A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about wildebeest

Serengeti Day 5 Part 3 - baby eles, lion cubs, Lobo Lodge

A lion's share of animals


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

Olive Baboons

Clusters of strongly scented white flowers of the Umbrella Thorn Acacia tree, as well as the associated seed pods, provide food for the baboons.

large_684d6990-2bcb-11e9-a500-819c93abb60a.jpg

large_79002980-2bcb-11e9-a500-819c93abb60a.jpg

large_86a35f80-2bcb-11e9-a500-819c93abb60a.jpg

The blooms also attract a number of insects, as we can see here.

large_95639e40-2bcb-11e9-a500-819c93abb60a.jpg

Elephants

large_c5989af0-2bd2-11e9-a222-ab06eec68412.jpg

large_ddae6070-2bd2-11e9-a222-ab06eec68412.jpg

large_f40a19e0-2bd2-11e9-a222-ab06eec68412.jpg

large_afe24ea0-2be5-11e9-b98d-9fca2993ae82.jpg

Migration

The intention today was to look for cats rather than the migration, and although we did see a lone lion first thing and later a cheetah, we have also come across the migration – first the zebra leading the way just after breakfast, and now the wildebeest.

large_d87fe8f0-2be4-11e9-b98d-9fca2993ae82.jpg

large_e72ffb10-2be4-11e9-b98d-9fca2993ae82.jpg

large_f357dbb0-2be4-11e9-b98d-9fca2993ae82.jpg

Reedbucks

large_549a6320-2be5-11e9-b98d-9fca2993ae82.jpg

Tawny Eagle

large_17e3d370-2be6-11e9-b98d-9fca2993ae82.jpg

We are treated to a spectacular areal display by this impressive raptor.

large_284cce40-2be8-11e9-b7ec-2d06078dfa40.jpg

large_35f29c50-2be8-11e9-b7ec-2d06078dfa40.jpg

large_403716f0-2be8-11e9-b7ec-2d06078dfa40.jpg

Hooded Vulture

large_64eecf10-2be8-11e9-a98e-7fea4eb25d83.jpg

Elephants in Bologonja River

It is pure entertainment watching this little elephant (less than two months old) drinking, as the babies don't start using their trunks until they are around five months old.

large_8c8cf3f0-2c59-11e9-b2ca-5dfadec7caec.jpg

large_9db754e0-2c59-11e9-b2ca-5dfadec7caec.jpg

large_a9617a00-2c59-11e9-b2ca-5dfadec7caec.jpg

With a bit more practice it won't be long before he's got the hang of it.

large_c8522950-2c59-11e9-b2ca-5dfadec7caec.jpg

large_d33750c0-2c59-11e9-b2ca-5dfadec7caec.jpg

The eroded dry riverbank makes for a good scratching post.

large_99734d20-2c5a-11e9-8c97-f54de3e04123.jpg

Reedbucks

Also on the Bologonja riverbank, are three reedbucks. Normally solitary animals, it is unusual to see one male mating with two females.

large_c036eff0-2c5c-11e9-8b76-275a9b6a9d7d.jpg

large_cc832170-2c5c-11e9-8b76-275a9b6a9d7d.jpg

Lions

Under a tree, we see a male lion, with a female on heat.

large_e18e3b20-2d71-11e9-b4dc-f134d73582da.jpg

large_527bab30-2e3d-11e9-9c8f-81aa3f3948f9.jpg

Nearby we see another female with couple of two-week old cubs, suckling.

large_13de05b0-2d72-11e9-b4dc-f134d73582da.jpg

We drive nearer to get a better view, and they retreat into the bush partially hidden from us.

large_3a4d0ac0-2d72-11e9-8fee-a70518d0f5b4.jpg

large_4933e450-2d72-11e9-8fee-a70518d0f5b4.jpg

They finally settle down at the edge of a thicket.

large_88e966b0-2d72-11e9-8fee-a70518d0f5b4.jpg

The cubs attempt to come out occasionally before being called back into safety by their mum, where they spend their time suckling, cuddling and sleeping.

large_9b975a60-2d72-11e9-8fee-a70518d0f5b4.jpg

large_aaf62310-2d72-11e9-8fee-a70518d0f5b4.jpg

large_d13c4360-2d72-11e9-8fee-a70518d0f5b4.jpg

large_c1dfebb0-2d72-11e9-8fee-a70518d0f5b4.jpg

large_dc816520-2d72-11e9-8fee-a70518d0f5b4.jpg

Meanwhile, the male is completely crashed out after all the hard work of keeping his females happy.

large_e752dd80-2d72-11e9-8fee-a70518d0f5b4.jpg

large_097cfb00-2d75-11e9-b4dc-f134d73582da.jpg

Even though Malisa thinks the cubs will eventually brave it out into the open, we decide to move on to pastures new.

