A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about vultures

Ndtutu XIII - drowned wildebeest, jackals, lions

What a stench!


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

Today we are leaving Ndutu and heading to pastures new. A pretty sunrise sees us on our way.

large_8664aa30-c150-11ea-b9f3-576ee05d431c.jpg

large_92818e50-c150-11ea-b9f3-576ee05d431c.jpg

large_a0574600-c150-11ea-b9f3-576ee05d431c.jpg

Vultures at Lake Masek

Initially we cannot fathom out why so many vultures are descending on the shores of the lake.

large_32fc2520-c44e-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg

large_3c5ca860-c44e-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg

large_46510730-c44e-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg

There are vultures (and Marabou Stork) everywhere: on the ground, in the trees, flying in! I think all Ndutu's vultures are here in this spot!

large_51635920-c44e-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg

large_92be7530-c44e-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg

large_9eca9070-c44e-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg

The sound of their huge wings flapping as the come in to land is really quite something to hear.

large_c55078e0-c44e-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg

Then we see it: Floating wildebeest carcasses – animals who drowned trying to cross the river.

large_d823f5f0-c44e-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg

large_38677200-c451-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg

Not just one, but dozens of bloated, putrid decomposing bodies. The stench of the rotting flesh is heinous.

large_62c3efd0-c44f-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg

large_8066e970-c44f-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg

large_90353cd0-c44f-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg

For some light relief I turn my head towards the heavens, where the dark sky has now opened up a small window to let the sunrise through.

large_c3c6d630-c44f-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg

I spend some time watching the large flocks of egrets making their way across other parts of the sky while I wait patiently for a bird or two to fly past the sunrise window.

large_1480e200-c450-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg

large_2d1e2700-c450-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg

large_67780c90-c450-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg

Meanwhile, the hole in the cloud is rapidly changing shape, and finally I get lucky!

large_72d28b10-c450-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg

large_982daf20-c450-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg

Not being able to stand the atrocious stink any longer, we move on to see what else nature has to offer us today.

large_6857ac40-c452-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg
Grey Capped Social Weaver

large_78818d20-c452-11ea-97db-61e9ae2cd7fb.jpg
Vitelline Masked Weaver

Black Backed Jackals

large_ecb04cf0-c456-11ea-bf63-f91bcde4b6d8.jpg

large_f5a76000-c456-11ea-bf63-f91bcde4b6d8.jpg

large_fff7e890-c456-11ea-bf63-f91bcde4b6d8.jpg

large_ed54d610-c471-11ea-ad59-13e6db04cded.jpg
Temmincks Stint

Avocets

large_06a1e310-c472-11ea-ad59-13e6db04cded.jpg

large_1c035e00-c472-11ea-ad59-13e6db04cded.jpg

large_2e39d7c0-c472-11ea-ad59-13e6db04cded.jpg
Gull Billed Tern

large_ec3c1b10-d04e-11ea-a2c2-9ffb384ef3c0.jpg
Giraffe

Lion

As we are following the contour of the lake, Malisa is busy looking around as always. I feel sure, however, that he has seen the lion whose paw is across the track we are driving on. He makes no attempt at slowing down, so I start to alert him to the big cat, without wanting to shout and scare the lion away. My warning comes out a little meek and feeble: “erm..... stop...?” Of course, for the rest of the trip, the boys tease me mercilessly about it.

large_2cef7580-d03b-11ea-86e3-47c8cc928e3a.jpg

By the time Malisa swerves out of the way onto the grass alongside the track and stops, the lion is most certainly not happy.

large_55abed00-d03b-11ea-86e3-47c8cc928e3a.jpg

We move a little further away for our safety and the lions comfort. He obviously realises that lying in the road is not a good ideas, and gets up, sniffs the air and marks his territory before moving off.

large_785f2290-d03b-11ea-86e3-47c8cc928e3a.jpg

large_afe5eaf0-d03b-11ea-86e3-47c8cc928e3a.jpg

We follow him down to the lakeside, where he sees one of the many dead wildebeest floating in the lake. You can tell that he so wants it, but it is just that too far away for him too reach.

large_82582530-d04f-11ea-9b7a-ed18610915d2.jpg

large_bcd30040-d04f-11ea-9b7a-ed18610915d2.jpg

We hang around, hoping he is going to go for a swim, but he obviously doesn't want to get his hair wet, and makes a rapid beeline for the thicket further inland instead, walking with a definite purpose.

large_f87e9320-d04f-11ea-9b7a-ed18610915d2.jpg

large_fd37a900-d03c-11ea-86e3-47c8cc928e3a.jpg

large_26dcd2d0-d03d-11ea-86e3-47c8cc928e3a.jpg

He wanders into the bush. We follow. There is a delicious smell of mint wafting across the savannah as we bulldoze our way through the undergrowth to follow the lion – such a pleasant change after the grim odour from the wildebeest carcasses earlier.

large_19317af0-d047-11ea-a2c2-9ffb384ef3c0.jpg

large_4590a590-d050-11ea-9b7a-ed18610915d2.jpg

So that's what he is heading for!

large_bb3532f0-d048-11ea-a2c2-9ffb384ef3c0.jpg

large_e0879280-d04a-11ea-a2c2-9ffb384ef3c0.jpg

She's coming down!

large_58688c40-d04c-11ea-a2c2-9ffb384ef3c0.jpg

She most likely sought refuge in the tree as a respite from her mate's sexual advances, and now she's ready for some more action.

large_51542670-d04d-11ea-a2c2-9ffb384ef3c0.jpg

We watch as she disappears into the ever-thickening shrubs. The terrain where she is going is too dense for us to follow, we are already in a place outside our normal comfort zone.

large_bf024e40-d04d-11ea-a2c2-9ffb384ef3c0.jpg

“How do we get out of here?” I ask Malisa. “I have no idea” he replies as he creates a new 'track' through the bush.

large_0ab6ec30-d051-11ea-9b7a-ed18610915d2.jpg


We return to the area where the lion was watching the wildebeest carcass for our breakfast in the car (too dangerous to get out with the predators around), hoping he'll come back.


large_87ee2760-d059-11ea-8e10-117197f8b284.jpg

He doesn't, so we continue on our way to see what else nature has to offer us.

