bb465524a0a.jpg
Black Crake

large_9ef05280-7254-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Long Tailed Glossy Starling

large_fd5c9a60-7252-11e9-afff-5bb465524a0a.jpg
Fine Spotted Woodpecker*

large_1f125d20-7253-11e9-afff-5bb465524a0a.jpg
African Jacana

large_2d5f8ec0-7253-11e9-afff-5bb465524a0a.jpg
Pied Crow

large_3a9f9620-7253-11e9-afff-5bb465524a0a.jpg
White Billed Buffalo Weaver*

large_64a7ee90-7253-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Greenshank

large_1fa92970-7254-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Spur Winged Plover

large_88b64750-7253-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Beautiful Sunbird (female)

large_9b74b5c0-7253-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Bearded Barbet

large_b6ec1cd0-7253-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Splendid Sunbird (female)

large_0d3fdfe0-7254-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Copper Sunbird*

large_3a6d4610-7254-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Intermediate Egret

large_4f158320-7254-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Northern Red Bishop in non-breeding colours*

large_6a8e22b0-7254-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Variable Sunbird (female) The female sunbirds all look very similar.

large_8d10ab50-7254-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Common Sandpiper

large_b34629d0-7254-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Pied Kingfisher

large_c07ede30-7254-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Black Headed Heron

The plantations include such crops as cashew nuts and mango trees.

large_148ccff0-7255-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Unripe cashew fruits with the nuts not yet having developed - they will be hanging down below when ripe

large_2bb1f3e0-7255-11e9-9946-1f4fd5f117ee.jpg
Mango fruits

Brufut Woodland Bar

We continue to an area known as Brufut Woods, where there is even a bar serving drinks. Fearing that they may not be open this late in the season, Malick had already contacted them by phone earlier, to make sure they put the kettle on.

large_9e7fa7a0-725a-11e9-b8c5-bd5ea3f4388b.jpg

large_28ed9500-725b-11e9-a924-b7bdbc1413a1.jpg

A number of benches are set out, overlooking an area with several bird baths in the trees and on the ground. I notice that rather than putting out food for the birds so that they become dependent on humans for feeding, only water is provided. I like that.

large_176b9e30-725b-11e9-a924-b7bdbc1413a1.jpg

This is the civilised way of photographing the birds.

large_39416c10-725b-11e9-a924-b7bdbc1413a1.jpg

large_47ecc340-725b-11e9-a924-b7bdbc1413a1.jpg

We spend the next couple of hours watching, photographing, and listening to the birds, seeing their family squabbles, how they interact with each other and some obvious pecking orders.

As before, any lifers are denoted with *

large_b06b8e60-725b-11e9-837f-a9c9550f0e7c.jpg
Red Cheeked Cordon Bleu

large_00899660-725e-11e9-822d-1352a03e610c.jpg
Senegal Coucal

large_1ade7670-725e-11e9-822d-1352a03e610c.jpg
Black Billed Wood Dove*

I usually have a wish list of birds (or animals) I wish to see when we travel, and this is one of only three on my list this time:

large_47d7fb60-725e-11e9-822d-1352a03e610c.jpg
Western Plantain Eater*

large_94fa1360-725e-11e9-a924-b7bdbc1413a1.jpg
Bronze Mannikin

large_277269e0-725f-11e9-b8c5-bd5ea3f4388b.jpg
Yellow Throated Leaflove*

large_e6b2d510-725f-11e9-a924-b7bdbc1413a1.jpg
Laughing Doves

large_0d099730-7260-11e9-a924-b7bdbc1413a1.jpg
Common Bulbul

large_466fa6e0-7260-11e9-a924-b7bdbc1413a1.jpg
Red Billed Firefinch (female)

large_705f9550-7260-11e9-a924-b7bdbc1413a1.jpg
Black Necked Weaver*

large_8ab8bb20-7260-11e9-a924-b7bdbc1413a1.jpg
Greater Honeyguide*

large_b06a1580-7260-11e9-a924-b7bdbc1413a1.jpg
Lavender Waxbill*

large_fce2a710-7260-11e9-a924-b7bdbc1413a1.jpg
Orange Cheeked Waxbill*

large_1eb20c50-7261-11e9-a924-b7bdbc1413a1.jpg
African Thrush*

large_3e2be8d0-7261-11e9-b36d-0de8a4c5fbef.jpg
Splendid Sunbird

large_51b918f0-7261-11e9-b36d-0de8a4c5fbef.jpg
Hooded Vulture

We employ the services of a local guide to help us go in to the woods to look for the Long Tailed Nightjar which is often found in this area. After a short moment of concern when the bird is not where he saw it half an hour earlier (as nocturnal birds, nightjars don't tend to move far during the day unless they are spooked), he spots it on the ground, very well camouflaged.

large_c0fbc370-7261-11e9-b8c5-bd5ea3f4388b.jpg

We start making our way back to the main road, along dirt tracks frequented by more animal carts than vehicles.

large_ec5ca700-7261-11e9-a924-b7bdbc1413a1.jpg

But first, Malick wants to check out some palms on the way.

large_1464c2a0-7262-11e9-a924-b7bdbc1413a1.jpg

large_2d282d40-7262-11e9-b8c5-bd5ea3f4388b.jpg
Grey Woodpecker*

Having seen them here in the last couple of days, this is what he was looking for:

large_5c3d8d50-7262-11e9-b8c5-bd5ea3f4388b.jpg
Red Necked Falcons*

And so ends a very productive morning's birdwatching. Now back to the lodge for the rest of the day.

Posted by Grete Howard 08:41 Archived in Gambia Tagged birds crow africa birding coffee mango woodpecker heron egret vulture dove malaria west_africa kingfisher starling plantations weaver falcon shrike bulbul dreams finch barbet gambia lariam nightjar bird_watching hornbill sunbird jacana cashews coucal plover thrush sandpiper life_list robin_chat mefloquine malaria_prophelaxis malaria_tablets nightmares disturbed_sleep police_check_point chris_packham malick_suso the_gambia_experience gonolek cordon_blue brufut brufut_woods piapiac whistling_ducks honeyguide crake glossy_starling greenshank red_bishop mango_trees cashew_nuts cashew_trees plantain_eater mannikin firefinch waxbill Comments (4)

Ngorongoro Crater Day 2 Part 2 - kingfisher, baby zebra

From breakfast until lunch


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

Picnic Breakfast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defassa Waterbuck

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

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

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

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

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

Bird Pond

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

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

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

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

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

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

Malachite Kingfisher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rasta Lion

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

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

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

Ring Necked Dove

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

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

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

Lions

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

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

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

Thomson's Gazelles

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

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

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

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

Wildebeest

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

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

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

Bateleur Eagle

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

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

Lions

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

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

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

Male lion

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

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

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

Zebra

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rhino

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

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

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

Cape Buffalo

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

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

Thomson's Gazelle

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

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

Hippo Pool

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

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

Great White Pelican

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cattle Egret

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

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

Hyena

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

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

Windy

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

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

Grey Crowned Cranes

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

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

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

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

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

Warthogs

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

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

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

Golden Jackal

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

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

Kori Bustard

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

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

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

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

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

Secretary Bird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arusha National Park

An underrated little park


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

Fast forward a few hours and a lot of miles, and we have flown via Istanbul and Zanzibar and have now arrived at Kilimanjaro, the international airport that services Arusha and Tanzania's Northern Safari Circuit.

