A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about naabi hill

Serengeti VII: lions, elephants, giraffes, zebra

From Serengeti to Ndutu


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

I slept well last night, but am awake at 4:30 this morning. As usual we set off before daybreak at around 6:00.

large_33823fc0-66b1-11ea-a4b5-b35b4b1ded36.jpg

large_3de67760-66b1-11ea-a4b5-b35b4b1ded36.jpg

With no rain overnight, the roads are slightly less muddy this morning, but there are some very deep ruts. Even when it dries up completely, it is going to take some major maintenance to get all these tracks back to 'normality'.

large_5e019cf0-66b1-11ea-a4b5-b35b4b1ded36.jpg

Safari Ants

It is still pretty dark out, so this photograph is not going to be able to show you how the soldier ants stand to one side of the 'path' created by the workers, in order to protect them as they collect building materials and food.

large_8c106270-66b1-11ea-a4b5-b35b4b1ded36.jpg

David recorded a couple of videos, however.


Sunrise

The sun is just starting to make its appearance over the horizon. We are hoping for another rainless day.

large_c4200e40-66cf-11ea-af13-4d75c4624408.jpg

large_ce73cb20-66cf-11ea-af13-4d75c4624408.jpg

large_fe29d800-66cf-11ea-a782-1b5b7c6c2c25.jpg

large_09583d70-66d0-11ea-a782-1b5b7c6c2c25.jpg

large_79beacd0-66e3-11ea-a6c6-1d270cd273db.jpg

Not only does the pond provide a great setting for the sunrise, there is quite a bit of wildlife around here too.

large_a3bf8b30-66e3-11ea-a6c6-1d270cd273db.jpg
Hippo

large_a75f16c0-66fc-11ea-89c0-61702c63c33c.jpg

large_af0967e0-66e3-11ea-a6c6-1d270cd273db.jpg
Black Crake

large_bba39250-66e3-11ea-a6c6-1d270cd273db.jpg
Marabou Stork

large_8e98ed00-66fc-11ea-89c0-61702c63c33c.jpg
Helmeted Guineafowl

large_beac5c20-66fc-11ea-89c0-61702c63c33c.jpg
Common Sandpiper

large_def98e30-66fc-11ea-89c0-61702c63c33c.jpg
Grey Heron

Elephant

We see a lone old chap in the green grass.

large_f2b20fe0-6703-11ea-9c17-09b5c62818c0.jpg

large_0f9d2b30-6704-11ea-9c17-09b5c62818c0.jpg
And a hot air balloon on the horizon

large_2016b2b0-6704-11ea-9c17-09b5c62818c0.jpg

large_6e1d2fe0-6707-11ea-a948-0d033a3d3222.jpg

large_7b60b9b0-6707-11ea-a948-0d033a3d3222.jpg

large_0469c740-6705-11ea-ad2d-bb607e8a4b35.jpg
White Browed Coucal

Amethyst Sunbird

An exciting lifer.

large_e269adb0-6707-11ea-a948-0d033a3d3222.jpg

I am so busy photographing this bird, that I totally miss a hyena walking right by the car.

large_eca2ddb0-6707-11ea-a948-0d033a3d3222.jpg

Cape Teal

The newly formed puddles in the road provide a great place for various ducks to hang out.

large_b2c59040-6709-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

large_bd6f8370-6709-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

Elephants

Word has it there are elephants up on the hillside. We go to check it out.

large_5e023bc0-670a-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

The tracks are not in a good state, however.

large_7bf6d7d0-670a-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

large_612928d0-670b-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

large_7328db20-670b-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

large_83d5a7a0-670b-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

large_9fb06460-670b-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

The car ahead is abandoned, with the passengers rescued and taken off in another vehicle. It must be bad around here. Malisa goes off on foot to check out the conditions before continuing.

large_11b5ff70-670c-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

Not even the grassy verges look solid enough to drive on. Malisa deems the risk of getting bogged down too great, and decides to turn around.

large_bff0f6d0-670c-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

As it is, the puddles are so deep, the water goes over the top of the bonnet of the car!

