A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about sandgrouse

Lake Natron - Mto Wa Mbu walking Tour - Kilimamoja

Something a little different today


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

Lake Natron Camp

I slept reasonably well last night, despite someone's alarm going all through the night. The 'alarm', we are told, was a distressed nightjar!

Breakfast is good, with a Continental selection including peanut butter, followed by a cooked breakfast.

large_cef06600-58a9-11ea-8f19-95ed6824d26e.jpg

large_da9a6410-58a9-11ea-8f19-95ed6824d26e.jpg

large_b1863b30-589f-11ea-a70b-291b426eb746.jpg

Before we leave the camp, I use the facilities near the mess tent – a compostable toilet with buckets of sand to cover up any excrement, yet there is modern 'luxuries' such as running water in the basin and individual terry towels neatly rolled up in a basket.

large_bdad7f90-589f-11ea-a70b-291b426eb746.jpg

Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano looks pretty this morning with her pink hat on.

large_ff252450-589f-11ea-a70b-291b426eb746.jpg

Wishing our friends Lyn and Chris could have come with us on this safari, we took with us large photos of them and pretended they were here too, creating this photo for them.

large_adcb06f0-58aa-11ea-8f19-95ed6824d26e.jpg

It is time to head back to 'civilisation' again this morning. The roads have not improved any, that's for sure.

large_85395e10-58ac-11ea-b678-43fabbc34f3b.jpg

large_9009c500-58ac-11ea-b678-43fabbc34f3b.jpg

Giraffe

Our path is blocked by a giraffe again today.

large_7ddd9cc0-58b2-11ea-8342-b71ccc091313.jpg

large_8a24ec40-58b2-11ea-8342-b71ccc091313.jpg

large_978525d0-58b2-11ea-8342-b71ccc091313.jpg

Strange earth mounds appear on the side of the road.

large_f8e30f20-594f-11ea-8fe2-dfa639026e9e.jpg

large_5a8ec330-5951-11ea-8fa4-d78746628eb5.jpg
Crowned Lapwing

large_65732750-5951-11ea-8fa4-d78746628eb5.jpg
You can quite clearly see the reason it got its name here

Kori Bustard

A large bird, this male is displaying the courtship ritual by inflating his throat, spreading the white frontal neck feathers outwards and raising his tail. All the while emitting a loud and powerful drum sound that can carry for several kilometres.

large_e20e4230-595c-11ea-9cb4-31d221101200.jpg

large_77905970-5961-11ea-bd37-b9cf49ae8594.jpg

large_3fcb76a0-5961-11ea-bd37-b9cf49ae8594.jpg

While we are watching the bustard, an inquisitive Lesser Masked Weaver comes to investigate what we are doing.

large_64e71d80-595d-11ea-9cb4-31d221101200.jpg

Capped Wheatear

It is obviously the time of year when birds have making babies on their minds, as this pair of wheatear are at it too!

large_d33af3d0-5960-11ea-bd37-b9cf49ae8594.jpg

large_c8764cb0-5960-11ea-bd37-b9cf49ae8594.jpg

large_dc249960-5960-11ea-bd37-b9cf49ae8594.jpg

large_e7bdce90-5960-11ea-bd37-b9cf49ae8594.jpg

large_0777a4d0-5962-11ea-bd37-b9cf49ae8594.jpg
Chestnut Bellied Sandgrouse - today's first lifer

large_b9402fc0-5962-11ea-bd37-b9cf49ae8594.jpg
Eastern Chanting Goshawk, lifting one leg for thermoregulation.

large_82e43650-5963-11ea-bd37-b9cf49ae8594.jpg
Although not quite as loud as the Kori Bustard, the Goshawk seems to still have plenty to say.

large_0d9a0220-5964-11ea-bd37-b9cf49ae8594.jpg
White Throated Bee Eaters

large_c017dde0-5965-11ea-88e6-1f7e916e0ab3.jpg
This Kori Bustard seems to be more intent on looking for food rather than sex – could it be the female our previous mate was trying to impress?

large_d9c84b20-5966-11ea-97bd-5988f0c1632a.jpg
Ostrich harem - one male five females. Good luck to him!

large_28a49640-5967-11ea-97bd-5988f0c1632a.jpg
The hillside is ablaze with colour

Zebra

We spook a zebra mummy and her young foal.

large_b64e9470-596a-11ea-80a8-d7ad18c436b8.jpg

They soon settle down, though, joining a few others.

large_c72de2a0-596a-11ea-80a8-d7ad18c436b8.jpg

large_d2b1e220-596a-11ea-80a8-d7ad18c436b8.jpg

A couple of Maasai Warriors in their full regalia walk past in the field.

large_19c8aa70-596d-11ea-96ae-713ebd56cff5.jpg

I find it interesting that the men are dressed in what appears to me to be their finest regalia, with brightly coloured shúkà (cloth), rungu (club) and spear, while just casually walking in a field.

Also, look at the length of the hair on the guy on the right. His long braids indicate that he is a moran, or warrior; a title achieved after an initiation rite when puberty is reached, involving circumcision (traditionally without anaesthetic), and spending time living in isolation in the bush, learning tribal customs and developing strength, courage, and endurance—traits for which Maasai warriors are noted throughout the world. During this time the young men will wear black and often have their faces painted with bold patterns. Historically a Maasai man should also have killed a lion single-handedly using only a spear to prove that he is worthy to be a moran; although that practice has been outlawed today.

Some 900,000 Maasai people are spread throughout Kenya and Tanzania, and although some of the younger generation have steered away from the nomadic life to positions in business commerce and government roles. During recent years, projects have been implemented to help Maasai tribal leaders find a way to preserve their traditions and way of life while also trying to balance the education needs of the Maasai children for the modern world.

large_63300490-5992-11ea-a2f7-698f6092cfd5.jpg
The local bus service

It looks like we have another river to get across.

large_289d97f0-5994-11ea-8310-ef004167b885.jpg

large_63891650-596c-11ea-8df4-9ba850988902.jpg
Dark Chanting Goshawk

large_05f856d0-596d-11ea-8df4-9ba850988902.jpg
White Breasted Bee Eater

Ngaruka

We pass through the small town of Ngaruka again.

large_a15768b0-5999-11ea-81d5-a509fd40a51f.jpg

large_aba86670-5999-11ea-81d5-a509fd40a51f.jpg

large_b6d39790-5999-11ea-81d5-a509fd40a51f.jpg

large_503ea5a0-599a-11ea-81d5-a509fd40a51f.jpg
The roads are still pretty awful

large_b557d790-599a-11ea-9e5f-e5d21c201552.jpg
Donkey Cart, AKA Maasai Landrover

large_937cbd10-599b-11ea-9e5f-e5d21c201552.jpg
The roads are affectionately referred to as “Free African Massage”.

large_a0f0b040-599c-11ea-9e5f-e5d21c201552.jpg
Where did the road go?

large_dc1d4f20-599c-11ea-9e5f-e5d21c201552.jpg
Here it is. Or rather, was.

large_7711bc50-599d-11ea-9e5f-e5d21c201552.jpg
This looks like fun


.