There is no Malisa (our trusty driver) waiting for us. All the other passengers are met and carted off to their hotels and/or safaris. There is only us left at the airport. We landed at 06:00 and it is now nearly an hour later. I think it is time to ring Tillya at Calabash Adventures (who we have booked through) to find out what is happening. The number I have for them is unavailable. I guess it is an old number from when we first used them in 2007, so I check the paperwork we were sent for a more up-to-date number. There isn't one; but I do notice that they have our arrival time down as 08:30. Oops. No idea how that happened (I take full responsibility for the error), but at least we know why Malisa isn't here. David wanders back into the airport terminal to use the wifi and contact Malisa via Facebook. He is on his way and less than ten minutes drive from the airport. Phew.

large_bb663ce0-f036-11e8-a779-65169420c260.jpg

Mount Kilimanjaro

On the way from the airport we are very excited to see the snowy top of Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance. All the other times we have been here it has been well and truly smothered in mist, so this is actually our first time to see it from this road. A dormant volcano, Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa at 4,900 metres (16,000 feet).

large_54f8d020-f037-11e8-ad68-c1d23456b6f3.jpg

We also have a good view of Mount Meru

large_67846ec0-f037-11e8-ad68-c1d23456b6f3.jpg

Arusha National Park

After a warm reunion with plenty of big hugs (this is sixth time we have arranged a safari through Calabash, and the third time Malisa has been our driver), we head straight for our first safari. Arusha National Park is one of the smallest reserves in Tanzania and a good stop-off point between the airport and Arusha Town.

Sykes Monkey

Arusha National Park is not the place to go for the big cats, but it does have a couple of species that are not found in the larger parks here in the north, such as this Blue Sykes Monkey.

large_cc956350-f037-11e8-ad68-c1d23456b6f3.jpg

A troop of Olive Baboons hang out in a tree and walk by the car

large_e2db71e0-f037-11e8-b9d8-415bfcdcbc48.jpg

large_f744f840-f037-11e8-b9d8-415bfcdcbc48.jpg

large_098758e0-f038-11e8-b9d8-415bfcdcbc48.jpg

large_166d0b40-f038-11e8-b9d8-415bfcdcbc48.jpg
Zebra

large_272c9c70-f038-11e8-b9d8-415bfcdcbc48.jpg
Sacred Ibis

large_384a5330-f038-11e8-b9d8-415bfcdcbc48.jpg
Cape Buffalo

large_5ae5e210-f038-11e8-b9d8-415bfcdcbc48.jpg
Great White Egret

large_6c9a3380-f038-11e8-b9d8-415bfcdcbc48.jpg
Woolly Necked Stork

large_847adf40-f038-11e8-b9d8-415bfcdcbc48.jpg
Grey Crowned Crane with baby - look at its head-dress just starting to grow

large_a0323580-f038-11e8-b9d8-415bfcdcbc48.jpg
Black Headed Heron

Narina Trogon

A new species to us, this colourful bird isn't very co-operative as far as photography goes, doing his very best to hide deeper and deeper into the woods.

large_40188130-f039-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

But at least it means that I do get to see both the front and the back of it.

large_61833130-f039-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Black and White Colobus Monkey

Every time we go on safari, I have a wish list of animals that I would like to see, that I hand over to the driver. This year it contains the Black and White Colobus Monkey which I have only seen – briefly – a couple of times before: once in Mount Kenya National Park in 1986 and more recently here in this park in 2014 when I saw its tail as it disappeared into the forest. I have no clear photos of them and am keen to rectify that. No sooner has Malisa joked that they are going to come and dance for me on the bonnet of the car, than we see a couple of them lounging on the branches of a tree almost directly above the road. Very cool!

large_85da52c0-f039-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

large_c57c7430-f039-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

large_71901ec0-f03a-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg
African Grey Flycatcher

We make our way to Ngordoto Crater for a photo stop before continuing to explore the park.

large_8aa5ef20-f03a-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

large_9b904c80-f0cc-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

large_99662de0-f03a-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg
African Jacana

Baby Warthogs, referred to as piglets.

large_7571f760-f03b-11e8-a779-65169420c260.jpg

large_89b29900-f03b-11e8-a779-65169420c260.jpg

large_94e9ff20-f03b-11e8-a779-65169420c260.jpg
Helmeted Guineafowl ~ also known (to us) as “just a chicken” from an incident many years ago when David got very excited thinking he'd seen a “colourful bird”.

large_aa726300-f03b-11e8-a779-65169420c260.jpg
It is unusual to see a giraffe sitting down

Bushbucks

Down on a marshy area we see several bushbuck, which in itself is very unusual as they are normally solitary. Two males are vying for the attention of a female, and after an initial staring contest they half-heartedly fight.

large_8fa16f80-f0c7-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

large_a2e5fde0-f0c7-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

They both run after her across the marsh and into the hills beyond where she manages to shake them off.

large_06a046a0-f0c9-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

Apparently bushbucks are rather short-sighted, and one of the males gets somewhat confused and starts chasing a warthog instead.

large_14d0a170-f0c9-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

Female bushbucks are said to prefer darker partners as they are thought to be stronger and more mature (the antelope's colouration gets darker as they grow older).

large_28d79570-f0c9-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

White fronted bee eater

Only once before I have I laid eyes on this small, colourful bird, and then only briefly: here in Arusha National Park four years ago. I am therefore delighted to see a large number of birds just beside the road. These bee eaters live in colonies of between ten and thirty birds, creating nests on soft mud banks such as these.

large_4df98110-f0c9-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

large_86eb9940-f0c9-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

Their homes are more like a commune, with all the birds sharing the parenting, feeding each others' chicks. They live in a close-knit community though, and fight fiercely to repel other colonies.

large_71fa1e30-f0c9-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

large_a548bb20-f0c9-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

large_be12dc80-f0c9-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

Dik dik

These, the smallest of Tanzania's antelopes, mate for life, and raise their offspring together.

large_e442b5b0-f0c9-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

Picnic

Malisa came prepared with a packed breakfast and lunch when he collected us from the airport this morning, and we stop at a picnic area overlooking Small Momella Lake to eat. It's a popular place, with several tourist vehicles here already.

