A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about waterhole

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 5 Part 2 - Ngare Naironya Springs

The Stripes are the Stars


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

The Gang

All ready to go to see more wildlife this morning:

large_f370d240-28c0-11e9-a4e8-c78c5d63998d.jpg

large_16053530-28c1-11e9-a4e8-c78c5d63998d.jpg

Ngare Naironya Springs

After breakfast we return to the waterhole, which is now full of zebras coming and going, splashing about, drinking and generally being zebras.

large_313b4d80-28c1-11e9-b689-051620dc27a8.jpg

large_4cdfdf10-28c1-11e9-b689-051620dc27a8.jpg

large_669b1730-28c1-11e9-b689-051620dc27a8.jpg

large_84305530-28c1-11e9-b689-051620dc27a8.jpg

large_9dcd7e00-28c1-11e9-b689-051620dc27a8.jpg

large_bd5711f0-28c1-11e9-b689-051620dc27a8.jpg

large_d59dab70-28c1-11e9-b689-051620dc27a8.jpg

Clouds of dust swirl around in the air as the zebra are spooked by our car or each other at different times.

large_ea0731d0-28c1-11e9-a4e8-c78c5d63998d.jpg

large_fc5d6890-28c1-11e9-a4e8-c78c5d63998d.jpg

A hyena appearing on the horizon sends the skittish zebras into a mass exodus.

large_49c36760-28c2-11e9-a4e8-c78c5d63998d.jpg

large_643da9c0-28c2-11e9-a4e8-c78c5d63998d.jpg

Warthog

Once the zebra have vacated the bar, a couple of warthogs saunter down to take a drink.

large_7cecf020-28c2-11e9-a4e8-c78c5d63998d.jpg

large_b0c93f10-2a2b-11e9-989c-5f8e31953b0a.jpg

large_483beda0-2a2e-11e9-989c-5f8e31953b0a.jpg

large_91e08e10-28c2-11e9-a4e8-c78c5d63998d.jpg

large_c7191c30-2a2c-11e9-989c-5f8e31953b0a.jpg

large_a2e69e20-28c2-11e9-a4e8-c78c5d63998d.jpg

Hammerkop

A couple of Hammerkops also make the most of the fresh water.

large_d6dc0260-28c2-11e9-a4e8-c78c5d63998d.jpg

We move a short distance to another part of the springs where a steep-sided natural depression with water in the bottom is surrounded by trees. I guess this could be a bit of a death trap if a predator or two were to appear, as there is no easy escape route. The zebra seem acutely aware of the potential danger too – even just the shadows of a hammerkop flying above is enough to spook them.

large_28e545c0-2acc-11e9-84a1-c9aa0b27c650.jpg

large_d6a4d740-293a-11e9-867b-6f9e78104374.jpg

large_f6bd64c0-293a-11e9-867b-6f9e78104374.jpg

large_1b30c0e0-293b-11e9-867b-6f9e78104374.jpg

With the zebra safely out of the way, a couple of Olive Baboons brave the waterhole.

large_9b83f730-2945-11e9-ae25-cd6c22cbf7a5.jpg

large_93750e50-2952-11e9-bdf1-0b4e1eed3356.jpg

This amazing place is a wildlife-watcher's paradise, and at times it is difficult to know which direction to look – and point the cameras – as there is something exciting going on all around us at all times.

Frisky Impala

Male impala are territorial, although usually only during the rutting season. You can tell these are two guys, as only males have horns. Impala are extremely agile and can jump up to three metres in height, covering a distance of 10 metres.

large_c7859d90-2ac4-11e9-abd9-eb5d2bd80218.jpg

large_db707e10-2ac4-11e9-abd9-eb5d2bd80218.jpg

large_ebb19070-2ac4-11e9-abd9-eb5d2bd80218.jpg

Meanwhile, the zebra think it is very much a laughing matter.

large_4de814d0-2ac5-11e9-8a84-b3522561d2ef.jpg

Topi

large_45d62710-2ac4-11e9-abd9-eb5d2bd80218.jpg

large_61834420-2ac4-11e9-abd9-eb5d2bd80218.jpg

large_6e50b390-2ac4-11e9-abd9-eb5d2bd80218.jpg

Zebra

As I said in the title, here on these plains the stripes really are the stars. There are zebra everywhere, thousands of them, including some very young foals. Mummy zebras are fiercely protective of their offspring and will fight off any other strange adult who gets too close to her baby.