Road Re-Construction

It looks like they are finally trying to do something about some of the washed away areas of this road.

large_22547390-59a4-11ea-aaa8-5f5747aacc29.jpg

large_5ad97210-59a4-11ea-aaa8-5f5747aacc29.jpg

We stop and give them some bottles of water.

large_7561be30-59a4-11ea-aaa8-5f5747aacc29.jpg

large_1c3a2530-59a5-11ea-aaa8-5f5747aacc29.jpg

Goodness knows the could do with some improvement in many places along this route.

large_183dadc0-59a6-11ea-aaa8-5f5747aacc29.jpg

Cactus

We pass a complete forest of cacti. I don't think I have ever seen that before.

large_80b980c0-59a8-11ea-8ec9-21b38d7e9e1d.jpg

large_8d365f30-59a8-11ea-8ec9-21b38d7e9e1d.jpg

Mto Wa Mbu

We are back in civilisation for the time being, having stopped in Mto Wa Mbu, a large-ish town on the main road from Arusha to Serengeti. The local name means Mosquito River, as a reference to the numerous insects that frequent this area. The only time we've ever stopped here previously, is to buy some little red bananas. This time we are partaking in a 'Cultural Walking Tour' of the plantations in the area. By now it is 12:00 and blistering hot; making me think of the old saying: “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun”. As I am not English, I must be the mad dog.

large_e3fa70d0-5a17-11ea-a5af-6f36d0f82015.jpg
Water from the river is re-directed into canals to provide irrigation for plantations.

large_02cfcff0-5a18-11ea-a5af-6f36d0f82015.jpg
Mango tree. Unfortunately right now is not the season for harvesting – I love mango!

large_9064d170-5a19-11ea-a5af-6f36d0f82015.jpg
Crops are rotated three times a year, between, rice, corn and cassawa. Here they are clearing the fields ready for replanting rice.

large_2b9165a0-5a1a-11ea-a5af-6f36d0f82015.jpg
It's a muddy job!

large_0a9f87c0-5a1d-11ea-bf7b-8156f6792a4d.jpg

large_521f5d00-5a1d-11ea-bf7b-8156f6792a4d.jpg

large_d00da9a0-5a19-11ea-a5af-6f36d0f82015.jpg
Rice plantations are started off in a dedicated seed bed, then transferred to their final growing area by hand. It's a labour intensive job.

large_58f14950-5a21-11ea-8a75-db5bb1ee87f8.jpg

large_7dd36240-5a20-11ea-9dfb-9ba66356316d.jpg

large_8a10edc0-5a20-11ea-9dfb-9ba66356316d.jpg
It's back-breaking work. The ladies invite me to join them after we share a joke; much as I would love to for the fun of it, I have to decline – my back would not thank me for it.

large_a3485a70-5a21-11ea-8a75-db5bb1ee87f8.jpg
Farmers often rent very small plots to grow just enough rice for their family and to maybe make a small amount of money.

large_d2a3b9a0-5a20-11ea-a428-5b184a95af75.jpg
Dried out corn husks will be used as animal fodder.

large_4603f820-5a20-11ea-9dfb-9ba66356316d.jpg

large_a1d88150-5a22-11ea-8a75-db5bb1ee87f8.jpg
Taking it home for the cattle

large_d9fe3e40-5a21-11ea-8a75-db5bb1ee87f8.jpg
Okra or Lady Fingers

large_610225a0-5a22-11ea-8a75-db5bb1ee87f8.jpg
Cassawa Plants

Three days ago during the heavy rains, this complete area was flooded. We did notice that when we drove through, the sides of the road were under several inches of water.

large_30331230-5a23-11ea-8a75-db5bb1ee87f8.jpg

Banana Plantations

large_06e058b0-5a24-11ea-9dfb-9ba66356316d.jpg

Three main types of bananas are grown here: the green bananas used for cooking, which take 6 months to mature; the yellow bananas that we all eat take 9 months, while the sweeter red variety take the longest to be ready, at a year.

large_128aa4e0-5a24-11ea-9dfb-9ba66356316d.jpg

large_57b873d0-5a24-11ea-9dfb-9ba66356316d.jpg

large_929bd4b0-5a24-11ea-9dfb-9ba66356316d.jpg

Lunch

We are taken to a small local restaurant set in amongst the plantations, with a bamboo hut housing the kitchen and an open-sided covered area with chair and tables for the diners.

large_abc1dc40-5a25-11ea-8a75-db5bb1ee87f8.jpg

large_b7a8e350-5a25-11ea-8a75-db5bb1ee87f8.jpg

large_c44a60c0-5a25-11ea-8a75-db5bb1ee87f8.jpg
It's good to be out of the fierce sun

The food is served buffet style, with a number of dishes available.

large_80666500-5a27-11ea-9997-e79b9308d82e.jpg

large_72421820-5a27-11ea-9997-e79b9308d82e.jpg
From left to right, back row: fried green bananas, boiled potatoes, aubergine (eggplant). Front row: mixed beans and corn (maize), a green vegetable similar to spinach, ugali - a staple in Tanzanian homes, it is made from flour (millet, maize, sorghum or cassawa) boiled with water to make a stodgy mass. It is bland but filling and I like it with a sauce.

large_187601c0-5a28-11ea-9997-e79b9308d82e.jpg
Back row, left to right: bean casserole, salad, beef stew. Bottom row, left to right: pilau rice, white rice and potatoes in a tomato sauce with green beans.

large_f56c91b0-5a2e-11ea-96ff-c5590f160997.jpg

Lake Manyara

As we climb up into the Ngorongoro Highlands, we look down on Lake Manyara. Not only can we see that the lake has swollen way past its normal size; but also that it has turned red from soil washed down from the hills.

large_51ab8ec0-5a2c-11ea-8a06-f7c790eb9af5.jpg

Kilimamoja Lodge

Arriving back at this lovely lodge is like coming home after a long trip. The staff are out in force to greet us, calling out: “Hello Grete, hello David, welcome back”.

This time we are in the room furthest away from the reception, and they provide us with a golf caddy to take us there.

large_03d46220-5a2d-11ea-8a06-f7c790eb9af5.jpg

On the front porch, a very nice message is spelled out in green beans!

large_5a0c86e0-5a2d-11ea-8a06-f7c790eb9af5.jpg

With a couple of hours to spare, we debate whether to go for a swim, or sit on the balcony for a bit followed by a nap. The relaxation wins.

large_48633c80-5a2e-11ea-96ff-c5590f160997.jpg
Towel art on the bed


.

large_728fc950-5a2f-11ea-96ff-c5590f160997.jpg
We have an unobscured view of the valley below

Although the pool does look inviting, the balcony provides a very welcome breeze after the heat of the day, and we are delighted when we spot a pair of Verreaux's Eagles soaring over the Rift Valley – another lifer for us!

large_5a053e70-5a2e-11ea-96ff-c5590f160997.jpg

large_70469210-5a2e-11ea-96ff-c5590f160997.jpg

large_79515430-5a2e-11ea-96ff-c5590f160997.jpg

large_2cffdd30-5a2f-11ea-96ff-c5590f160997.jpg
Always prepared for a great photo opportunity

Dinner

We are the only guests in the restaurant this evening, and spend ages chatting to the chef, who appears to have worked all over southern Africa in some very high class establishments, including Palace of the Lost City (which this place reminds me of).

large_ce543070-5a32-11ea-8481-eb753641ecd9.jpg

large_f6d7e4b0-5a32-11ea-8481-eb753641ecd9.jpg
I have never before been served a samosa in a cocktail glass

large_58e27710-5a33-11ea-9e7d-a12090118989.jpg
A delightfully presented and beautifully tender rare fillet steak with a slightly spicy sauce.