large_eebc7bb0-f0ca-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

large_ff820050-f0ca-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

large_0aee3210-f0cb-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

As we wander down to the parking lot when we have finished, one of the other drivers is busy rearranging his clothing, having undone his trousers to tuck his shirt in. I shout out: “Do you need any help?”, to which he replies “No, it's fine, thanks”. My reply of “So everything is in the right place then...?” elicits a lot of laughter from everyone else. Thankfully the recipient finds it amusing too.

large_206a39e0-f0cb-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg
Little Bee Eater

large_44507130-f0cb-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg
Egyptian Goose

large_5a0b2fb0-f0cb-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg
Blacksmith Plover

Big Momella Lake

When we last visited Arusha National Park, the lake was home to some 20,000 flamingos. I knew that at this time of year many will have made the migration to Lake Natron, so I am pleased to see a few still feeding in the water.

large_a9d2c530-f0cb-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

large_6f5b1e70-f0cb-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg
Greater Flamingo

large_bda3dc20-f0cb-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg
Hippos

Big Bertha, star of the show

There are a number of people out of their cars here (it is a dedicated picnic area), and when they spot me in the vehicle with Big Bertha (my massive 600mm lens), all attention is drawn away from the lake and the hippos and everyone photographs us instead.

large_482daeb0-f1b8-11e8-b960-75ed12430189.jpg

large_8011fd10-f0cb-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg
Reedbuck

large_d19e7410-f0cb-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg
Augur Buzzard

large_e2b8a860-f0cb-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg
African Hoopoe

large_f4586060-f0cb-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg
Waterbuck

Albino Baboon

This pigment-free monkey is very conspicuous in the environment, but his lack of colouration doesn't seem to hamper him as he goes about his day to day business.

large_3ed37440-f0cc-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

large_5586c390-f0cc-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

large_63ddb930-f0cc-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg
Brown Snake Eagle

Once we leave the park and head out on to the smooth tarmaced main road leading to Arusha, I promptly fall asleep in the car.

Upon reaching town, our first stop is to find an optician as Chris lost one of the little plastic nose protections from his glasses on the flight.

large_8847ed90-f0cc-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

We continue to one of the newer supermarkets, but David is disappointed to find that they don't stock his favourite South African cider, Savanna. Malisa comes to the rescue yet again and takes him to a local bar to get his supplies.

A1 Hotel and Resort

By the time we arrive at our hotel for the night (where we briefly meet up with Tillya, the owner of Calabash Adventures), we have been travelling for some 31 or so hours, and in our rush and tiredness we forget to bring the duty free alcohol in from the car. As do Lyn and Chris. Room service to the rescue and once we've had a much longed-for shower, we enjoy a couple of drinks and some snacks in our rather large but sparsely furnished room before going for dinner.

large_edaf3f80-f0cc-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

large_11c0a580-f0cd-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg
Reception

large_06d849c0-f0cd-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg
Lobby

large_22622760-f0cd-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg
Our 'living room' with the bedroom behind

Although we did see another chap checking in to the hotel at the same time as we did, we are the only people at dinner tonight, which means they wanted us to pre-order our food as soon as we arrived. We all have chicken in a rich mushroom sauce which is absolutely delicious.

large_32810bc0-f0cd-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

After a quick glass of Amarula in the room, we are all safely tucked into bed by 21:00, after a gentle, but good, start to our 2018 safari.

Our thanks go to Calabash Adventures who yet again have done us proud when arranging our safari in Tanzania

large_d979a4f0-f0cd-11e8-a23e-3545f262e03a.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 08:41 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals monkeys mountain airport bird africa safari tanzania zebra birding crater buffalo watching baboons kilimanjaro heron egret stork ibis flycatcher bushbuck warthog jacana calabash_adventures best_safari_company cape_buffalo guineafowl bee_eater mount_meru sykes_monkey black_and_white_colobus_monkey ngordoto Comments (3)

Tadoba National Park - Part IV

Great afternoon birding


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

On the way to the park gate this afternoon, we stop to see the cotton fields and women collecting grass for their cattle.

large_Cotton_101.jpg

large_Workers_in_the_Field_101.jpg

large_Black_Shouldered_Kite_101.jpg
Black Shouldered Kite

This afternoon it has been decided that for a bit of variety, we will enter a different part of Tadoba Tiger Reserve, the Agarzari Buffer Zone.

large_Agarzari_Zone.jpg

Seeing leopard paw prints just inside the gate, gets us off to a promising start.

large_Leopard_Paw_Prints_101A.jpg

We see lots of beautiful and colourful butterflies around a particular meadow, but they are so hard to photograph when they are on the move.

large_Butterfly_101.jpg

large_Butterfly_102.jpg

large_Purple_heron_101.jpg
Purple heron

We head for some wetlands and spend most of the rest of the afternoon in and around this area.

large_Wetlands_101A.jpg

There are lots of birds around, but mammals are sadly lacking.

large_Purple_Heron_102.jpg
Purple heron

large_Grat_Cormorant_101.jpg
Little Cormorant

large_Black_Ibis_101.jpg
Black Ibis

The fickle Asian Open-Billed Stork

large_Asian_Open..d_Stork_102.jpg

I'm coming in to land... get off my perch!

large_Asian_Open..rmorant_101.jpg

Ooh! Changed my mind... I think I will find somewhere else to sit.

large_Asian_Open..d_Stork_103.jpg

Nah, you can keep your rock.

large_Asian_Open..rmorant_102.jpg

Well.... actually, I think I prefer it over this side anyway.

large_Asian_Open..d_Stork_104.jpg

Perhaps this wasn't such a bad place after all.

large_Asian_Open..d_Stork_105.jpg

large_Asian_Open..d_Stork_106.jpg

large_Intermediate_Egret_102.jpg
Intermediate Egret

large_Black_Headed_Ibis_101.jpg
Black Headed Ibis

large_Lesser_Adjutant_101.jpg
Lesser Adjutant

The first mammal we see this afternoon is this sambar hiding in the tall grass.

large_Sambar_102.jpg

large_Oriental_Magpie_Robin_101.jpg
Oriental Magpie Robin

large_White_Fron..ter_Hen_101.jpg
White Fronted Water Hen

large_White_Fron..ter_Hen_102.jpg
White Fronted Water Hen

large_Stork__Asi..en_Bill_108.jpg
Asian Open Billed Stork

large_Little_Cormorant_103.jpg
Little Cormorant spreading his wings to dry them out

large_Wetlands_105.jpg

Our fickle Openbill is back, with a snail in her beak.

large_Asian_Open..a_Snail_101.jpg

large_Asian_Open..a_Snail_102.jpg

large_Asian_Open..a_Snail_103.jpg

large_Asian_Open..a_Snail_106.jpg

large_Asian_Open..a_Snail_108.jpg

Sunset over the marshland.

large_Sunset_101.jpg

large_Sunset_102.jpg

The light is fading really fast now, as we make our way back to the park gate.

