A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about warthog

Lobo - Ndutu Part 3 - elephants, warthogs, giraffes

...and a couple of 'almost' leopard sightings.


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

More Elephants

This time under the shade of a tree

large_1b226060-33ac-11e9-9ad8-5bba836903c6.jpg

Black Faced Vervet Monkey

This young lady is carrying the tiniest of babies, but she doesn't seem to want to show him off to us.

large_9671c8c0-33b4-11e9-8d59-f5b63f3167fb.jpg

For a moment it looks like the baby is losing his grip on mum's belly.

large_ba621230-33b4-11e9-8d59-f5b63f3167fb.jpg

Whirlwind

We've seen a lot of these mini-tornadoes on this trip, with more windy weather than we've ever experienced in the past.

large_d2595dc0-33b5-11e9-bb70-a9e3923b2eeb.jpg

Another Leopard Tree

Just like before, the leopard has jumped down from the tree before we arrive, and could be absolutely anywhere by now.

large_d9536850-33b5-11e9-bb70-a9e3923b2eeb.jpg

Kill in Tree

This is beginning to be the 'Story of Our Day' as we see the carcass of a reedbuck in a tree. The predator has deserted her kill to go off hunting again. Knowing that she is likely to return to move the kill to protect it from lions, we wait. And wait. And wait. “Just ten minutes more”. Eventually, after what seems to me like an eternity, we take a vote and decide to move on to “see what else nature has to offer us”.

large_44ac0760-33b6-11e9-bb70-a9e3923b2eeb.jpg

large_6b4030e0-437e-11e9-b18c-9921e859dab3.jpg

Helmeted Guineafowl

I know they are birds, but it is still unusual to see the guineafowl in a tree.

large_196b3980-33b7-11e9-92c0-ff70d722893b.jpg

large_25b4abe0-33b7-11e9-92c0-ff70d722893b.jpg

Warthogs

Heading for the waterhole

large_090b1b80-33b9-11e9-8d59-f5b63f3167fb.jpg

Rolling around in the pond, the warthogs are essentially 'applying sunscreen' using the thick mud for protection.

large_0421ef20-3433-11e9-97fd-af340f88ddff.jpg

large_189cb390-3433-11e9-97fd-af340f88ddff.jpg

large_2a4ebb10-3433-11e9-97fd-af340f88ddff.jpg

large_413eec50-3433-11e9-97fd-af340f88ddff.jpg

Seeing warthogs walk makes me think that they look like ladies in stilettos.

large_57baff00-3433-11e9-97fd-af340f88ddff.jpg

Thomson's Gazelles

Also at the waterhole are a few Thomson's gazelles.

large_9fe23270-3691-11e9-9d42-7f693cd5d70a.jpg

large_8b115ec0-3691-11e9-9d42-7f693cd5d70a.jpg

large_b69c3880-3691-11e9-9d42-7f693cd5d70a.jpg

large_c399b8a0-3691-11e9-9d42-7f693cd5d70a.jpg

large_d7fa8c70-3691-11e9-9d42-7f693cd5d70a.jpg

Reedbucks

The shy reedbuck stay in the distance, hoping for the gazelles to vacate the waterhole so they can go down to drink in peace.

large_0c2a61a0-3692-11e9-9d42-7f693cd5d70a.jpg

large_17c321a0-3692-11e9-9d42-7f693cd5d70a.jpg

Elephants

large_b311d140-36e9-11e9-bef4-85e924301feb.jpg

large_cf7211b0-36e9-11e9-bef4-85e924301feb.jpg

large_38b6ebf0-36ea-11e9-bef4-85e924301feb.jpg

large_ebc77cb0-36e9-11e9-bef4-85e924301feb.jpg

This herd includes a couple of really young babies, just two and three months old.

large_16627830-36ea-11e9-bef4-85e924301feb.jpg

large_16627830-36ea-11e9-bef4-85e924301feb.jpg

large_79875430-36ea-11e9-bef4-85e924301feb.jpg

large_9d1f4470-36ea-11e9-bef4-85e924301feb.jpg

Mum is very protective over her baby.

large_5229f780-36ea-11e9-bef4-85e924301feb.jpg

large_66436210-36ea-11e9-bef4-85e924301feb.jpg

Note the dust devil in the background – as I said earlier, we saw more of these on this trip than we have on all the previous safaris put together.

large_b0348570-36ea-11e9-bef4-85e924301feb.jpg

Lioness

This young lady is having an afternoon siesta under a tree, all by herself.

large_a27d6760-36ec-11e9-bef4-85e924301feb.jpg

Topi

Surveying the landscape from the top of a small mound. As they do.

large_6f73bb50-36ef-11e9-8534-3b6260b29981.jpg

White Bellied Bustard

large_a1ee49f0-36f0-11e9-8f47-53f620f4ef4e.jpg

Steenbok

Not sure what this steenbok has done with his ears – he looks rather odd.

large_bf0317e0-36f1-11e9-9118-95e694b83595.jpg

Short Grass Plains

Looking out over the area that they call Short Grass Plains, I can understand how Serengeti got its name: Endless Plains (the meaning of the name Serengeti in the local Maa language).

large_0b01a200-36f3-11e9-8534-3b6260b29981.jpg

Dust

At this time of year, vehicles travelling on the dirt tracks of the Serengeti throw up huge clouds of dust, especially the large trucks.

large_a5057830-36f4-11e9-8534-3b6260b29981.jpg

large_f3f460f0-36f4-11e9-8534-3b6260b29981.jpg

Common Kestrel

He has a little lizard in his talons, but seems more interested in looking around than eating, but eventually bites its head off and flies off holding the rest of his lunch in his claws.

large_138d52a0-36ff-11e9-a94a-bf7845d6eace.jpg

large_1dcc00e0-36ff-11e9-a94a-bf7845d6eace.jpg

large_26ad6910-36ff-11e9-a94a-bf7845d6eace.jpg

large_3f91f040-36ff-11e9-a94a-bf7845d6eace.jpg

Steppe Eagle

large_1c4d21b0-3702-11e9-a94a-bf7845d6eace.jpg

Chipped Windscreen

The problem with these dry gravel tracks is not just the dust, there are also little stones being thrown up. This started as a small chip less than an inch long a few days ago, but with the vibrations of the uneven surface and the vacuum effect caused by driving at speed, it is now almost a foot long. Every time we pass another vehicle, Malisa holds on to the windscreen with his spare hand to lessen the chance of it shattering. Fortunately there is very little traffic today.

large_e8ddc0e0-3702-11e9-a94a-bf7845d6eace.jpg

Naabi Gate

By the time we reach the gate to exit Serengeti, both David and I have the runs; thankfully the toilets here are clean and modern these days.

Ndutu

After completing the formalities and leaving Serengeti, we enter one of my favourite places in Tanzania: Ndutu. Part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Ndutu encompasses a lake of the same name as well as Lake Masek.

Baby Golden Jackal

There is no sign of the rest of his family, I am guessing (hoping) they are hiding somewhere nearby.

large_cde5db50-3708-11e9-970e-fd62b0a2eb95.jpg

large_e6af6070-3708-11e9-970e-fd62b0a2eb95.jpg

large_f17455b0-3708-11e9-970e-fd62b0a2eb95.jpg

Spotted Hyena

large_137636a0-374b-11e9-bb28-b5127642b0da.jpg

large_1f501e50-374b-11e9-bb28-b5127642b0da.jpg

large_2c72b2a0-374b-11e9-bb28-b5127642b0da.jpg

Fireball Lily

Unlike our last two visits, which have been in May when the plains are turned into enormous, colourful meadows, at this time of year it is unusual to see any flowers, making this fireball lily all the more special.

large_b0415fa0-374b-11e9-bb28-b5127642b0da.jpg

Flamingos on Lake Ndutu

The way they move when they are feeding, tripping up and down, lifting one leg, then the other, always makes me think of little children needing the toilet. They are, of course, doing it to try and disturb algae.

large_7e202ce0-3750-11e9-9480-e7175e015ae0.jpg

large_8d9a45c0-3750-11e9-9480-e7175e015ae0.jpg

Yellow Necked Francolin

large_8c3f5430-3751-11e9-99e6-bb3465cbe2db.jpg

Giraffe

large_8a56d690-377c-11e9-9c40-9bb0cab67d93.jpg

As I said earlier, the dry soil means that the car kicks up a large amount of dust as we are driving along the dirt tracks. While we are moving, it is not so noticeable, as the dust is mostly behind us; but as soon as we stop, the fine powder seems to catch up with us, making photography impossible for a minute or so until it settles.

large_75adaf20-377c-11e9-9c40-9bb0cab67d93.jpg

large_b8ad36f0-377d-11e9-9c40-9bb0cab67d93.jpg

large_cdcacb10-377d-11e9-9c40-9bb0cab67d93.jpg

While I was complaining about the dust a minute ago, I love it when we get back-light from the setting sun and the animals themselves kick up the dust. It adds a magical atmosphere to the photographs.

large_deb515c0-377d-11e9-9c40-9bb0cab67d93.jpg

Elephants

large_4cf50750-3870-11e9-a2da-6790ddffcb88.jpg

large_82c87a60-3870-11e9-a2da-6790ddffcb88.jpg

Wait for me!

large_f94124a0-383c-11e9-aac6-9300e3336db5.jpg

The elephants are heading to the Big Marsh area to have a drink before bed time.

large_76e1f0b0-383d-11e9-aac6-9300e3336db5.jpg

Fork Tailed Drongo

large_a9bb5570-3870-11e9-a2da-6790ddffcb88.jpg

More Elephants

large_b241a550-3870-11e9-a2da-6790ddffcb88.jpg

We notice one of them has a broken tusk, probably destroyed it while trying to bring down a tree.

large_c6f13560-3870-11e9-a2da-6790ddffcb88.jpg

The light is really failing now as Malisa makes his way to our camp for the night.