While not actually on the menu this evening, the chef makes me another one of his better-than-sex-chocolate-fondants.

large_64311940-5a34-11ea-9e7d-a12090118989.jpg
Cappuccino Art

As before, there are chocolates on our pillow from the turnback service when we return to the room. Such a nice touch.

large_fc323710-5a34-11ea-9e7d-a12090118989.jpg

Thank you so much to Calabash Adventures for arranging this safari for us.

large_34185d80-5a35-11ea-9e7d-a12090118989.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 12:23 Archived in Tanzania Tagged wildlife volcano cactus river rice breakfast africa dinner safari tanzania zebra eagle lunch donkeys bananas canon maasai giraffe flooding masai plantations cappuccino rice_paddies ugali nightjar kori_bustard lake_manyara ostriches calabash_adventures mto_wa_mbu plover lapwing bee_eater sandgrouse goshawk wildlife_photography kilimamoja_lodge lake_natron ngaruka lake_natron_camp ol_doinyo_lengai courtship_titual wheatear maasai_warriors road_construction road_workers cactus_forest mosquito_river rice_planting banana_plantation red_bananas crop_rotation okra lake_manyara_flooded verreaux's_eagle samosa_in_a_cocktail_glass rare_fillet_steak Comments (1)

Kilimamoja Lodge - Lake Natron

Exploring new ground


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

Despite having lots of strange and unpleasant dreams, I slept very, very well last night. I get up before dawn this morning to try and capture the sunrise.

large_8f043140-56fe-11ea-8a10-b1bcdd869abf.jpg

large_b8f3ee10-56fd-11ea-8a10-b1bcdd869abf.jpg

Breakfast

large_f6303310-56fd-11ea-8a10-b1bcdd869abf.jpg

A continental selection is available as a buffet, and Lilian comes to take our order for cooked food. As soon as I see Eggs Benedict on the menu, I know what I am having.

large_04378210-56fe-11ea-8a10-b1bcdd869abf.jpg

large_e83ba8c0-56fd-11ea-8a10-b1bcdd869abf.jpg

We slide along the same muddy track back to the main road this morning. It hasn't improved any overnight!

large_32e40e30-56fe-11ea-8a10-b1bcdd869abf.jpg

We are joining the sealed road only briefly today, as far as Mto Wa Mbu, where we turn off left towards Lake Natron

large_621c3880-56fe-11ea-8a10-b1bcdd869abf.jpg
My mum used to meet me with my bike and hers after school when I was eight, but I have never before seen someone cycling with THREE bikes before!

large_affbfb30-56fe-11ea-8a10-b1bcdd869abf.jpg
There are always a lot of baboons near Mto Wa Mbu. This one looks somewhat philosophical!

The Road to Lake Natron

We are now entering new territory for us, this is the first time we have come this way. The track follows the Ngorongoro Escarpment on the left, with the flat plains of the Great Rift Valley on the right.

large_0088a380-5701-11ea-9457-ab24950d0fc8.jpg

large_66df2250-56ff-11ea-8a10-b1bcdd869abf.jpg
Pale Tawny Eagle

Roadworks

Work started on repairing this road last year, with the rocks just having been arranged in place when the rain came and washed them all away. Now they have to start all over again.

large_0e084bf0-5701-11ea-9457-ab24950d0fc8.jpg

We can certainly see why they are having problems. I find it amazing that Malisa can manage to negotiate these sort of tracks. He has brand new chunky tyres, four-wheel drive and is an excellent driver, but even so.

large_be7a2080-5701-11ea-9457-ab24950d0fc8.jpg

large_7fd219b0-5705-11ea-9346-d597a5fc1d0f.jpg

The track crosses a number of rivers on the way. Why does this make me think of a UB40 song?

large_7e4a24b0-5706-11ea-8280-c5f9ff960fa4.jpg

.

As we get nearer, I realise that the river is really rather fast flowing. "Are you sure you are going to drive across that Malisa?"

large_78df2920-5707-11ea-8280-c5f9ff960fa4.jpg

So far so good...

large_d163fd00-5707-11ea-8280-c5f9ff960fa4.jpg

At this point I am getting a little concerned that we are going to wash away down the river. The water is so murky that it is impossible to see what is at the bottom, or how deep the river is.

large_2b016cd0-5708-11ea-8280-c5f9ff960fa4.jpg

At least we'll have a good video for YouTube if we do!

large_9a0dec20-5708-11ea-8280-c5f9ff960fa4.jpg

We make it, safe and sound (and dry) to the other side!

large_4878f430-5709-11ea-ac11-3daf2e1bfdb7.jpg

The track doesn't get much better this side – I have seen smoother dried up river beds.

large_4693f5a0-570b-11ea-8280-c5f9ff960fa4.jpg

This looks like another impossible crossing – a sheer drop of around a foot.

large_2513f370-570c-11ea-8280-c5f9ff960fa4.jpg

A few little boulder the other side of the drop does the trick. We're fine!

large_f2124890-570c-11ea-8280-c5f9ff960fa4.jpg
White Throated Bee Eaters

Abdim's Stork

A migrant from Europe, who comes to this area for winter; this is the first time we have seen the Abdim's Stork in Tanzania.

large_4373b7f0-570d-11ea-8280-c5f9ff960fa4.jpg

large_514ec6d0-570d-11ea-8280-c5f9ff960fa4.jpg

Uh, uh.

large_4fe1acd0-570e-11ea-8280-c5f9ff960fa4.jpg

It is not as bad as it first looked; there is a slightly easier route to one side. But only slightly.

large_dc03ef00-5710-11ea-807e-612bd9be7132.jpg

Another river to cross, although this one is nowhere near as deep.

large_2c3e1c70-5711-11ea-807e-612bd9be7132.jpg

We pass a few villages, with straw and mud huts.

large_d5f05760-5711-11ea-807e-612bd9be7132.jpg

large_0d9e7de0-5712-11ea-807e-612bd9be7132.jpg

Ngaruka

We drive through the small settlement of Ngaruka Town, which has only recently had electricity installed.

large_020d8940-5716-11ea-92af-9ba134d92038.jpg

large_0c4532a0-5716-11ea-92af-9ba134d92038.jpg

large_16993da0-5716-11ea-92af-9ba134d92038.jpg

Of course, not everyone has power.

large_3568a950-5716-11ea-92af-9ba134d92038.jpg

large_3e246110-5716-11ea-92af-9ba134d92038.jpg

large_47af28a0-5716-11ea-92af-9ba134d92038.jpg

Gotta love the petrol station, where fuel is sold in plastic water bottles.

large_51017b10-5716-11ea-92af-9ba134d92038.jpg

large_595ebf20-5716-11ea-92af-9ba134d92038.jpg

This may look primitive to us, but it is also pretty eco-friendly: true basic upcycling.

large_bfdd3c80-570d-11ea-8280-c5f9ff960fa4.jpg
Blue Naped Mousebird

Another river to cross. We're getting good at this!

large_811fa320-5717-11ea-92af-9ba134d92038.jpg

large_adb55d30-5717-11ea-92af-9ba134d92038.jpg

Traffic Jam

We encounter an unexpected traffic jam.

large_c63268a0-571a-11ea-92af-9ba134d92038.jpg

Affectionately known as 'Maasai Landrovers', donkeys are much sought after within the agricultural community and are generally well looked after.

large_d7282500-571a-11ea-92af-9ba134d92038.jpg

I have never before noticed that donkeys have a stripe along their backs and down their necks.

large_e165e8e0-571a-11ea-92af-9ba134d92038.jpg

Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano

Meaning 'Mountain of God' in the local Maasai language, Ol Doinyo Lengai is an active volcano that last erupted in 2008, although in 2017 scientists confirmed it was quietly rumbling, showing signs that an eruption may be imminent.

large_1f0220d0-571e-11ea-891a-339074d7d699.jpg

From a scientific point of view, it is extremely fascinating: it is the only active volcano known to erupt carbonatite lava. This thin, silvery lava melts at a lower temperature (around 600 °C), and more importantly, it can flow faster than a person can run. This sensational discovery was not made until as recently as in the 1960s.

More bad road surface.

large_b09a3400-571f-11ea-bd3f-57c80d65f9c0.jpg

large_ba0abcd0-571f-11ea-bd3f-57c80d65f9c0.jpg

large_c4a3e720-571f-11ea-bd3f-57c80d65f9c0.jpg
Layers of lava clearly showing.

large_ee434490-571f-11ea-bd3f-57c80d65f9c0.jpg
Augur Buzzard

large_0f7383a0-5720-11ea-bd3f-57c80d65f9c0.jpg
Ostrich

large_22d44c90-5720-11ea-bd3f-57c80d65f9c0.jpg
Brown Snake Eagle

Giraffe

I don't think I will even get used to seeing exotic wild animals such as the giraffe, roaming free. In the national parks, yes, but here we are just driving across the country, not actually in a designated animal park. There are no physical barriers and the animals don't know where the borders are of course.

large_5d1c3b50-5721-11ea-bd3f-57c80d65f9c0.jpg

large_727d4110-5721-11ea-bd3f-57c80d65f9c0.jpg

The youngster is about a year old.

large_8f086210-5721-11ea-bd3f-57c80d65f9c0.jpg

Broken Down Bus

Up until this moment, it has felt like we are pioneering travellers in a land that time forgot. Knowing that this is a bus route ruins all that in a flash.

large_1391ac80-5722-11ea-bd3f-57c80d65f9c0.jpg

I am not at all surprised that it has broken down, I am more amazed that it managed to get this far in the first place!