large_f351bc30-670c-11ea-8e69-c3736745386b.jpg

Secretary Bird

large_fa6d6c30-6793-11ea-9b65-c3d0959d1e6c.jpg

large_04da7d70-6794-11ea-9b65-c3d0959d1e6c.jpg

large_0eacd550-6794-11ea-9b65-c3d0959d1e6c.jpg

large_21fb00a0-6794-11ea-9b65-c3d0959d1e6c.jpg

large_2aeb35e0-6794-11ea-9b65-c3d0959d1e6c.jpg

Lions

We see two male lions in the far, far distance, extremely well hidden by the long grass. They are watching a herd of wildebeest even further away.

large_2f8d42b0-67c0-11ea-aae8-fbfb58c7146d.jpg

Topi

large_d4e5c3a0-67c4-11ea-8fc9-adfd03404c3f.jpg

Serengeti Visitors Centre

We stop at the picnic area for breakfast, and as usual the place is overrun with rock hyrax.

large_47ae7010-6853-11ea-955a-115847d5a050.jpg

large_4e83e040-67d2-11ea-be6e-65e61fb6756a.jpg

large_5817f6a0-67d2-11ea-be6e-65e61fb6756a.jpg

large_62e158b0-67d2-11ea-be6e-65e61fb6756a.jpg

And a pair of Marico Sunbirds – another nice little lifer.

large_8345bc40-67d2-11ea-be6e-65e61fb6756a.jpg

large_8d77e760-67d2-11ea-be6e-65e61fb6756a.jpg

large_96f652e0-67d2-11ea-be6e-65e61fb6756a.jpg

large_eb7459a0-67d4-11ea-b0eb-6d6a3c42fd9b.jpg
Lilac Breasted Rollers

We leave the picnic site and continue this morning's game drive.

Stuck Car

We see a car leaning dangerously to one side, stuck in the mud on the track. There are lots of people helping, with many hands making light work.

large_ecbc6d30-67d8-11ea-9223-8b0a8d1e2969.jpg

They're out!

large_f7de9da0-67d8-11ea-9223-8b0a8d1e2969.jpg

They're a little bit muddy, but otherwise fine; and the clients are still smiling. It's all part of the fun.

large_5c1d4e10-67d9-11ea-9223-8b0a8d1e2969.jpg

We rush through as I have some 'urgent business' to attend to. I do not understand what Malisa shouts out at the other drivers for them to move aside as you would for an ambulance; but I gather it is in the vein of “toilet emergency”. We are heading for the small airstrip at Seronera, and the same thing happens there: the gates magically open as Malisa calls out to the security guard. The toilets at the airstrip are clean, modern and there is thankfully no queue. Phew.

After my urgent visit, we are able to continue on our quest to “see what nature has to offer us”, along more muddy tracks and through more dirty puddles.

large_2e90e210-6854-11ea-955a-115847d5a050.jpg

large_3bb969d0-6854-11ea-955a-115847d5a050.jpg

Giraffes

I still think giraffes are my favourite animal, and seeing them close by like this is always special.

large_60f19a60-6845-11ea-aa7c-31282105f5e1.jpg

large_6a94cbf0-6845-11ea-aa7c-31282105f5e1.jpg

large_74286d20-6845-11ea-aa7c-31282105f5e1.jpg

Fan Tailed Widowbird

A colourful widowbird flits around, but never gets close enough, nor sits still long enough, to get a decent photo of him.

large_a57e3460-6852-11ea-955a-115847d5a050.jpg

large_ae34e310-6852-11ea-955a-115847d5a050.jpg

large_b75d6660-6852-11ea-955a-115847d5a050.jpg

Lions

As usual, a lion sighting has attracted quite a crowd, and there is a bit of a queue to get near enough to actually see these three males. While we wait for our turn, I amuse myself by taking photos of tourists taking photos of.... themselves (despite being in a prime viewing spot for the lions).

large_7d200220-6855-11ea-955a-115847d5a050.jpg

large_85e7eee0-6855-11ea-955a-115847d5a050.jpg

While big cats have always been big draws, this is currently compounded by the fact that huge parts of the Serengeti is out of bounds as a result of flooding and inaccessible roads; concentrating safari traffic in a much smaller area.