Tawny Eagle

large_7b465ea0-3871-11e9-a2da-6790ddffcb88.jpg

Black Backed Jackal

large_92a9eb20-3871-11e9-a2da-6790ddffcb88.jpg

large_9d2c3210-3871-11e9-a2da-6790ddffcb88.jpg

Striped Hyena

I always travel to Tanzania with a wish list of some animals I would really like to see. While I am of course excited by whatever “nature has to offer us”, there are still some animals that we have yet to encounter in the wild. Striped Hyena is one of those. It has been on my wish lists every single one of the six times we have come to Tanzania on safari.

Just before we arrive at our night stop, Malisa abruptly stops the car as an animal crosses the track in front of us at the speed of light. “What was that” I ask as I instinctively grab my camera. Malisa is almost too excited to speak. “Striped Hyena”. Wow. Not only is the light so low by now (ISO 20,000 for my photography friends), the hyena is such a fast mover, that he is way into the bush by the time I press the shutter.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am very excited to announce that this is a STRIPED HYENA. Honestly.

large_bf10cd00-3871-11e9-a2da-6790ddffcb88.jpg

Lake Masek Tented Camp

This is the third time we have stayed at this charming camp, and it never fails to delight us.

large_f60eb650-3871-11e9-a2da-6790ddffcb88.jpg

After completing the usual formalities, we check out the new deck that has been built since we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary here in May last year.

large_04ab4070-3872-11e9-a2da-6790ddffcb88.jpg

The view from here has always been spectacular, overlooking the lake of the same name.

large_2ea9fbf0-3872-11e9-a2da-6790ddffcb88.jpg

This evening a welcoming camp fire is burning in the elevated fire pit, with director's chairs surrounding it, facing the stunning outlook.

large_4bea6330-3872-11e9-a2da-6790ddffcb88.jpg

large_5e6734c0-3872-11e9-a2da-6790ddffcb88.jpg

large_68b01c30-3872-11e9-a2da-6790ddffcb88.jpg

We also see there is new and a very inviting-looking swimming pool on a lower deck. It is a shame we never have time to enjoy the facilities of these lodges – it's a balance between making the most of the animals on safari or the accommodation and the wildlife wins every time.

large_c437cfd0-3872-11e9-afba-9d2d75a22390.jpg

Spacious tents on wooden platforms come complete with a four poster bed, large bathroom featuring a stand-alone bath, double basins, a separate toilet and an open air shower.

large_87591420-3872-11e9-afba-9d2d75a22390.jpg

large_95a7f370-3872-11e9-afba-9d2d75a22390.jpg

a051bf90-3872-11e9-afba-9d2d75a22390.jpg

large_ae052230-3872-11e9-afba-9d2d75a22390.jpg

The latter is a new experience for Lyn and Chris and causes much amazement and amusement. At dinner Chris regales us with an entertaining account of the conversation that occurred while they were getting ready:

Lyn: “The shower has no roof”
Chris, not taking a great deal of notice: “Oh yeah”
Lyn: “No, really, there is no roof.”
Chris, a little more interested now: “What do you mean 'no roof'?”
Lyn: “I can see the stars”
Chris, a little confused: “Really? Don't be silly”

large_d1b81480-3872-11e9-afba-9d2d75a22390.jpg

Unfortunately it is not raining this evening, as having a warm shower in the cool rain is an unforgettable experience. Mind you, so is star gazing while showering.

It is not until I take my watch off this evening that I realise just how much sun you can catch even though you are inside a vehicle and using a factor 20 sun tan lotion.

large_e89496b0-3872-11e9-afba-9d2d75a22390.jpg

We just about have time to enjoy a pre-dinner drink on the mosquito-screened balcony in front of our tent.

large_fafde040-3872-11e9-afba-9d2d75a22390.jpg

large_08b9f570-3873-11e9-afba-9d2d75a22390.jpg

large_148955d0-3873-11e9-afba-9d2d75a22390.jpg

One of the many things I like about this camp is that Malisa is permitted to eat with us, and we have a terrific evening with lots of raucous laughter, excellent food and free beer and wine. Thankfully the lodge is not full this evening, with only three other tables taken for dinner.

large_1ed4d550-3873-11e9-afba-9d2d75a22390.jpg

All this was, of course, arranged by the ever-helpful Calabash Adventures, our favourite safari partner.

large_b56c02e0-3873-11e9-afba-9d2d75a22390.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 14:31 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals monkeys sunset elephants africa safari tanzania pond eagle birding lion windy giraffe wind swimming_pool lioness lily flamingos serengeti dust hyena sunburn gazelle topi warthog waterhole cracked jackal drongo bird_watching bustard tented_camp ndutu camp_fire kestrel whirlwind windshield calabash_adventures vervet_monkeys black_faced_vervet_monkeys lake_masek short_grass_plains black_backed_jackal spotted_hyena tawny_eagle lake_masek_tented_camp endless_plains spurfowl guineafowl francolin game_viewing golden_jackal mini_tornado white_bellied_bustard reedbuck dust_devil naabi_gate wildlife_photography leopard_kill thomsons_gazelle common_kestrel steppe_eagle chipped_windscreen windscreen baby_golden_jackal striped_hyena fireball_lily yellow_necked_spurfowl yellow_necked_francolin broken_tusk fork_tailed_drongo pre_dinner_drinks outdoor_shower Comments (6)

Lobo - Ndutu Part 2 - elephants and flat tyre

An eventful last morning in the Serengeti


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

Nicely refreshed after a break to stretch our legs, use the facilities, eat our breakfast picnic packs and photograph the hippos at Retima Hippo Pool, we set off again to “see what nature has to offer us”.

Dik Dik

We don't have to travel far before we see our first animal, These cute little antelopes are within the grounds of the picnic site. Dik Diks mate for life and you usually see two of them together, such as here.

large_81c82d40-3221-11e9-968e-6d996745fccb.jpg

large_8dd44880-3221-11e9-968e-6d996745fccb.jpg

Baby Warthogs

Also at the rest stop is a family of warthogs, including these arorable baby piglets.

large_9105c340-322a-11e9-be09-e7996ce1472a.jpg

large_9ea6fd70-322a-11e9-be09-e7996ce1472a.jpg

Tower of Giraffes

large_288506e0-322b-11e9-be09-e7996ce1472a.jpg

large_32fec580-322f-11e9-808a-f56f6cf9b971.jpg

Impala

Mum keeps her 2-3 day old baby close.

large_e679be90-3233-11e9-be09-e7996ce1472a.jpg

large_04304030-3234-11e9-be09-e7996ce1472a.jpg

Look at those ears! The baby is all legs and ears, it seems.

large_f6c642a0-3233-11e9-be09-e7996ce1472a.jpg

The baby suckles her mum.

large_197c5e60-3234-11e9-94c7-3d1fb300d02f.jpg

While the rest of the voyeuristic family look on.

large_291f8310-3234-11e9-94c7-3d1fb300d02f.jpg

Lioness

Malisa stops the car near a few other vehicles. “Lioness” he informs us. We all look in the distance but none of us can spot the cat.

“There” Malisa exclaims with more than a hint of amusement in his voice, pointing downwards, “right by the car”.

large_4e5f4030-3292-11e9-8d7a-0932cce164a1.jpg

She has been out hunting and has returned to where she thinks she left her babies last night, and is now searching for them.

large_99232770-3293-11e9-9df1-85f07bae861d.jpg

Even the abandoned aardvark hole is inspected.

large_b63e0550-3293-11e9-9df1-85f07bae861d.jpg

Appearing to be in distress, she stops and calls out to her cubs, but there is no obvious reply.

large_3a2b0fc0-3294-11e9-a769-eb9ef1c37421.jpg

large_328c6b50-3295-11e9-8189-f31c3fb5c714.jpg
"Have you seen my babies?"

Turning this way and that, there is still no sign of her offspring.

large_d3710240-3297-11e9-8fda-0fed4e39a826.jpg

large_e1433780-3297-11e9-8fda-0fed4e39a826.jpg

large_cdfd5320-32a3-11e9-918b-cd2eadbbe456.jpg

large_e5c93e60-32a3-11e9-918b-cd2eadbbe456.jpg

On the side of her head a nasty gash is indicative of a much-too-close encounter with the horn of a wildebeest or buffalo.

large_04f29140-32a1-11e9-918b-cd2eadbbe456.jpg

large_1d2f3520-32a0-11e9-95f3-a33afe1bb975.jpg

As she walks from one side of the road to the other between the vehicles gathered here, still calling out, I feel like we are somewhat invading her personal space, meddling in nature's progress. Is our presence preventing her cubs from coming forward?

large_7ed750a0-32aa-11e9-9022-0dc42f18177b.jpg

large_8d69efb0-32aa-11e9-9022-0dc42f18177b.jpg

We leave her to carry on looking for her lion cubs and continue on our way, as we have a fair distance to travel today.

large_d444f970-32aa-11e9-9022-0dc42f18177b.jpg

Marabou Stork

Above us a Marabou Stork is circling, creating a striking image against the bubbling white clouds.

large_8b77c730-32ab-11e9-9022-0dc42f18177b.jpg

large_2e02f420-32ac-11e9-9780-4de168973afe.jpg

large_121a1120-32ad-11e9-9780-4de168973afe.jpg

An altogether larger bird.