We see one more animal on our way out, in the near darkness.

large_Gaur_101.jpg
Gaur

large_Gaur_102.jpg
He is eyeing us suspiciously from behind the grass.

And that brings a very abrupt end to my blog from our 2017 India trip. For some reason I did not take any photos after this. To be fair, I had an upset tummy in the evening and the next day for our long journey home (Tadoba - Jabalpur-Delhi-London-Bristol (including a stop in Delhi during their awful smog problem when schools and offices were closed).

For my birding friends: We ended up with a trip count of 71, 31 of which were lifers. That is what I consider a successful birding trip! And, of course, we did see FIVE tigers, so all in all it was a very good safari.

large_D5B86EF304D5AB4F46BDE838C4B9DB8F.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 14:46 Archived in India Tagged sunset india kite safari birding butterfly cotton wetlands heron egret stork ibis cormorant gaur tadoba sambar bird_watching tiger_park adjutant buffer_zone agarzari_zone openbill open_bill magpie_robin water_hen Comments (2)

Pench National Park - Part I

A very rare and endangered sighting this afternoon


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

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

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

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

large_Pench_National_Park_1.jpg

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

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

large_Oriental_Honey_Buzzard_1.jpg

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

large_Tiger_Pug_Marks_51.jpg

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

large_Sunrise_in_Pench_1.jpg

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

large_Dhole_1.jpg

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

large_Dhole_3.jpg

large_Dhole_4.jpg

large_Dhole_7.jpg

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

large_Dhole_9.jpg

large_Dhole_11.jpg

large_Dhole_13.jpg

large_Dhole_14.jpg

large_Dhole_20.jpg

large_Dhole_25.jpg

large_Dhole_36.jpg

large_Dhole_38.jpg

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

large_B0AB48BAB04B7825698154CE2A8FF2B0.jpg

large_B0DA86FCBA38AC50F337DBA89354F6B1.jpg

large_Rufous_Treepie_21.jpg

Rufous Treepie

Jungle Fowl

large_Jungle_Fowl_21.jpg

large_Jungle_Fowl_22.jpg

large_Jungle_Fowl_23.jpg

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

large_B4432C0DDADA42A8C91BCBAF81D7E696.jpg

large_B4550353AFDE25DF96F567A0C82C5BDC.jpg

large_B45815ACB21BBF4028A7F74A0CB41DA0.jpg

large_B46D590ABBBA51C0D61B9AA78696AD2A.jpg

large_Yellow_Foo..n_Pigeon_52.jpg
Yellow Footed Green Pigeon

large_Spotted_Dove_51.jpg
Spotted Dove

large_Peacock_51.jpg
Indian Peafowl

large_Indian_Pond_heron_51.jpg
Indian Pond Heron

large_Indian_Pond_heron_52.jpg
Indian Pond Heron

Changeable Hawk Eagle

large_Changeable_Haw_Eagle_51.jpg

large_Changeable_Hawk_Eagle_52.jpg

large_B50F7AF5BB64590C7C89FEC017802288.jpg
Another Peacock sunning himself

large_B52EBD4B9A45C1D95AC3080467CD2ACA.jpg

large_B53981FDCDA3A0F014674D026855E3CD.jpg

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

large_Brown_Fish_Owl_3.jpg

large_Brown_Fish_Owl_1.jpg

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

large_A13.jpg

large_B5880977DBB2A25AC45F62631E8AF3E1.jpg

large_Green_Sandpiper_1.jpg

large_Golden_Jackals_51.jpg
Golden Jackals in the far distance

large_Indian_Roller_52.jpg
Indian Roller

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

large_A14.jpg

large_Breakfast_Picnic_52.jpg

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

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

large_Mowgli.jpg

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

large_Indian_Cormorant_51.jpg
Indian Cormorant

large_Bonelli_s_Eagle_1.jpg
Bonelli's Eagle

large_Green_Sandpiper_52.jpg
Green Sandpiper

large_Little_Ringed_Plovers_51.jpg
Little Ringed Plovers

large_Painted_Storks_51.jpg
Painted Storks

large_White_Rumped_Vulture_51.jpg
White Rumped Vulture

large_Indian_Pond_heron_53.jpg
Indian Pond Heron having a bad hair day

large_Greta_Egret_51.jpg
Great Egret

There are also a couple of jackals around.

large_Golden_Jackal_53.jpg

large_Golden_Jackal_54.jpg

large_Golden_Jackal_55.jpg

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

Hanuman Langurs

large_A15.jpg

large_B622291DBEEE36213B976B37E2CAA607.jpg

large_Red_Wattled_Lapwing_51.jpg
Red Wattled Lapwing

large_Hoopoe_51.jpg
Hoopoe

large_Chital_51.jpg
Chital

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

large_Nilgai_51.jpg

large_Nilgai_53.jpg

large_Nilgai_54.jpg

large_Jungle_Owlet_53.jpg
Jungle Owlet

large_Black_Drongo_52.jpg
Black Drongo

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

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

large_Time_to_Leave.jpg

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

large_Indian_Rol..ith_Worm_52.jpg

large_Indian_Rol..ith_Worm_51.jpg

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

Stay tuned for the next entry.

large_B694ABCDBB94D181D226E67C4276A731.jpg

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

Naabi Hill - Ngorongoro Crater - Maramboi

Ngorongoro revisited


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

As we approach the Ngorongoro Crater Descent Road, we see some Maasai with their donkeys collecting firewood. Unlike here in the Ngorongoro Conservation area, there are no human settlements within Serengeti, so these are the first locals we've seen for a while (other than staff involved in the tourist industry of course).

large_Maasai_and_Donkeys_1.jpg

large_Seneto_Descent_Road.jpg

There is a one-way system for entering and exiting the crater, and from the Seneto Descent Road we get a good view down over the crater floor. It doesn't look too busy this afternoon – in fact I can only see one car in this part of the crater. It looks like it is dusty though.

large_Ngorongoro..nt_road_101.jpg

The heavily forested crater walls rise steeply from the crater floor – 610 metres to be exact – with the descent road gently traversing the sides as shown in the photo below.

large_887D7D28E974826DA0ADC33716511580.jpg

large_Yellow_Mantled_Widow_Bird.jpg

I really don't know how he does it. “There's a Yellow Mantled Widow Bird”. Malisa stops the car and points to a mangled bush. At first glance all we can see is intertwining branches, leaves and the odd yellow flower. Well, one of those yellow flowers isn't a yellow flower, it's a patch on a black bird. Apparently.