large_2bc22c80-2d75-11e9-b4dc-f134d73582da.jpg
Grey Backed Fiscal Shrike

large_fad12a70-2d7b-11e9-95db-e705cba21405.jpg
Bare Faced Go Away Bird

Eland

large_02215960-2d7e-11e9-95db-e705cba21405.jpg

large_0de8a370-2d7e-11e9-95db-e705cba21405.jpg

Hyena

large_85f07b90-2d7e-11e9-95db-e705cba21405.jpg

Giraffe

We follow this gorgeous animal as he meanders along the ridge, beautifully backlit by the setting sun.

large_eb275d50-2def-11e9-b0de-ab02ac83d4ed.jpg

large_ff26b030-2def-11e9-b0de-ab02ac83d4ed.jpg

large_122f6e10-2df0-11e9-b0de-ab02ac83d4ed.jpg

large_25a01580-2df0-11e9-b0de-ab02ac83d4ed.jpg

large_8c757660-2df0-11e9-b0de-ab02ac83d4ed.jpg

large_349fa730-2df0-11e9-b0de-ab02ac83d4ed.jpg

I experiment with creating some silhouetted images too.

large_494dfec0-2df0-11e9-b0de-ab02ac83d4ed.jpg

large_6a8a72d0-2df0-11e9-b0de-ab02ac83d4ed.jpg

large_78800e90-2df0-11e9-b0de-ab02ac83d4ed.jpg

Lobo Wildlife Lodge

It must be so difficult for the safari guides to get the timing right on the daily game drives: yesterday we arrived late because we saw a leopard fairly close to the lodge; and today we see nothing as Malisa makes his way back to camp. The result is that for the first time on this trip, we arrive at the lodge in daylight.

large_914bf4f0-2e01-11e9-a725-e9f9f5ddb338.jpg

large_5dc0cec0-2e02-11e9-a725-e9f9f5ddb338.jpg

large_686da820-2e02-11e9-a725-e9f9f5ddb338.jpg
Cute door handle to our room

Finding ourselves with some unexpected spare time, we go walkabout to check out the lodge and its surroundings. Whilst the accommodation itself is rather basic and in desperate need of refurbishment, its stunning position on the edge of a cliff with unrivalled views over the savannah below is breathtaking.

large_e91281e0-2e01-11e9-a725-e9f9f5ddb338.jpg

large_40f5cb80-2e37-11e9-89f0-57cbbb876c28.jpg

large_605dcdb0-2e37-11e9-89f0-57cbbb876c28.jpg

Set among the rocks of a kopje, surrounded by trees, the lodge features lots of different levels and angles, with wooden walkways and stone steps connecting them all.

large_cc12a610-2e01-11e9-a725-e9f9f5ddb338.jpg

large_f7387c70-2e01-11e9-a725-e9f9f5ddb338.jpg

large_2bb2a110-2e02-11e9-a725-e9f9f5ddb338.jpg

large_3e331c20-2e02-11e9-a725-e9f9f5ddb338.jpg

large_b45e03d0-2e37-11e9-89f0-57cbbb876c28.jpg

As always, we wish we had more time in the lodge when we see the inviting swimming pool

large_8b86b150-2e37-11e9-89f0-57cbbb876c28.jpg

large_9bf53c50-2e37-11e9-89f0-57cbbb876c28.jpg

large_c8dd3510-2e37-11e9-89f0-57cbbb876c28.jpg
Look at that view!

large_de724320-2e37-11e9-89f0-57cbbb876c28.jpg

The bar looks inviting too

large_f7b3de70-2e37-11e9-89f0-57cbbb876c28.jpg

large_02809be0-2e38-11e9-89f0-57cbbb876c28.jpg

The place is swarming with rock hyraxes – one even manages to slip in to the restaurant as soon as the door is opened.

large_81d764e0-2e02-11e9-a725-e9f9f5ddb338.jpg

large_8c5e8dd0-2e02-11e9-a725-e9f9f5ddb338.jpg

large_97b5ff10-2e02-11e9-a725-e9f9f5ddb338.jpg

After a quick shower we enjoy a pre-dinner drink, then wander up for dinner.

large_21237950-2e38-11e9-89f0-57cbbb876c28.jpg

This evening we are the only guests staying, and Malisa is allowed to eat with us. Going by the table service and quality of food tonight, we'd be forgiven to think we are staying in a different hotel this evening.

That brings us to the end of yet another amazing day as arranged by Calabash Adventures - the best safari company by far.

large_3eb33910-2e38-11e9-89f0-57cbbb876c28.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 14:42 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals sunset elephants africa safari tanzania eagle lions giraffe baboons lion_cubs serengeti hyena vulture lobo wildebeest hyrax suckling game_drives eland calabash_adventures olive_baboons wildebeest_migration rock_hyrax tawny_eagle go_away_bird reedbuck lobo_wildlife_lodge hooded_vulture acacia_tree great_migration annual_migration bologonja_river Comments (6)

Ngorongoro Crater Day 2 Part 1 - lions and elephants

An early start after a heavy night


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

As often happens here on the south-western rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, a heavy mist hangs in the air as we leave this lovely camp behind and head off to “see what nature has to offer us this morning” (one of Malisa's favourite sayings).