When we realise that there are people working underneath the vehicle, we stop and give them some of our water. They are delighted, and even more so when they find that the bottles are cold out of the fridge!

large_7c49d720-5722-11ea-bd3f-57c80d65f9c0.jpg

large_e08b34c0-5724-11ea-aa28-9f654ea51771.jpg
Kori Bustard

large_ec44ea40-5724-11ea-aa28-9f654ea51771.jpg
Booted Eagle - a dreadful photo, but it is a lifer.

large_09fca460-5725-11ea-aa28-9f654ea51771.jpg
We have no idea what this boy was doing under the tree miles from anywhere, but I think he makes an interesting silhouette.

The original sheep contraception. Sometimes simple solutions work better than chemicals.

large_8f1ed370-5725-11ea-aa28-9f654ea51771.jpg

large_c89f5380-5726-11ea-aa28-9f654ea51771.jpg
Yellow Fronted Sandgrouse

From a distance we can see tonight's accommodation, so I will finish this blog entry here. Thank you Calabash Adventures for making this trip possible.

large_5080f0b0-5727-11ea-aa28-9f654ea51771.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 03:30 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds wildlife volcano bus sunrise breakfast safari eagle birding lava donkeys petrol giraffe baboons ostrich goat electricity ford gas_station kori_bustard bird_watching buzzard roadworks great_rift_valley broken_down_bus calabash_adventures eruption mto_wa_mbu snake_eagle tawny_eagle traffic_jam mousebird augur_buzzard bee_eaters sandgrouse wildlife_photography petrol_station kilimamoja_lodge muddy_tracks lake_natron river_crossing abdim's_stork ngaruka fuel_station maasai_landrovers ol_doynio_lengai mountain_of_god volcanic_eruption broken_down goat_contraception Comments (4)

Serengeti Day 5 Part 1 Lion w/zebra kill, Ngare Naironya

This morning's highlight: Lion with Zebra kill


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

My back has not improved at all overnight, resulting in me feeling rather fragile and somewhat uncomfortable this morning. As is usual on our safaris, we leave the lodge before daybreak, setting out to 'see what nature has to offer us' as Malisa loves to tell us.

As we start our morning game drive, Malisa asks us whether we'd like to go off to find the migration today, or whether we'd prefer to search for cats. Four voices pipe up in unison: “Cats, please”. That's unanimous, then.

Hartebeest

This morning's breakfast (Malisa's expression for the first animal spotted that day) is a large group of hartebeest, including a number of youngsters.

large_503e6970-286b-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

As it is still pre-dawn, the sun has yet to make it above the horizon, making for challenging photography and somewhat dull and grainy pictures.

large_9b75a160-286b-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

This guy has lost one of his horns, presumably in an altercation with another hartebeest over a possible mate.

large_b21d30e0-286b-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

Or maybe she lost her horn while protecting her baby, as this is obviously a female hartebeest (my hartebeest gender identification skills are obviously sadly lacking).

large_e8fcbcc0-286b-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

Buffalo in the sunrise

After a dull start, the light is now lovely as the sun rises and promises us another beautiful day.

large_8b0943d0-286c-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_512810b0-286c-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

Zebra Kill

***** WARNING*****
Some people may find the following images disturbing

We haven't travelled far from the lodge before we see our first evidence of a big cat this morning: an abandoned zebra carcass. Probably the result of a leopard kill, and the cat vacating the dining table after being disturbed by our car approaching. With not many tourists venturing this way, the animals here are nowhere near as accustomed to cars as those in the much busier Central Serengeti region.

large_b44f84c0-286c-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

The predators tend to start eating the 'soft' targets first, such as the eyes, ears, tail, genitals and other easily accessible bits.

large_cffb1b30-286c-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_e0d623a0-286c-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

We hang around for a while, hoping the leopard will return to finish his breakfast. David spots him first, appearing in the distance behind the trees. It is not a leopard, however, but a beautiful male lion.

large_61638850-286d-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_86266400-286d-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

As soon as he spots us, he stops in his tracks, unsure of whether to continue or not.

large_a26512b0-286d-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

The draw of the food is greater than the fear of us humans, however, and he ventures into the glorious light of the early morning sun.

large_1f34fa30-286e-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_ff7932b0-286d-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_71595980-2870-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

After initially settling down with his meal, he appears uncomfortable about having an audience while he is eating; and merely grabs a few half-hearted bites, then drags the carcass away with him.

large_566441d0-2870-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_8e687790-2870-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_c68e9d00-2a0c-11e9-9cb7-375b399b063e.jpg

large_133b0000-2871-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_32a3c580-2871-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_ab2c92b0-2a0c-11e9-9cb7-375b399b063e.jpg

large_dc041520-2a0c-11e9-9cb7-375b399b063e.jpg

large_d7b51d90-2870-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg
"What are you looking at? Can't a lion even eat breakfast in peace these days?"

large_f13727d0-2871-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_9ae03b00-2872-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

There is, of course, a much more logical reason for him moving his breakfast: the smell does not travel so well if the kill is positioned inside the bushes, thus less likely to attract other hungry predators (rival lions, leopards, and even hyena have been known to steal kills)

large_eb749660-2872-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

Soon our lion is all but hidden by the trees and we realise that we are undoubtedly the only people to see the lion with his feast, as this road only leads to the lodge and the other guests were just arriving for breakfast when we set out earlier. By the time they'll drive past here later, they may not even spot the lion, let alone see the zebra carcass. Feeling smug for getting out and about early (and thrilled for having experienced this), we leave him be and continue on our way.

large_23063430-2873-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

Zebra

This youngster is around seven or eight months old and will suckle his mother for the first year or so of his life.

large_8d0bf800-2874-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_6dce0cc0-2a19-11e9-8d42-e7f572c33d94.jpg

They seem blissfully unaware of what happened to their cousin just a short distance away.

large_75589dd0-2874-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_1c1efd20-2a1a-11e9-8d42-e7f572c33d94.jpg

Ngare Naironya Springs

There is lots of goings-on here at the pub (AKA waterhole), with hyenas and a few scattered birds crowding the bar, despite the spring being almost dry.

large_59d912c0-2a1c-11e9-bf8a-6129401877fc.jpg

large_f1a680f0-2a1d-11e9-bf8a-6129401877fc.jpg

I am loving the backlighting and the long shadows from the low morning sun.

large_0588d910-2875-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_244001d0-2875-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_f7581080-2a1e-11e9-83b1-1b07570388e2.jpg

large_f0939810-2a22-11e9-8695-c9204ac679df.jpg
Black Faced Sandgrouse

Breakfast Picnic

On a hillside overlooking the waterhole, with 180 degree views, we set up our picnic chairs and table and get the breakfast boxes out.

large_c24e8ad0-2876-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_df460230-2876-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_ff4896b0-2876-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_1432bec0-2877-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

Amazingly, there is even a toilet block here, miles from anywhere.

large_33811e70-2877-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

While we are enjoying our packed breakfasts, it seems that the zebra are arriving at the spring in their droves.

large_6e5452b0-2877-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_8584c140-2877-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

large_95afb390-2877-11e9-9169-af015a4e2e77.jpg

After breakfast we too return to the waterhole and spend most of the morning there observing and photographing the goings on, but I will leave that for the next blog entry.