large_e52175d0-2ac5-11e9-8456-a54236c760a9.jpg

large_fb9fd270-2ac5-11e9-8456-a54236c760a9.jpg

large_0e47f9c0-2ac6-11e9-8456-a54236c760a9.jpg

large_24af7300-2ac6-11e9-8456-a54236c760a9.jpg

large_396c7090-2ac6-11e9-8456-a54236c760a9.jpg

large_54044d10-2ac6-11e9-8456-a54236c760a9.jpg

large_7c167ad0-2ac6-11e9-8a84-b3522561d2ef.jpg

There is also some love in the air.

large_70cf19b0-2ac7-11e9-9a86-2fe1452eb4de.jpg

These zebra are part of the Great Migration – they tend to be out the front, before the other ungulates, as they will chomp on the taller grass that the wildebeest are unable eat, leaving the shorter grass for them. Easily spooked, thy are constantly on the move, and once one zebra runs, lots of zebra run. I spend ages and take hundreds of photos practising my panning skills, with varying success.

large_2a57dad0-2ac7-11e9-9a86-2fe1452eb4de.jpg

large_38e08ed0-2ac7-11e9-9a86-2fe1452eb4de.jpg

large_47857d60-2ac7-11e9-9a86-2fe1452eb4de.jpg

large_62ae8da0-2ad8-11e9-b9ec-0d51107e9558.jpg

The heavily pregnant zebra on the right looks like she might give birth any moment.

large_8bf44210-2ac7-11e9-9a86-2fe1452eb4de.jpg

Cape Buffalo

Cape buffalo doing what cape buffalo do best: stare! I do find their gaze rather unnerving.

large_85eefaf0-2acb-11e9-84a1-c9aa0b27c650.jpg

The buffalo will migrate too, but they don't do the complete circuit as they are unable to cross the biggest rivers.

large_9348a4d0-2acb-11e9-84a1-c9aa0b27c650.jpg

Being slightly short-sighted, the buffalo are often spooked by warthogs as they confuse them for lions. I can see how the outline, size and colour of the two animals can appear slightly similar if your eyesight is not good. Try squinting at the picture below and you may be able to see what I mean.

large_b8c840d0-2acb-11e9-84a1-c9aa0b27c650.jpg

large_a85322f0-2ac7-11e9-a423-c18c52564a64.jpg
Warthog

Hooded Vulture

large_8fdcb720-2ad8-11e9-b9ec-0d51107e9558.jpg

large_99c55620-2ad8-11e9-b9ec-0d51107e9558.jpg

Black Faced Vervet Monkeys

large_0e826be0-2ae0-11e9-8746-bf32ebae6bc1.jpg

large_a6fd7900-2afe-11e9-9dd1-df6f5cbd76b7.jpg

large_b7013440-2afe-11e9-9dd1-df6f5cbd76b7.jpg

Tse Tse Flies

Despite smothering ourselves with Avon's Skin so Soft lotion, which greatly reduces the number of insect bites, we are hugely bothered by the tse tse flies here in this forest. This is the worst swarm of these pesky flies we've ever encountered, and when we stop the car, we can hear them as a constant buzz.

large_7bff5ca0-2b03-11e9-af12-3d1cfb47ae66.jpg

Ostriches

large_7da22210-2b01-11e9-9dd1-df6f5cbd76b7.jpg

large_b6c0b690-2b03-11e9-af12-3d1cfb47ae66.jpg

Swollen Ankles

My ankles feel sore and tight, and I soon discover why – the top of my socks have really been digging in to my legs. Oops.

large_0f9637f0-2b03-11e9-af12-3d1cfb47ae66.jpg

Buffalo lying down

You can see their horns are starting to wear down. Unlike antlers, bovine horns are permanent and do not fall off and regrow.

large_b1dc7730-2b04-11e9-9dd1-df6f5cbd76b7.jpg

Rough Track

Malisa goes off the 'main road' along a track that can only be described as 'basic'.