large_43f09630-687e-11ea-83a2-b9a47c4bcaac.jpg

large_4dd2f3a0-687e-11ea-83a2-b9a47c4bcaac.jpg

This guy decides to leave the cool shade under a tree to go and lie in the midday sun. Is he mad?

large_5aea1640-687e-11ea-83a2-b9a47c4bcaac.jpg

large_65ca5bb0-687e-11ea-83a2-b9a47c4bcaac.jpg

large_6fb1e940-687e-11ea-83a2-b9a47c4bcaac.jpg

large_7a4ee420-687e-11ea-83a2-b9a47c4bcaac.jpg

His brother looks very old and scruffy – look at the state of his mane and the skin in folds across his torso. He seems to have lost the will to live!

large_11e85af0-6889-11ea-acee-3185ac4a584e.jpg

We leave the lions – and the crowds they've drawn – behind and head south towards the park gate at Naabi Hill. We had been hoping to drive down to Ndutu via Moru Kopjes, but that whole area is inaccessible at the moment, which only leaves us this one option.

Verreaux's Eagle Owl

He is one large owl!

large_bf5376d0-6897-11ea-aed0-0fb33129a145.jpg

large_ce3435e0-6897-11ea-aed0-0fb33129a145.jpg

large_d7c2ce00-6897-11ea-aed0-0fb33129a145.jpg
Look at those pink eyelids.

Zebra

As we get nearer the gate, we see lots of tiny specs on the landscape: literally thousands of zebra! I don't think I have ever seen so many in one place over such a large area before.

large_87859250-68a2-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg
Naabi Hill behind

large_98421640-68a2-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg

large_a4ce36f0-68a2-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg

large_b2f67b70-68a2-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg

Dust baths seem popular.

large_f5a826d0-68a2-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg

large_03c8f140-68a3-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg

large_10e6a390-68a3-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg
The other three zebra seem to be looking on with bemusement

large_292ffc30-68a3-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg

There are not as many babies as I expected to see.

large_3fc3b590-68a3-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg

large_4a1aa6c0-68a3-11ea-976e-77a11099183e.jpg

We enjoy our packed lunch while watching the zebra.

large_6e56fb80-6d10-11ea-b2cc-27c5a1c5ee5c.jpg
I love these sweet little finger-sized bananas

We do, unfortunately, have to leave this stripey spectacle in order to get to our lodge at Ndutu before dark.

Thank you Calabash Adventures yet again for all the arrangements.

large_edfaedc0-6d14-11ea-aae1-f388c71e2b7a.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 05:30 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds wildlife elephant sunrise safari tanzania zebra birding lions hippo giraffes ants roller serengeti heron stork topi owl bird_watching game_drive sunbird teal calabash_adventures naabi_hill serengeti_visitors_centre rock_hyrax coucal secretary_bird guineafowl sandpiper naabi_gate wildlife_photography crake widowbird abandoned_car afroca toilet_emergency Comments (6)

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)

Naabi Hill - Kubu Kubu

The BIG FIVE are in the bag!


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

large_899CE1E3BC4B462A0B437892287D59AF.jpg

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

large_8B5AFB09BFA5B418C74B6E000564A4AA.jpg

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

large_Starling__Superb_103.jpg
Superb starling partaking in their daily ablutions

large_Starling__Superb_104.jpg

large_Dove_Laughing_201.jpg
Laughing Dove

large_Pigeon__Speckled_21.jpg
Speckled Pigeon

large_Starling__Ashy_101.jpg
Ashy Starling

large_Weaver__Lesser_Masked_104.jpg
Lesser Masked Weaver

large_Starling__Superb_101.jpg
Superb Starling

large_Starling__Superb_102.jpg
Superb Starling having a wardrobe malfunction.

large_Weaver__Re..d_Buffalo_3.jpg
Red Billed Buffalo Weaver

large_Starling__Hildebrand_1.jpg
Hildebrand Starling

large_Weaver__Sp..d_Fronted_1.jpg
Speckled Fronted Weaver

large_Starling__Wattled_106.jpg
Wattled Starling

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

large_Mouse_1.jpg
Field mouse?