Calabash African Adventures, the best safari company by far.

large_d79911c0-297b-11e9-bc99-dbabd40ea268.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 01:47 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals springs sunrise breakfast africa safari tanzania zebra picnic buffalo lion serengeti hyena lobo waterhole prey bird_watching suckling game_drive lion_kill hartebeest cape_buffalo big_cats breakfast_picnic packed_breakfast calbash_adventures sandgrouse ngare_naironya_springs bad_back zebra_kill zebra_carcass birs breakfast_boxes toilet_block Comments (1)

Serengeti Day 3 Part 3 - steenbok, eles, breaking into tent

A varied afternoon with an adventurous ending


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

Lunch

While we are having our picnic lunch, the leopard (the reason we are eating inside the car) jumps down from the tree and disappears in the long grass. Good for him, getting away from the baying crowd.

Hippo

A small pond is home to a handful of hippos, including a couple of youngsters.

large_10dc4920-1752-11e9-b3ba-6571a166752b.jpg

large_19f62670-1752-11e9-b3ba-6571a166752b.jpg

large_230ea430-1752-11e9-b3ba-6571a166752b.jpg

Yellow Billed Stork

large_dcaf3fd0-1761-11e9-9a88-41c772c2ed49.jpg

Black Winged Stilt

large_f9e6cd70-1761-11e9-9a88-41c772c2ed49.jpg

Those legs are impossibly tall!

large_41159c80-1762-11e9-8419-bb52a05f10f8.jpg

It must seem like a long way down.

large_ba8f2d10-1762-11e9-9a88-41c772c2ed49.jpg

Cape Buffalo

Including some cute little babies.

large_8ca4a680-1764-11e9-9a88-41c772c2ed49.jpg

large_97434f10-1764-11e9-9a88-41c772c2ed49.jpg

The public transport of choice in the Serengeti.

large_b1771290-1764-11e9-9a88-41c772c2ed49.jpg

large_bdcfd4f0-1769-11e9-87c3-f709a09bfaff.jpg
Wattled Starling

Lion Cubs

Three young babies, around two months old, have been left home alone while mum goes off shopping (AKA as hunting for food); and chances are that she will stay out all night. In the UK she would have Social Services on her back.

large_8f9fce00-1778-11e9-b3a3-37e67748df32.jpg

Being under strict instructions from mum to stay put (we actually saw this in action on our last safari, the way a lioness 'barked' orders to her offspring – very impressive) doesn't seem to deter the naughty youngsters who boldly leave the safety of their hideaway in the long grass to explore the world around them, oblivious to dangers.

large_1e777390-1778-11e9-b3a3-37e67748df32.jpg

Saddle Billed Stork

Although not a lifer, it is a very unusual bird to see and the first time I have been able to take a decent photo of one.

large_d84031a0-177c-11e9-942f-bd2ed27600b7.jpg

Steenbok

Startled by our vehicle, these steenbok make some impressive jumps trying to get away.

large_a0131a50-1780-11e9-82ae-77cce2f7a836.jpg

large_c2148c10-1780-11e9-82ae-77cce2f7a836.jpg

large_d9f5ad00-1780-11e9-82ae-77cce2f7a836.jpg

large_cfa52470-1780-11e9-82ae-77cce2f7a836.jpg

Olive Baboons

large_054aa9b0-1781-11e9-82ae-77cce2f7a836.jpg

large_0e6f0e50-1781-11e9-82ae-77cce2f7a836.jpg

large_17e56380-1781-11e9-82ae-77cce2f7a836.jpg

Pale Tawny Eagle

large_a44d2510-1781-11e9-82ae-77cce2f7a836.jpg

White Bellied Bustard

large_18b42fc0-1782-11e9-82ae-77cce2f7a836.jpg

Lilac Breasted Roller

large_890f4f20-1782-11e9-82ae-77cce2f7a836.jpg

Spotted Hyena

I love the long shadows created by the late afternoon sun.

large_e9f2edb0-1782-11e9-82ae-77cce2f7a836.jpg

He's out looking for love by the looks of it.

large_32119b00-1783-11e9-82ae-77cce2f7a836.jpg

Brown Snake Eagle

large_8aead070-1783-11e9-8275-bb6dd8522d26.jpg

Reedbuck

Hiding in the bushes

large_df31faa0-1783-11e9-a691-6dc338f9645f.jpg

Lilac Breasted Roller

Another roller, this time captured by Big Bertha, bathed in the delightful golden hour.

large_61174e30-1784-11e9-82ae-77cce2f7a836.jpg

Elephants

Backlit elephants + dust + setting sun = happy photographer

large_0d07e950-17e6-11e9-8ce2-43ca743083f3.jpg

With side-light, the mood changes drastically.

large_17cd05a0-17e6-11e9-8ce2-43ca743083f3.jpg

large_32a93e20-17e6-11e9-8ce2-43ca743083f3.jpg

Banded Mongoose

Plural of mongoose is mongooses, not mongeese, and a group of these animals is called a band.

large_1796b590-17f5-11e9-8f46-399a2f624c0d.jpg

They are looking for termites.

large_2b25ba70-17f5-11e9-8f46-399a2f624c0d.jpg

large_34172830-17f5-11e9-8f46-399a2f624c0d.jpg

Yellow Fronted Sandgrouse

large_180fc0b0-17f6-11e9-b1ae-7d1729db6a09.jpg

large_306d64a0-17f6-11e9-b1ae-7d1729db6a09.jpg

large_008814f0-17f7-11e9-b1ae-7d1729db6a09.jpg

Reedbuck

Doing what reedbucks do best: hiding in the reeds.

large_acebf7d0-17f6-11e9-b1ae-7d1729db6a09.jpg

Sanderling

large_273d7c60-17f8-11e9-b1ae-7d1729db6a09.jpg

The light is fading fast now.

More elephants

large_8b27a430-17f8-11e9-b1ae-7d1729db6a09.jpg

Lions

Lots of cars are gathered around these four lions, three of which are sleeping.

large_784ba630-17f9-11e9-9cc1-cf6a707820de.jpg

large_c88621c0-17f9-11e9-9cc1-cf6a707820de.jpg

The large rasta, however, is walking near, and later on, the road. One of the drivers gets so close to the animal that I fear he is going to run the poor guy over.

large_8333b3d0-17f9-11e9-9cc1-cf6a707820de.jpg

White Headed Vulture

large_3ca75460-17fb-11e9-a6ce-7b086c1d2547.jpg

Black Backed Jackal

large_57a6f360-17fb-11e9-a6ce-7b086c1d2547.jpg

Sunset

As we yet again rush back to reach camp before dark, we are following several other vehicles. I love it when this happens as the cars kick up lots of dust which add wonderful atmosphere to my photos.

large_279e1320-181d-11e9-a703-ad277df48c12.jpg

large_3b6b8090-181d-11e9-a703-ad277df48c12.jpg

large_4a6d5c30-181d-11e9-a703-ad277df48c12.jpg

large_596c9fc0-181d-11e9-a703-ad277df48c12.jpg

large_63b40090-181d-11e9-a703-ad277df48c12.jpg

Leopard

Just before we turn off towards the lodge, a leopard crosses the road just in front of us. He has gone long before Malisa manages to stop, let alone us getting cameras out. How exciting, though.

Evening at Ole Serai

At dinner this evening Rashid, the manager of Ole Serai Luxury Camp, spends a lot of time chatting with us. Even chef Raymond comes out from duties in the kitchen to say hello.

Lyn and Chris join us in our tent for a drink after dinner. From very close proximity we can hear the roar of a lion, as well as the loud American group who arrived today. Go lion, go!

I have my first walkie-talkie experience this evening as I call for the askari (Maasai escort) to take the others back to their tent. Hearing the lion so close by, they are naturally nervous. It is very dark out there, the cat could be anywhere.