large_c6de7790-2b05-11e9-9dd1-df6f5cbd76b7.jpg

large_d2934b10-2b05-11e9-9dd1-df6f5cbd76b7.jpg

Warthog

Initially their short stature makes the baby piglets invisible in the long grass (which is why they run with their tails in the air, so that all the members of the family can see each other), it is only when they cross the dirt track behind us that we spot the cute little family.

large_8a4bb030-2b8d-11e9-9d6e-d370bfb83769.jpg

large_a7b21600-2b8d-11e9-9d6e-d370bfb83769.jpg

Spot the Elephant

It is astonishing how easy it is to lose such an enormous animal.

large_a56f6710-2b8f-11e9-85cf-f5f21e59f856.jpg

There he is: a large bull elephant appears from behind the bushes.

large_4355fe40-2ba8-11e9-96b9-55da73e18862.jpg

He is eyeing us with suspicion as he walks along, grabbing some grass to eat as he goes.

large_d6f0b4b0-2ba8-11e9-96b9-55da73e18862.jpg

large_56428190-2ba8-11e9-96b9-55da73e18862.jpg

Maybe suspicion wasn't his perspective, as he seems to be rather more excited to see us now.

large_e704eab0-2ba8-11e9-96b9-55da73e18862.jpg

Such an amazing organ, the elephant's trunk (you thought I was talking about something else there, didn't you?) has 150,000 muscles, helping it to eat, pick things up and communicate among other things.

large_f2de5d30-2ba8-11e9-96b9-55da73e18862.jpg

Cheetah siesta

Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. It seems this cheetah most definitely got that memo and has no intention of moving from his shady comfort zone.

large_b76e4550-2bab-11e9-96b9-55da73e18862.jpg

The Affectionate Tree

I love the way the trunk of this tree appears to caress the round shapes of the rocky outcrop, bringing a whole new aspect to the expression 'tree hugging'.

large_d91c4a70-2bac-11e9-96b9-55da73e18862.jpg

His mate was a slow developer and only discovered the appeal of rocks in later life, resulting in a swift U-turn in his growth pattern. Not so much a hug as a desperate grab.

large_90171840-2bad-11e9-96b9-55da73e18862.jpg

I will leave you with that rocky embrace for this time. Thank you Calabash Adventures, you're the best!

large_06e62cd0-2baf-11e9-af27-830c72db58fc.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 05:08 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals springs monkey elephant africa safari tanzania zebra cheetah buffalo baboons ostrich serengeti dust hyena vulture lobo impala topi waterhole warthogs game_drive calabash_adventures hammerkop tse_tse_flies hamerkop cape_buffalo panning vervet_monkey ngare_naironya_springs zebra_fighting zebra_running hooded_vulture black_faced_vervet_monkey swollen_ankles Comments (2)

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

This morning's highlight: Lion with Zebra kill


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

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

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

Hartebeest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buffalo in the sunrise

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

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

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

Zebra Kill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zebra

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ngare Naironya Springs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breakfast Picnic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calabash African Adventures, the best safari company by far.

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

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

Serengeti Day 4 Part 3 to Lobo Lodge - leopard

Leaving the best until last


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

Impala

This common antelope is affectionately known as McDonalds because of the black M marking on its rump.

large_d9f17db0-1d67-11e9-9c42-ad780143f14b.jpg

The black spots seen on the back of its hind legs are glands that emits a scent when the impala lands after a jump, thus marking its territory in the process. Isn't nature clever?

large_e57dba90-1d67-11e9-9c42-ad780143f14b.jpg

large_ef8ddec0-1d67-11e9-9c42-ad780143f14b.jpg

large_5e70fef0-1d7a-11e9-ae3c-d511534aa396.jpg
Martial eagle

Boma Pride

These are the cubs we saw last year, all grown up now.

large_fd0ce280-1e39-11e9-bb40-e5bf5984671b.jpg

Fourteen lions in total are spread around this area, some near to the road, others much further away.