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

large_Elephants_at_Naabi_Hill_1.jpg

large_Elephants_at_Naabi_Hill_2.jpg

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

large_David_with_Savannah_Cider.jpg

large_92641FB6CAAADA3B232721888BB0D15B.jpg

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

large_B4251CD0FB95E9FC9DAEE3F2C0F08E70.jpg

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

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

large_Migration_Map.jpg

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

large_B42D2F15E882DECB128787EDFDFCAFA3.jpg

large_B42F328395C79FE67D009E918B93E9AC.jpg

large_B431969499398AA82D476F8EEF35003E.jpg

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

large_Leopard.jpg

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

large_Leopard_101.jpg

large_B474D6AFF5B3CCF528CC811E95700C0C.jpg

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

large_Other_Safari_Vehicles_1.jpg

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

large_Other_Safari_Vehicles_2.jpg

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

large_Selfie_2.jpg

large_B5DCAB5CE3EEAAC30E8F7010752BBAD6.jpg

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

large_59F98076AE1B5AD5150EB19BA6B2446F.jpg

large_59FDC8AEE7BF3DD081B9014B25E5A1EA.jpg

large_5A01CDEACFC680848805EBED99EBB5E9.jpg

large_Leopard_14.jpg

large_Leopard_21.jpg

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

large_Leopard_31.jpg

large_Leopard_32.jpg

large_Leopard_34.jpg

large_Leopard_35.jpg

large_Leopard_39.jpg

large_Leopard_44.jpg

large_Leopard_45.jpg

large_Leopard_46.jpg

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

large_5C664DB7ED1481985927BF22F5D61231.jpg

One.... two...

large_5C66F2B4BEB6A19749DF79082B95584A.jpg

Three.... four....

Bang goes that theory.

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

large_Leopard_60.jpg

large_Leopard_61.jpg

Excitement over. It seems she is just hungry.

large_Leopard_62.jpg

large_Leopard_63.jpg

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

large_Leopard_65.jpg

large_Leopard_66.jpg

large_Leopard_68.jpg

large_Leopard_76.jpg

large_Leopard_77.jpg

large_Leopard_78.jpg

large_Leopard_84.jpg

large_Leopard_94.jpg

large_Leopard_96.jpg

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

large_Leopard_97.jpg

large_Leopard_99.jpg

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

large_Leopard_108.jpg

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

large_Leopard_110.jpg

Ooops! Almost dropped it!

large_Leopard_111.jpg

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

large_Leopard_113.jpg

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

large_Leopard_115.jpg

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

large_Leopard_117.jpg

large_Leopard_118.jpg

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

large_Leopard_121.jpg

large_Leopard_122.jpg

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

large_Leopard_125.jpg

She goes off on another branch to investigate.

large_Leopard_126.jpg

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

large_7E473419FEB364E022713B3A37D1FB11.jpg

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

large_7E49B6B79699E35F8ACCB9A90311B732.jpg

large_7E94AF51C4E4757841442993F12391C9.jpg

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

large_Hyena_and_Leopard_1.jpg

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

large_Hyena_5.jpg

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

large_Leopard_127.jpg

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

large_7F96B9D2ABCB50423C59FAC378757F06.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_21.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_22.jpg

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

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_1.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_6.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_9.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_11.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_12.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_14.jpg

large_Sunset_over_Seronera_15.jpg

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

large_Kubu_Kubu.jpg

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

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_2.jpg

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

large_Kubu_Kubu_Arrival_2.jpg

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

large_Kubu_Kubu_Arrival_3.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Arrival_1.jpg

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

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_6.jpg

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

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_17.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_14.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_15.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_19.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_23.jpg

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

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_24.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_25.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_13.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_9.jpg

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

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_26.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_27.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_28.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_29.jpg

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

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_30.jpg

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_31.jpg
Views from the outdoor shower

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

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_11.jpg

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

large_Kubu_Kubu_Tented_Camp_20.jpg

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

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

large_9182BD20A9C2AF3A46A361CC1EC8F0DB.jpg

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

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 Comments (1)