large_a9d684d0-32ad-11e9-9780-4de168973afe.jpg

Secretary Bird

large_176787b0-32ae-11e9-9780-4de168973afe.jpg

White Rumped Helmetshrike

large_8949e350-32ae-11e9-9780-4de168973afe.jpg

Waterhole

As we pull up at the waterhole, Malisa announces that we have a flat tyre and gets out of the vehicle to put the spare on. Before he can even get anywhere near the jack, he has to get our luggage out, which he then puts of the roof for safety (the green bits you see on the roof are a couple of our bags).

large_21f77a80-32bf-11e9-b1e7-41174f26342f.jpg

large_f5841580-32be-11e9-b1e7-41174f26342f.jpg

Elephants

In the distance we can see a herd of elephants approaching the waterhole and we become aware that we are right in the path between them and the water, which causes us some concern, especially as we realise that we are unable to move the car anywhere with one wheel off.

large_3177ade0-32bf-11e9-b1e7-41174f26342f.jpg

large_55064f50-32bf-11e9-b1e7-41174f26342f.jpg

As the majestic animals rapidly approach, we urge Malisa to get back in the car; from the safety of which we watch them all walk past and around us in order to reach the water where they spend their time splashing around, drinking and bathing.

large_4868adf0-3379-11e9-a49c-011c8054186d.jpg

large_6a06a2f0-3379-11e9-a49c-011c8054186d.jpg

large_757e6d70-3379-11e9-a49c-011c8054186d.jpg

large_85b43530-3379-11e9-a49c-011c8054186d.jpg

large_97edbc30-3379-11e9-a49c-011c8054186d.jpg

large_a9d46840-3379-11e9-a49c-011c8054186d.jpg

large_bd760ac0-3379-11e9-a49c-011c8054186d.jpg

large_ccc3bc70-3379-11e9-a49c-011c8054186d.jpg

large_dd174560-3379-11e9-a49c-011c8054186d.jpg

large_fa1a2e70-3379-11e9-a49c-011c8054186d.jpg

large_13a49290-337a-11e9-a49c-011c8054186d.jpg

large_25d232b0-337a-11e9-a49c-011c8054186d.jpg

Stubs

One of the elephants sports a shortened trunk, probably the result of a crocodile attack (or maybe even a poacher), although it does not seem to hamper him much as he appears to have learnt to live with his disability.

large_533ffd40-337a-11e9-a49c-011c8054186d.jpg

large_8d8a7980-337a-11e9-a49c-011c8054186d.jpg

large_9d93b300-337a-11e9-a49c-011c8054186d.jpg

large_0d74d150-3384-11e9-a49c-011c8054186d.jpg

Bath time is over for now, and the large animals clumsily climb out of the waterhole.

large_f334bf80-3388-11e9-9ee3-458b0d178e01.jpg

large_1364a590-3389-11e9-9ee3-458b0d178e01.jpg

I'd love to say they do it with elegance and grace, but the truth is anything but.

large_443c2800-3389-11e9-9ee3-458b0d178e01.jpg

large_52697590-3389-11e9-9ee3-458b0d178e01.jpg

large_cd00ae50-338d-11e9-9ee3-458b0d178e01.jpg

large_dddfe990-339a-11e9-ba6a-7bfc0fbaf92c.jpg

Meanwhile there are still only three wheels on our wagon.

large_f56f8cf0-338b-11e9-9ee3-458b0d178e01.jpg

There is an unwritten rule of safaris that you don't park between another vehicle and the animal sighting; but some people have no consideration for others. Not only is he blocking my view of half the waterhole, his aerial is dissecting all my photos in the other half. Thankfully this sort of thing happens very rarely, but he is most definitely not a good advert for his company.

large_1fc6be20-338b-11e9-9ee3-458b0d178e01.jpg

large_3b479b10-338b-11e9-9ee3-458b0d178e01.jpg

I can get rid of the aerial in Photoshop, as I have in the image below, but that is not the point. Malisa asks him politely to move on, and he does.

large_f029a590-338c-11e9-9ee3-458b0d178e01.jpg

Once all the elephants have finished bathing, have climbed out of the waterhole and are on their way to pastures new, another driver pulls his vehicle up right against ours to block the elephants' view of Operation Tyre Change.

large_56124000-338e-11e9-9ee3-458b0d178e01.jpg

Malisa, with the help of is mate from the other vehicle, gets out of the car again and manages to complete that tyre change in record time. Phew.

large_1fd84c80-339a-11e9-ba6a-7bfc0fbaf92c.jpg

large_2edaeb70-339a-11e9-ba6a-7bfc0fbaf92c.jpg

With a fresh new tyre, we move ever further south towards the exit gate of Serengeti.

Thank you Calabash for arranging this amazing safari for us.

large_bc1f8c30-3ab0-11e9-aa9d-b7f2f766649e.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 05:31 Archived in Tanzania Tagged elephants africa safari tanzania lion giraffe lioness serengeti stork impala warthog waterhole shrike game_drive puncture calabash_adventures marabou_stork seronera tower_of_giraffes secretary_bird dik_dik helmetshrike retimaretima_hippo_pool baby_warthog baby_impala white_rumped_helmetshrike flat_tyre damaged_trunk spare_tyre changing_tyre short_elephant_trunk Comments (2)

Serengeti Day 3 Part 2 - Infrared, leopard in a tree

We finally 'bag' the BIG FIVE


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

Mawe Meupe Picnic Site

large_020d2910-165c-11e9-8f70-03c59163c364.jpg

large_98091d80-165b-11e9-8f70-03c59163c364.jpg

As we are getting the food out of the car and start setting the table, I ask Malisa what all those cars are gathered around at the bottom of the hill.

large_dd70e830-165b-11e9-8f70-03c59163c364.jpg

“Oh it's a lion” he says nonchalantly. Really? And we are getting out of the car and sitting at a picnic table? And even worse, actually walking down to the toilets, which are even nearer to the lions? Yeah, right.

large_f3eb4d30-165b-11e9-8f70-03c59163c364.jpg

And he's coming this way....

large_28dd6320-166b-11e9-a977-ab9a0e8124a0.jpg

We also see more lions in the distance, under a tree. Malisa assures us it is perfectly safe, to have our picnic here, so we've got to trust him. We are not alone by any stretch of the imagination, so maybe it is safety in numbers.

large_11180560-165c-11e9-8f70-03c59163c364.jpg

Mawe Meupe is one of the more commercialised picnic sites in Serengeti, with a decent toilet block and a food truck selling snacks and drinks. As we are running low on Diet Coke to go with the Duty Free rum, we saunter over to take a look at what they are selling.

large_d9bdcd70-166a-11e9-a977-ab9a0e8124a0.jpg

Expecting there to be full-fat Coke and Fanta only, imagine our surprise when we discover they not only have cold Diet Coke; but there is also Savanna Cider for sale, much to David's delight. Result!

large_e467c0a0-166a-11e9-a977-ab9a0e8124a0.jpg
This is just too surreal at a picnic site in the wilds of Africa.

The birdlife on this site is usually very good, although there are fewer birds here today than we've seen on previous visits.

large_7c9322c0-166b-11e9-a977-ab9a0e8124a0.jpg
Superb Starling

large_88335cd0-166b-11e9-a977-ab9a0e8124a0.jpg
Silverbird

large_95784630-166b-11e9-a977-ab9a0e8124a0.jpg
Speckled Fronted Weaver

large_a406eda0-166b-11e9-a977-ab9a0e8124a0.jpg
White Headed Buffalo Weaver

Infrared

As a bit of an afterthought at the last minute (encouraged by David), I packed my Infrared Camera for this trip, not really expecting to use it very much. I was wrong. I have been having a lot of fun, although it has also been a very steep learning curve, both in the field when photographing, and during the post processing afterwards. Here is a small selection of the images I have taken so far:

large_4b69a100-1671-11e9-989e-bd819d4b25f1.jpg

large_56f01180-1671-11e9-989e-bd819d4b25f1.jpg

large_6578ec90-1671-11e9-989e-bd819d4b25f1.jpg

large_775670e0-1671-11e9-989e-bd819d4b25f1.jpg

large_90bde3b0-1671-11e9-9175-a7e0662aaca4.jpg

large_a70ccbe0-1671-11e9-9175-a7e0662aaca4.jpg

large_bc327650-1671-11e9-9175-a7e0662aaca4.jpg

large_df1631c0-1671-11e9-9175-a7e0662aaca4.jpg

large_f22e0ad0-1671-11e9-9175-a7e0662aaca4.jpg

Lions

Moving on, we go and see the lions we spotted from the picnic site. One female is resting in the shade of a tree, her belly replete from a recent feast.

large_4e672e20-16b4-11e9-af2d-3332b6617596.jpg

large_ce683be0-16b5-11e9-96d1-5dc7fac4e26e.jpg

This is where we were a few minutes ago, as seen from the lions' perspective.

large_66f25fd0-16b6-11e9-96d1-5dc7fac4e26e.jpg

Under another tree lies the male with the leftovers of breakfast. Most likely the females did the kill and the male came along and just took it from them. Charming.

large_c4259600-16b5-11e9-96d1-5dc7fac4e26e.jpg

Two more females can be seen under another tree.

large_9bd3dc50-16b7-11e9-96d1-5dc7fac4e26e.jpg

If you look very closely, you can see a large male lion hiding inside this bush. OK, so this is perhaps not our best lion sighting...

large_98bc6db0-16b8-11e9-8689-27536c27d43b.jpg

I am not even sure this Coqui Francolin has spotted the lion hiding in the thicket right behind him.

large_bf45d130-16bb-11e9-ad08-533f545b4fb3.jpg

large_f7a7de60-16bb-11e9-ad08-533f545b4fb3.jpg

Yellow Throated Longclaw

This, however, is an excellent sighting: a lifer and a colourful one at that.