Trying to get in, Lyn and Chris find the padlock on their tent stuck. The askari tries everything, including the master key, but to no avail. The lion is still very vocal, very near. Eventually they use a rock to break open the padlock and our friends can let out a sigh of relief as they return to the safety of their room. An added adventure they could probably have done without.

Thank you yet again to Calabash Adventures for arranging such an amazing safari.

large_462ce170-181f-11e9-a703-ad277df48c12.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 13:11 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds sunset elephants safari tanzania eagle lunch picnic buffalo lion hippo baboons lion_cubs roller serengeti hyena stork vulture mongoose bustard game_drive tented_camp lilac_breasted_roller padlock calabash_adventures olive_baboons cape_buffalo spotted_hyena brown_snake_eagle sanderling wattled_starling game_viewing ole_serai sandgrouse lunch_picnic white_bellied_bustard packed_lunch yellow_billed-stork black_winged_stilt saddle_billed_stork steenbok reedbuck ole_serai_luxury_camp luxury_tented_camp Comments (3)

Serengeti Day 3 Part 1 - Tommy porn, jackal w/rabbit, croc

Elephants galore


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

Even before we are dressed and getting ready to go out on today's safari, at the unearthly hour of 05:15, we can hear the roar of a lion. It sounds terribly close by.

Giraffe

Our 'breakfast this morning' (as in the first animal we see today) is a giraffe, just sauntering past the camp. The sun is still considering its next move while painting the sky with purples and pinks.

large_e8f916b0-0f66-11e9-a4f5-e9811ab4bab4.jpg

large_91502e70-0f67-11e9-a4f5-e9811ab4bab4.jpg

Topi

A few metres further along, we see a mother topi with her very young baby, the kid being maybe a day or so old.

large_395cd200-1060-11e9-b77c-ff15515a57c5.jpg

large_42d37550-1060-11e9-beec-e58a23025e00.jpg

Spotted Hyena

Hyenas are Malisa's favourite animals. While at certain angles and in a certain light, they can look kinda cute (I suppose); at other times the hyena's sloping back gives it a rather menacing demeanour.

large_84bc6df0-106a-11e9-a490-1f6922a2c6ad.jpg

large_918bb220-106a-11e9-a490-1f6922a2c6ad.jpg

large_a366ec80-106a-11e9-a490-1f6922a2c6ad.jpg

large_c45da500-106a-11e9-a490-1f6922a2c6ad.jpg

Dik Dik

These, the smallest of Tanzania's antelopes, mate for life and are often found in family units of three such as this.

large_3f21b6f0-106b-11e9-a490-1f6922a2c6ad.jpg

large_7d10dbc0-106c-11e9-9f21-2d9ca284a3cb.jpg

Tommy Porn

Avert your eyes as a couple of Thomson's Gazelles put on an energetic display of early morning sex for us.

large_eff46960-10dd-11e9-9c95-9bd3ed2303a5.jpg

When I say “energetic”, I mean that he is putting a lot of effort in, while she is so not interested (preferring to continue eating), resulting in a number of aborted attempts.

large_fa9582f0-10dd-11e9-9a32-67dbba123502.jpg

This must be particularly frustrating as Thomson's Gazelles only mate twice a year to coincide with babies being born at the end of the rainy season after a gestation period of 5-6 months.

large_64584a50-10df-11e9-9c95-9bd3ed2303a5.jpg

Success at last! Although you may notice she is still eating.

large_78d22460-10df-11e9-9c95-9bd3ed2303a5.jpg

Pygmy Falcon

This bundle of fluff is just about the cutest thing we'll see this morning.

large_81f1fbe0-1131-11e9-a4c8-ed5cc4055f64.jpg

Black Breasted Snake Eagle

large_9a5b3890-1131-11e9-a4c8-ed5cc4055f64.jpg

Black Backed Jackal

We come across this jackal having his breakfast and stay with him for a while as he (unsuccessfully) tries to get the last leg of a hare down his throat.

large_0ead5120-1131-11e9-bce5-0fb813f8873e.jpg

large_188c5330-1131-11e9-bce5-0fb813f8873e.jpg

large_25ecdae0-1131-11e9-bce5-0fb813f8873e.jpg

large_369f9ad0-1131-11e9-a4c8-ed5cc4055f64.jpg

large_3f0ee040-1131-11e9-a4c8-ed5cc4055f64.jpg

large_567dde70-1131-11e9-a4c8-ed5cc4055f64.jpg

large_61fa63e0-1131-11e9-a4c8-ed5cc4055f64.jpg

Balloons

A few hot air balloons glide effortlessly by.

large_1b2821d0-1133-11e9-8ec1-3919d4fb3963.jpg

Marabou Stork

While Pygmy Falcons score highly on the cuteness scale, the Marabou Stork has to have been hiding behind a bush when looks were given out. There is nothing remotely attractive about this scavenger bird.

large_3827d690-1133-11e9-8ec1-3919d4fb3963.jpg

large_6c065770-1133-11e9-8ec1-3919d4fb3963.jpg

They seem to be 'everywhere'.

large_e517b050-1133-11e9-8ec1-3919d4fb3963.jpg

large_3ee52970-1137-11e9-9f29-25b65ad429a2.jpg

large_57464fd0-1137-11e9-9f29-25b65ad429a2.jpg

large_6fe62ce0-1137-11e9-9f29-25b65ad429a2.jpg

Nile Crocodile

The pond is also home to a rather large crocodile, sunning himself on the bank. Crocodiles are often found with their mouths wide open like this, hoping that any rotting food leftover in their teeth will attract insects and the insects in turn will draw birds to enter the cavity... and wham!

large_82e35200-1137-11e9-9f29-25b65ad429a2.jpg

Also hippo wallowing in the mud. As they do.

large_c2e12800-1137-11e9-9f29-25b65ad429a2.jpg

Suddenly an almighty racket occurs as the Egyptian Geese on the shore start urgent and deafening honking.

large_9eb2e3d0-113a-11e9-bdae-e3162fab02f4.jpg

We soon discover the reason for their panic: Mr Crocodile is on the move. How exciting, it is something we have very, very rarely seen, if at all.

large_d44e7370-1139-11e9-9f29-25b65ad429a2.jpg

He soon settles down and the geese seem to be almost mocking him by getting dangerously close.

large_c00a8100-113a-11e9-bdae-e3162fab02f4.jpg

Meanwhile, the hot air balloon has finished its morning flight and landed safely. As safely as you can while surrounded by wild animals.

large_eb977da0-113a-11e9-bdae-e3162fab02f4.jpg

Lilac Breasted Roller

No blog entry from Tanzania is complete with at least one roller picture.

large_15694370-1140-11e9-a7c9-550e61028327.jpg

Sausage Tree

The original vegetarian sausages anyone? These elongated fruits are much loved by a variety of animals, and, although poisonous in their raw state, humans have been known to use them for medicinal purposes to treat fungal infections, eczema, psoriasis, boils, diabetes, pneumonia. More importantly, the fruit can also be used to ferment beer!

large_5c1ade00-12c6-11e9-8651-53ea9ff2bc87.jpg

Lions

Lazing in the shade, the four lions are nonetheless very aware of the Thomson's Gazelle not terribly far away behind them. The Tommy, however, is totally oblivious to the danger lurking underneath the tree.

large_76d9fc20-12c7-11e9-9a12-837412aa34fe.jpg

large_80d42750-12c7-11e9-9a12-837412aa34fe.jpg

large_89fef490-12c7-11e9-9a12-837412aa34fe.jpg

With a jolt, he realises that he could so easily become breakfast and runs for his life. Good move Tommy, good move.

large_23bd8ef0-12ca-11e9-849c-17e57140a2a9.jpg

Yellow Throated Sandgrouse

Often found in large flocks, these noisy birds seem to just keep coming and coming until there are sandgrouse everywhere.