large_Widow_Bird..w_Mantled_2.jpg

I zoom my lens right in (as seen above) and can just about make out an outline; it isn't until I get home on my PC and give the picture a severe crop that I can see the bird properly. Yet Malisa spots - and identifies - this while safely and comfortably negotiating a steep gravel track. Extremely admirable!

large_Widow_Bird..w_Mantled_1.jpg

large_Common_Fiscal_Shrike.jpg

This one is a little easier to spot, even I can see this one with the naked eye.

large_Shrike__Common_Fiscal_1.jpg

large_Olive_Baboon.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_101.jpg

large_Northern_Anteater_Chat.jpg

large_Chat__Northern_Anteater_1.jpg

large_Wattled_Starling.jpg

large_Starling__Wattled_101.jpg

large_Starling__Wattled_102.jpg

large_Rufous_Sparrow.jpg

large_Sparrow__Rufous_1.jpg

Male (above) and female (below)

large_Sparrow__Rufous_2.jpg

There are now at least two other cars in the crater, and they are just about to meet on a dusty track.

large_Two_cars_i..goro_Crater.jpg

large_BB27BCBFCE2B9FB99AC3D85EB997DB2E.jpg

large_Warthog_31.jpg

large_Warthog_33.jpg

large_Warthog_34.jpg

large_Warthog_35.jpg

large_Warthog_36.jpg

large_Warthog_37.jpg

large_Warthog_38.jpg

large_Sacred_Ibis.jpg

large_Ibis__Sacred_1.jpg

large_Black_Headed_Heron.jpg

large_Heron__Black_Headed_31.jpg

Heading for the long grass with a small pond for a spot of fishing.

large_Heron__Black_Headed_33.jpg

large_D24B3BE80B5E07B3D9DD125FAC884FEE.jpg

large_Bustard__Kori_31.jpg

Another large bird on the hunt for some lunch

large_Bustard__Kori_32.jpg

large_D28AD4E20E76C14C18968D814052F8CC.jpg

About a week ago when we were here the first time on this trip, we saw a rhino reasonably up close and were thrilled to bits as on all previous visits they have been spotted in the far, far distance only. Imagine our surprise when we see one equally close again this afternoon!

large_Rhino_31.jpg

This one's on the move and heading directly towards us!

large_Rhino_32.jpg

large_Rhino_33.jpg

large_Rhino_40.jpg

He stops to sniff the air for a while. They do say we should all “make time to smell the flowers”.

large_Rhino_34.jpg

Unless they taste nice. Then you should just eat them. The flowers that is, not the rhinos.

large_Rhino_35.jpg

When he is just about 100 metres away from us, he changes his mind and turns the other direction.

large_Rhino_41.jpg

Still eating of course.

large_Rhino_36.jpg

large_Rhino_43.jpg

large_Lunch_Picnic.jpg

It is time for us to have some lunch, and more importantly, to use the local facilities, so we head for the picnic site.

I wonder if the road workers get danger money working here in the crater?

large_D3FDBB9B09B464A77386096CADC8777A.jpg

Compared with last week, Ngoitoktok picnic site is extremely quiet today.

large_Ngoitoktok_Picnic_Site_31.jpg

large_D43D35C6944FB60368C1FDF6B1283B66.jpg

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_32.jpg

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_33.jpg

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_34.jpg

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_35.jpg

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_37.jpg

large_D4ABE664EC9709D2A11EDFD18A308CEC.jpg

Many of the old bull elephants in the crater have enormous tusks such as this guy.

large_Elephant__Big_Tusked_31.jpg

We see three more elephants in the distance, plus a couple of lions.

large_Elephants__Lions_31.jpg

large_D515A8AEF20333B3504D3B3E2F2F69A1.jpg

There are a lot of birds around in the crater this afternoon, a few of which are new to us. Being a 'list girl' I always enjoy adding a new species to my life list.

large_Goose__Egyptian_31.jpg

large_Goose__Egyptian_32.jpg

Egyptian Geese

large_Widow_Bird__Fan_Tailed_31.jpg

Fan Tailed Widow Bird

large_Crane__Gre..ed_Flying_1.jpg

large_Crane__Gre..ed_Flying_2.jpg

Several Grey Crowned Cranes flying around.

large_Lapwing__Long_Toed_1.jpg

Long Toed Lapwing

large_Ibis__Sacred_31.jpg

large_Ibis__Sacred_32.jpg

Sacred Ibis

large_Ibis__Hadada_31.jpg

Hadada Ibis

large_Weaver__Lesser_Masked_31.jpg

large_Weaver__Lesser_Masked_32.jpg

Lesser Masked Weaver

large_Starling__Wattled_32.jpg

large_Starling__Wattled_31.jpg

The Wattled Starling gets its name from the black wattles (there's a surprise) which are only found in breeding males.

large_Starling__Wattled_33.jpg

large_Starling__Wattled_34.jpg

large_Coot__Red_Knobbed_31.jpg

Red Knobbed Coot

large_Thomson_s_Gazelle.jpg

large_Gazelle__Thomsons_31.jpg

large_Gazelle__Thomsons_32.jpg

large_Lerai_Ascent_Road.jpg

As we climb out of the crater, I can feel the altitude affecting my chest, and I star coughing uncontrollably to the point of almost blacking out.

large_Lerai_Ascent_Road_31.jpg

The crater walls are near vertical in places, with trees somehow still clinging on to the slope.

large_Crater_Wall_Trees.jpg

The view from the top back over the crater is nothing short of spectacular!

large_View_over_the_Crater_31.jpg

I sleep the entire journey onwards to the gate with sheer exhaustion from the incessant coughing. Thankfully, we are now going down to a lower altitude for the rest of the trip.

large_D7DC27C8F99F4E480E50730DF9051256.jpg

While Malisa signs us out of Ngorongoro Conservation Area, we amuse ourselves by watching the baboons. Unfortunately these cheeky animals have become used to stealing food stuff from the large trucks coming from the markets, and as a result are now very aggressive every time they see a vehicle.

large_Baboon__Olive_51.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_52.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_54.jpg

These little monkeys have found some spilt rice on the ground.

large_Baboon__Olive_55.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_56.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_57.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_60.jpg

I can't stop myself dropping off to sleep in the car for the next part of the journey either, but fortunately I wake up as the sun starts to set and we approach our accommodation for the night.

large_Sunset_near_Maramboi_1.jpg

large_Sunset_near_Maramboi_2.jpg

large_Sunset_near_Maramboi_3.jpg

large_Maramboi.jpg

As soon as we enter the large grounds of this super tented camp, we spot a few impala in the near-darkness.

large_Impala_in_..of_Maramboi.jpg

The low light capabilities of this camera (Canon EOS 5D IV), is phenomenal. For my photographer friends, this picture was taken at ISO 16,000 with no noise reduction applied.

large_Giraffe_in.._Maramboi_1.jpg

large_Giraffe_in.._Maramboi_2.jpg

One of the things I really like about Maramboi, is all the animals found in its grounds at any time of day or night. This is our third time staying here, and we have not been disappointed yet.

large_Mongoose_i.._Maramboi_1.jpg

large_Mongoose_i.._Maramboi_2.jpg

Banded Mongoose

large_Impala_in_.._Maramboi_3.jpg

Impala with the rooms behind.