large_e3c90140-16ba-11e9-8689-27536c27d43b.jpg

Thomson's Gazelles

A herd of Tommies are heading directly for the lions.

large_ca60f230-16ba-11e9-8689-27536c27d43b.jpg

A few tense moments for the safari-goers before some tense moments for the antelopes as they discover the predators and make a run for it.

large_1808dc00-16bb-11e9-8689-27536c27d43b.jpg

Green Grass

In the distance we see fresh, green grass, which is unusual for this time of year. We are now right at the end of the dry season, which means after months of no rain, the vegetation mostly consists of dead, brown straws, made even more dull by a covering of dust. This bit of fresh pasture is the result of deliberate burning to encourage new growth.

large_d1c2fb70-16bc-11e9-9e12-53139b0e3bb6.jpg

Topi with a bad leg

Walking with a limp renders this antelope an easy prey for any of the cats or even a hyena. He's just waiting to be lunch.

large_1e1ec0c0-16be-11e9-a481-07c71b031244.jpg

large_711a3110-16be-11e9-a481-07c71b031244.jpg

Kori Bustard

large_fabb0a70-16be-11e9-8fa2-9b6c3ba244df.jpg

White Bellied Bustard

large_30db3690-16c2-11e9-b107-a9581febf227.jpg

Spotted Hyenas

We spook a cackle of hyenas resting in a bush close to the road.

large_a45de630-173a-11e9-ad34-2d1a3742bbc1.jpg

large_ca5e7200-173a-11e9-ad34-2d1a3742bbc1.jpg

After the initial alarm, they hang around for a bit.

large_d6cb9900-173a-11e9-ad34-2d1a3742bbc1.jpg

large_e3c01870-173a-11e9-ad34-2d1a3742bbc1.jpg

large_ed02da80-173a-11e9-ad34-2d1a3742bbc1.jpg

Hyenas are born black, and develop their tell-tale spots at around two weeks old. The darker the spots, the younger the pups.

large_feded830-173a-11e9-ad34-2d1a3742bbc1.jpg

Warthogs

Lazing under a tree in the midday sun. Only mad dogs and Englishmen and all that...

large_56c0d500-173e-11e9-a9ab-c11743bb9804.jpg

Thomson's Gazelles

Although not part of the Great Migration as such, these Tommy do follow the rain in a similar manner.

large_e57732c0-1744-11e9-8ff4-85ccc365722e.jpg

large_ee9a5ee0-1744-11e9-8ff4-85ccc365722e.jpg

Leopard

A substantial collection of vehicles ahead indicates there must be something of some great importance around. Everyone is looking at a tree, and Malisa assures me there is a leopard in there. Really? I point Big Bertha at the place where the leopard is said to be, but it is challenging to make it out, even with my 600mm lens.

large_0e159af0-1745-11e9-8ff4-85ccc365722e.jpg

Oh, wait, I think I can spot some rosettes in amongst the foliage when I zoom in.

large_1696e1c0-1745-11e9-8ff4-85ccc365722e.jpg

Malisa moves the car a bit to get a better view.

large_3c8a7540-1745-11e9-8ff4-85ccc365722e.jpg

So does the leopard, apparently spooked higher and higher into the tree by the vehicles below. This is the ugly face of safari tourism in Africa.

large_7c3aee90-1745-11e9-8ff4-85ccc365722e.jpg

large_86b2ae30-1745-11e9-8ff4-85ccc365722e.jpg

large_ed64e4c0-1747-11e9-a7f5-035fcbc5de61.jpg

large_1393d390-1748-11e9-a7f5-035fcbc5de61.jpg

Wishing some of the other tourists would show some consideration for the wildlife by at least keeping noise to a minimum; we let the leopard be and move on to have our lunch picnic.

I am very grateful that Calabash Adventures's excellent ethics are shown through all the veneers of the company, from the owner to the drivers: RESPECT NATURE. This is one of the many reasons we choose Calabash again and again for our safaris in Tanzania.

large_e14943b0-1748-11e9-ac4a-c38542459b43.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 02:13 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds wildlife breakfast africa safari tanzania picnic antelope lions ethics serengeti leopard hyena gazelle topi warthog kori_bustard bird_watching infrared bustard ir birdlife picnic_breakfast superb_starling infrared_photography game_viewing packed_breakfast silverbird thomson's_gazelle mawe_meupe game_drivecalabash_adventures savanna_cider white_headed_buffalo_weaver yellow_throated_longclaw longclaw white_bellied_bustard cackle_of_hyenas respect_wildlife Comments (1)

Ngorongoro Crater Day 2 Part 2 - kingfisher, baby zebra

From breakfast until lunch


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

Picnic Breakfast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defassa Waterbuck

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

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

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

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

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

Bird Pond

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

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

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

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

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

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

Malachite Kingfisher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rasta Lion

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

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

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

Ring Necked Dove

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

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

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

Lions

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

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

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

Thomson's Gazelles

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

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

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

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

Wildebeest

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

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

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

Bateleur Eagle

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

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

Lions

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

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

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

Male lion

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

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

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

Zebra

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rhino

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

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

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

Cape Buffalo

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

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

Thomson's Gazelle

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

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

Hippo Pool

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

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

Great White Pelican

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cattle Egret

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

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

Hyena

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

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

Windy

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

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

Grey Crowned Cranes

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

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

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

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

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

Warthogs

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

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

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

Golden Jackal

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

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

Kori Bustard

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

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

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

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

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

Secretary Bird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arusha - Ngorongoro Crater Day 1 Part 1

Worth the early start


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

Lyn and Chris are nearly always up before us and are such sticklers for time-keeping that we are very surprised when they don't arrive at the agreed time for breakfast.

They finally show up some 20 minutes later – it turns out they had set the alarm time but not turned the alarm on. No harm done, thankfully, and we are all ready to go when Malisa arrives.

large_451695b0-f02e-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Augur Buzzard

A mere 100 metres down the road from the hotel we spot our first wildlife of the day: the regal Augur Buzzard.

large_08f998d0-f02d-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Not so welcome this morning are the police checks on our way to Ngorongoro, we get stopped at two of them for Malisa to show them his paperwork – which is all in order, of course - so we are soon on our way to “see what nature has to offer us today” (one of Malisa's favourite sayings).

Lodoare Gate

While Malisa waits for the paperwork at the entrance gate to Ngorongoro Conservation Area, we make use of the facilities and free wifi. We notice they have painted the gate a different colour to how it was when we came here last (it was a safari-beige, it is now a jade-green).

large_5beab370-f02e-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Crater View Point

Even here, miles from anywhere, free wifi is being advertised. I guess it is good for a brief 'boast post' on social media, but I do feel somewhat sad that being surrounded by wonderful nature and amazing wildlife is no longer enough.

large_43af6f20-f02f-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

large_6ba3dbb0-f02f-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

large_5e05fce0-f02f-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

large_b02d5450-f02f-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Malisa assures us that the small blob we see in the far, far distance is in fact a rhino.

large_98ae0270-f02f-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Porcupine

As I mentioned in yesterday's blog entry, I usually bring along a 'wish list' on my safaris, and porcupine is on this year's list. The next best thing to a live animal is seeing these porcupine spines. The meat has gone, of course, as it would most likely have been killed by a leopard for its dinner last night.

large_b7fac990-f031-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Chameleon

My wish list is going really well and so early on in the safari, with another item being ticked off when Malisa spots this Flap Necked Chameleon by the side of the road. I don't know just how he manages to spot it; as you can see it blends perfectly with its surroundings. I am excited about this small reptile as it is the first time I have ever seen a chameleon in Tanzania.

large_365b8a40-f032-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Ngorongoro Crater

We take a different route down into the crater today than the one we normally do: this time using the Lemala Descent Road. We have come down this track once before, a few years ago, and I love the way the track makes its way underneath the majestic Flat Topped Acacia Trees.

large_3eb958a0-f034-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

The trees, with their characteristic flat tops (hence the name), act as umbrellas and protect the soil from erosion during heavy rains.

large_4a4a2960-f034-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Look at how dense that canopy is ~ isn't nature wonderful?

large_5503d400-f034-11e8-9598-abbc579c2331.jpg

Sodom's Apple

Although this fruit belongs to the tomato family, you won’t find it in any salads. Known as Sodom’s Apple as it is said to be the first plant to grow again after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; the small, yellow fruit is used as a medicine for stomach ache, diarrhoea and to treat external wounds. When you see this plant growing, you know that the soil in the area is not of high quality as it grows best in poor soil.

large_60010750-f0e4-11e8-a491-55362bc2dc4d.jpg

Olive Baboons

A large troupe of baboons crosses our path.

large_19125c40-f0e9-11e8-88dd-8956a1e55cc2.jpg

large_29b64f20-f0e9-11e8-88dd-8956a1e55cc2.jpg

large_55ede3a0-f0e9-11e8-88dd-8956a1e55cc2.jpg

The little one who almost got left behind.

large_38f35f00-f0e9-11e8-88dd-8956a1e55cc2.jpg

large_4748ce00-f0e9-11e8-88dd-8956a1e55cc2.jpg

It is so sad to see empty water bottles littering the crater floor. Malisa explains that the Maasai tribesmen who come this way are guilty of this.

large_6672dcd0-f0e9-11e8-88dd-8956a1e55cc2.jpg

large_f3595200-f0ee-11e8-863a-bfbf30c24805.jpg
Love the human-like expression on the face of this baboon as he ponders his next move

This little guy appears to be trying to get some sleep while being carried on his mother's back.

large_795a4850-f0ef-11e8-863a-bfbf30c24805.jpg

Speckled Mousebirds

Sociable creatures, Speckled Mousebirds often huddle together for warmth and company. It was only when they moved apart that I realised this was in fact TWO birds, they were so close together initially.

large_148962a0-f0f2-11e8-863a-bfbf30c24805.jpg

Cape Buffalo

large_ea5d1d20-f162-11e8-9731-e5ceb92e53ba.jpg
He is right beside the car

large_fd3c9630-f164-11e8-9731-e5ceb92e53ba.jpg

large_4b9def80-f166-11e8-9731-e5ceb92e53ba.jpg
Unpredictable and highly dangerous, these guys have the most impressive horns. They reportedly charge thousands of people a year, and gore over 200. They can attack and cause serious injury with the tips of their huge, curved horns, or by head butting with their "boss" which is the solid shield of horn that covers the skull where the horns emerge.