large_61712330-1340-11e9-8632-31c9cd20ab39.jpg

large_6d01f3f0-1340-11e9-8632-31c9cd20ab39.jpg

large_7ad86ef0-1340-11e9-8632-31c9cd20ab39.jpg

large_876b6d70-1340-11e9-8632-31c9cd20ab39.jpg

Immature Silverbird

large_a6a18a30-1340-11e9-8632-31c9cd20ab39.jpg

White Rumped Helmetshrike

large_c728b800-1340-11e9-8632-31c9cd20ab39.jpg

Cape Buffalo

large_d853dc40-1340-11e9-8632-31c9cd20ab39.jpg

large_e54f1270-1340-11e9-8632-31c9cd20ab39.jpg

Elephants

This is by far the largest herd of elephants I have ever seen. Just as we think we have counted them all, more appear. And then some. There are at least 75 of them, with elephants as far as the eye can see in two directions. Wow, wow and wow.

large_1e31ea70-14d8-11e9-8a34-d74e04c50a28.jpg

large_61525d30-14d8-11e9-8731-59f48d861984.jpg

large_783a9f30-14d8-11e9-8731-59f48d861984.jpg

large_82fab270-14d8-11e9-8731-59f48d861984.jpg

large_8fa46d40-14d8-11e9-8731-59f48d861984.jpg

large_9fbb3b50-14d8-11e9-8731-59f48d861984.jpg

Giraffe

large_62f51210-1517-11e9-b793-07627f3d78dc.jpg

Lion Crowd

Nestled in the shade of a tree, three lionesses with two cubs seem to have drawn quite a crowd with more coming all the time.

large_9474ec90-1592-11e9-82ab-273fb301e11a.jpg

large_9d5913e0-1592-11e9-82ab-273fb301e11a.jpg

Having had the luxury so far of generally being on our own at sightings (or at most, a couple of other vehicles), seeing so many trucks in one place comes as a bit of a shock. It doesn't take long, however, before photographing the lions seems to take second place for these people as their attention is drawn away from the cats to our vehicle. Big Bertha is now the main attraction and 'everyone' wants to take her photo. For those who have not been following this blog, Big Bertha is my newly acquired, and impressively massive, 600mm lens.

large_b1577c60-1592-11e9-82ab-273fb301e11a.jpg

Banded Mongoose

On a small mound just behind the lions, is a band mongooses, with their sentries keeping a close eye on the big cats and other dangers.

large_32424350-1593-11e9-82ab-273fb301e11a.jpg

large_454f6e00-1593-11e9-82ab-273fb301e11a.jpg

Leaving the lions behind, we make our way to one of our favourite picnic sites for breakfast.

Thank you Calabash Adventures for yet another fantastic morning in the bush.

large_e2d02300-15a1-11e9-8113-b70f205f90b5.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 01:27 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds elephants africa safari tanzania crocodile buffalo balloons lions giraffe hippo roller hyena stork geese topi mongoose hot_air_balloon jackal bird_watching game_drive calabash_adventures marabou_stork banded_mongoose spotted_hyena dik_dik thomson't_gazelle tommy_porn pygmy_falcon lilca_breasted_roller sausage_tree sandgrouse silverbird large_herd_of_elephants Comments (1)

Serengeti Day 2 Part 3 - rimlit lion, anniversary dinner

A lion's share of cats this afternoon


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

Lunch

Just like breakfast, Ole Serai (the luxury camp we stayed at last night) has provided us with a terribly posh lunch hamper, complete with 'hot' food in traditional tiffin containers.

large_ccabd210-0b81-11e9-b738-370d25a66356.jpg

We are joined by a couple of Superb Starlings in a nearby tree.

large_e74a8c60-0b81-11e9-b738-370d25a66356.jpg

large_1cac03c0-0b82-11e9-b738-370d25a66356.jpg

large_29a58c40-0b82-11e9-b738-370d25a66356.jpg

Moving on from our picnic site, we stop at a small pond area that reveals a hippo and a couple of birds.

large_6e40bb50-0b86-11e9-b145-4b80c28c3318.jpg

large_7ac20690-0b86-11e9-b145-4b80c28c3318.jpg
Ruff

large_84b37f30-0b86-11e9-b145-4b80c28c3318.jpg
Three Banded Plover

Lions

Across the dry, grassy plains we barely see the tops of a pride of six lions, eating the remains of a warthog.

large_57f56640-0c2e-11e9-8a49-19d9b0c69f65.jpg

The older animals patiently wait for the youngsters to finish their meal for deciding to go off for water.

large_65108080-0c2e-11e9-8a49-19d9b0c69f65.jpg

large_709ee040-0c2e-11e9-8a49-19d9b0c69f65.jpg

Whirlwind

A really strange sound, like rubber tyres on tarmac, reaches us, and we become aware that it is a 'mini-tornado'. Quickly covering up all electronic equipment, by the time the whirlwind reaches us we become sandblasted and totally engulfed in dust. For ages afterwards we feel as if we are eating grit.

large_da011140-0c54-11e9-a032-53ebc14f0043.jpg

King of the Castle

A lot of the plains animals of Serengeti like to use termite mounds as look-out posts, surveying the surrounding landscape for any predators or prey depending on which end of the food chain they are.

large_1bb61020-0c34-11e9-b72c-45b718a6f8fe.jpg
Thomson's Gazelle

large_2da065b0-0c34-11e9-b72c-45b718a6f8fe.jpg
Hartebeest

large_1daf3620-0c36-11e9-8964-7128183ab869.jpg
Black Bellied Bustard

Topi

At a dried-out waterhole near Ogol Kopjes, a herd of topi have gathered to lap up what little water there is left.

large_72d72060-0c57-11e9-a032-53ebc14f0043.jpg

large_7e6b4c80-0c57-11e9-a032-53ebc14f0043.jpg

Over their lifetime topi go through six set of teeth, the last of which grow when they are around 15 years old. When they lose those teeth, in what is their old age, they basically starve to death. Nature can be so cruel at times.

large_8aad44d0-0c57-11e9-a032-53ebc14f0043.jpg

large_9546e450-0c57-11e9-a032-53ebc14f0043.jpg

Lioness

Not far away, in the shade of a tree, a healthy looking lioness is chilling.

large_c7b2f400-0c58-11e9-a032-53ebc14f0043.jpg

large_d239a7c0-0c58-11e9-a032-53ebc14f0043.jpg

She certainly looks like she has a belly full of food.

large_db5002a0-0c58-11e9-a032-53ebc14f0043.jpg

large_f256a2d0-0cec-11e9-af7a-87c0ea08cd01.jpg

When, after a lot of fidgeting, rolling, yawning and several changes of plan, she finally stands up, the topi are on high alert.

large_0ba55d80-0ced-11e9-af7a-87c0ea08cd01.jpg

large_1ce62ca0-0ced-11e9-af7a-87c0ea08cd01.jpg

large_2c05f080-0ced-11e9-af7a-87c0ea08cd01.jpg

large_38ea4350-0ced-11e9-af7a-87c0ea08cd01.jpg

large_46e2ec50-0ced-11e9-af7a-87c0ea08cd01.jpg

large_5c5f4240-0ced-11e9-af7a-87c0ea08cd01.jpg

large_ca17f160-0ced-11e9-af7a-87c0ea08cd01.jpg

large_65ce4470-0ced-11e9-af7a-87c0ea08cd01.jpg

Our beautiful girl has other ideas, however, and walks off in a different direction, towards a warthog in the far, far distance.

large_fde9c810-0ced-11e9-af7a-87c0ea08cd01.jpg

Then she changes her mind again – talk about fickle!

large_60366c80-0cee-11e9-af7a-87c0ea08cd01.jpg

When she has yet another change of plan and lies down in the long grass, we give up on her and move on to see what else “nature has to offer us” (one of Malisa's favourite sayings, which has now become mine too).