Malanja Depression

After a season with abundant rain this year, this part of Malanja Depression has been transformed into a lake. Malisa tells me this is the first time surface water has collected here like this since 1997. There must have been a terrific amount of water here after the rains, seeing as we are now right at the end of the dry season and yet a considerable sized lake remains.

large_90cfc1a0-fb20-11e8-a013-5bbe1ebafc02.jpg

large_0670d2f0-fb21-11e8-a013-5bbe1ebafc02.jpg
Giraffe

Spotted Hyena

It seems that in my drunken stupor last night, I left my camera on Tungsten White Balance and EV+2 from shooting the stars (or rather attempting to), resulting in a rather blue, overexposed image this morning. Thankfully it can be largely corrected in Photoshop.

large_4fa97460-fb24-11e8-a013-5bbe1ebafc02.jpg

large_58c7be80-fb24-11e8-a013-5bbe1ebafc02.jpg

large_e42ae150-fb24-11e8-a013-5bbe1ebafc02.jpg
Grant's Gazelle

Ngorongoro Crater

As we head towards the Lemala Descent Road, we see the crater bathed in a glorious sunrise.

large_3b8baef0-fb22-11e8-a013-5bbe1ebafc02.jpg

large_ac9fe520-fb22-11e8-a013-5bbe1ebafc02.jpg

We are heading down into the crater this morning for a second visit.

large_acbeb060-fb25-11e8-a013-5bbe1ebafc02.jpg

large_ffc59260-fb25-11e8-a013-5bbe1ebafc02.jpg

By the time we get to the bottom, the caldera is shrouded in mist and full of dust unsettled by vehicles and animals.

large_959948e0-fb26-11e8-a013-5bbe1ebafc02.jpg

large_a1729450-fb26-11e8-a013-5bbe1ebafc02.jpg

large_77a99960-fb27-11e8-a013-5bbe1ebafc02.jpg

large_e03ee7d0-fb29-11e8-a013-5bbe1ebafc02.jpg
Grant's Gazelles

large_ecfec2b0-fb29-11e8-a013-5bbe1ebafc02.jpg
Red Billed Queleas

Helmeted Guineafowl

large_c9bc3380-fb2b-11e8-ae37-21880d4eaac5.jpg

large_dc3b7610-fb2b-11e8-ae37-21880d4eaac5.jpg

large_e592d190-fb2b-11e8-ae37-21880d4eaac5.jpg
Laughing Dove

Ostrich

large_6775e5c0-fb2d-11e8-8178-11a44134fb61.jpg

large_e2ae6460-fb2d-11e8-8178-11a44134fb61.jpg

Egyptian Goose

large_43d26750-fb2e-11e8-8178-11a44134fb61.jpg

large_1da38da0-fb30-11e8-b370-5b63e493644b.jpg

Thomson's Gazelles fighting over a female

large_ecf8a730-fb34-11e8-b370-5b63e493644b.jpg

large_8a08c870-fb35-11e8-b370-5b63e493644b.jpg

It's pretty serious stuff with a lot of effort and loud crashing of horns. They often fight until death.

large_4cfd4580-fb37-11e8-820b-ef9adf872b81.jpg

They look so cute and harmless, but they can be quite ferocious when the affections of a female is at stake.

large_0c18c390-fb38-11e8-bebb-3dbadb42b3e2.jpg

large_55db0ec0-fb38-11e8-bebb-3dbadb42b3e2.jpg

Wildebeest

Male wildebeest have specially modified glands situated under the eye called pre orbital glands, and here he is rubbing his face on the ground leaving a scent to mark his territory.

large_6c4ac990-fb31-11e8-b370-5b63e493644b.jpg

large_280df4e0-fb32-11e8-b370-5b63e493644b.jpg

large_9eab4080-fb32-11e8-b370-5b63e493644b.jpg
He seems rather pleased with himself

large_ee86fa40-fb32-11e8-b370-5b63e493644b.jpg

African Spoonbill

large_7345da00-fb3b-11e8-a79a-0de84df1c5f2.jpg

large_7e1110d0-fb3b-11e8-a79a-0de84df1c5f2.jpg

large_89ab7e80-fb3b-11e8-a79a-0de84df1c5f2.jpg

Wildebeest

large_c49133e0-fb3c-11e8-a79a-0de84df1c5f2.jpg

They remain totally unperturbed by the hyena in their midst.

large_5d4ca100-fb3d-11e8-a79a-0de84df1c5f2.jpg

large_a4e49220-fb3d-11e8-a79a-0de84df1c5f2.jpg

Lions

Two males and one female, just lying around doing absolutely nothing.

large_fe7060a0-fb3b-11e8-a79a-0de84df1c5f2.jpg

Occasionally one lifts his head to see if there is anything worth getting excited about before settling down again.

large_90a72f60-fb3e-11e8-a79a-0de84df1c5f2.jpg

large_9d2175c0-fb3e-11e8-a79a-0de84df1c5f2.jpg

Spotted Hyena

large_f135f730-fb3e-11e8-a79a-0de84df1c5f2.jpg

There are a few of them dotted around.