Ndutu - Mbuzi Mawe

The Legendary Serengeti


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

large_Day_9_of_t..Adventure_2.jpg

large_24624F4A9BB2921EFF59F07A38680D0E.jpg

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

White Rumped Helmetshrike

Dung beetle for breakfast anyone?

large_Helmetshri.._Rumped_9-3.jpg

Superb Starling

large_Starling__Superb_9-1.jpg

Beautiful Sunbird

large_Sunbird__Beautiful_9-3.jpg

large_Backlit_Grasses_9-2.jpg

large_Sunrise_over_Ndutu_9-3.jpg

large_Breakfast_8.jpg

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

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

large_Breakfast_at_Ndutu_Lodge.jpg

Aardvark

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

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

large_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge_9-8.jpg

Oxpeckers

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

large_Oxpeckers_.._Billed_9-3.jpg

large_Oxpeckers_.._Billed_9-1.jpg

large_Oxpeckers_.._Billed_9-2.jpg

large_Oxpeckers_.._Billed_9-5.jpg

large_Oxpeckers_.._Billed_9-7.jpg

Giraffe

Today's host is an old male giraffe.

large_Giraffe_9-1.jpg

Black Faced Vervet Monkeys

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

large_Black_Face..Monkeys_9-2.jpg

large_Black_Face..Monkeys_9-4.jpg

He is showing off his bright blue testicles again.

large_Black_Face..Monkeys_9-6.jpg

Dik Dik

large_Dik_Dik_9-1.jpg

Secretary Bird

On the prowl across the grasslands, looking for snakes.

large_Secretary_Bird_9-1.jpg

Spotted Hyena

large_Hyena__Spotted_9-2.jpg

large_Hyena__Spotted_9-4.jpg

large_Hyena__Spotted_9-6.jpg

large_Lyn_with_her_lens_9-1.jpg

Lions

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

large_Lions_9-2.jpg

large_Lions_9-7.jpg

large_Lyn_with_her_lens_9-2.jpg

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

large_Lions_9-10.jpg

large_Lions_9-11.jpg

large_Lion_Check..the_Car_9-1.jpg

large_Chris_with_the_Lions_1.jpg

large_Chris_with_the_Lions_2.jpg

large_Lions_9-15.jpg

large_Lions_9-16.jpg

large_Lion_Check..the_Car_9-2.jpg

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

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

large_Lions_and_Chris__3_.jpg

Woolly Necked Vultures

large_Vultures__.._Necked_9-1.jpg

Engine Failure

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

large_Engine_Repair_9-1.jpg

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

large_Engine_Repair_9-2.jpg

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

Short Grass Plains

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

large_Short_Gras..kground_9-1.jpg

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

large_Short_Gras..kground_9-3.jpg

Grant's Gazelle

large_Gazelle__Grant_s_9-1.jpg

large_Gazelle__Grant_s_9-2.jpg

large_Gazelle__Grant_s_9-3.jpg

Zebra

large_Zebra_9-1.jpg

large_Zebra_9-3.jpg

large_Zebra_9-4.jpg

large_Zebra_9-5.jpg

Ostriches

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

large_Ostriches_9-1.jpg

large_Ostriches_9-2.jpg

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

large_Ndutu_Safa..ge_Sign_9-1.jpg

Lions

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

large_Lions_9-51.jpg

Giraffe Drinking

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

large_Giraffe_9-51.jpg

large_Giraffe_9-56.jpg

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

large_Giraffe_9-53.jpg

large_Naabi_Hill.jpg

Naabi Hill

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

large_Naabi_Hill_9-1.jpg

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

large_Malisa_get..bi_Hill_9-1.jpg

large_Naabi_Hill_9-2.jpg

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

large_Naabi_Hill_9-4.jpg

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

large_Naabi_Hill_9-6.jpg

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

large_Naabi_Hill_9-21.jpg

large_2C1A05C10D17ADA1909ABCCC08731D0E.jpg

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

large_Agama__Fla..ed_Rock_9-1.jpg

large_Lizard_at_Naabi_Hill_9-2.jpg

large_Agama__Fla..ed_Rock_9-2.jpg

large_Lizard_at_Naabi_Hill_9-3.jpg

large_Agama__Fla..ed_Rock_9-4.jpg

large_Lizard_at_Naabi_Hill_9-1.jpg

large_Agama__Fla..ed_Rock_9-5.jpg

Exit is through the shop, as usual.