Yellow Fronted Sandgrouse

While spotting animals is theoretically easier during the dry season, the problem with coming this time of year is that everything is so brown; and birds, such as this Yellow Fronted Sandgrouse, are extremely well camouflaged. And photos look so...well, brown.

large_3ff63d50-0cef-11e9-af7a-87c0ea08cd01.jpg

large_82dfc190-0cef-11e9-ae40-4f773ad5b4e8.jpg

Baby Black Backed Jackal

Another brown animal on the brown earth surrounded by brown grass.

large_13a16760-0cf0-11e9-af7a-87c0ea08cd01.jpg

large_bfd3fce0-0cf6-11e9-8266-957da586b1f3.jpg
This one looks so much like a puppy dog, I just want to throw him a stick and shout "fetch!"

large_c9a40ad0-0cf6-11e9-8266-957da586b1f3.jpg
It looks like he heard me, as he has picked up a small piece of wood.

Aardvark

For the last four or five (or maybe even more) safaris we have taken in Tanzania, my dream has been to see an aardvark. Imagine my excitement when Malisa points out a fresh aardvark hole. That is, however, all we see. A hole.

large_8d5ef2e0-0cfd-11e9-9654-1de1005defe3.jpg

Helmeted Guineafowl

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while, will probably remember that we have a saying “just a chicken” referring to an incident back in 2007 in Sikkim when David exclaimed excitedly “Oh look, a colourful bird!” The driver let out a loud exhalation of air while stating in a most disinterested and almost despairing voice: “It's just a chicken”. Malisa has the intonation down to a T, and won't let David hear the end of it, referring to all guinea-fowls as “just a chicken”.

large_99abc0a0-0cfd-11e9-9654-1de1005defe3.jpg

large_1e6e0320-0d03-11e9-a1ec-b9e46f3b564f.jpg

large_27df7650-0d03-11e9-a1ec-b9e46f3b564f.jpg
Baby Thomson's Gazelle

large_3d64ccf0-0d03-11e9-9654-1de1005defe3.jpg
Hartebeest

The Research Pride

In case you have ever wondered, this is what eighteen sleeping lions look like.

large_45b4cff0-0d16-11e9-8589-35a2a1b059a5.jpg

There is some slow and gentle movement within the pride, but mostly it is all about that late afternoon siesta.

large_54e24f70-0d16-11e9-8589-35a2a1b059a5.jpg

large_5fee38c0-0d16-11e9-8589-35a2a1b059a5.jpg

large_79bd1ff0-0d16-11e9-8589-35a2a1b059a5.jpg

large_83160210-0d16-11e9-8589-35a2a1b059a5.jpg

Rimlit Lion

One of the (many) things I admire about Malisa, is the fact that he is very interested in photography himself and has an excellent eye for a great photo, knowing where to position the car for the best light for instance. When he sees a lion walking across the plains in the setting sun, Malisa has a plan...

large_2bc320e0-0d4a-11e9-bd92-5712c465e5cd.jpg

He keeps moving the car every minute or so, which means that we are shooting straight into the sun at all times as the lion continues walking with the occasional sit-down for a rest.

large_4cbbfc40-0d4a-11e9-bd92-5712c465e5cd.jpg

I try out a number of different camera settings for various high key and low key effects, and play with some of the images further in post processing too.

large_629f5160-0d4a-11e9-bd92-5712c465e5cd.jpg

large_6e0122e0-0d4a-11e9-bd92-5712c465e5cd.jpg

Of all the pictures I took, I think this is probably my favourite and is most like the image I had in mind when deliberately underexposing to get that rim-light effect.

large_9e3bf020-0d4a-11e9-bd92-5712c465e5cd.jpg

Reedbuck

Trying to remain inconspicuous by hiding in a tree, this reedbuck's camouflage tactics are no match for Malisa's eagle eye.

large_3d05ee60-0da3-11e9-bb18-356356cde0d9.jpg

Yet another lion

We have certainly seen more than our fair share of big cats today (31 lions at six different sightings and three cheetahs). Lyn spots this one, initially just seeing the lower parts of his legs as he rolls over in the long grass.

large_2bf6af30-0da6-11e9-bb18-356356cde0d9.jpg

The Golden Hour – every photographer's favourite time of day.

large_581c4250-0da6-11e9-bb18-356356cde0d9.jpg

large_065057b0-0dae-11e9-87e5-1d318e42ea4d.jpg

Our young man is fighting a losing battle with the pesky tse tse flies.

large_edb1da30-0dad-11e9-87e5-1d318e42ea4d.jpg

large_dfdd8210-0dad-11e9-87e5-1d318e42ea4d.jpg

He's not a happy bunny.

large_8c3e1420-0dae-11e9-87e5-1d318e42ea4d.jpg

Sunset

We make Malisa stop for more photos as the setting sun peeks from behind a low cloud, creating some of my favourite crepuscular rays.

large_865d9640-0db6-11e9-87e5-1d318e42ea4d.jpg

I continue shooting as Malisa makes his way to the camp. As usual it is a mad dash to get back before darkness sets in (it is against the law to drive within the national parks in Tanzania after darkness).

large_a88eca90-0db6-11e9-87e5-1d318e42ea4d.jpg

large_ba4cb8f0-0db6-11e9-87e5-1d318e42ea4d.jpg

'Drive-by shooting' is never easy from a moving safari vehicle on a dusty, bumpy dirt track, but I don't think I am doing too badly with some of these photos.

large_c392af50-0db6-11e9-87e5-1d318e42ea4d.jpg

large_cc717f70-0db6-11e9-87e5-1d318e42ea4d.jpg

We make it back to base just as the last remnants of daylight leaves the African plains, all too soon followed by that all-encompassing darkness you only see in places with very little light pollution.

large_12499820-0db7-11e9-87e5-1d318e42ea4d.jpg

Celebratory Dinner

After a quick shower and pre-dinner drink while we get ready, we meet up with the anniversary lovebirds for an evening of celebrations. The dining room looks very welcoming with soft lighting, period furniture and white tablecloths

large_cdfbb000-0e05-11e9-ac2c-410ab95bcda8.jpg

Tonight Malisa has been given permission to eat with us as we are celebrating Lyn and Chris' 40th Wedding Anniversary. It's a shame that he couldn't join us for dinner every night – that would make this place absolutely perfect!

large_df70fca0-0e05-11e9-ac2c-410ab95bcda8.jpg

After dinner all the staff come out playing drums and singing the customary celebration song, just as they did at Ang'Ata Nyeti. Poles apart, the two lots of accommodation couldn't be more different, yet both extremely enjoyable and both places made us feel part of the family. Only two other people are staying here tonight, and I feel somewhat sorry for them as they are rather left out of all the fun!

large_f7890c10-0e05-11e9-ac2c-410ab95bcda8.jpg

large_0cd32e70-0e06-11e9-ac2c-410ab95bcda8.jpg

large_23cbc420-0e06-11e9-ac2c-410ab95bcda8.jpg

large_30607050-0e06-11e9-ac2c-410ab95bcda8.jpg

large_3bdaabd0-0e06-11e9-ac2c-410ab95bcda8.jpg

Once it is all over we go back to Lyn and Chris' tent for a couple of drinks before returning to our own tent and settling in to bed ready for another early start tomorrow morning.

Thank you yet again to Calabash Adventures for making this dream safari come true, and to Tillya for the fabulous surprise stay in Ole Serai.

large_495cc540-0e06-11e9-ac2c-410ab95bcda8.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 14:08 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds sunset party dinner safari tanzania celebrations birding picnic lions serengeti topi starling jackal bustard game_drive whirlwind calabash_adventures hartebeest tse_tse_flies plover guineafowl superb_starling game_viewing 40th_anniversary 40_years ole_serai sandgrouse lunch_picnic ruff mini_tornado thomson's_gazelle aardvark research_pride rimlit Comments (2)

(Entries 1 - 6 of 6) Page [1]