Thank you to Calabash Adventures for this amazing safari.

large_51aed420-d04e-11ea-a2c2-9ffb384ef3c0.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 03:51 Archived in Tanzania Tagged birds sunrise africa safari tanzania birding lion vultures avocet weaver bird_watching ndutu calabash_adventures lake_masek marabou_stork jackals african_animals wildebeest_carcasses social_weaver masked_weaver black_backed_jackals lion_in_a-tree erm_stop Comments (2)

Ndutu VI - vultures, hartebeest, elephants, jackals, lions

A lovely morning on the savannah


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

Zebra

Looks like we have us some zebra love here.

large_00ce6f70-801c-11ea-97c3-8f813a50bdcd.jpg

large_90e0c270-801c-11ea-9bba-bf6c356f4457.jpg

It's pretty obvious that this liaison isn't going to result in any zebra babies!

large_bd67af70-801c-11ea-9bba-bf6c356f4457.jpg

It looks like a kinky threesome to me.

large_0d35fbb0-801d-11ea-9bba-bf6c356f4457.jpg

large_cdd34250-801e-11ea-9bba-bf6c356f4457.jpg
Cattle Egret

Wildebeest Buffet

Marabou Stork and a variety of Vultures feast on a wildebeest carcass left behind by a much larger predator. These scavenging raptors are the hyenas of the skies, playing a vital ecological clean-up role by disposing of decomposing carcasses.

large_e9674c10-8171-11ea-8fb6-f99ebde399ec.jpg

There is always a strict pecking order at such buffets, with the Lapped Faced Vulture being the first, as with their powerful hooked beaks they are the only raptor able to open up the carcass to allow other, smaller vultures to access the innards.

large_2fda1e20-8172-11ea-8fb6-f99ebde399ec.jpg

These huge and aggressive birds stand more than a metre tall with wingspans of around three metres. They are also, however, known for being particularly affectionate and mate for life, which in the wild can be up to thirty years.

large_6dc2a8b0-8172-11ea-8fb6-f99ebde399ec.jpg
I have to say that he doesn't look very 'affectionate'.

large_92d55210-8172-11ea-8fb6-f99ebde399ec.jpg

Their heads are free of feathers to avoid blood clinging to it as they bury themselves deep into the carcass to get at the sinew, their preferred food. Potent stomach acids help them deal with the most putrid carcass.

large_b5d6f5c0-8172-11ea-8fb6-f99ebde399ec.jpg

Vultures can store up to one kilo of consumed flesh in the distensible section of their oesophagus, called a crop. They have been known to eat so much that they become too heavy to physically take off; although should they sense danger, they are able to empty the crop for a quick get-away.

large_f2841a20-8172-11ea-8fb6-f99ebde399ec.jpg

large_fdc2fa50-8172-11ea-8fb6-f99ebde399ec.jpg

Different species of vultures have different shaped beaks, which means they eat different parts of a carcass, hence they should - theoretically - all be able to eat peacefully at the 'dinner table'.

large_4ca0f320-8173-11ea-8fb6-f99ebde399ec.jpg

Hartebeest

A large antelope, standing at around 1 metre at the shoulders (3 feet), hartebeest are gregarious animals that are usually found in herds, such as here.

large_335e29e0-8174-11ea-a636-214cb5ae88e5.jpg

large_3dd79730-8174-11ea-a636-214cb5ae88e5.jpg

large_47f772d0-8174-11ea-a636-214cb5ae88e5.jpg

Now let's go back to what I said about the size of the Lapped Faced Vulture: should the bird be standing next to the Hartebeest, this is what it would look like.

large_8c95f480-9c17-11ea-ae5d-c340613716a3.jpg

Giraffe

A lonesome giraffe eats his way across the savannah.

large_7c7abf30-8174-11ea-a636-214cb5ae88e5.jpg

large_862f55e0-8174-11ea-a636-214cb5ae88e5.jpg

Golden Jackal

She is sniffing around, looking for something, maybe food or a scent.

large_89ea9910-8188-11ea-b156-cd1fcb4efcd8.jpg

large_94736fb0-8188-11ea-b156-cd1fcb4efcd8.jpg

She finds a hole and disappears into it.

large_9d9674c0-8188-11ea-b156-cd1fcb4efcd8.jpg

Elephants

large_a4720560-8189-11ea-b156-cd1fcb4efcd8.jpg

large_ae16e4a0-8189-11ea-b156-cd1fcb4efcd8.jpg

It's interesting to see the different lengths and angles of the tusks of these two elephants.

large_b82c38f0-8189-11ea-b156-cd1fcb4efcd8.jpg

large_0fc2a570-819b-11ea-a0fc-a72bce846f5d.jpg
Kori Bustard

large_e85234b0-8244-11ea-ac91-c76f44b16d88.jpg
Eurasian Avocet

large_1a56ddc0-824b-11ea-a801-a948f259bc59.jpg
Common Pratincole

Lions

At first the only evidence of the lions sleeping under this tree, is a paw sticking up.

large_9e53e660-824e-11ea-b792-91ccc74b5f9e.jpg

Later we a head appears, then drops down again.

large_aa24cd60-824e-11ea-b792-91ccc74b5f9e.jpg

We let sleeping lions be, and carry on exploring.

Another Lion

A young male lion is surveying the landscape from a hillock overlooking Big Marsh.

large_6f678360-8254-11ea-b373-2545d0170f9e.jpg

We can tell he is young – less than seven years old – from the fact that his nose is still pink. As they get older, their nose becomes black all over.

large_7b63e730-8254-11ea-b373-2545d0170f9e.jpg

He gets up and walks down onto the flat area.

large_86c2d280-8254-11ea-b373-2545d0170f9e.jpg

large_b3ddded0-8278-11ea-882f-1752620101bf.jpg

large_bf5a6440-8278-11ea-882f-1752620101bf.jpg

We move down to the flats too, and at one stage he comes up and lies under our car for the shade!

large_f1248410-8278-11ea-882f-1752620101bf.jpg

large_01dd3770-8279-11ea-882f-1752620101bf.jpg

large_0bfec0c0-8279-11ea-882f-1752620101bf.jpg

Eventually he seems to settle down and go to sleep – in the middle of the sun – so we drive off to find somewhere to have our lunch.

large_2f896a90-8279-11ea-882f-1752620101bf.jpg

Picnic at Big Marsh

Malisa finds a great lunch spot overlooking a sea of wildebeest on Big Marsh.

large_0f5d44e0-8304-11ea-8af0-096050007715.jpg

There is something really special about getting the picnic chairs out, in the company of wild animals.

large_7a9bcc40-8304-11ea-8af0-096050007715.jpg

large_d80b0920-8347-11ea-916c-23b90f866ab7.jpg

There are literally thousands of wildebeest down on the marsh.

large_c3254950-8304-11ea-8af0-096050007715.jpg

large_d2511b20-8304-11ea-8af0-096050007715.jpg

large_dc2ebda0-8304-11ea-8af0-096050007715.jpg

Judging by the number of Superb Starlings who join us, I would guess this is a popular picnic spot.

large_0b518b30-8305-11ea-8af0-096050007715.jpg

large_1c77a660-8305-11ea-8af0-096050007715.jpg

large_2673f470-8305-11ea-8af0-096050007715.jpg
"Got any food for me?"

I might just accidentally drop a piece of cake on the ground while I was eating; it is so easily done.

large_dd8b7200-8305-11ea-8af0-096050007715.jpg

large_e6ae9e20-8305-11ea-8af0-096050007715.jpg

Just as we are packing up, we hear a commotion down on the marsh, with thousands of hooves beating the ground as the whole herd – or confusion as a group of wildebeest are known as – make a run for it. Soon there are none.

large_3579c050-8308-11ea-8af0-096050007715.jpg
Just a couple of minutes ago, this was heaving with animals

I have no idea what spooked them, so we pop down to find out.