large_3a681050-fb3f-11e8-a79a-0de84df1c5f2.jpg

large_6a0f7730-fb3f-11e8-a79a-0de84df1c5f2.jpg

large_a06bf060-fb3f-11e8-a79a-0de84df1c5f2.jpg

Lerai Forest

Once an area of dense forest, Lerai is now more like a woodland glade, mostly because of the destructive actions of elephants such as this guy.

large_63ea0d30-fbac-11e8-a1d7-1f283b9628f4.jpg

We spend ages watching him decimate everything in his path until a ranger on foot comes along and (unintentionally) scares him away.

large_77dbf290-fbac-11e8-a1d7-1f283b9628f4.jpg

large_87626780-fbac-11e8-a1d7-1f283b9628f4.jpg

large_919bbe90-fbac-11e8-a1d7-1f283b9628f4.jpg

large_4deab9b0-fbae-11e8-a1d7-1f283b9628f4.jpg

large_980e85d0-fbae-11e8-a1d7-1f283b9628f4.jpg

large_5313df60-fbaf-11e8-a1d7-1f283b9628f4.jpg

large_5fca0830-fbad-11e8-a1d7-1f283b9628f4.jpg

large_a43e1980-fbac-11e8-a1d7-1f283b9628f4.jpg

Olive Baboons

Elephants aren't the only animals who live in Lerai Forest.

large_1d7f2d90-fbb0-11e8-a1d7-1f283b9628f4.jpg

large_27b30660-fbb0-11e8-a1d7-1f283b9628f4.jpg

large_319319e0-fbb0-11e8-a1d7-1f283b9628f4.jpg

large_d49f87f0-fbb4-11e8-a1d7-1f283b9628f4.jpg

large_dcdd0f00-fbb4-11e8-a1d7-1f283b9628f4.jpg
Scraping at the bark of the tree to get to nectar or maybe insects

Strangler Fig

It is hard to believe that this mass of hanging branches is all one tree.

large_484a87e0-fbb0-11e8-a1d7-1f283b9628f4.jpg

Little Bee Eater

large_37a789f0-fbb1-11e8-b087-cd07b36c462a.jpg

large_3fc07200-fbb1-11e8-b087-cd07b36c462a.jpg

Bateleur Eagle

A colourful raptor with a large wingspan and very short tail, although this guy does look like he has even lost what little he had from before.

large_3e13d6a0-fbb5-11e8-a1d7-1f283b9628f4.jpg

Nubian Woodpecker

large_c3a0ecc0-fbc6-11e8-80b3-59cfb298024b.jpg

large_cfdcf1a0-fbc6-11e8-80b3-59cfb298024b.jpg

Black Faced Vervet Monkey

large_fc40b450-fbc8-11e8-bf17-510e0cce1a13.jpg

large_ea3234f0-fbc8-11e8-bf17-510e0cce1a13.jpg

large_6982d3e0-fbc9-11e8-bf17-510e0cce1a13.jpg

large_ffee6820-fbca-11e8-80b3-59cfb298024b.jpg

Call me infantile, but I am forever fascinated by their blue balls!

large_779d4040-fbca-11e8-80b3-59cfb298024b.jpg

And evidentially, so is he.

large_f64a7340-fbca-11e8-80b3-59cfb298024b.jpg

Elephant

As we try to make our way to the Lerai Picnic Site for breakfast, we are waylaid by a youngish (some 30 years old maybe) bull elephant on the road.

large_99a67600-fbd1-11e8-80b3-59cfb298024b.jpg

He munches his way right past our car – if I was so inclined I could reach out and touch him. He seems completely unfazed by us.

large_23f43130-fbd2-11e8-80b3-59cfb298024b.jpg

large_6f0c6f70-fbd2-11e8-80b3-59cfb298024b.jpg

We finally manage to get to the picnic site for our breakfast. And so ends Part ONE of today's adventures. Thank you Calabash Adventures for this great opportunity to see such amazing wildlife.

large_add15040-fbd2-11e8-80b3-59cfb298024b.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 01:06 Archived in Tanzania Tagged monkey elephant africa tanzania eagle battle birding photography crater lions giraffe flooding ostrich ngorongoro hyena woodpecker spoonbill geese caldera wildebeest goose east_africa bird_watching scent tungsten game_drive olive_baboons blue_balls spotted_hyena malanja_depression grant's_gazelle bee_eater ngrongoro_crater ang'ata_camp lemala_descent_road seasonal_lake white_balance fighting_for_female marking_territory orbital_glands vervet_monkey strangler_fig lerai_forest Comments (6)

Ngorongoro Crater Day 1 Part 2 - lion cubs and more

An afternoon in the caldera


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

Ngoitoktok Springs

Probably the most popular picnic area within the Ngorongororo Crater, there are always a lot of people here, but it is a large enough area to find a spot to get away from the crowds.

large_56b0e710-f8a0-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
Here you can see the crowds

large_64703090-f8a0-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
And here we are away from them all

large_7887ed70-f8a0-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg

Not only is this place popular with humans, but we also share our breakfast with a number of different birds, who come for the rich pickings where guests drop food on the ground. They have become quite tame and will perch on your car, or sit on the ground below your chair, looking up with pleading eyes.