Got to scratch that itch!

large_2b6f7390-f167-11e8-9731-e5ceb92e53ba.jpg

large_b9236ac0-f194-11e8-9c12-85044454dce8.jpg
Northern Wheatear (non-breeding female)

Warthogs

large_f6403220-f19a-11e8-9c12-85044454dce8.jpg

The sort of face only a mother could love

large_06e42500-f19b-11e8-9c12-85044454dce8.jpg

Uncharacteristically, these warthogs do not run away as we stop to take photos – they are usually such skittish creatures and these are remarkably close to the vehicle. They just lift their head and make a cursory glance in our direction before resuming their grazing.

large_f3c66310-f19b-11e8-9322-9f537e62e4eb.jpg

large_8eb8fb80-f19c-11e8-944e-bbf9bb1146b6.jpg

Ostrich

You can tell from the pink colouration to the neck and legs that this huge bird is on heat and ready to fertilise those all-important eggs.

large_e57a6290-f19e-11e8-9322-9f537e62e4eb.jpg

large_b34aa880-f1b1-11e8-b960-75ed12430189.jpg
Augur Buzzard, apparently in a 'strop', stamping his feet: "I don't want to fly off!"

Zebra

large_02af7d30-f1b5-11e8-b960-75ed12430189.jpg

large_ad9d3e00-f1b8-11e8-b960-75ed12430189.jpg

large_33c01430-f1b9-11e8-b960-75ed12430189.jpg

Grant's Gazelle

large_78c94420-f1b9-11e8-b960-75ed12430189.jpg

large_94d0dd40-f1b9-11e8-b960-75ed12430189.jpg

large_9de674d0-f1b9-11e8-b960-75ed12430189.jpg

large_a9c73a50-f1b9-11e8-b960-75ed12430189.jpg
Crested Lark

Black Backed Jackal

large_062168d0-f26d-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

large_b4132230-f26d-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

Secretary Bird

We are rather bemused by this secretary bird performing his mating ritual. We are not quite sure who it is aimed at, as there are no other birds in sight. Maybe he is just practising for the real thing.

large_1525b570-f26d-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

large_47a8ec10-f26d-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

large_51ba6fd0-f26d-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

Lion

We initially wonder why this lioness is not chasing the warthogs, as they look to us that they could be an easy lunch, but then we discover that she is heavily pregnant and thus would be concerned that any exertion could make her lose the baby.

large_a740b440-f26e-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

large_50defc90-f270-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

large_be4f1be0-f26e-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

large_6350ee20-f26f-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

large_21e138a0-f26f-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg
She's just a big pussycat really

Is she going for it? They are pretty close to her now and would make an easy target.

large_9ed46a20-f270-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

large_0a3c4b70-f271-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg
Big baby belly

Too late, they've discovered her.

large_1f3dd6a0-f272-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

Instead she saunters off to try and find a safe place to give birth. I wish we could stay around for that.

large_7a09b450-f272-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

large_e1e69a20-f272-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg

By the time the lioness has disappeared, David admits that he is absolutely desperate to pee. We are just about to make a 'bush stop' when another vehicle turns up. A lot of heavy breathing and jumping from foot to foot ensues until Malisa can find a safe place for David to get out of the car. Getting back in again he lets out the largest sigh of relief you can imagine, much to everyone else's amusement.

large_ebf0d570-f273-11e8-a4fd-f16f42cecee8.jpg
Little Bee Eater

large_582d0270-f28f-11e8-8052-7f6ad4b132c4.jpg
Levaillant's Cisticola

large_c1ed6360-f291-11e8-8052-7f6ad4b132c4.jpg
Singing his little heart out

large_601fa190-f302-11e8-b35a-7f9e459e9aed.jpg
Tawny Eagle

Hippos

It is fairly unusual to find them out on land, normally all you can see is the top of their backs as they wallow in shallow water. Hippos cannot swim, so they will always find areas where the water is no deeper than they are able to stand at the bottom while still having their heads above the water. Here we can only just see the top of their backs as the rest is hidden by vegetation. Makes a change from water I guess.

large_89ffdf20-f32f-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg

Just as we are about to leave the hippos and head to the picnic site, they get up and start to move, so we stay for a little longer, watching them splash into the small pond.

large_b5535530-f32f-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg

large_c28b4640-f32f-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg

large_d201dcb0-f32f-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg

large_e35d86d0-f32f-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg

large_f3f4f690-f32f-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg

large_02bd99c0-f330-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg

Ostrich Porn

On our way to lunch we get side tracked by another ostrich, and this one has found himself a likely suitor. Initially he pretends to be totally disinterested although it doesn't take long before he is doing his very best to impress her with a dramatic dance routine.

large_51eb0ec0-f307-11e8-b489-f979b2e7a3e9.jpg

large_787c8ff0-f307-11e8-b489-f979b2e7a3e9.jpg

large_8347c6c0-f307-11e8-b489-f979b2e7a3e9.jpg

large_91f71590-f307-11e8-b489-f979b2e7a3e9.jpg

She is bowled over by his sexy moves and capitulates to his charms.

large_c8b90750-f307-11e8-b489-f979b2e7a3e9.jpg

large_d6becfb0-f307-11e8-b489-f979b2e7a3e9.jpg

David caught it all on video, with narration provided by Chris

.

As soon as he's had his wicked way with her, he just gets up and walks away, leaving her apparently frustrated and still flapping her wings for attention, wondering what all the fuss was about. Sheesh. What a lothario!

large_1b21d490-f308-11e8-b489-f979b2e7a3e9.jpg

large_26b34190-f308-11e8-b489-f979b2e7a3e9.jpg

large_342fdcc0-f308-11e8-b489-f979b2e7a3e9.jpg

Zebras

We almost end up with a T-bone steak when a zebra without road sense decides to dart out in front of us. Thankfully no harm done.

large_919d0020-f332-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg

large_9f3dec30-f332-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg

large_aec35a40-f333-11e8-8d27-11dca19acb2b.jpg
European White Stork - not a permanent resident in Tanzania, the stork is a seasonal migrant visitor from Europe

Waterhole

Last time we came to Tanzania (2017) was at the end of the rainy season, a green and verdant time. Now we are here at the end of the dry season, and everything is arid, dusty and brown, which makes this waterhole even more visually striking and of course a great temptation to the animals.

large_47690130-f34f-11e8-90db-6f1a98bbbd31.jpg

large_5d17b1c0-f34f-11e8-90db-6f1a98bbbd31.jpg

large_69682900-f34f-11e8-90db-6f1a98bbbd31.jpg

I love the way Big Bertha seems to have picked out the personality of these buffalo.

large_e58af5b0-f351-11e8-90db-6f1a98bbbd31.jpg

large_f31f5ea0-f351-11e8-90db-6f1a98bbbd31.jpg

large_088aebb0-f352-11e8-90db-6f1a98bbbd31.jpg

large_f05e2cb0-f35a-11e8-b510-cf6e19121590.jpg
African Fish Eagle

Red Billed Quelea

Popularly referred to as 'feathered locusts', the Red Billed Quelea is Africa's most hated bird. For generations this small but voracious bird has gathered in huge numbers to decimate subsistence farmers' fields across the continent. With some colonies numbering into the millions, the quelea is the most abundant bird in the world, and sadly also the most destructive. With an estimated adult breeding population of at least 1.5 billion, it is believed that the agricultural losses attributable to the quelea is in excess of US$50 million annually which would be totally devastating to those already barely getting by.

large_14c568f0-f35d-11e8-b510-cf6e19121590.jpg

We finally make it to the picnic site for our lunch stop, and this is also where I will finish this blog post. Be sure to read the next entry for stories about the rest of our afternoon in the crater.

As usual, our thanks go to Tillya of Calabash Adventures and Malisa our driver, without whom this fabulous safari would never have happened.

large_3e9413c0-f35d-11e8-b510-cf6e19121590.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 02:17 Archived in Tanzania Tagged trees animals africa safari tanzania zebra national_park buffalo lion rhino baboons ostrich lioness ngorongoro acacia warthog chameleon arusha jackal hippos viewpoint porcupine big_bertha lark calabash_adventures which_safari_company best_safari_company tawny_eagle mousebird grant's_gazelle lodoare_gate red_billed_quelea quelea bee_eater africa_animals augur_buzzard safari_permit flat_topped_acacia acacia_trees umbrella_trees sodom's_apple pregnant_lioness cisticola Comments (3)

Arusha National Park

An underrated little park


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

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

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

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

Mount Kilimanjaro

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

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

We also have a good view of Mount Meru

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

Arusha National Park

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

Sykes Monkey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Narina Trogon

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

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

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

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

Black and White Colobus Monkey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baby Warthogs, referred to as piglets.