This safari was arranged by Calabash Adventures, the best safari operators by far.

large_df4b4310-8308-11ea-8af0-096050007715.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 07:10 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals wildlife elephants bird africa safari tanzania zebra birding african picnic start lions giraffe egret vultures avocet starlings wildebeest jackal kori_bustard bustard ndutu calabash_adventures hartebeest marabou_stork pratincole golden_jackal picnic_lunch picnic_box wildlife_photography big_marsh wildebeest_carcass feeding_the_birds superb-starling Comments (2)

Lake Manyara - Serengeti - Mating Hyena, Serval

Not just one serval, but two! And a surprise camp.


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

Ngorongoro Crater Viewpoint

This is one of my most favourite places on this earth. I will never tire of seeing this view of the Ngorongoro Crater from above.

large_9e171fe0-5c0c-11ea-b7b9-8f541ac820f2.jpg

When we came to Tanzania with our friends Lyn and Chris in 2016 for their very first safari, Chris was totally overwhelmed when we arrived at this point, and for the first time on the trip exclaimed: “WOW”. He is not normally a 'wow-man', so that was saying something.

Lyn and Chris we unable to accompany us on this trip, but we did manage to sort out a second best – having brought large photographs of them with us to recreate this 'wow-moment' in this place.

large_a8d0ca80-5c0c-11ea-b7b9-8f541ac820f2.jpg

Nyati Picnic Site

We stop for lunch at a designated site overlooking the crater. Hoping guests will leave a few crumbs behind, there are always a lot of birds to be found here.

large_e2ae7b30-5c0c-11ea-b7b9-8f541ac820f2.jpg
Black Kite

large_f04d4460-5c0c-11ea-b7b9-8f541ac820f2.jpg
Red Collared Widowbird - an exciting lifer!

large_0238ab60-5c0d-11ea-b7b9-8f541ac820f2.jpg
Baglafecht Weaver

large_125015b0-5c0d-11ea-b7b9-8f541ac820f2.jpg
Common Bulbul and Baglafecht Weaver

large_243c8e20-5c0d-11ea-b7b9-8f541ac820f2.jpg
White Necked Raven - another lifer

large_3266a760-5c0d-11ea-b7b9-8f541ac820f2.jpg
Black Kite circling above

As we are eating, the temperatures suddenly falls considerably, and soon we feel the arrival of large, heavy rain drops. Getting a little wet along the way, we hurriedly return to the car to continue on our journey. We still have a couple of hours' drive before we even reach Serengeti National Park at Naabi Hill Gate, and then there is a further half an hour drive to our camp.

large_8f707c40-5c0f-11ea-b7b9-8f541ac820f2.jpg

When the heavens open and we get a torrential rain shower, Malisa starts to worry about a certain river we have to cross on the way. As we are on the only road to Serengeti in this area, it would be a major problem if we were to be unable to get across.

large_c8d887c0-5c0f-11ea-a2be-f9db636cfe19.jpg

When the rain stops, the road becomes steamy in the oppressive heat.

large_4c8e5590-5c10-11ea-a2be-f9db636cfe19.jpg

Zebra

Here in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, we often see wild animals intermingling with domestic sheep, goats or cattle; or even humans, such as here.

large_97feed90-5c7f-11ea-ade9-e31846de5859.jpg

large_cfd27b90-5c6d-11ea-a047-b757a1db4f3d.jpg
Zebra mum with her three day old baby

We are initially concerned when we see this tiny baby lying motionless next to his mother, but much to our relief, he eventually sits up.

large_f06f6430-5c81-11ea-9098-0f9e4bf55493.jpg

large_42fcb3f0-5c83-11ea-9098-0f9e4bf55493.jpg

It looks like the ink ran out during the printing process of this one.

large_8f7d9f60-5c82-11ea-9098-0f9e4bf55493.jpg

large_58954f00-5c84-11ea-be23-a9fb4b5fff0d.jpg

This sculpture is new since we were here last, some fifteen months ago – advertising Oldupai Gorge, AKA The Cradle of Mankind, where hominid footprints were found and a new museum has opened up.

large_fc73a120-5c8a-11ea-854c-c79fdf1a0379.jpg
The skulls are not life sized

large_69c243d0-5c8b-11ea-854c-c79fdf1a0379.jpg

As we make our way across the area known as the Short Grass Plains, we see the tail end of the migration – the horizon is dotted with the black outlines of wildebeest making their way to the Ndutu area for the birth of their babies.

We have now arrived at the river crossing that Malisa was worried about previously. He gingerly makes his way through the flooded river, and thankfully we make it to the other side without incident. Phew!

large_f2437830-5c92-11ea-8a6e-054be8c88feb.jpg

Vultures on a carcass

A number of various vultures have descended on a predator's leftovers, and have now eaten so much they are unable to fly for the moment.

large_72d64930-5c95-11ea-a9c7-239d4bdf5d6b.jpg

Look at this guy at the front: he is so full he can't even move, let alone fly!

large_b437cde0-5c95-11ea-a538-7159602f3413.jpg

Ostriches

This family consists of seven babies who are around two-three months old. Unusually, we only see one female adult: male ostriches have been known to take a harem of up to fifteen concubines!

large_57bb0480-5c98-11ea-9062-ad901cb5fe2d.jpg

large_5fc23950-5c98-11ea-9062-ad901cb5fe2d.jpg

To think how wet and muddy everything was earlier – look at the dust generated here by the other car!

large_3e495780-5ca3-11ea-83b2-91743d46ed18.jpg

large_a15ddfd0-5ca3-11ea-83b2-91743d46ed18.jpg
Migratory Abdim's Storks flying in from Europe

large_e9700a00-5ca3-11ea-88ad-dd9e5b8e0ca1.jpg

Hyenas

We see a couple of hyenas strutting their stuff, before 'getting intimate'.

large_a44d82b0-5cc4-11ea-af29-d53a97374bfa.jpg

large_b040e5d0-5cc4-11ea-af29-d53a97374bfa.jpg

Jealousy is not a pretty emotion – a third hyena takes great interest in what they are doing, but gets chased off by the initial suitor.

large_f45c5a60-5cc4-11ea-af29-d53a97374bfa.jpg

large_05bd82c0-5cc5-11ea-af29-d53a97374bfa.jpg

large_160a06d0-5cc5-11ea-af29-d53a97374bfa.jpg

A Golden Jackal comes over to investigate. This confuses me: why would a jackal be interested in a couple of mating hyenas? Malisa explains that the growling sound made by the male seeing off his rival, is like the noise they make when squabbling over food.

large_711dea00-5cc5-11ea-af29-d53a97374bfa.jpg

The jackal shakes his head and makes a dozen or more tsetse flies homeless.

large_ff952aa0-5cc5-11ea-af29-d53a97374bfa.jpg

He realises that food is the last thing on the hyenas mind, and slopes off, disappointedly.