large_0cb86ba0-1e3a-11e9-bb40-e5bf5984671b.jpg

large_1c181eb0-1e3a-11e9-bb40-e5bf5984671b.jpg

large_2bb94790-1e3a-11e9-bb40-e5bf5984671b.jpg

large_382b2980-1e3a-11e9-bb40-e5bf5984671b.jpg

large_48304450-1e3a-11e9-bb40-e5bf5984671b.jpg

Nile Crocodile

Unusually, we have seen a number of crocodiles on this trip, and not just sunning themselves on a bank, they have actually been doing things.

large_9ec27db0-1e3f-11e9-bb40-e5bf5984671b.jpg

large_a8d5fd40-1e3f-11e9-bb40-e5bf5984671b.jpg

large_b34901f0-1e3f-11e9-bb40-e5bf5984671b.jpg

Other Animals at the Waterhole

With this elephant heading towards the water, Malisa positions the car so that we can get a better view.

large_5df585f0-1e41-11e9-bb40-e5bf5984671b.jpg

large_749c2b10-1e41-11e9-bb40-e5bf5984671b.jpg

large_17a47740-1e42-11e9-bb40-e5bf5984671b.jpg

large_799dcb90-1e42-11e9-bb40-e5bf5984671b.jpg

Constantly on the lookout for predators, a lone zebra nervously edges his way down to the pond.

large_2295de40-1e43-11e9-bb40-e5bf5984671b.jpg

large_91421420-1e4e-11e9-bb40-e5bf5984671b.jpg

large_a2325240-1e4e-11e9-bb40-e5bf5984671b.jpg

He is still easily spooked though.

large_f884b5c0-1e4e-11e9-bb40-e5bf5984671b.jpg

Spotted Hyena

large_01987ef0-1e57-11e9-a4f7-6faaa0bbb6f6.jpg

large_16128010-1e57-11e9-a4f7-6faaa0bbb6f6.jpg

large_21e3b530-1e57-11e9-a4f7-6faaa0bbb6f6.jpg

It's a hard life being a hyena.

large_2d2c3250-1e57-11e9-a4f7-6faaa0bbb6f6.jpg

Eland

I'm not sure whether it is a coincidence or not, but previously we have generally only seen elands in any numbers the further north we go. Today is no exception - we are currently heading away from the central part of the park and towards the north-east area of Lobo.

large_17b84b60-1e58-11e9-a4f7-6faaa0bbb6f6.jpg

Eland are the largest antelope in the Serengeti, and you can see just how large they are compared with the Thomson's Gazelles in this picture.

large_3281e640-1e58-11e9-a4f7-6faaa0bbb6f6.jpg

Orangi River

Traversing the Serengeti from north west to south east, the Orangi River is a huge draw for animals, especially now in the dry season when there is very little surface water in the park.

large_f559b150-1f0e-11e9-bac4-1bc0ece3e4aa.jpg
Cape Buffalo coming down to drink

large_05bc7c80-1f0f-11e9-bac4-1bc0ece3e4aa.jpg
A young Crocodile in a small pool created by the low water level

large_18c895c0-1f0f-11e9-bac4-1bc0ece3e4aa.jpg

large_229680d0-1f0f-11e9-bac4-1bc0ece3e4aa.jpg

large_2d5e3530-1f0f-11e9-bac4-1bc0ece3e4aa.jpg
Hippo

Cape Buffalo

The thick forest hides a huge herd – or obstinacy – of buffalo. The downside of the combination of trees and buffalo is that it also attracts tse tse flies. They are pesky little things, and although Avon Skin So Soft does help to keep them away, I still get bitten a few times. It hurts when they get you and stings like hell after.

large_22a2b5f0-1ff8-11e9-94cb-71228a6d245e.jpg

Southern Ground Hornbill

A large bird, usually found feeding on the ground as the name suggests.

large_7ce2bc70-1ffa-11e9-94cb-71228a6d245e.jpg

He is looking all around this tree trunk for termites.

large_a4cc2c80-1ffa-11e9-94cb-71228a6d245e.jpg

large_aed21780-1ffa-11e9-94cb-71228a6d245e.jpg

Eland

large_c6e78780-1ffd-11e9-94cb-71228a6d245e.jpg

Normally these large antelopes are very shy and timid – their meat is delicious and they are slower moving due to their size, making them a favourite prey of hunters and poachers. This guy, however, seems to be as curious about us as we are about him.