large_cfcd3c70-f8a0-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
Helmeted Guineafowl

large_e12c6900-f8a0-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
Little Egret

large_f68a8890-f8a0-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
Black Kite

large_0a2ffba0-f8a1-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
Great White Pelicans

large_233e51f0-f8a1-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
Rufous Tailed Weaver

large_39a296e0-f8a1-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
Egyptian Geese

large_51da3c40-f8a1-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
Village Weaver

large_607343f0-f8a1-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
Blacksmith Plover

large_894c6b30-f8a1-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
Superb Starling

large_9b05ecc0-f8a1-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
Southern Masked Weaver

large_cebe6f10-f8a1-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
Little Egrets

large_ec4b6fb0-f8a1-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
Southern Masked Weaver

large_a6908680-f8a2-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
Black Kite

large_0eacbf40-f8a3-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
Litle Bee Eaters

I could stay here for ages, just watching life unfold around me – there is always something going on. We see zebra, elephants and wildebeest wandering through the outskirts of the site, and hippo frolic in the small lake, as well as numerous bird species as these pictures, all taken during our lunch stop, show.

large_10232810-f8a2-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
An elephant saunters by

large_31357ee0-f8a2-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
Wildebeest and Zebra

large_4a350820-f8a2-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
Hippo in the lake

large_5be42970-f8a2-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg

large_67159c20-f8a2-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg
Hippo poo floats to the surface of the water

I love seeing pelicans flying

large_8636d150-f8a2-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg

large_9441c9d0-f8a2-11e8-9225-d798be90741d.jpg

Eventually we have to tear ourselves away from this beautiful place to explore some other parts of the crater.

large_14ad08d0-f959-11e8-9d8f-ff51c14d4bd6.jpg
A lone wildebeest

Grey Crowned Cranes

large_5113e240-fa52-11e8-bfc8-290038ec6846.jpg

large_29fdd250-fa53-11e8-bfc8-290038ec6846.jpg

large_3dd6d880-fa53-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg

large_fac0d5a0-f958-11e8-9d8f-ff51c14d4bd6.jpg

large_08bd0110-f959-11e8-9d8f-ff51c14d4bd6.jpg
Kori Bustard

large_9126fb90-f96e-11e8-962d-6b09cce23906.jpg
Common Fiscal Shrike

large_f6578e60-fa24-11e8-98f2-838e51f4de9c.jpg
Zebra

Secretary Bird

Malisa spots a few feathers sticking up from between the thorns on the top of the acacia tree and stops the car.

large_02ca0f90-fc75-11e8-b191-f3c80407b8dd.jpg
She looks like she has stuck her talons in an electric socket ~ or maybe she is just shocked to see us.

Initially there is not much to see, but we hang around just in case she decides she is going to fly away, or at least maybe stand up.

large_4657c010-fa25-11e8-98f2-838e51f4de9c.jpg

Our patience is rewarded as after a while she decides to rearrange her nest a little.

large_745e3640-fa27-11e8-98f2-838e51f4de9c.jpg

Hippos

large_c4657360-fa54-11e8-bfc8-290038ec6846.jpg

large_2e864700-fa5b-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg

As well as the ones we see in the water, there are a few hippos out on land too.

large_23fef700-fa5b-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg

Eurasian Avocet

I have never before noticed avocets eating the same way as spoonbills – pushing their long beak from side to side in the water.

.

Lions

We come across a small dinner party, with two females and four cubs feasting on the carcass of a young zebra.

large_9ff26460-fa5f-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg

We stay for a while (although not as invited guests, more like gatecrashers), watching their eating habits and interactions.

large_b2dc2890-fa5f-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg

large_13b78cf0-fa64-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg

This little lad may have bitten more than he can chew.

large_4ad87220-fa65-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg

He's not really getting anywhere with the zebra's head.

large_5bd9f8e0-fa66-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg

He tries a different tactic.

large_ac89f290-fa66-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg

But eventually he gives up.

large_5d33d4d0-fa6c-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg

Gradually, one by one, they've had their fill of fresh meat and wander off for a siesta.

large_6ad10670-fa63-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg

large_bc4bee10-fa5f-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg

large_13006760-fa63-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg

Or maybe just a poo.

large_cedd8350-fa63-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg

Children are such messy eaters.

large_0c4c5af0-fa6d-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg

Mum needs cleaning too.

large_d04d17e0-fa6e-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg

“Play with me mum!”

large_efa8be00-fa6e-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg

Time for us to move on and “see what else nature has to offer” (Malisa's favourite saying).

large_76d8bc40-fa60-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg
Blacksmith Lapwing

large_335b3ff0-fa61-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg
Hadada Ibis

large_beef0fb0-fa61-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg
Superb Starling

large_60b961d0-fa5b-11e8-a597-2d01e849041a.jpg
Tree Pipit

large_f3002990-fa72-11e8-b129-5b6d388d2ab2.jpg
Marabou Stork

large_ffe39200-fa72-11e8-b129-5b6d388d2ab2.jpg
Hildebrand Starling, often confused with the Superb Starling. The difference is that the Superb has a white line between the blue and the orange areas on the chest and a yellow eye against the Hildebrand's red.