large_a95b3bb0-5cc6-11ea-af29-d53a97374bfa.jpg

Meanwhile, our hyena ménage à trois are back at it.

large_a872b6d0-5cce-11ea-928b-8506a63f1ab0.jpg

And the interloper is still not welcome.

large_178fff00-5ccf-11ea-928b-8506a63f1ab0.jpg

Neither of them are prepared to give in, and they go round in circles for a while.

large_55291490-5cd0-11ea-928b-8506a63f1ab0.jpg

Quite literally.

large_32a63670-5cd3-11ea-8119-854aa274de4d.jpg

Eventually he manages to get rid of his rival for good.

large_ac503af0-5cd5-11ea-8fee-ddc809056728.jpg

large_bc402010-5cd5-11ea-8fee-ddc809056728.jpg

We too move on as we still have quite a long way to go.

large_3752d1c0-5cd7-11ea-8a31-cfdb268af43b.jpg
Gabar Goshawk

There are several of these on the ground and in the trees.

large_e3d4a770-5cd7-11ea-88b6-85a520179562.jpg

More Hyenas

A few miles later two males are in a dispute over a female. Again.

large_572d9620-5cdb-11ea-a6ad-8159afe0763a.jpg

large_649aa0f0-5cdb-11ea-a6ad-8159afe0763a.jpg

Naabi Gate

The entrance gate to Serengeti National Park at Naabi Hill is one giant building site at the moment, and the lovely little pool which always used to attract such a great variety of birds, has all gone; as have the birds. David is also disappointed that the grocery store doesn't stock any of his favourite Savanna Cider; so we both sit and sulk in the car until Malisa comes back from registering us into the park.

Death by Poison

It is hard to see from this photo, but there is a carcass of a wildebeest, with a dead hyena next to it. Malisa believes that the wildebeest died from eating poison grass, which was so toxic that the hyena died almost as soon as he tucked into the meat! Now the two bodies lie there decomposing as a stark warning to other animals not to get anywhere near it for fear of death! Instinct tells animals to leave well alone - isn't nature grand?

large_ac42b8e0-5d42-11ea-80c6-af92b21e4b03.jpg

large_dda8ff10-5d48-11ea-9124-5d08f4da0c63.jpg
Immature Steppe Eagle

large_7b1dd590-5d49-11ea-9124-5d08f4da0c63.jpg
Black Backed Jackal

large_6fe19800-5d4a-11ea-9124-5d08f4da0c63.jpg
Tawny Eagle

There is so much water about after the rains, with flooding everywhere, and the Short Grass Plains will have to be renamed, as the grass is no longer short.

large_d1b66270-5d4c-11ea-88a0-e59c35b1c59a.jpg

large_934ac860-5d50-11ea-871e-416c8e4637c8.jpg

large_a946ae90-5d50-11ea-871e-416c8e4637c8.jpg

large_b49bd5e0-5d50-11ea-871e-416c8e4637c8.jpg

large_be19f340-5d50-11ea-871e-416c8e4637c8.jpg

Serval

Suddenly Malisa spots something altogether more interesting. This timid cat doesn't hang around long enough for us to photograph him properly and with the aforementioned 'short grass' being so long, it makes it all too easy for him to hide.

large_428a7740-5cdd-11ea-a6ad-8159afe0763a.jpg

large_51ca6d50-5cdd-11ea-a6ad-8159afe0763a.jpg

All we can see is a couple of black stripes in amongst the vegetation.

large_5c3d9910-5cdd-11ea-a6ad-8159afe0763a.jpg

He turns around briefly, but is still very obscured by the greenery.

large_6650ca80-5cdd-11ea-a6ad-8159afe0763a.jpg

Wandamu River

“You cannot be serious Malisa?”

large_7b636f70-5d5c-11ea-a7bc-bde23a055fa1.jpg

The crossing looks completely and utterly impossible. I cannot believe that Malisa would even think of attempting this! I hold my breath as he gingerly moves the car along the 'road', hidden somewhere under an unknown depth of water cleverly disguised as a river.

large_997864c0-5d5c-11ea-a7bc-bde23a055fa1.jpg

We are surely going to get washed away?

large_a8ddbd20-5d5c-11ea-a2a6-737c065709b9.jpg

This image is not taken from the safety of a bridge, it is looking straight down out of the car window.

large_b94c9640-5d5c-11ea-a2a6-737c065709b9.jpg

Phew! I breathe a huge sigh of relief as we get to the other side without incident. I am not a nervous passenger by any stretch of the imagination, but I have to admit even I had serious concerns about our safety here. Thankfully Malisa really knows what he is doing and I should have realised that he would never attempt it if he's had any doubts. Sorry Malisa.

large_4fb67240-5d5d-11ea-a2a6-737c065709b9.jpg

Geese

Meanwhile, on the dam by the ford, there is a family of Egyptian Geese with several babies. My racing heart has still not settled down from the river crossing as I try to enjoy looking at the chicks.

large_1a1ad0b0-5d60-11ea-a2a6-737c065709b9.jpg

large_23298a70-5d60-11ea-a2a6-737c065709b9.jpg

large_4d9df4b0-5d6c-11ea-bd80-192b1c7d5308.jpg

large_c231b4b0-5d6c-11ea-bd80-192b1c7d5308.jpg

large_04b7e340-5d6d-11ea-bd80-192b1c7d5308.jpg

large_509482f0-5d6d-11ea-bd80-192b1c7d5308.jpg

large_9abc1fa0-5d6d-11ea-bd80-192b1c7d5308.jpg

large_dd1d8820-5d6d-11ea-bd80-192b1c7d5308.jpg

large_c853a760-5d6f-11ea-92bc-9f62bf1159fe.jpg

large_b4cf5940-5d61-11ea-9c0c-6d735756af75.jpg
There are also hippos in the water

large_0cdf5c30-5d6b-11ea-bd80-192b1c7d5308.jpg

large_ae866ab0-5d6b-11ea-bd80-192b1c7d5308.jpg

large_f43e2950-5d9b-11ea-8e03-9546c4988617.jpg
Giraffes in the distance

Serval

Would you believe it! Servals are such rare cats to spot, and here we see two different ones within an hour of each other!

large_ce572380-5d9c-11ea-8e03-9546c4988617.jpg

This one is also almost completely hidden by the tall grass though.

large_d96c5ba0-5d9c-11ea-8e03-9546c4988617.jpg

Helmeted Guineafowl

More babies!

large_e587eac0-5d9d-11ea-8e03-9546c4988617.jpg

large_060888e0-5d9e-11ea-8e03-9546c4988617.jpg

large_0fe80020-5d9e-11ea-8e03-9546c4988617.jpg

Sunset

It is getting late now and the daylight is fading fast. Here, so near the equator, the twilight is short and darkness descends quickly.

large_b4eee390-5e2f-11ea-b472-f1242bd2f98e.jpg

Matawi Serengeti Camp

We knew earlier today that we wouldn't be staying at the 'advertised' accommodation, but Malisa would not tell us where Tillya had (yet again) upgraded us to.