When we check in I ask for a room nearest the restaurant / reception / car park so that I don't have to walk any further than absolutely necessary. They oblige and give us the closest room. That will help my poor lungs tremendously.

large_F3A452AFC2B03F4ACB85B54878D402AF.jpg

large_F3B691ACB8DC42B85C1EF6AE12AC228C.jpg

As I said earlier, the grounds of the Maramboi are full of wild animals, and you are strictly forbidden to walk around after dark on your own. We call an askari (Maasai guard) to escort us from the room to dinner. Acting fairly agitated, he shines his torch on the next but one room from us. Two eyes look back at us from the bushes just by the entrance to the room. "Lion" says the askari.

You can see an arrow pointing to the location of the lion below, on a picture taken last year. In fact that was our room last year.

large_Stars_over..ime_Picture.jpg

There is a buzz of nervousness at dinner, with our waitress admitting to being “very scared”. There is only us and one other couple staying, and I get the feeling the staff can't wait to get away.

As it is an almost clear night, I want to take some photos of the stars this evening. For safety reasons the manager is understandably not willing to switch any lights off for me apart from those far out by the swimming pool, so I have to made do with what I've got and embrace the floodlit of trees as part of my picture.

large_F4EF037CED0AA76F95A03867B2341E1C.jpg

So, so many stars, with a few clouds partly obscuring the Milky Way

large_Maramboi_Tented_Camp_4A.jpg

large_Stars_over_Maramboi.jpg

As you can see from the arrow in the picture below, the lion is not exactly far away. The guards are constantly shining their torches across the grass, making sure they know where the lion is at all times.

large_Stars_over..mboi_-_Lion.jpg

While photographing the stars, I can hear a car starting up, and later the askari who walks us to the room tells us that they 'lost' the lion temporarily, but found him when they went out with the Land Rover. He's killed a warthog and is tucking into his supper, so we can all relax a little for a while.

At the end of another fabulous day on safari with Calabash Adventures, I want to say thank you to Malisa, our wonderful guide, for not just being a fantastic driver, but also for looking after me while I have been feeling so poorly on this trip.

large_015BD24A9E63C1281188D03A10710611.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 16:03 Archived in Tanzania Tagged night sunset travel africa safari tanzania zebra donkeys lion rhino maasai giraffe baboons crane stars serengeti black_rhino ngorongoro heron ibis impala starling weaver warthog astro ngorongoro_crater kori_bustard milky_way night_shots calabash_adventures best_safari_company maramboi seneto naabi_hill olive_baboon widow_bird wattled_starling lapwing lodoare_gate maramboi_tented_camp astro_photography Comments (6)

Serengeti - Arusha

Goodbye 'wilderness', hello 'civilisation'.


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

large_Day_12_of_..Adventure_2.jpg

Having been awake from 03:30 this morning scratching my insect bites, it's going to be a long day.

large_mosquito.jpg

It is still dark when we leave the lodge at 06:00.

Brown Snake Eagle

large_Eagle__Brown_Snake_12-1.jpg

Spotted Hyena

A cackle of hyenas congregate on the road, and seem a lot less timid than the ones we have encountered previously, some are even bold enough to come right up to the car.

large_Hyena_12-1.jpg

large_Hyena_12-2.jpg

large_Hyena_12-4.jpg

large_Hyena_12-8.jpg

large_Hyena_12-9.jpg

large_Hyena_12-16.jpg

large_Hyena_12-18.jpg

large_Hyena_12-20.jpg

Not my favourite animal (sorry Malisa), but I will admit that this seven-month old juvenile is almost bordering on being cute.

large_Hyena_12-5.jpg

large_Hyena_12-6.jpg

large_Hyena_12-14.jpg

large_Hyena_12-17.jpg

large_Hyena_12-21.jpg

Sunrise

large_Sunrise_12-2.jpg

large_Sunrise_12-6.jpg

large_Sunrise_12-7.jpg

Topi

large_Topi_12-1.jpg

large_Topi_12-2.jpg

Wildebeest

A confusion of wildebeest are waiting to cross the Seronera River

large_Wildebeest_12-2.jpg

large_Wildebeest_12-1.jpg

Vultures

A committee of vultures are waiting in a nearby tree for the wildebeest to get eaten by crocodiles while crossing the Seronera River.

large_Vultures_12-1.jpg

I see no crocodiles…

large_Seronera_River_12-1.jpg

Martial Eagle

The biggest eagle in Africa, the Martial Eagle can kill a baby antelope! He will grab it, lift it up and drop it until it is dead.

large_Eagle__Martial_12-1.jpg

Hot Air Balloon

We are right in the flight path of the balloon as it glides across the savannah.

large_Hot_Air_Balloon_12-2.jpg

large_Hot_Air_Balloon_12-1.jpg

large_Hot_Air_Balloon_12-4.jpg

large_Hot_Air_Balloon_32.jpg

Watching the balloon

large_Watching_the_Ballons_12-1.jpg

Goliath Heron

large_Heron__Goliath_12-2.jpg

Grey Heron

large_Heron__Grey_12-1_.jpg

Hippo

Usually hippos only come out at night to eat and go back to the water in the morning. During that one night, they can eat as much as 150kg of grass; followed by three days merely digesting the food: just lying around farting, burping, pooping.

