Another early start in the dark today, complete with luggage as we are moving on to pastures new. Leaving Mbuzi Mawe this morning, we are all feeling the cold.
Lilac Breasted Roller
Much as I really enjoy leaving at the crack of dawn to make the most of the day on the savannah, this first hour or so is not conducive to photography. Darkness = high ISO = grainy and dull images.
This morning we appear to be in the heart of the migration, with wildebeest all around us. Unfortunately, with the animals come the tse tse flies. Nasty little buggers and they are particularly numerous and bothersome where there are trees, such as here.
Hot Air Balloon
A hot air balloon glides gracefully over the savannah as we make our way through the park.
Grey Headed Kingfisher
I think it must have rained heavily during the night, as the river is flowing over the causeway this morning.
Lappet Faced Vulture
Everywhere we look there are zebras. A huge herd – or dazzle – of zebras. Long lines of zebras. Adult zebras. Baby zebras. Lactating zebras. Mating zebras. Eating zebras. Zebra crossings. And more zebras. And then some.
Two young brothers can barely be seen above the long grass. Having just eaten (we missed it), they saunter off into the distance.
We follow a troop of baboons along the road for a while.
The baby is very young - no more than two or three days old at the most.
But I still think he looks like an old man.
Such a tender family moment!
That moment when your dad has got you by the scruff of the neck but mum is looking out for you.
Located in Seronera in Central Serengeti, the visitors centre is a good place to stop for several reasons:
1. they have new and very clean / modern toilets (I have a problem again today)
2. there is a nice picnic area with lots of semi-tame birds, hyraxes and mongooses
3. an intersting exhibition displays information about Serengeti in general and the wildebeest migration in particular
4. there is also a nice little nature walk on elevated wooden walkways.
Sadly the boardwalk is closed for crucial repairs today, but we are given a guided tour of the information centre.
Those of you who have been following this blog from the beginning, will know that I have a wish list, and that aardvark is on that list (and has been for the last four safaris here in Tanzania - it became a running joke with our previous driver Dickson). I still haven’t seen one, so I have to make do with a mural on the wall.
Rock and Tree Hyrax
It is very hard to tell the difference between these two different animals – the tree hyrax has a lighter stripe down the back, but it is not always obvious.
And I guess the Tree Hyrax is more often found in …. yes, you guessed it … trees.
But not always.
Although the hyrax, also called rock rabbit or dassie, are similar to the guinea pig in looks, its closest living relative is the elephant! They are present throughout most of Sub-Saharan Africa, and in some places they can become quite unafraid of humans and are considered a pest!
A hyrax with ambition: pretending to be a wildebeest.
Grey Capped Social Weaver
The Gowler African Adventure
On previous holidays with Lyn and Chris (canal barge cruising) we have always had a themed day where we all dress up for a bit of fun, so this time I made these T-shirts for us all to wear, with the ‘team logo’. This safari has been in the planning stages for well over a year, and along the way we have had a lot of fun.
After our usual packed breakfast at the picnic site here in the Visitors Centre, we continue our game drive, exploring more of the Serengeti.
Black Faced Vervet Monkey
Although we can only just see the tops of their backs, we can certainly smell them!
Black Headed Heron
Wire Tailed Swallow
Q: What do you call a group of giraffes?
A: A tower, journey, corps or herd.
There’s a bit of trivia for your next pub quiz.
Suddenly they all turn to face the same direction and continue staring that way for quite some time. I wonder what they have spotted?
We'll never know.
They’re everywhere. So many of them – we count 31!
One of the older ladies appear a little ‘eccentric’, carrying grass on the top of her back.
Having a good scratch.
You know the grass is long when you can lose a couple of baby elephants in it.
For the next half an hour, the herd of elephants (also known as a memory or parade) slowly meander all around us – sometimes very close - as they munch their way across the savannah.
A lone male lion tries to hide in a prickly bush.
Earlier we saw an almost white giraffe, whereas this one is very dark. I had no idea giraffes vary so much in their colouration!
White Browed Coucal
Tse Tse Flies
This area seems to be teeming with these pesky little flies, and I get bitten around fifteen times in as many minutes. They hurt when they bite you and itch like **** afterwards.
Lions in a tree
Just like I was complaining about the tse tse flies a few minutes ago, lions sometimes climb onto tree branches to get away from them, but as you can see from the photo below, it doesn’t seem to make any difference.
On the other side is another lion in another tree.
After a while, another car pulls up. As usual, we can hear the Americans before we see them. They take a few shots with their mobile phones and numerous more selfies before they move on again. They are not even here for three minutes.
We, on the other hand, stick around to see what the lionesses might do, and are rewarded with a bit of action. If you can call it that – at least it is some movement rather than just photographing sleeping lions. Or photographing ourselves with sleeping lions in the background.
The lone lioness from the other tree decides to join her mates.
There is a lot of shuffling going on, they never seem to find a particularly comfortable position. I can see why you'll never see a male lion in a tree!
Look at the number of flies on this poor girl's face! It's no wonder she is not comfortable.
Well, that was certainly worth enduring the tse tse flies for!
Time to stop for lunch, and a convenient time to break this blog entry. This afternoon’s game drive will feature in a new entry
Thank you so much to our guide Malisa and Calabash Adventures - the best safari company by a long shot.