large_f29c9050-fa73-11e8-b129-5b6d388d2ab2.jpg
Yellow Billed Stork

When we leave the crater by the usual Lerai Ascent Road, but at the top turn left down a private road rather than right towards the hotel on our planned itinerary, we realise that this is another one of Tillya's surprises. Tillya, the owner of Calabash Adventures, is constantly trying to exceed his customers' expectations and we often find ourselves upgraded to a different lodge than the one we thought we were staying in. Today is obviously going to be one of those occasions.

large_7b4f1210-fa74-11e8-b129-5b6d388d2ab2.jpg
View of the crater from near the top of the Lerai Ascent Road

Ang'Ata Nyati Camp

The whole team of staff appear to have come out to greet us as we arrive at a small clearing. One by one they introduce themselves by name, handing us a very welcome wet flannel and a soft drink. The complexities and rules of the camp are explained to us and we are shown to the tents. The camp is very similar to mobile camps we have stayed in previously, but I am told that this is a permanent tented camp (rather than a 'mobile' camp that moves every few months, following the annual migration of animals), having recently relocated to the Nyati Special Camp Site from the other side of the crater. A small and intimate affair, the camp has a mere eight tents and tonight we have the 'palace' to ourselves as we are the only guests staying.

large_b74d0410-fb0b-11e8-b512-2bc7c450b6d8.jpg

large_c3e3fa30-fb0b-11e8-b512-2bc7c450b6d8.jpg

large_cf0feea0-fb0b-11e8-b512-2bc7c450b6d8.jpg

A local 'askari' (security guard/escort) takes us to our 'room', a basic tent with a wooden floor, large double bed, hanging space and a rudimentary en suite bathroom. Hot water is brought to the shower by request, in a bucket. I understand from their website that you are given 25 litres of hot water plus the same amount of cold. Mixing the two, the water temperature is just right, and if used sparingly, ample for two people to shower. As always in an area where water is a scarce commodity, I wet my body, then turn off the water while I wash and apply shampoo. Water back on again, rinse and repeat with conditioner.

large_ee613480-fb0b-11e8-b512-2bc7c450b6d8.jpg

large_f9494220-fb0b-11e8-b512-2bc7c450b6d8.jpg

large_03849500-fb0c-11e8-b512-2bc7c450b6d8.jpg

We meet up with Malisa in the cosy and comfortable lounge/dining room for dinner. The food is superb and the staff is wonderful.

large_1ee9fab0-fb0c-11e8-b512-2bc7c450b6d8.jpg

40th wedding anniversary celebrations

There was no doubt in Lyn and Chris' mind where they wanted to celebrate their special milestone, and I feel very honoured that they asked us to share this celebration with them.

large_5cc7afd0-fb0c-11e8-b512-2bc7c450b6d8.jpg

When David's phone rings in the middle of dinner, he is surprised that he has a signal and worried that it may be bad news from home. The concern soon turns to indignation when he realises it is just an advert!

large_2852bb50-fb0c-11e8-b512-2bc7c450b6d8.jpg

The camp staff make such a fuss of us, and after dinner the whole crew come out, bringing a cake and a complimentary bottle of wine, while walking around the table singing and dancing. We don't have the heart to tell them that the anniversary is not for another couple of days.

large_ea579db0-fb0c-11e8-b512-2bc7c450b6d8.jpg

.

.

.

Originally released as a record back in 1982 by a Kenyan band called Them Mushrooms, the Jambo Bwana song is now adopted all over East Africa and sung to tourists at every celebration. Each lodge have their own version incorporating local details (such as the name of the camp) and I am sure they make up some of it as they go along, especially as I distinctly hear Malisa's name being mentioned in the words. These are the lyrics ~ and translation ~ to the main part of the song.

Jambo, jambo bwana (Hello, hello boss)
Habari gani (How are you)
Nzuri Sana (Very good)
Wageni, wakaribishwa (Welcome visitors)
Ang'Ata Nyeti (Ang'Ata Nyeti ~ name of camp)
Hakuna Matata (No worries)
Okenda Serengeti (Going to Serengeti)
Hakuna matata (No worries)
Okenda Ngorongoro (Going to Ngorongoro)
Hakuna matata (No worries)
Okenda Tarangire (Going to Tarangire)
Hakuna matata (No worries)
]Jambo, jambo bwana (Hello, hello boss)
Habari gani (How are you)
Nzuri Sana (Very good)
Wageni, wakaribishwa (Welcome visitors)
Ang'Ata Nyeti (Ang'Ata Nyeti ~ name of camp)
Hakuna Matata (No worries)

After dinner we gather around the 'Bush TV' (the local expression for a camp fire), where we have a sing song, introduce the locals to the joys of toasting marshmallows, and attempt (very unsuccessfully – I blame the Duty Free rum and four bottles of wine) to photograph the awesome night sky. After a fabulous day in the crater, we have a phenomenal evening in an extraordinary setting.