”I know someone else like that” says David, just prior to being whacked around the head.

large_Hippo_12-1.jpg

This hippo seems a little premature: although it is still eating, the smell of ammonia is so strong it makes Lyn gag, followed by a severe coughing fit.

large_Hippo_12-2.jpg

White Browed Coucal

large_Coucal__White_Browed_12-1.jpg

Olive Baboons

large_Baboons__Olive_12-1.jpg

large_Baboons__Olive_12-2.jpg

Lions

Close to the road, on a flat open area, we see two brothers with one female. It makes a nice change for them not to be half-hidden by the long grass.

large_Lions_12-1.jpg

The female is on heat, but the male isn’t the least bit interested at this stage. Dirty girl!

large_Lions_12-3.jpg

“Come and get me…”

large_Lions_12-5.jpg

Tart!

large_Lions_12-8.jpg

“Not this morning dear, I have a headache”

large_Lions_12-7.jpg

Even threats don’t work!

large_Lions_12-9.jpg

Other than to make him back off further.

large_Lions_12-10.jpg

As she is obviously not going to get her wicked way with him this morning, she walks off in a huff.

large_Lions_12-11.jpg

large_Lions_12-13.jpg

It looks like she has had her nose put out of joint at some stage, and not just figuratively speaking. I am assuming that she got her deformity from a fight rather than a birth defect.

large_Lions_12-14.jpg

It seems the king has food - rather than sex - on his mind this morning.

large_Lions_12-17.jpg

Normally, the male lion will not let the female anywhere near his food until he has had his fill, as we have seen on a couple of occasions on this safari. When the female is on heat, however, it’s a different story: he will allow her to eat alongside him. Typical man! The only time he treats his woman to a meal is when he thinks there is something in it for him!

large_Lions_12-22.jpg

Why does this picture remind me of the spaghetti scene from Lady and the tramp cartoon?

large_Lions_12-53.jpg

large_Lady_and_the_Tramp.jpg

large_Lions_12-52.jpg

large_Lions_12-54.jpg

Meanwhile, brother Leo comes to check out what all the fuss is about.

large_Lions_12-21.jpg

large_Lions_12-23.jpg

large_Lions_12-24.jpg

large_Lions_12-25.jpg

large_Lions_12-28.jpg

There’s no room for another diner, so Leo skulks off, complaining loudly.

large_Lions_12-36.jpg

large_Lions_12-42.jpg

large_Lions_12-44.jpg

Then goes for a drink instead.

large_Lions_12-45.jpg

large_Lions_12-46.jpg

large_Lions_12-47.jpg

large_Lions_12-50.jpg

Black Backed Jackal

A jackal waits nearby; ready to move in on the leftovers once the lions have had their fill. I think he'll have a long wait.

large_Jackal__Bl..acked_12-31.jpg

large_Breakfast_5.jpg

As we seem to be running out of time, we eat our boxed breakfast ‘on the hoof’ so to speak. We have to be out of the park by a certain time – the permits are purchased in blocks of 24 hours, and they are quite strict in enforcing the fines if you overstay.

large_David_Eati..akfast_12-1.jpg

Tawny Eagle

large_Eagle__Tawny_12-3.jpg

Elephant

A lone elephant is walking across the savannah, presumably to catch up with the large herd we can see in the distance.

large_Elephant_12-31.jpg

large_Elephant_12-32.jpg

Road Maintenance

Months of rain (we are right at the end of the rainy season now), tourist traffic, heavy trucks and the huge numbers of animals who also use the roads have taken their toll on the unsealed tracks.

By scraping off the top layer, the surface is smoothed out, getting rid of the washboard effect that is typical in this region.

large_Road_Maintenance_12-2.jpg

large_Simba_Kopje.jpg

Simba Kopjes

Named after the Swahili word for ‘lion’, Simba Kopjes are the tallest kopjes (rocky outcrop) in Serengeti and as the name suggests, a good place to spot lions.

large_Simba_Kopjes_12-1.jpg

large_Simba_Kopjes_12-11.jpg

large_C61D8BB99F6DF477F2014F9A184CECFF.jpg

Lions

And guess what? There is the aforementioned simba!

large_Lion_on_Simba_Kopjes_12-1.jpg

And another.

large_Lion_on_Simba_Kopjes_12-2.jpg

large_Lion_on_Simba_Kopjes_12-3.jpg

Migration

We come across a breakaway crowd who have obviously been dawdling on their journey up north.

large_Zebra_and_Wildebeest_12-1.jpg

large_Zebra_12-1.jpg

large_Wildebeest_12-5.jpg

large_Wildebeest_12-8.jpg

large_Wildebeest_and_Zebra_12-1.jpg

large_Zebra_12-2.jpg

Look at that long line meandering in from somewhere beyond!

large_C7355D319AB4B2BE80C46E70C14E9D42.jpg

Secretary Bird

large_Secretary_Bird_12-1.jpg

Naabi Hill

large_Naabi_Hill_12-1.jpg

This marks the end of our safari in Serengeti, as we have now reached the entrance / exit gate at Naabi Hill. We have a coffee while Malisa completes the formalities.

large_Coffee_at_Naabi_Hill_12-1.jpg

large_Malisa_wit..i_Hill_12-1.jpg

While Chris goes off to use the facilities, I prank him by hiding his coffee, putting an empty cup in its place. With hindsight it was not a good move, as anyone who knows Chris can attest for his love of coffee. Unfortunately Lyn gets the blame as he accuses her of drinking it. Oops. Sorry Chris. Sorry Lyn.

large_Chris_12-1.jpg

On a positive note: they have upgraded their toilets since our first visit in 2007 (PS these are the old ones)

large_Toilets_at..i_Hill_12-3.jpg

Kori Bustard

large_Bustard__Kori_12-1.jpg

large_Bustard__Kori_12-2.jpg

large_Goodbye_Serengeti.jpg

We’ll be back!

large_Goodbye_Serengeti_12-1.jpg

Just because we have left the Serengeti behind, does not mean our adventure is over. As soon as we enter the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Malisa drives off-road. Because he can.

large_Off_Road_Driving_12-1.jpg

White Stork

Just like us, the White Stork is not a resident in Tanzania, he has flown in from Europe and is just here for his holidays.

large_Stork__White_12-1.jpg

Vulture Feast

large_Warning__C..phic_Images.jpg

The zebra died of natural causes, and now the vultures are having a banquet!

large_Vultures_E.._Zebra_12-1.jpg

I love the red-necked vultures – no, they are not a new species, that is blood from where they have stuck their heads right inside the carcass.

large_Vultures_E.._Zebra_12-2.jpg

large_Vultures_E.._Zebra_12-5.jpg

It’s a chaotic and grotesque scene, yet morbidly fascinating.

large_Vultures_E.._Zebra_12-3.jpg

large_Vultures_E.._Zebra_12-6.jpg

You can’t hear it too well in this short video clip because of the wind noise, but the sound is deafening: like a huge mob of bleating sheep!

.

Giraffe

It is unusual to see a giraffe sitting down as it makes them extremely vulnerably to predators. Here it seems every tree has one.

large_Giraffes_Combo.jpg

Dust

As we rejoin the main ‘road’, we also meet up with traffic. And traffic means dust. Lots of it.

large_Dust_12-2.jpg

Ngorongoro Highlands

The road to Arusha takes us back up into the highlands, and at this altitude David soon starts to feel the cold.

large_David_Feel..he_Col_12-1.jpg

This area is farming land, and we see many herders with their livestock and small stock along the side and even on the road.

large_Cattle_12-21.jpg

large_Goats_and_Donkeys_12-1.jpg

large_Cattle_12-1.jpg

large_Cattle_12-3.jpg

large_Cattle_12-4.jpg

large_Goats_12-3.jpg

More Giraffes

large_Giraffe_12-45.jpg

large_Giraffe_12-46.jpg

large_Giraffe_12-47.jpg

Malanja Depression

large_Malanja_Depression_12-1.jpg

large_Malanja_Depression_12-4.jpg

large_Malanja_Depression_12-2.jpg

large_Malanja_Depression_12-3.jpg

Ngorongoro Crater

Not the worst view I have seen from a toilet stop.