The approach road to the camp is no more than a couple of tyre tracks in the grass, and the reception area is extremely low key. With only six luxury tents, this camp is very exclusive and private, with exceptionally friendly service.

large_76c84f80-5e38-11ea-9c68-e52781d27fa6.jpg
The communal tent where the reception, lounge, bar and restaurant are found

We are asked if we'd prefer a double or a twin room, and on confirming the latter, we are taken to our tent by an askari (Maasai guard).

large_eb39ba70-5e38-11ea-9c68-e52781d27fa6.jpg

The tent is large, with one double and one single mosquito-screened bed; two armchairs and a small coffee table, a little fridge (great for keeping the Coke and cider cold), a writing desk and chair, free standing claw-feet bath, and a separate shower and toilet.

large_7da62a10-5e39-11ea-9c68-e52781d27fa6.jpg

large_8781d0c0-5e39-11ea-9c68-e52781d27fa6.jpg
What a strange idea to put spiky branches in a vase on the coffee table!

large_9c553c80-5e39-11ea-9c68-e52781d27fa6.jpg

large_a4e94800-5e39-11ea-9c68-e52781d27fa6.jpg

Dinner

As the only guests staying we are greeted warmly when we arrive in the restaurant. I try out my little bit of Swahili, much to the delight of the staff.

“Habari za jioni?” (good evening, how are you)
“Nzuri, asante, ne wewe?” (well, thank you, and you?)
“Nzuri sana, asante” (very well, thank you)
“Samahani, ongeza pilpili tafadhali” (excuse me, I'd like some more hot sauce please)
“Chakula nikitamu, asante” (the food was delicious, thank you)
“Usiku mwema” (goodnight)
“Lala salama” (sleep well)
“Tutaonana kesho” (see you tomorrow)

It may be just a greeting and a few pleasantries, but everyone joins in and one guy whispers to Malisa: “Does she speak Swahili? We have to be careful what we say...”

The food is delicious, with a very peppery butternut squash soup to start, followed by what they describe as “ram meat”, which turns out to be a goat curry.

large_eaa143a0-5e3b-11ea-a848-8590507cb216.jpg

large_f5055430-5e3b-11ea-a848-8590507cb216.jpg
The chocolate dessert is very creamy with a hint of coffee.

As the askari walks us back to the tent after dinner, we can hear the hyenas very close by. Thank goodness he has a big stick to protect us! We can still hear them from the inside of the tent, and the sound of hyenas mating carries on most of the night. I struggle to sleep, not just because of the hyena porn going on outside; but I have not so much 'restless legs', as 'restless body'. I am twitching and itching and unable to find a comfortable position.

At 23:30 I hear vehicles arrive and people chatting. Malisa was telling us earlier that a group of Korean tourists (three cars) were unable to reach their accommodation further north this evening because of the bad state of the roads and the amount of flooding (large parts of the Serengeti are completely inaccessible at the moment for that reason); and they were heading to our camp. They have obviously arrived.

In addition to the sex-mad hyenas and lost tourists, I am kept awake by the rain; as well as dust on my lungs, resulting in wheezing and squeaking when I breathe. When I finally manage to drop off, I suffer a terrible nightmare in which I fall off a high walkway! Thanks Lariam!

This safari was arranged by Calabash Adventures, the best safari operator by far!

large_31657490-5e3d-11ea-a848-8590507cb216.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 16:30 Archived in Tanzania Tagged birds rain wildlife raven tent africa dinner safari animal zebra eagle hawk birding adventures picnic national_park hippo flooding serengeti ngorongoro hyena stork vultures geese ford glamping weaver olduvai jackal poison swahili ngorongoro_crater bird_watching african_safari wild_animals ostriches serval serengeti_national_park fording calabash oldupai tse_tse_flies askari guineafowl golden_jackal picnic_lunch goshawk naabi_gate wildlife_photography steppe_eagle black_kite river_crossing abdim's_stork ngorongo_conservation_area nyati_picnic_site lunch_box widowbird baabi_hill wildebest short-grass_plains vultures_on_kill menage_a_trois gabar_goshawk wandamu_river matawi matawi_serengeti_camp matawi_camp permenent_tented_camp Comments (2)

Ndutu Day II Part II (Wedding Anniversary)

Finally, some cats


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

We're ready to roll for another afternoon of exciting adventures in the African wilderness.

large_Calabash_V..Tented_Camp.jpg

large_Speckled_Mousebird.jpg

large_Mousebird__Speckled_1.jpg

large_5518B5AA983A3D84BDDAE8832C3EC6CB.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_61.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_62.jpg

Dik diks mate for life, so more often than not you find two together or even three, like here with their offspring.

large_Dik_Dik_63.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_64.jpg

large_Lesser_Masked_Weaver.jpg

large_Weaver__Lesser_Masked_1.jpg

large_5A2DA3CA9C767722239D238321545DA9.jpg

large_Giraffes_61.jpg

large_Giraffes_62.jpg

“Sit down and close your window!” comes the urgent call from Malisa as we find ourselves right in the middle of a swarm of bees flying from one nest to another. Phew, that could have been nasty!

large_Black_Faced_Vervet_Monkey.jpg

large_Monkeys__B..ed_Vervet_1.jpg

large_Monkeys__B..ed_Vervet_2.jpg

large_5A6C2D360130A38084E072768EDCCF4B.jpg

large_Secretary_Bird_42.jpg

large_Vultures.jpg

We see three different vultures (Lappet Faced, African White backed and Hooded) sitting in a tree and wonder if there is a kill somewhere.

large_Vultures__..__Hooded__1.jpg

It's mid-afternoon and we still haven't seen any cats today.

large_5B0C3E0D9ED41FC8C664AE51D645DACA.jpg

large_Eagle__Tawny_42.jpg

large_5B4AA755BD7FDA88011156D0A9B14142.jpg

Cute little baby, some 3-4 months old. Later we see an adult wildebeest, on his own, limping badly. I cannot help to think he will be someone's dinner tonight.

large_Wildebeest_61.jpg

large_White_Bellied_Bustard.jpg

large_Bustard__White_Bellied_2.jpg

There's a lot of dust around this afternoon and I am seriously worried about my lungs. They do not feel good. I am therefore grateful when the skies start getting darker and more threatening.

large_Stormy_Weather.jpg

With a strange light, dark clouds and rain on the horizon; it looks like we are in for some inclement weather.

large_Stormy_Clo..er_Ndutu_51.jpg

I am hoping for a dramatic thunder storm.

large_Stormy_Weather_at_Ndutu_3.jpg

No such luck though. The rain is somewhat localised, and fortunately not in our locale.

large_Stormy_Clo..er_Ndutu_52.jpg

large_Stormy_Clo..er_Ndutu_41.jpg

But I guess it is best to start heading towards the camp.

large_Stormy_Clo..er_Ndutu_42.jpg

Before long, the skies are blue with pretty pink clouds. Talk about changeable!