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

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

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

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

Bushbucks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

White fronted bee eater

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dik dik

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

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

Picnic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big Momella Lake

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

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

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

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

Big Bertha, star of the show

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

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

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

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

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

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

Albino Baboon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A1 Hotel and Resort

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Naabi Hill - Ngorongoro Crater - Maramboi

Ngorongoro revisited


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

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

large_Maasai_and_Donkeys_1.jpg

large_Seneto_Descent_Road.jpg

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

large_Ngorongoro..nt_road_101.jpg

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

large_887D7D28E974826DA0ADC33716511580.jpg

large_Yellow_Mantled_Widow_Bird.jpg

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

large_Widow_Bird..w_Mantled_2.jpg

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

large_Widow_Bird..w_Mantled_1.jpg

large_Common_Fiscal_Shrike.jpg

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

large_Shrike__Common_Fiscal_1.jpg

large_Olive_Baboon.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_101.jpg

large_Northern_Anteater_Chat.jpg

large_Chat__Northern_Anteater_1.jpg

large_Wattled_Starling.jpg

large_Starling__Wattled_101.jpg

large_Starling__Wattled_102.jpg

large_Rufous_Sparrow.jpg

large_Sparrow__Rufous_1.jpg

Male (above) and female (below)

large_Sparrow__Rufous_2.jpg

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

large_Two_cars_i..goro_Crater.jpg

large_BB27BCBFCE2B9FB99AC3D85EB997DB2E.jpg

large_Warthog_31.jpg

large_Warthog_33.jpg

large_Warthog_34.jpg

large_Warthog_35.jpg

large_Warthog_36.jpg

large_Warthog_37.jpg

large_Warthog_38.jpg

large_Sacred_Ibis.jpg

large_Ibis__Sacred_1.jpg

large_Black_Headed_Heron.jpg

large_Heron__Black_Headed_31.jpg

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

large_Heron__Black_Headed_33.jpg

large_D24B3BE80B5E07B3D9DD125FAC884FEE.jpg

large_Bustard__Kori_31.jpg

Another large bird on the hunt for some lunch

large_Bustard__Kori_32.jpg

large_D28AD4E20E76C14C18968D814052F8CC.jpg

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

large_Rhino_31.jpg

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

large_Rhino_32.jpg

large_Rhino_33.jpg

large_Rhino_40.jpg

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

large_Rhino_34.jpg

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

large_Rhino_35.jpg

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

large_Rhino_41.jpg

Still eating of course.

large_Rhino_36.jpg

large_Rhino_43.jpg

large_Lunch_Picnic.jpg

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

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

large_D3FDBB9B09B464A77386096CADC8777A.jpg

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

large_Ngoitoktok_Picnic_Site_31.jpg

large_D43D35C6944FB60368C1FDF6B1283B66.jpg

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_32.jpg

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_33.jpg

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_34.jpg

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_35.jpg

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_37.jpg

large_D4ABE664EC9709D2A11EDFD18A308CEC.jpg

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

large_Elephant__Big_Tusked_31.jpg

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

large_Elephants__Lions_31.jpg

large_D515A8AEF20333B3504D3B3E2F2F69A1.jpg

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

large_Goose__Egyptian_31.jpg

large_Goose__Egyptian_32.jpg

Egyptian Geese

large_Widow_Bird__Fan_Tailed_31.jpg

Fan Tailed Widow Bird

large_Crane__Gre..ed_Flying_1.jpg

large_Crane__Gre..ed_Flying_2.jpg

Several Grey Crowned Cranes flying around.

large_Lapwing__Long_Toed_1.jpg

Long Toed Lapwing

large_Ibis__Sacred_31.jpg

large_Ibis__Sacred_32.jpg

Sacred Ibis

large_Ibis__Hadada_31.jpg

Hadada Ibis

large_Weaver__Lesser_Masked_31.jpg

large_Weaver__Lesser_Masked_32.jpg

Lesser Masked Weaver

large_Starling__Wattled_32.jpg

large_Starling__Wattled_31.jpg

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

large_Starling__Wattled_33.jpg

large_Starling__Wattled_34.jpg

large_Coot__Red_Knobbed_31.jpg

Red Knobbed Coot

large_Thomson_s_Gazelle.jpg

large_Gazelle__Thomsons_31.jpg

large_Gazelle__Thomsons_32.jpg

large_Lerai_Ascent_Road.jpg

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

large_Lerai_Ascent_Road_31.jpg

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

large_Crater_Wall_Trees.jpg

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

large_View_over_the_Crater_31.jpg

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

large_D7DC27C8F99F4E480E50730DF9051256.jpg

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

large_Baboon__Olive_51.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_52.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_54.jpg

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

large_Baboon__Olive_55.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_56.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_57.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_60.jpg

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

large_Sunset_near_Maramboi_1.jpg

large_Sunset_near_Maramboi_2.jpg

large_Sunset_near_Maramboi_3.jpg

large_Maramboi.jpg

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

large_Impala_in_..of_Maramboi.jpg

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

large_Giraffe_in.._Maramboi_1.jpg

large_Giraffe_in.._Maramboi_2.jpg

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

large_Mongoose_i.._Maramboi_1.jpg

large_Mongoose_i.._Maramboi_2.jpg

Banded Mongoose

large_Impala_in_.._Maramboi_3.jpg

Impala with the rooms behind.

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

large_F3A452AFC2B03F4ACB85B54878D402AF.jpg

large_F3B691ACB8DC42B85C1EF6AE12AC228C.jpg

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

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

large_Stars_over..ime_Picture.jpg

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

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

large_F4EF037CED0AA76F95A03867B2341E1C.jpg

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

large_Maramboi_Tented_Camp_4A.jpg

large_Stars_over_Maramboi.jpg

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

large_Stars_over..mboi_-_Lion.jpg

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

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

large_015BD24A9E63C1281188D03A10710611.jpg

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

Serengeti Day I Part III - Birds, Mongoose, Topi & Warthogs

A day cut short


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

When on safari, we spend all day every day in specially adapted Landcruisers, with a lifting roof and large opening side window for all-round viewing.

large_Breakfast_.._Airstrip_4.jpg

We either sit down to view and photograph the animals...

large_Calabash_Vehicle_2.jpg

... or stand up for a 360° view of the savannah around us.

large_Calabash_Vehicle_3.jpg

We are also lucky to have our amazing guide Malisa with us, who is not just a great friend, but an exceptional spotter and extremely knowledgable about animals and birds, the environment, geology, ecology, history, culture, animal behaviour....

large_2191E3B594EDD846C4F101C59C054809.jpg

large_Malisa_ith_Binoculars_1.jpg

large_Malisa_31.jpg

More sleep in the car for me this afternoon, this chest infection sure is taking its toll on me. The boys make sure I am awake for any bird or animal sightings though, such as the wildlife we find when we stop at this small pond.

large_25353464F7BAE081FA5AC243C002D998.jpg

large_253E5854BBF0807E0BAADB53E2F9684E.jpg

large_2542CF81C6F1A360CD5D4B770064C97A.jpg

large_Nile_Crocodile.jpg

A very uncooperative crocodile refuses to turn around and face the camera on request. Pfft. Doesn't he know who we are? So, it looks like a bum shot it is then.

large_2572EB16D04C322836BEBF58C82FE54F.jpg

large_257D08BAD4588CA1AA3FF860C01E593E.jpg

The hippo aren't much better – all we can see is the top of their backs. We can certainly smell them though!

large_25A78C8DEAE7A07C5ACF1F5006951E8D.jpg

large_Mawe_Meupe_Picnic_Site.jpg

large_Mawe_Meupe_Picnic_Site_2.jpg

Every picnic site should have a giraffe in the distance...

Mawe Meupe, which means “The White Rocks”, is a small hillock dotted with picnic tables and a great place to spot birds.

large_Roller__Lilca_Breasted_2.jpg
Lilac Breasted Roller

large_Weaver__Wh..d_Buffalo_3.jpg
White Headed Buffalo Weaver

The birds are so used to people and quite unafraid. They come right up to our table hoping for a small offering from our lunch. I hold my hand out with a few crumbs and a starling lands on it and sits there while he is eating. I also get a severe telling off – quite rightly – by Malisa. The birds and animals in the Serengeti are wild and should remain so. They can find their own food and should not be encouraged to rely on humans. I consider myself properly chastised and promise not to do it again. Then feel guilty about it for the rest of the trip.

large_Starling__Ashy_1.jpg
Ashy Starling

large_Starling__Superb_31.jpg
Superb Starling

As “Never pass a toilet without using it” is my travel motto, I make a point of visiting the facilities before we leave. They are nice and clean with a lock on the door, paper and running water. Although the walk is a very short distance, it totally wears me out and I get back to the car completely breathless and coughing wildly. Being ill on holiday sucks!

large_2826D8D1FA85EA1401C44E0E7A8AD628.jpg

Our path is blocked by a giraffe as we leave the picnic site to continue our afternoon game viewing.

large_29963243B554CF44471576FB3602228C.jpg

large_299D84C7CC455BF8B112C5C9FCD71FFB.jpg

large_Banded_Mongoose.jpg

A group of banded mongoose is called a band of mongoose of course.

large_Mongoose__Banded_2.jpg

large_Mongoose__Banded_3.jpg

large_2827FCF8BEEEB5868976AD7B596BFACC.jpg

large_Topi_21.jpg

large_2A5E2159D495342F4C23EADE333FD200.jpg

large_Courser__Two_Banded_21.jpg

large_29E3AB8E96BE19677E8409AF92E4B993.jpg

large_2A0FE46902C4DD946AF6EEF42CAE7B46.jpg

The grass here is so long during the rainy season that it manages to almost completely lose the adult warthog. And that is why they run with their tails straight up, so that their babies can see them and follow.

large_Warthogs_23.jpg

large_2A2739F9DF176AF307486D96787D23E4.jpg

large_2A2C1C710A9584F3E2837EC76C91328A.jpg

large_2A5BE29E0389CDB74563E1D40A97D9CB.jpg

Judging by the number of cars (I counted eleven) parked by the tree, it is obvious that the leopard we saw last night is still there.