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_12-1.jpg

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_12-2.jpg

large_Flowers_at..er_Rim_12-1.jpg

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_12-5.jpg

But David is still feeling the cold.

large_David_Feel..he_Col_12-5.jpg

Family Planning

The Maasai have an ingenious way of temporarily stopping their goats from reproducing. It is uncomplicated, cheap, safe for the animal and easily reversible – a simple flap physically stops the goats mating! I love it!

large_Goat_Family_Planning_12-1.jpg

Maasai Village Elders’ Weekly Meeting

Beats a day at the office any time.

large_Maasai_Vil..eeting_12-3.jpg

Picnic

We have our lunch in a picnic area within a camp ground between Ngorongoro and Arusha. We are all very sad that the safari part of our holiday is now over. Apart from maybe Malisa, as he now gets to see his family again and have a few days off.

large_Picnic_12-1.jpg

Makuyuni

Coming back into ‘civilisation’ again after eight days in the wilderness seems almost surreal – markets, shops, saloon cars, motorbikes, noise, traffic, and even a political rally!

large_Makuyuni_12-5.jpg

large_Makuyuni_12-6.jpg

large_Makuyuni_12-9.jpg

large_Makuyuni_12-10.jpg

large_Makuyuni_Market_12-1.jpg

large_Makuyuni_Market_12-2.jpg

large_Makuyuni_Market_12-3.jpg

large_Political_rally_12-3.jpg

Traffic Check

We also experience the ugly side of ‘civilisation’: Malisa is pulled over for ‘speeding’. Being totally secure in the fact that he was most definitely NOT speeding, Malisa argues the case, asking them to prove where and how fast he was going. Knowing they haven’t got that sort of evidence, the police eventually back down and let him go! Cheeky! I bet they were looking for a bribe!

Arusha

Back in the big town there is a hive of activity as usual.

large_Arusha_12-1.jpg

large_Arusha_12-2.jpg

large_Arusha_12-3.jpg

large_Arusha_12-4.jpg

large_Arusha_12-5.jpg

large_Arusha_12-6.jpg

Sugar Shortage

Due to some political agenda, there is a temporary shortage of sugar and we see long queues at the few stores that have any left.

large_Queue_for_Sugar_12-2.jpg

The Surprise

“Do you need anything from town?” asks Malisa, “if not, Tillya has a surprise for you”.

Avoiding the centre of Arusha, Malisa turns off the main road and weaves his way through the middle of Tenguru weekly market.

large_Tengeru_Market_1.jpg

large_Tengeru_Market_2.jpg

large_Tengeru_Market_3.jpg

large_Tengeru_Market_4.jpg

large_Tengeru_Market_5.jpg

large_Tengeru_Market_6.jpg

large_Tengeru_Market_7.jpg

large_Tengeru_Market_8.jpg

Lake Dulutu Lodge

Surprise! Our original itinerary had us staying at Kibo Palace in the centre of Arusha, but Tillya felt that we needed to finish the trip in style; and he was worried that we might not sleep well as the area around Kibo is very noisy. The service we get from Calabash Adventures never ceases to amaze me.

And neither does Lake Dulutu Lodge. Wow!

The entrance drive is long, with vegetation either side, and the car park is empty when we arrive. Nothing particularly awesome so far.

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-23.jpg

While the receptionist performs the registration formalities, we are invited to sit down in the lounge. This is where the wow-ness starts. The lobby is like something out of Harper’s Bazaar and I feel decidedly scruffy in my dirty safari gear.

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-8.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-9.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-10.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-11.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-13.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-14.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-15.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-16.jpg

Our room is an individual cottage in the grounds, which look nothing much from the outside.

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-1.jpg

Once we get through the front door, however, its opulence is evident.

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_12-3.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_12-4.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_12-5.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_12-9.jpg

And the moment I enter the bathroom I am extremely impressed: despite having been lucky enough to stay in some pretty luxurious properties over the years, I have never seen a bathroom like this before.

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_12-7.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_12-10.jpg

large_E6CB3F24EBAF5288D5DB3C4C65DA7A40.jpg

Only two other tables in the restaurant are taken, so I guess the hotel is pretty quiet at this time of year. The service, food and wine are all excellent.

Vegetable Spring Roll with Chilli Sauce

large_Vegetable_..hilli_Sauce.jpg

Chicken with Rosemary Sauce

large_Chicken_wi..emary_Sauce.jpg

Beef Medallions with Pepper sauce

large_Beef_Medal..oivre_Sauce.jpg

Wine

large_Wines.jpg

Banana Tart with Chocolate sauce

large_Banana_Tar..olate_Sauce.jpg

After all that we should sleep well, especially knowing we don't have to get up for a 6am game drive tomorrow morning.

Thank you so much to Calabash Adventures for the last eight days of safari, and for Malisa's expertise, knowledge, sense of humour, excellent driving and caring nature.

large_BF2E9FE9E6FDA5D4098438C3227EC88E.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 03:11 Archived in Tanzania Tagged wedding travel market elephant police balloon sunrise holiday africa safari lodge zebra eagle luxury picnic coffee donkeys lions maasai hippo cold lioness ballooning giraffes cows serengeti ngorongoro dust hyena heron stork vultures cattle goats topi wildebeest hot_air_balloon arusha ngorongoro_crater kori_bustard hippopotamus african_safari grey_heron bustard family_planning political_rally speeding calabash calabash_adventures which_safari_company best_safari_company opulence olive_baboons maasai_cattle ngorongoro_conservation_area naabi_hill kopje coucal seronera babboons spotted_hyena brown_snake_eagle snake_eagle seronera_river martial_eagle goliath_heron white_browe_coucal lioness_on_heat tawny_eagle simba_kopjes simba elephant_herd confusuion_of_wildebeest speed_check white_stork off_road_driving tower_of_giraffes feeling_the_cold malanja_depression goat_family_planning makuyuni weekly_meeting wedding_car sugar_shortage tenguru tenguru_market lake_dulutu_lodge best_safari_operator which_safari_operator safari_in_africa tanzania_safari safari_in_tanzania Comments (1)

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)

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)

(Entries 13 - 23 of 23) Previous « Page 1 [2]