large_Blue_Skies_over_Ndutu_1.jpg

large_5D212AC1EF3C22AD779CBE436E26EBFC.jpg

Time is getting on, the light is fading fast, and we have given up all hope of seeing any big cats today, which means these two lions are a real bonus.

large_Lion_75.jpg

Not that they do much, but enough to get a few nice photos to round the day off nicely.

large_Lion_65.jpg

large_Lion_71.jpg

large_Lion_74.jpg

She is greatly bothered by flies, and tries to wipe them off with her paw.

large_Lion_69.jpg

It doesn't last long, however.

large_Lion_77B.jpg

large_Lion_78.jpg

Time is moving on, the lions are tired and we really should be getting back to camp.

large_Lion_86.jpg

large_Lion_88.jpg

large_Lion_72.jpg

large_Lion_76.jpg

large_829610EFD33604AC033E53D120490B68.jpg

On the way we see a lone buffalo in the sunset.

large_Buffalo_23.jpg

large_Buffalo_22.jpg

And then another.

large_Buffalo_24.jpg

large_Black_Brea..Snake_Eagle.jpg

large_Eagle__Bla..ted_Snake_1.jpg

large_83E4FF21AC2F1382E39E40AC004764C5.jpg

large_Sunset_Over_Ndutu_72.jpg

large_Sunset_Over_Ndutu_73.jpg

large_Sunset_Over_Ndutu_74.jpg

large_Night_Sky.jpg

One of the things I love about a safari in Africa is that we get well away from any light pollution, making the stars all the more visible at night. I am very surprised, and delighted, that we are able to see any stars at all this evening after all the thick, dark clouds that covered the sky just a couple of hours ago.

The downside of being in the wilderness, of course, is the fact that we are surrounded by wild and dangerous animals, which means I can't stray far from the lodge and the armed askari guards.

Setting up my tripod just outside the entrance to the lodge means I do get some stray light from behind, but we can still see the milky way quite clearly.

large_Stars_over_Lake_Masek_21.jpg

large_Wedding_Anniversary.jpg

As I said in the very first blog post from this trip, the reason for being here in our favourite part of the world at this time, is to celebrate forty years of married bliss.

We brought with us a bottle of bubbly from the UK, which Nina, the waiter, kindly opens for us at dinner.

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_1.jpg

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_2.jpg

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_3.jpg

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_4.jpg

I clear my throat, bring out a scroll tied with red ribbon, unroll it and begin to read:

large_Scroll_1.jpg

Ode to marriage

The year was 1974
In Wembley near London Town
A boy wooed a girl with flowers and more
He wanted to settle down

The girl was from Norway, her English not good
He loved her accent and eyes
Always a gentleman, just as he should
Much better than other guys

She was so young and impressed by his car
Just 16 years old, in her prime
He chatted her up in the Century bar
Into his Lotus she'd climb

Education finished, she left her school
To Norway she must return
If he let her go, he would be a fool
He knew he would always yearn

He told her he loved her and would she be his?
She said “yes” straight away
They must stay together, she surely agrees
“Let's get married, without delay”

Friday the 13th the engagement took place
But the very next day she left
He jacked in his job and took up the chase
To Norway, feeling bereft

Friday the 13th, such a special date
“Let's see when the next one is”
The following year was the estimate
To enter married bliss

By 1977 they wed
In Oslo Town Hall it was
From the bright lights of London to Bristol they fled
In a fancy car of course

They easily settled as husband and wife
Both working as hard as they could
To pay for their major passion in life
Exploring the neighbourhood

Their travels took them to near and far
A never-ending quest
From Antarctica, to China to Zanzibar
They were totally obsessed

The years quickly passed amid work and fun
And travels to faraway lands
A number of bucket list items were done
Scuba, canoeing, and boarding on sands

Work in IT and banking, a means to an end
For funding the thrill-seekers' aim
Rafting and driving a tank round the bend
Quite the daredevils they became

Zeppelin, bobsleigh and bamboo raft
Plus driving a Formula Ford
They sailed and quad-biked and often laughed
Even bungy, but never bored

DIY, cars and cycling too
Always busy, he loved to be
Participating in local voodoo
He even learned to ski

Her passions are cooking and photography
And travelling as much as she can
Sociable, smiling and very carefree
She idolises her man

Old age has crept up, with health not so great
But they're only as young as they feel
Troubles are easy when shared with your mate
Which was always part of the deal

To mark this occasion, where should they be?
A favourite haunt for sure
Tanzania of course, for a safari
Such a wonderful place to explore

As they sit here tonight, celebrating their love
Memories plenty to look back on
They thank their stars and heavens above
For the 40 years that have gone

It's 40 years since she gave him her heart
And she loves him more than ever
She said she's be with him “till death us do part”
And even then it's forever

By the time I am finished there is not a dry eye in the house, even the waiter has to wipe away a tear.

large_ACA22F60E53BBAA2FD1414941E5856E9.jpg

As was the case at lunch, a selection of several dishes are brought to our table: stir fried chicken, curried vegetables, lentils, potatoes and rice, preceded by soup and followed by fresh fruit.

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_6.jpg

large_Celebration_Cake.jpg

Malisa also has a surprise up his sleeve: he has arranged for the lodge to make us a cake. The entire staff of the lodge accompany it is brought out, singing traditional Tanzanian songs and keeping the rhythm by banging kitchen utensils. Love it!

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_7.jpg

.

Who would have thought, all those years ago, that this young couple would be here in the African wilderness forty years later, drinking champagne and eating celebration cake.

large_The_Wedding.jpg

Calabash Adventures really are the best, thank you so much for all the arrangements.

large_AD7CE4CDE2B1505AD1736FA3FE3F135B.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 15:09 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds monkeys rain elephants cake clouds africa safari tanzania celebrations birding lions vultures weaver wildebeest bird_watching bustard ndutu calabash_adventures ngorongoro_conservation_area lake_masek_tented_camp dik_dik wedding_anniversary champage mousebird stormy_weather Comments (4)

Ndutu - Day I Part III (Elephants, Vultures and Lion)

What a memory!

semi-overcast 27 °C
View The Howards' 40th Anniversary Tour 2017 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Having left the cheetah versus lion stand-off behind, we continue in our search of wildlife experiences. Our first encounter is a lone elephant with one tusk.

large_Elephant_13.jpg

large_Elephant_12.jpg

Followed by an Egyptian Goose family.

large_Geese__Egyptian_11.jpg

large_A_Memory_of_Elephants.jpg

In the distance, in amongst the trees, we see a couple more elephants and go to investigate. It turns out to be a large memory (the collective noun for elephants) of at least 32 animals, including several youngsters and a randy old bull.

large_Elephants_11.jpg

large_Elephants_16.jpg

large_Elephants_15.jpg

large_Elephants_14.jpg

We follow them as they work their way through the forest, decimating bushes and trees in their wake.

large_Elephants_18.jpg

large_Elephants_23.jpg

large_Elephants_50.jpg

When they are not eating, they try to keep in the shade as much as possible. I don't blame them, that sun is mighty hot!