large_Naabi_Hill_9-8.jpg

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

large_Martin__Rock_9-1.jpg
Rock Martin

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

large_866593D5CC8415F77A0ADBDE8077C890.jpg
Juvenile Hildebrand Starling

large_Starling__Hildebrand_9-1.jpg
Hildebrand Starling

large_Vulture__lappet_Faced_9-2.jpg
Lappet Faced Vulture

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

large_86CF2FD5F3B9A1D312521A9CD079FF8B.jpg

large_Serengeti_..l_Park_Logo.jpg

Serengeti National park

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

large_Serengeti_..al_Park_9-1.jpg

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-6.jpg

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

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-4.jpg

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-51.jpg

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

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-1.jpg

Giraffe

large_Giraffe_9-101.jpg

large_Giraffe_9-102.jpg

large_Giraffe_9-104.jpg

Warthogs

large_Warthogs_9-1.jpg

large_Warthogs_9-3.jpg

large_Warthogs_9-7.jpg

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

large_Warthogs_9-8.jpg

Mirage

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

large_Mirage_9-1.jpg

Steppe Eagle

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

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-1.jpg

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

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-2.jpg

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-3.jpg

Marabou Stork

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

large_Stork__Marabou_9-2.jpg

large_2B57F051CD2FD7BE486FC4F2167623F6.jpg

Lions

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

large_Lions_9-150.jpg

Gol Kopjes

Kopje_Definition_1.jpg

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

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-2.jpg

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-3.jpg

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-5.jpg

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-8.jpg

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

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-1A.jpg

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

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-2.jpg

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

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-3.jpg

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

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-4.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-5.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-6.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-9.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-13.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-14.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-15.jpg

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

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-16.jpg

This one seems to have the right idea.

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-17.jpg

Golden Jackal

large_Jackal__Golden_9-1.jpg

large_Jackal__Golden_9-2.jpg

Committee Meeting

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

large_Vultures_9-1.jpg

Thomson’s Gazelle

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

large_Gazelle__Thomson_s_9-1.jpg

large_Gazelle__Thomson_s_9-2.jpg

Topi

large_Topi_9-2.jpg

large_Topi_9-3.jpg

Tawny eagle

large_Eagle__Tawny_9-14.jpg

large_Eagle__Tawny_9-12.jpg

Coke's Hartebeest

large_Hartebeest__Coke_s_9-1.jpg

large_Hartebeest__Coke_s_9-2.jpg

Dung Beetle

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

large_Beetle__Dung_9-1.jpg

.

More Lions

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

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-18.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-19.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-20.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-21.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-22.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-23.jpg

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

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-27.jpg

Tortoise

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

large_Tortoise_9-1.jpg

Steppe Eagle

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-4.jpg

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-5.jpg

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-6.jpg

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-8.jpg

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-9.jpg

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

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-11.jpg

large_Picnic_4.jpg

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

large_Picnic_Lun..Kopjes_9-1A.jpg

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

large_Picnic_Lun..Kopjes_9-2A.jpg

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

Grant’s Gazelle

A bachelor herd full of young wannabes.

large_Gazelle__G..or_Club_9-1.jpg

large_Gazelle__G..or_Club_9-2.jpg

Topi

large_Topi_9-1.jpg

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

large_DF9783D7E7A964413C9EF1EB1D9DFB7B.jpg

large_Topi_9-5.jpg

White Stork

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

large_Stork__White_9-1.jpg

Wildebeest

We come across a small herd of migrating wildebeest.

large_Wildebeest_9-1.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-2.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-11.jpg

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

large_Wildebeest_Baby_9-2.jpg

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

large_Wildebeest_Baby_9-5.jpg

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

Dead Wildebeest

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

large_Stork_and_..on_Kill_9-1.jpg

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

large_Wildebeest_Baby_9-6.jpg

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

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

large_Wildebeest_Baby_9-7.jpg

Long Grass Plains

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

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

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

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

large_Wildebeest_9-12.jpg

large_Muddy_Roads.jpg

Muddy Tracks

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

large_Muddy_Track_9-1.jpg

Some even turn into impromptu streams and become totally impassable.

large_Muddy_Track_9-2.jpg

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

large_Engaging_4..ddy_track_1.jpg

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

.