large_cecd78b0-1ffd-11e9-94cb-71228a6d245e.jpg

After giving us a cursory glance, he just carries on eating.

large_d7d22050-1ffd-11e9-94cb-71228a6d245e.jpg

large_122d1750-1ffe-11e9-94cb-71228a6d245e.jpg

Mbuzi Mawe

We pass the lovely lodge we stayed at a couple of years ago when we last came with Lyn and Chris.

large_72271930-1ffe-11e9-94cb-71228a6d245e.jpg

large_bc781300-2002-11e9-a688-dfedcad19dec.jpg
Pallid Flycatcher

Togoro Plains

Always a good place to see a range of animals, Togoro is no different today:

large_4d538cf0-2004-11e9-b4cd-23e1aacac794.jpg
Elephants

large_6aa6dff0-2004-11e9-b4cd-23e1aacac794.jpg
Zebra

large_798d1d40-2004-11e9-b4cd-23e1aacac794.jpg

large_915d2730-2004-11e9-b4cd-23e1aacac794.jpg
Female Steenbok

large_fb05cc50-2004-11e9-b4cd-23e1aacac794.jpg

Lobo

As time is getting on now, and we still have quite some way to go to reach our overnight lodge, we make our way towards Lobo where we are to spend the night. This part of Tanzania is new territory for us, we previously just briefly skirted past Lobo in 2014 on our way to Kogatende.

large_a80fe140-297b-11e9-bc99-dbabd40ea268.jpg

We see very little traffic on these tracks, but one vehicle travelling in the opposite direction stops and the driver has a very animated conversation with Malisa In Swahili. While I do not understand most of what is said, I get the gist that there is an exciting sighting ahead. Malisa drives on with increased purpose.

Suddenly he stops the vehicle. It is not easy to spot at first, but then we see it: a leopard in a tree.

large_82100090-27ed-11e9-befa-8f3000765546.jpg

She is restlessly moving from branch to branch and turning to look in every direction.

large_9868acc0-27ed-11e9-befa-8f3000765546.jpg

large_a7343620-27ed-11e9-befa-8f3000765546.jpg

large_c5ec2230-27ed-11e9-befa-8f3000765546.jpg

large_d41e78d0-27ed-11e9-befa-8f3000765546.jpg

As we can hear some laughing hyenas in the distance, Malisa surmises that they stole her kill. I guess that is why they are laughing.

For a brief moment in time – less than one minute - the low sun comes out, bathing the tree and cat in a beautiful golden light; before disappearing below the horizon for another day.

large_f3b88780-27ed-11e9-befa-8f3000765546.jpg

large_01376ca0-27ee-11e9-befa-8f3000765546.jpg

large_14381430-27ee-11e9-befa-8f3000765546.jpg

We really should be hitting the road to reach the lodge before dark, but Malisa is convinced that the leopard will leave the confines of the tree and head off to do some hunting now that the sun has gone down.

large_26c8e2f0-27ee-11e9-befa-8f3000765546.jpg
"Are you waiting for me?"

She fidgets. A lot. Yawns, stretches and moves.

large_8cd8d0f0-27ee-11e9-befa-8f3000765546.jpg

large_98265720-27ee-11e9-befa-8f3000765546.jpg

large_acd1c880-27ee-11e9-befa-8f3000765546.jpg

large_be99f010-27ee-11e9-befa-8f3000765546.jpg

Has she seen something?

large_c987a300-27ee-11e9-befa-8f3000765546.jpg

We get ready with our cameras, just in case. And yes, Malisa is right. She makes her way along the branch to the centre of the tree, and not so much 'jumps' as 'runs' down the trunk and disappears behind it.

large_3a080b60-27f4-11e9-8475-e9377ac5528b.jpg

large_48076b20-27f4-11e9-8475-e9377ac5528b.jpg

large_53a55b40-27f4-11e9-8475-e9377ac5528b.jpg

large_64c3ae40-27f4-11e9-8475-e9377ac5528b.jpg

large_724b6d00-27f4-11e9-8475-e9377ac5528b.jpg

large_b3932820-27f4-11e9-8475-e9377ac5528b.jpg

Slowly, stopping regularly to look around, she makes her way across the grassy plains.