large_a9a32c70-fb0d-11e8-b512-2bc7c450b6d8.jpg

large_d1acceb0-fb0d-11e8-b512-2bc7c450b6d8.jpg

When we get back to our tent we find the staff have been in for 'turn-back service' and there are a couple of much appreciated hot water bottles in our bed. At an altitude of 2310 metres, this area can get bitterly cold overnight. Still on a high from the earlier revelry (not to mention the copious amount of alcohol), I slip into a deep sleep, oblivious to the cold and any noises from the surrounding jungle.

large_1ad1c870-fb0e-11e8-b512-2bc7c450b6d8.jpg

Yet another marvellous day organised by Calabash Adventures, the best safari company by far!

large_53a7a610-fb0e-11e8-b512-2bc7c450b6d8.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 09:47 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds travel elephant adventure kite tent camp africa safari tanzania camping zebra wine lions hippo drunk lion_cubs stars cranes egret stork ibis pelican avocet geese celebration glamping starling weaver wildebeest shrike astro east_africa ngorongoro_crater bird_watching bustard game_drive camp_fire plover secretary_bird lapwing guineafowl pipit ngrongoro ngoitoktok birdning bee_eaters game_viewing lions_eating ang@ata_nyati_camp mobile_tented_camp nyati jambo_bwana song_and_dance toasting_marshmallows bush_tv 40th_anniversary hot_water_bottle Comments (5)

Ndutu Day II Part II (Wedding Anniversary)

Finally, some cats


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

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

large_Calabash_V..Tented_Camp.jpg

large_Speckled_Mousebird.jpg

large_Mousebird__Speckled_1.jpg

large_5518B5AA983A3D84BDDAE8832C3EC6CB.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_61.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_62.jpg

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

large_Dik_Dik_63.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_64.jpg

large_Lesser_Masked_Weaver.jpg

large_Weaver__Lesser_Masked_1.jpg

large_5A2DA3CA9C767722239D238321545DA9.jpg

large_Giraffes_61.jpg

large_Giraffes_62.jpg

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

large_Black_Faced_Vervet_Monkey.jpg

large_Monkeys__B..ed_Vervet_1.jpg

large_Monkeys__B..ed_Vervet_2.jpg

large_5A6C2D360130A38084E072768EDCCF4B.jpg

large_Secretary_Bird_42.jpg

large_Vultures.jpg

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

large_Vultures__..__Hooded__1.jpg

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

large_5B0C3E0D9ED41FC8C664AE51D645DACA.jpg

large_Eagle__Tawny_42.jpg

large_5B4AA755BD7FDA88011156D0A9B14142.jpg

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

large_Wildebeest_61.jpg

large_White_Bellied_Bustard.jpg

large_Bustard__White_Bellied_2.jpg

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

large_Stormy_Weather.jpg

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

large_Stormy_Clo..er_Ndutu_51.jpg

I am hoping for a dramatic thunder storm.

large_Stormy_Weather_at_Ndutu_3.jpg

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

large_Stormy_Clo..er_Ndutu_52.jpg

large_Stormy_Clo..er_Ndutu_41.jpg

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

large_Stormy_Clo..er_Ndutu_42.jpg

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

large_Blue_Skies_over_Ndutu_1.jpg

large_5D212AC1EF3C22AD779CBE436E26EBFC.jpg

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

large_Lion_75.jpg

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

large_Lion_65.jpg

large_Lion_71.jpg

large_Lion_74.jpg

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

large_Lion_69.jpg

It doesn't last long, however.

large_Lion_77B.jpg

large_Lion_78.jpg

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

large_Lion_86.jpg

large_Lion_88.jpg

large_Lion_72.jpg

large_Lion_76.jpg

large_829610EFD33604AC033E53D120490B68.jpg

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

large_Buffalo_23.jpg

large_Buffalo_22.jpg

And then another.

large_Buffalo_24.jpg

large_Black_Brea..Snake_Eagle.jpg

large_Eagle__Bla..ted_Snake_1.jpg

large_83E4FF21AC2F1382E39E40AC004764C5.jpg

large_Sunset_Over_Ndutu_72.jpg

large_Sunset_Over_Ndutu_73.jpg

large_Sunset_Over_Ndutu_74.jpg

large_Night_Sky.jpg

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

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

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

large_Stars_over_Lake_Masek_21.jpg

large_Wedding_Anniversary.jpg

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

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

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_1.jpg

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_2.jpg

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_3.jpg

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_4.jpg

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

large_Scroll_1.jpg

Ode to marriage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

large_ACA22F60E53BBAA2FD1414941E5856E9.jpg

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

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_6.jpg

large_Celebration_Cake.jpg

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

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_7.jpg

.

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

large_The_Wedding.jpg

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

large_AD7CE4CDE2B1505AD1736FA3FE3F135B.jpg

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

Serengeti - Arusha

Goodbye 'wilderness', hello 'civilisation'.


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

large_Day_12_of_..Adventure_2.jpg

Having been awake from 03:30 this morning scratching my insect bites, it's going to be a long day.

large_mosquito.jpg

It is still dark when we leave the lodge at 06:00.