large_Leopard_102.jpg

And judging by the number of times she tosses and turns in the short time we are here, she obviously still hasn't found a comfortable position in that tree.

large_Leopard_104B.jpg

large_Leopard_103.jpg

large_2826D8D1FA85EA1401C44E0E7A8AD628.jpg

A very pale baby giraffe with his mummy - they get darker as they age.

large_2B30ADFBB90BBE2F58689FC426486DB5.jpg

large_2B37AFFAC836C2205C9DCEC6449CCAB1.jpg

large_2B6E18D1DF9F7E51EEA20CABE73588D4.jpg

Look at that hairstyle!

large_2B7D3ECEC1775CF6C3EB87F11E7A8670.jpg

And look at that nose! The dik dik has an elongated snout which is very mobile, constantly twitching, with bellows-like muscles through which blood is pumped to help prevent the animal from over-heating. The flow of air and subsequent evaporation cools the blood before it is recirculated to the body. How ingenious!

large_Dik_Dik_2.jpg

Dik diks are monogamous, so you will almost always see them in pairs (or three, with their single offspring).

large_Dik_Dik_3.jpg

large_2BD50571CAAE4037DBF1468F18689F4B.jpg

The female is looking for her babies. She walks into the long grass and stops to let out an almighty roar, a sound that carries a long distance, hoping that her offspring will make their way to where she is. There is no sign of any cubs though.

large_Lions_203.jpg

large_Lions_202.jpg

large_Lions_201.jpg

large_Defassa_Waterbuck.jpg

large_Warerbuck__Defassa_1.jpg

large_Warerbuck__Defassa_2.jpg

large_Warerbuck__Defassa_3.jpg

large_Warerbuck__Defassa_4.jpg

large_Early_Night.jpg

For the first time ever in our thirty years of safaris, I ask to be taken back to the lodge early. Malisa is so sweet, knowing that I would never want to return to base before sunset unless I am really ill, he is obviously concerned about me. He keeps offering me advice and suggestions, plus lots of sympathy. All I want right now is my bed though.

When I get back to the room I watch a couple of buffalo walk past the tent on the slope below, then go to bed. With some serious coughing fits and the lioness still roaring for her cubs, I struggle to stay asleep for more than a few minutes at a time. This is going to be a long night.

With thanks to Calabash Adventures for arranging this safari.

large_2DDFD29EEEE592089438688D5482AF3D.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 15:47 Archived in Tanzania Tagged birds travel africa safari tanzania crocodile birding picnic lion giraffe experience hippo serengeti leopard waterbuck topi starling mongoose warthog courser bird_watching calabash_adventures dik_dik lion-roaring Comments (4)

Ngorongoro Crater

The Eighth Wonder of the the World?


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

At 02:00 I wake in a mad panic with a feeling of being unable to breathe. My head is spinning, the floor is moving like ocean waves and my heart is beating so fast it feels like I have just run a marathon (not that I am ever likely to know what that feels like).

I walk to the bathroom, having to hold on to the furniture along the way so as not to stumble, and by the time I return to bed I feel exhausted. As soon as I lie back down again, I start coughing. Thanks David for giving me your cold. Having spent the first three months of the year being very ill / hospitalised with pneumonia, and having to cancel a holiday in February, I was so looking forward to this trip. I really don't want to be sick!

A large group of tourists are leaving the lodge at the same time as us this morning (06:00), but Malisa has conveniently placed himself in the car park rather than just outside the door, so we get away before they do, which means we enter the Crater as the very fist vehicle this morning.

large_Ngorongoro.._the_Rim_21.jpg
Ngorongoro crater as seen from the rim

large_Ngorongoro_Crater.jpg

Like an African safari in miniature, the Ngorongoro Crater is an iconic soup bowl filled with animals and wrapped in superlatives. As the largest un-filled, un-broken caldera in the world, the crater boasts a number of 'records', including the densest animal population in Africa. No wonder it is dubbed as the 8th Wonder of the World. Created some three million years ago when a large volcano exploded, the caldera is ca 20 km across and 610 metres deep; and contains all the 'Big Five' as well as a number of other plains game. Only the giraffe is absent, as the caldera walls are too steep for them to climb.

Also absent these days is the Maasai cattle, having recently been banned from the caldera. When we first started coming to Tanzania some ten years ago, the cattle were only permitted on the caldera walls, but over the years they have been spreading themselves further and further down, and last year we were quite surprised to see them on the crater floor itself. No more. They are not permitted into the caldera at all now.

large_Sunrise_over_the_Crater_1.jpg

large_Cape_Buffalo.jpg

Instead of Maasai cattle, we see a number of Cape Buffalo on the crater walls this morning. Considered one of the Big Five, this is an aggressive and dangerous animal, responsible for a number of human deaths each year.

large_Buffalo_21.jpg

large_AC33A436D188D1C697D76FB852AB34A7.jpg

large_AC3032A399E453FB002531E97F05BA8E.jpg

large_Buffalo_3.jpg

large_ACB13C2ADB73749DFC00D6839CAAE520.jpg

large_Sunrise_over_the_Crater_3.jpg

large_Sunrise_over_the_Crater_4.jpg

large_AEAAC677AD93F7C88BC576E21D70A297.jpg

We spot our very first lions about half way down the descent road, and we follow the two females all the way to the bottom, where they move off the road in their continued quest for breakfast.

large_Lions_6.jpg

large_AEC36C51ECB23032538EF042B6128152.jpg

large_AEC8AF9FC3DA2CA9E4481D515333D5B4.jpg

large_Lions_9.jpg

large_Warthog.jpg

In the distance we – and the lionesses – have spotted a warthog. He too is very aware of the predators approaching.

large_B00E8E6CC5AE1295A0F1684284C1B91E.jpg

What to do now? The clever hog finds himself a hole in the ground and goes into hiding by 'reversing' into the crevice.

large_Warthog_2.jpg

We hold our breaths as the lionesses arrive in the area the warthog is lurking, looking in a few of the small ravines for the breakfast they know is hiding somewhere close by.

large_Lions_21.jpg

large_Lions_22.jpg

Unfortunately for the lionesses, but fortunately for the warthog, they never do discover his hiding place. Well played Mr Hogg, well played!

large_Lions_23.jpg

We follow the lionesses for a little while longer, hoping they might lead us to their babies.

large_Lions_24.jpg

No such luck, and we join the baboons in looking at the lions disappear into the forest.

large_Lions_25.jpg
Wise advice

large_B7614885DF453723D1D9AC352CD37422.jpg

large_B76389C0D5CAF3A1C3CD02A4A3607D99.jpg

large_More_Lions.jpg

When Malisa spots a lone lioness in the distance, we stay a while watching to see if the gazelles spot her before she spots them as potential breakfast.

large_Lion_and_Gazelles_1A.jpg

Again nothing happens, another lion foregoes breakfast and we - and the gazelles - move on the pastures new.

large_Secretary_Bird.jpg

Endemic to the open grasslands in sub-Saharan Africa, the Secretary Bird stands around four feet tall and is so named because of the quill-like crest on the backs of its heads that resemble 18th century clerks with pens tucked into their wigs.

large_BC64AD8C0C9A4CF9087550C5F6F27024.jpg

Unlike most birds of prey, the Secretary Bird doesn't swoop down to catch its prey, rather he hunts on foot, jumping up and down to flush out his intended breakfast (snakes and lizards mainly) and then kills them with a force five times his own weight.

large_Secretary_Bird_15.jpg

large_BD899B3CE7A7DBE76B9277244C15ED87.jpg

When we met up with Tillya yesterday, her told me I have to take some award-winning photos on this trip; and I asked him if there was anything in particular he had in mind. “Zebras fighting” was his reply.

large_Zebras_9.jpg

large_Zebras_8.jpg

Fortunately, these two very cooperative zebras do seem to have received the memo and put on an obliging display for me.

large_BDA2CBE1C050289EE578EA289509456C.jpg

large_Zebras_2.jpg

large_Zebras_3.jpg

large_Zebras_4.jpg

large_Zebras_5.jpg

large_Zebras_6.jpg

large_Zebras_7.jpg

large_Lake_Magadi.jpg

More zebras down by Lake Magadi.

large_Zebras_10.jpg

large_Zebras_13.jpg

As well as wildebeest and a hyena.

large_DAA3EDEBB0CD73A8F03A04160AE20EFE.jpg

large_DA9FA3C7EC00050759931DE904A25C84.jpg

large_DC4FC947D7E1837374FF58BEFC88D61E.jpg

large_Hyena_and_Wildebeest_1.jpg

And a very cute baby Thomson's Gazelle.

large_Gazelle__Thomson_s_2.jpg

The lake is also home to a number of Lesser Flamingos.

large_Lake_Magadi_Flamingos_1.jpg

large_Flamingos__Lesser_2.jpg

large_Flamingos__Lesser_5.jpg

large_Elephant.jpg

large_DD31AF45F9ED4129C17A903738E4AF3D.jpg

large_Elephant_2.jpg

large_Weather.jpg

To say the weather is changeable today is an understatement; the lifting roof has come down and gone up more times than a hooker's undergarments this morning already. Each rain shower lasts only a few minutes and is not heavy, but the wind makes sure that everything inside the car gets soaked.

It does make for some dramatic skies though.