Cape Buffalo

A breeding herd – or obstinacy – of buffalo.

large_Buffalo__Cape_9-1.jpg

Bateleur Eagle

large_E590D0EBE1E2239E41D6F83BA405A249.jpg

White Bellied Bustard

large_Bustard__W..Bellied_9-1.jpg

Warthog

large_Warthog_9-11.jpg

Maasai Kopjes

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

large_Maasai_Kopjes_9___1_.jpg

large_Maasai_Kopjes_9___2_.jpg

large_Maasai_Kopjes_9.jpg

Lions

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

large_Lions_at_M.._Kopjes_9-1.jpg

Dik Dik

large_ED569FCAAC855A85B85A2EBB8741002D.jpg

White Headed Vulture

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

large_Eagle__White_Headed_9-1.jpg

large_Eagle__White_Headed_9-4.jpg

Hippo

One lump or two?

large_Hippo_9-1.jpg

large_Hippo_9-2.jpg

Greater Blue Eared Starling

large_Starling__..e_Eared_9-3.jpg

Pin Tailed Swallow

large_Swallow__Pin_Tailed_9-1.jpg

Defassa Waterbuck

large_Waterbuck__Defassa_9-1.jpg

large_Waterbuck__Defassa_9-2.jpg

large_Waterbuck__Defassa_9-3.jpg

large_Waterbuck__Defassa_9-8.jpg

Zebra

large_Zebra_9-21.jpg

large_Zebra_9-31.jpg

large_Zebra_9-32.jpg

large_Zebra_9-33.jpg

large_Zebra_9-36.jpg

large_Zebra_9-41.jpg

large_Zebra_9-44.jpg

It seems that stripes are in this year.

large_Zebra_9-45.jpg

large_Zebra_9-47.jpg

Wildebeest Migration

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

large_Wildebeest_9-302.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-305.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-308.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-311.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-312.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-314.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-316.jpg

Lappet Faced Vulture

large_Vulture__l.._Faced_9-61.jpg

Coqui Francolin

large_Francolin__Coqui_9-21.jpg

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

large_Francolin__Coqui_9-22.jpg

White Rumped Helmetshrike

large_Helmetshri..Rumped_9-31.jpg

Stormy Clouds

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

large_Zebra_and_..beest_9-101.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-101.jpg

large_Zebra_and_..beest_9-102.jpg

large_148FDD7BE3EFE5F69412AF591183E54B.jpg

large_Giraffe_9-76.jpg

large_Giraffe_9-78.jpg

large_Giraffe_9-81.jpg

Klipspringer

large_Klipspringer_9-1.jpg

large_Rain_12.jpg

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

large_Rainbow_3.jpg

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

large_F7FD67C7E64E1690F839F35CB93F2F4D.jpg

Mbuzi Mawe

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

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-6.jpg

large_Porters_6.jpg

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

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-5.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_9-5.jpg

large_Checking_in_1.jpg

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

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-2.jpg

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

large_2C1F71ED01AEB9815BC6510D79B500E7.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_9-3.jpg

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

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_9-2.jpg

I love it!

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_9-1.jpg

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

large_Pre-Dinner_Drinks_10.jpg

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

large_Night_Shots_4.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-1.jpg

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

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-3.jpg

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

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-4.jpg

Rock Hyrax

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

large_Rock_Hyrax..zi_Mawe_9-1.jpg

large_Rock_Hyrax..zi_Mawe_9-2.jpg

large_Dinner_10.jpg

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

large_Dinner_at_Mbuzi_Mawe_9-1.jpg

large_Dinner_Dome_9-1.jpg

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

large_Kuku_Wa_Ku..ocont_cream.jpg

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

large_Footprint_Chardonnay.jpg

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

large_Paty_Time.jpg

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

.

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

large_2311A068E1FBC175BFD0469AF7F04935.jpg

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

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