large_Elephants_19.jpg

The elephants are so huge, yet so amazingly silent; mainly because the soles of their feet have built in shock absorbers so it is like they are walking on sponges.

large_Elephants_30.jpg

large_Elephants_35.jpg

large_Elephants_40.jpg

With this area being very much drier than normal (despite this being the wet season), the elephants stir up a great amount of dust, as they slowly meander amongst the trees.

large_AC0FB040B57899033AEC3B184F004D5B.jpg

large_AC11EEC7DC2330C7D82B132632D7D5C8.jpg

The dust is playing havoc with my already-suffering lungs, and I try to cover my mouth and nose with a bandana so as not to breathe in any more dirt particles than I have to.

large_AC1519D4E4F00625219067AC49BA3EB3.jpg

large_Elephants_70.jpg

This little guy certainly isn't helping!

large_Elephants_67.jpg

large_Elephants_68.jpg

large_Elephants_69.jpg

Having spent a magical 40 minutes just observing these gentle giants as the go about their daily life, we leave them to their clouds of dust and go to “see what else nature has to offer us.”

large_Elephants_42.jpg

large_Elephants_45.jpg

large_Elephants_47.jpg

large_Elephants_48.jpg

large_Elephants_55.jpg

large_Elephants_56.jpg

large_Elephants_58.jpg

large_Lilac_Breasted_Roller.jpg

One of my favourite African birds!

large_Roller__Lilac_Breasted_1.jpg

large_White_Rumped_Helmetshrike.jpg

large_Shrike__Wh..ed_Helmet_1.jpg

large_Vulture_Mayhem.jpg

Feasting on the carcass of a zebra who died of natural causes, a plethora of vultures are accompanied by a few storks.

large_Vultures_a..ead_Zebra_2.jpg

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_1.jpg
Rueppell's Griffon

large_Stork__Marabou_1.jpg
Marabou Stork

large_Vulture__A..te_Backed_1.jpg
African White Backed Vulture

What a racket! They sound like a huge flock of sheep as they squabble over the meat.

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_3.jpg

large_Vulture__A..s_Griffon_2.jpg

Check out the short video clip below to hear the commotion a few birds can make!

.

There is a distinct pecking order, and some of the birds are very aggressive. This guy is beating a newcomer to a pulp.

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_5.jpg

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_6.jpg

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_8.jpg

Meanwhile, other vultures move in on the dining table and take his place, which means he has to fight them off too before he can dine. And so it goes on.

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_11.jpg

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_12.jpg

After a while it turns into massive free-for-all brawl. Like Bristol on a Saturday night.

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_15.jpg

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_14.jpg

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_17.jpg

More and more birds arrive, hoping to get a small piece of the action. Failing that, some food.

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_13.jpg

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_4.jpg

large_Stork__Marabou_2.jpg

You can see who gets to eat.

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_16A.jpg

large_Little_Bee_Eater.jpg

Further along, a much more peaceful scene, this gorgeous little bee eater just sitting around minding his own business.

large_Bee_Eater__Little.jpg

large_DE30F959B7F43D78740D248B834F462E.jpg

large_Secreatray_Bird_11.jpg

large_A_Lion_s_Dinner.jpg

Warning – the following photographs contain gory images

In the shade of a tree, we find a lioness feasting on a baby wildebeest.

large_Lion_with_..st_Dinner_1.jpg

By the looks of the flies on her dinner, the kill is probably not fresh, so we guess it was an opportunist grab from a cheetah.

large_Lion_with_..t_Dinner_12.jpg

large_Lion_with_..st_Dinner_4.jpg

large_Lion_with_..t_Dinner_14.jpg

large_E1951906B38216FB3A17F24F9840B898.jpg

Fed up with having an audience while she eats, the lioness decides to move her dinner elsewhere.

large_Lion_with_..t_Dinner_19.jpg

large_Lion_with_..t_Dinner_20.jpg

Heading for the long grass, she cleverly hides herself and her dinner.

large_Lion_with_..t_Dinner_23.jpg

large_Lion_with_..t_Dinner_22.jpg

large_Lion_with_..t_Dinner_21.jpg

It is time for us to head back to camp as the light fades and evening draws in. Government rules state that we have to leave the park by sundown, which is around 18:30.

large_Spotted_Flycatcher.jpg

large_Flycatcher__Spotted_1.jpg

large_D_Arnaud_s_Barbet.jpg

large_Barbet__D_Arnaud_s_1.jpg

large_Black_backed_jackal.jpg

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_11.jpg

large_Zebra.jpg

large_E36CAC69B536AAAA7EA35BD9ACF8F8E7.jpg

large_Steenbok.jpg

As is common when the soil is parched like this, as soon as we stop the car, the dust from the wheels seems to catch up with us, hanging heavily in the air.

large_Steenbok_in_the_Dust_1.jpg

Waiting a couple of minutes sees the dust clearing. Normally a very skittish antelope, it is extremely unusual to see one standing still, just looking at us.

large_E55C5B20DF6E9E2C96A3EC76BCFFC123.jpg

As soon as we get back to the camp I jump in the shower, then start to get ready for dinner. I feel totally knocked out by this chest infection with absolutely no energy: all I want to do is sleep. I don't physically have the energy to get dressed, so I make my excuses and send David down to meet Malisa for dinner on his own. I immediately fall into a restless sleep, punctuated by coughing fits and recurring bad dreams. Oh joy.

Yet another wonderful day on safari with Calabash Adventures.

large_E59B22D7BD3D8D80AED1AC8360C22B15.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 16:44 Archived in Tanzania Tagged travel elephants africa safari tanzania lion ngorongoro vultures geese goose lilac_breasted_roller ndutu calabash_adventures ngorongoro_conservation_area memory_of_elephants vulture_mayhem Comments (2)

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)

Serengeti Part I

The lions of Togoro Plains and much more


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

large_Day_Tenof_.._With_Photo.jpg

large_Early_Morning_Start_4.jpg

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

large_Chris_feeling_tired.jpg

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

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-11.jpg

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

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-12.jpg

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

large_Kopje_arou..unrise_10-2.jpg

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

large_Kopje_arou..unrise_10-3.jpg

Cape Buffalo

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

large_Buffalo_10-1.jpg

large_Buffalo_10-2.jpg

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

large_David_feeling_cold_10-1.jpg

It will soon warm up when the sun comes out.

large_Sunrise_ov..engeti_10-1.jpg

large_Sunrise_ov..engeti_10-2.jpg

Lions

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

large_Lions_10-2.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-39.jpg

large_Lions_10-4.jpg

large_Lions_10-5.jpg

large_Lions_10-9.jpg

large_Lions_10-12.jpg

large_Lions_10-13.jpg

large_Lions_10-14.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-15.jpg

large_Lions_10-16.jpg

large_Lions_10-17.jpg

large_Lions_10-18.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-19.jpg

large_Lions_10-21.jpg

large_Lions_10-22.jpg

large_Lions_10-24.jpg

Wildebeest

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

large_Wildebeest_10-11.jpg

large_Wildebeest_10-12.jpg

large_Wildebeest_10-13.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-32.jpg

large_Lions_10-51.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-34.jpg

large_Lions_10-35.jpg

large_Lions_10-36.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-40.jpg

Well, kiss my ass!