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_11.jpg

large_Hammerkop.jpg

large_Hammerkop_2.jpg

large_Hammerkop_1.jpg

large_Kori_Bustard.jpg

As Africa's heaviest flying birds, the Kori Bustard can weigh up to 19kg and stands at around 120cm tall. During courtship displays, the male inflates his neck and dances for the female, although this guy is obviously a little confused, as we cannot see any females around. Perhaps he is just practising.

large_Bustard__K.._Display__2.jpg

large_Bustard__K.._Display__3.jpg

large_Black_Rhino.jpg

On all our previous visits to Ngorongoro, we have only ever seen the rhino from a great distance, so when Malisa asked me about my wish list this year, seeing a rhino up close was mentioned.

And there he is!

large_Rhino__Black_1.jpg

Black rhino are on the Critically Endangered conservation status list, so I feel quite honoured to see one of the 30 or so rhinos that inhabit the caldera.

large_Rhino__Black_2.jpg

large_Rhino__Black_3.jpg

large_E48B142EAFAC300E156352C0A8097DCD.jpg

We see eight lions in the distance, mainly sleeping.

large_Lions_31.jpg

large_Lions_32.jpg

large_Lions_33.jpg

large_Lions_34.jpg

large_Elephant.jpg

This old male of around 55-60 years old (it is mostly males who live in the crater) likes to stay close to the swamp as he has lost his last molars so favours the soft grass found here. Look at those impressive tusks though! I think they are the longest tusks I have ever seen!

large_Elephant_31.jpg

large_Elephant_36.jpg

large_Grey_Crowned_Cranes.jpg

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_13.jpg

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_11.jpg

large_Crane__Gre..h_chicks__2.jpg

large_Crane__Gre..h_chicks__3.jpg

large_Hippo_with_Baby.jpg

large_EDD0A348A50985DCF1A12B79DE2FC04E.jpg

large_EDF00F21B61F62E7CDEDF7B80439095C.jpg

large_Wildebeest.jpg

large_Wildebeest_22.jpg

Mum is accompanied by her baby, who is around 3½-4 months old.

large_Wildebeest_21.jpg

large_Augur_Buzzard.jpg

large_Buzzard__Augur_1.jpg

large_Green_Season.jpg

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_43.jpg

May is considered part of the 'Green Season' (otherwise known as the 'Rainy Season', but obviously tour operators feel that 'Green' sounds better than 'Rainy'), and as such the prices are lower and there are fewer people around.

We love it. Not only do we often have the animal sightings completely to ourselves, we also enjoy all the flowers and lush vegetation around at this time of year.

large_Purple_Flowers_1.jpg

large_Ostrich_2.jpg

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_52.jpg

large_Yellow_Flowers_71.jpg

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_56.jpg

large_0CFF830FE95E3EB27A0365196B98373E.jpg

large_0C27ED0A09141B216D1152874BF7B12B.jpg

large_0D14D729A607505DEAA0443811CC2A6D.jpg

large_Zebra_45.jpg

large_Zebra_47.jpg

large_Zebra_48.jpg

large_Zebra_43.jpg

large_Ngoitoktok.jpg

This area beside a spring of the same name is popular with tourists, and we too stop here for breakfast.

large_Ngoitoktok_Picnic_Site_6.jpg

large_Ngoitoktok_Picnic_Site_5.jpg

It's times like these that I am glad we are travelling on a private safari.

large_Ngoitoktok_Picnic_Site_3.jpg

We have company, eyeing up the leftover breakfast.

large_Guineafowl__Helmeted_1.jpg
Helmeted Guineafowl

large_Weaver__Rufous_Tailed_1.jpg
Rufous Tailed Weaver

large_Starling__Superb_1.jpg
Superb Starling

large_Ngoitoktok_Picnic_Site_7.jpg

large_Ibis__Sacred_2.jpg
Sacred Ibis

Meaning “water coming from the ground”, the spring is favoured by hippos as well as tourists.

large_Ngoitoktok.._-_Hippos_1.jpg

large_Ngoitoktok_Picnic_Site_8.jpg

large_10C8E58BE77D8A7206FD3AF4CD40893D.jpg

large_Hippo_4.jpg

large_1260FE39E528220DE2E4040A6DB55774.jpg

large_Warthogs_4.jpg

Warthogs have to be some of the ugliest animals around, but look at those legs: they look like an elegant lady's with stiletto heels!

large_Warthogs_7.jpg

large_Crown_Crane_Courtship.jpg

The male puts on an impressive display for his intended female, with some elegant dance moves.

large_Crane_Combo_5.jpg

large_Olive_Baboons.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_23.jpg

I love the way it looks as if these baboons are picking up the flowers to take in the wonderful aroma.

large_Baboon__Olive_21.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_24.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_25.jpg

large_237AD5539CC95C56D0C7FE7391526FC8.jpg

And everyone should have an elephant or two in their flower bed!

large_Elephant_67.jpg

This one is even wearing flowers in his hair!

large_Elephant_69.jpg

large_263E060DC92BAEB5182E225C883E8C6D.jpg

We encounter a large breeding herd of Cape Buffalo.

large_Buffalo_42.jpg

I do find their menacing stare somewhat intimidating.

large_Buffalo_46.jpg

large_Buffalo_53.jpg

Although some do look more like country yokels than inner city thugs.

large_Buffalo_55.jpg

But the babies are cute. As most babies are. This one is very young, just one or two days old.

large_Buffalo_47.jpg

Look at the flies!

large_Buffalo_50.jpg

The buffalo are joined by an elephant.

large_Buffalo_and_Elephants_1.jpg

large_Buffalo_and_Elephants_3.jpg

My camera seems to be malfunctioning at this stage, refusing to focus or fire and the viewfinder becoming very dark. I feel a growing sense of panic until I remove the battery grip and find it works fine again. Phew.

large_Oxpeckers.jpg

Wherever the buffalo go, the Yellow Billed Oxpeckers follow.

large_Oxpeckers_..ow_Billed_2.jpg

The birds enjoy a symbiotic relationship with the buffalo (as well as other animals here); where the animal provides a 'home' for the birds, while the oxpeckers assist the buffalo by removing the ticks and flies.

large_Oxpeckers_..ow_Billed_4.jpg

large_Swallows.jpg

And in the trees, the Barn Swallows gather.

large_Swallows__Wire_Tailed_1.jpg

large_Swallows__Wire_Tailed_3.jpg

large_Social_Weavers.jpg

So called because they like to live in close proximity to each other, these small birds have filled this tree to beyond recognition with their elaborate nests!

large_Social_Weaver_Nests_1.jpg

large_Social_Weaver_Nests_2.jpg

large_444617BDA9376FD941EE5E49CC075EF1.jpg

This enormous bird stands around 1.5m (5 ft) tall and can weigh up to 19kg (42 lbs).

large_Bustard__Kori_22.jpg

large_Hippo_Pool.jpg

large_Hippo_82.jpg

The pool doesn't just attract hippos, we also see a few birds here:

large_Egret__Cattle_1.jpg
Cattle Egret

large_5224F666E6321C3EB47B567D6992BF61.jpg
African Spoonbills hiding those beautiful beaks of theirs

large_Goose__Egyptian_1.jpg
Egyptian Goose

large_Plover__Blacksmith_1.jpg
Blacksmith Plover

large_454AD9D8D664986805B4376B85298638.jpg
Red Bishop

large_Hammerkop_72.jpg
Hammerkop

large_Ibis__Sacred_81.jpg
Sacred Ibis

large_Eland.jpg

This is one seriously big antelope, standing at around 180cm (6 feet) tall at the shoulders. It is also one of the most skittish of the plains game; mainly as a result of being extensively hunted for their delicious meat.

large_46F80032A395ED23B5159BF8F2969DFB.jpg

As a result they are therefore usually seen running away as soon as we approach, so it makes a very pleasant change to be able to photograph them actually standing still.

large_Eland_5.jpg

large_474550E5BC7A3D3F32CD6DDEF935834C.jpg

The older they get, the greyer they become (just like humans) and the larger the dewlap grows. This guy is a seriously old dude by the looks of it. Notice how all the youngsters stare at us while the old man carries on eating, totally oblivious.

large_47488081DB087CDD2B10C0AE80659553.jpg

large_4780C2D6088D7632165907F62435D42D.jpg

We become a little concerned when we see a baby zebra lying in the middle of the road with no apparent urge to move as we get closer.

large_Zebra_85.jpg

Mum soon arrives on the scene to 'rescue' her little darling...

large_Zebra_86.jpg

... who promptly throws a tantrum. "I don't wanna move!"

large_Zebra_87.jpg

But mum's having none of it and marches him out of harm's way.

large_Zebra_83.jpg
Less than a week old, he is just too adorable!

large_48022F09C3554F9459E3BB2047951512.jpg

In these pictures you can easily see the facial warts that have given this animal its name.

large_Warthog_81.jpg

large_Warthog_83.jpg

large_Ascent.jpg

As we say goodbye to Ngorongoro Crater, I can easily appreciate why it is often dubbed the 8th Wonder of the World.

Once back up on the rim, I can yet again feel the effect of the altitude on my chest. I did have some temporary relief down in the crater, which is over 600m lower than the surrounding area.

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_91.jpg

Coughing madly and struggling to breathe, I curse David for bringing a cold with him on this trip.

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_92.jpg

We take one last look at the crater below before we make our way to our next destination and new adventures.

This amazing experience was made a reality by the wonderful staff at Calabash African Adventures.

large_48804133BEE36D7BFEDDA6FD24FFAFB5.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 06:56 Archived in Tanzania Tagged elephant africa safari tanzania zebra buffalo lion rhino black_rhino ngorongoro hyena warthog ngorongoro_crater kori_bustard bustard rhinocerous calabash calabash_adventures hammerkop cape_buffalo secretary_bird zebras_fighting giant_tusk long_tusked_elephant Comments (7)

(Entries 1 - 9 of 9) Page [1]