large_c05bea60-27f9-11e9-9843-05e991bc0dbc.jpg

large_d276ece0-27f9-11e9-9843-05e991bc0dbc.jpg

large_f61a4ed0-27f9-11e9-9843-05e991bc0dbc.jpg

large_04ca60f0-27fa-11e9-9843-05e991bc0dbc.jpg

She walks right past us, then sits down close to the car.

large_9e1b5750-27fa-11e9-aec2-3fe930f7a9d9.jpg

Finally she joins the dirt track behind us, sashaying along, looking here, then there, sniffing the air and taking a rest.

large_853e3840-27fc-11e9-9e73-457f20f0ecdf.jpg

large_95677ce0-27fc-11e9-9e73-457f20f0ecdf.jpg

Now what has she spotted?

large_82282930-27fd-11e9-9e73-457f20f0ecdf.jpg

large_8d142e70-27fd-11e9-9e73-457f20f0ecdf.jpg

Nothing exciting apparently. She continues on her way, crosses the road and lays down in the ditch rolling around like a kitten.

large_605863e0-27ff-11e9-9e73-457f20f0ecdf.jpg

Lobo Wildlife Lodge

Finally we tear ourselves away from this most amazing leopard sighting. We are late now, of course, and by the time we reach the lodge, it is pitch black. The approach is interesting, driving through a narrow, natural cutting between two towering rocks alive with vervet monkeys, olive baboons and rock hyraxes. The uninviting large metal gate is unlocked by a reluctant guard, revealing an open courtyard surrounded by a reasonably well lit two-storey building. The accommodation is much larger than we are used to, with 74 rooms.

large_77534bc0-2979-11e9-bc99-dbabd40ea268.jpg

large_864fa920-2979-11e9-bc99-dbabd40ea268.jpg

A warm welcome awaits us in the cosy natural stone and wood-pannelled reception, with a serious concern for our well-being when we didn't arrive at the expected time (ie before dark).

large_2dfe03b0-2c6d-11e9-b313-ff8b15cd0920.jpg

The lodge is reminiscent of an old fashioned ski cabin, with the basic rooms leading off outside walkways and every surface covered in dark wood: floor, walls, ceiling and furniture. The bath is interesting with a huge step into the tub. The floor creaks ominously. Lyn and Chris are particularly unimpressed with their accommodation and ask to be moved, but find that the second room is no better than the first.

When our luggage fails to arrive, we go to check out what is going on. The lock on the back door of the car is stuck and has drawn quite a crowd of helpers. Eventually Malisa manages to break it open and we can get to our change of clothes. Broken locks seem to be a theme of this trip.

In the restaurant we encounter the other guests, consisting of a large group of American birders, but the lodge is far from full. As is to be expected from such a large hotel, dinner is buffet style. Not feeling particularly hungry, nor a fan of buffets, I just have a bowl full of lentils for dinner. They are delicious. Since we left Central Serengeti we have not had any phone signal, but they do have wifi in the restaurant here, which means I can at least send an message to my dad and catch up on my emails.

Back in the room, the bed is very hard and before I even have a chance to fall asleep my back is hurting badly. This does not bode well. At this point I would like to mention that Lobo Wildlife Lodge was not our choice of accommodation, but the nearby mobile tented camp that we were initially booked to stay in, more than lived up to its name and moved on to a different location a couple of weeks ago. In this area it is Hobson's Choice when it comes to accommodation, with this being the only one, at least within our price range. Tillya was extremely apologetic when he told us, and offered us the option of staying here or changing the itinerary to spend time elsewhere. While I obviously have a preference when it comes to the style of accommodation, such a short amount of time spent in the lodge (especially this evening) means the accommodation it is of very low importance to me – exploring somewhere new takes preference.

As always, we thank Calabash African Adventures for all the work they do to ensure we have a fantastic time on every safari.

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

Posted by Grete Howard 14:06 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds elephant river africa safari tanzania crocodile zebra eagle birding buffalo lions serengeti leopard hyena lobo impala waterhole bird_watching hornbill eland termites calabash_adventures mbuzi_mawe cape_buffalo martial_eagle southern_ground_hornbill steenbok orangi_river togoro_plains lobo_wildlife_lodge Comments (2)

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