large_Lions_10-44.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-49.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-59.jpg

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

large_Vulture__Hooded_10-2.jpg

large_Vulture__Hooded_10-3.jpg

Wildebeest

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

large_Wildebeest_10-15.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-61.jpg

large_Lions_and_Wildebeest_10-1.jpg

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

large_Lions_and_Wildebeest_10-2.jpg

large_Lions_and_Wildebeest_10-3.jpg

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

large_Lions_and_Wildebeest_10-5.jpg

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

large_Lions_and_Wildebeest_10-6.jpg

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

Meanwhile dad continues to eat his breakfast.

large_Lions_10-81.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-88.jpg

“Let’s go and harass dad”

large_Lions_10-89.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-90.jpg

large_Lions_10-91.jpg

large_Lions_10-92.jpg

Has he finished?

large_Lions_10-100.jpg

Nah.

large_Lions_10-99.jpg

large_Lions_10-101.jpg

Finally?

large_Lions_10-103.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-104.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-111.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-105.jpg

large_Lions_10-106.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-107.jpg

large_Lions_10-109.jpg

large_Lions_10-110.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-108.jpg

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

large_Vulture__A..Backed_10-1.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-114.jpg

Jackal versus Vultures

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

large_Vultures__..Backed_10-3.jpg

large_Vultures__..Backed_10-2.jpg

large_Stork__Marabou_10-1.jpg

large_Vultures__..Backed_10-4.jpg

large_Vultures__..Backed_10-5.jpg

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

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_10-5.jpg

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_10-1.jpg

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_10-3.jpg

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_10-4.jpg

large_Vultures__..Jackal_10-1.jpg

End of Round One: Vultures 1 Jackals 0

large_Vultures__..Jackal_10-2.jpg

large_Vultures__..Jackal_10-3.jpg

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

large_Vultures__..Jackal_10-5.jpg

The vultures bring in the reserves.

large_Vultures__..Jackal_10-7.jpg

large_Vultures__..Backed_10-9.jpg

large_Stork__Marabou_10-3.jpg

large_Vultures__..acked_10-10.jpg

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

large_Vultures__..Jackal_10-9.jpg

large_Vultures__..ackal_10-10.jpg

large_Vultures__..ackal_10-11.jpg

The opposition team regroup to work out their next move.

large_Vultures__.._Stork_10-1.jpg

It seems they don’t quite agree on tactics.

large_Vultures__.._Stork_10-2.jpg

large_AE123110CFF3C25B5BD1CF6BFB4D21FD.jpg

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

large_Vultures__Hooded_10-5.jpg

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

Lion and Jackal Prints

large_Lion_and_J..prints_10-1.jpg

More Lions + Another Kill = More Vultures

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

large_Lions_10-151.jpg

large_Lions_10-154.jpg

large_Vulture_Tree_10-1.jpg

large_Vultures__..acked_10-12.jpg

large_Vultures__..acked_10-11.jpg

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

large_Lions_and_..res__10-154.jpg

large_Lions_10-153.jpg

large_Vultures_Swooping_10-1.jpg

large_Vultures_Swooping_10-3.jpg

The lions and a jackal look on with bemusement.

large_Lion_and_Jackal_10-1.jpg

Topi

Does my bum look big in this?

large_Topi_10-101.jpg

Wildebeest Rutting Season

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

large_Wildebeest_10-203.jpg

large_Wildebeest_10-205.jpg

large_Wildebeest_10-204.jpg

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

Picnic Breakfast

large_Picnic_9.jpg

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

large_Picnic_Breakfast_10-1.jpg

large_Picnic_Breakfast_10-3.jpg

All around us is the hum of the wildebeest.

large_Picnic_Breakfast_10-5.jpg

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

large_Picnic_Breakfast_10-7.jpg

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

large_Picnic_Breakfast_10-8.jpg

Grey Crowned Cranes

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_10-1.jpg

Lions Re-Visited

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

large_Lions_10-155.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-156.jpg

large_Lions_10-157.jpg

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

large_Vulture__L..Faced_10-51.jpg

large_Vulture__L..Faced_10-53.jpg

large_Vulture__A..acked_10-51.jpg

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

large_Wildebeest_10-202.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_Title.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-51.jpg

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

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-54.jpg

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

large_19999CF4F38B53DE1203C13BD230C9F1.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe..uffalo10-54.jpg

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

large_Lizard__Fl.._Agama_10-4.jpg

large_Hyrax__Rock_10-1.jpg

large_Lizard_10-1.jpg

large_Lizard__Fl.._Agama_10-2.jpg

large_Hyrax__Rock_10-2.jpg

large_Lizard_10-2.jpg

large_Lizard__Fl.._Agama_10-3.jpg

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

Klipspringer

large_Klipspringer_10-1.jpg

Red Duiker

large_Duiker__Red_10-1.jpg

Cape Buffalo

large_Buffalo__Cape_10-51.jpg

large_Buffalo__Cape_10-52.jpg

Impala

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

large_Impala_10-1.jpg

large_Impala_10-2.jpg

Black Faced Vervet Monkeys

large_Black_Face..onkey_10-52.jpg

large_Black_Face..onkey_10-51.jpg

Giraffe

large_Giraffe_10-202.jpg

large_Giraffe_10-201.jpg

Hippos

A couple of hippos wallow in the shallow Orangi River.

large_Hippos_in_.._River_10-1.jpg

large_Hippos_in_.._River_10-2.jpg

Olive Baboons

large_Baboon__Olive_10-1.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_10-2.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_10-4.jpg

Dust

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

large_Dust_10-1.jpg

Warthogs

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

large_Warthogs_10-201.jpg

large_Warthogs_10-202.jpg

large_Warthogs_10-203.jpg

large_Warthogs_10-204.jpg

large_Warthogs_10-207.jpg

large_Warthogs_10-208.jpg

African Fish Eagle

large_Eagle__African_Fish_10-1.jpg

Bare Faced Go Away Bird

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

large_Go_Away_Bi.._Faced_10-1.jpg

large_Go_Away_Bi.._Faced_10-3.jpg

Magpie Shrike

large_Shrike__Magpie_10-1.jpg

Tree Python

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

large_Python__Tree_10-2.jpg

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

large_Python__Tree_10-1.jpg

Black Chested Snake Eagle

large_Eagle__Bla.._Snake_10-2.jpg

Little Bee Eater

large_Bee_Eater__Little_10-1.jpg

Black Headed Heron

large_Heron__Black_Headed_10-1.jpg

Serval

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

large_Serval_10-1.jpg

large_Serval_10-2.jpg

large_Serval_10-3.jpg

large_Serval_10-4.jpg

End of Part I

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

large_47869D41B9B7B95046C5F7DA66B0A840.jpg

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

(Entries 1 - 7 of 7) Page [1]