Brown Snake Eagle

large_Eagle__Brown_Snake_12-1.jpg

Spotted Hyena

A cackle of hyenas congregate on the road, and seem a lot less timid than the ones we have encountered previously, some are even bold enough to come right up to the car.

large_Hyena_12-1.jpg

large_Hyena_12-2.jpg

large_Hyena_12-4.jpg

large_Hyena_12-8.jpg

large_Hyena_12-9.jpg

large_Hyena_12-16.jpg

large_Hyena_12-18.jpg

large_Hyena_12-20.jpg

Not my favourite animal (sorry Malisa), but I will admit that this seven-month old juvenile is almost bordering on being cute.

large_Hyena_12-5.jpg

large_Hyena_12-6.jpg

large_Hyena_12-14.jpg

large_Hyena_12-17.jpg

large_Hyena_12-21.jpg

Sunrise

large_Sunrise_12-2.jpg

large_Sunrise_12-6.jpg

large_Sunrise_12-7.jpg

Topi

large_Topi_12-1.jpg

large_Topi_12-2.jpg

Wildebeest

A confusion of wildebeest are waiting to cross the Seronera River

large_Wildebeest_12-2.jpg

large_Wildebeest_12-1.jpg

Vultures

A committee of vultures are waiting in a nearby tree for the wildebeest to get eaten by crocodiles while crossing the Seronera River.

large_Vultures_12-1.jpg

I see no crocodiles…

large_Seronera_River_12-1.jpg

Martial Eagle

The biggest eagle in Africa, the Martial Eagle can kill a baby antelope! He will grab it, lift it up and drop it until it is dead.

large_Eagle__Martial_12-1.jpg

Hot Air Balloon

We are right in the flight path of the balloon as it glides across the savannah.

large_Hot_Air_Balloon_12-2.jpg

large_Hot_Air_Balloon_12-1.jpg

large_Hot_Air_Balloon_12-4.jpg

large_Hot_Air_Balloon_32.jpg

Watching the balloon

large_Watching_the_Ballons_12-1.jpg

Goliath Heron

large_Heron__Goliath_12-2.jpg

Grey Heron

large_Heron__Grey_12-1_.jpg

Hippo

Usually hippos only come out at night to eat and go back to the water in the morning. During that one night, they can eat as much as 150kg of grass; followed by three days merely digesting the food: just lying around farting, burping, pooping.

”I know someone else like that” says David, just prior to being whacked around the head.

large_Hippo_12-1.jpg

This hippo seems a little premature: although it is still eating, the smell of ammonia is so strong it makes Lyn gag, followed by a severe coughing fit.

large_Hippo_12-2.jpg

White Browed Coucal

large_Coucal__White_Browed_12-1.jpg

Olive Baboons

large_Baboons__Olive_12-1.jpg

large_Baboons__Olive_12-2.jpg

Lions

Close to the road, on a flat open area, we see two brothers with one female. It makes a nice change for them not to be half-hidden by the long grass.

large_Lions_12-1.jpg

The female is on heat, but the male isn’t the least bit interested at this stage. Dirty girl!

large_Lions_12-3.jpg

“Come and get me…”

large_Lions_12-5.jpg

Tart!

large_Lions_12-8.jpg

“Not this morning dear, I have a headache”

large_Lions_12-7.jpg

Even threats don’t work!

large_Lions_12-9.jpg

Other than to make him back off further.

large_Lions_12-10.jpg

As she is obviously not going to get her wicked way with him this morning, she walks off in a huff.

large_Lions_12-11.jpg

large_Lions_12-13.jpg

It looks like she has had her nose put out of joint at some stage, and not just figuratively speaking. I am assuming that she got her deformity from a fight rather than a birth defect.

large_Lions_12-14.jpg

It seems the king has food - rather than sex - on his mind this morning.

large_Lions_12-17.jpg

Normally, the male lion will not let the female anywhere near his food until he has had his fill, as we have seen on a couple of occasions on this safari. When the female is on heat, however, it’s a different story: he will allow her to eat alongside him. Typical man! The only time he treats his woman to a meal is when he thinks there is something in it for him!

large_Lions_12-22.jpg

Why does this picture remind me of the spaghetti scene from Lady and the tramp cartoon?

large_Lions_12-53.jpg

large_Lady_and_the_Tramp.jpg

large_Lions_12-52.jpg

large_Lions_12-54.jpg

Meanwhile, brother Leo comes to check out what all the fuss is about.

large_Lions_12-21.jpg

large_Lions_12-23.jpg

large_Lions_12-24.jpg

large_Lions_12-25.jpg

large_Lions_12-28.jpg

There’s no room for another diner, so Leo skulks off, complaining loudly.

large_Lions_12-36.jpg

large_Lions_12-42.jpg

large_Lions_12-44.jpg

Then goes for a drink instead.

large_Lions_12-45.jpg

large_Lions_12-46.jpg

large_Lions_12-47.jpg

large_Lions_12-50.jpg

Black Backed Jackal

A jackal waits nearby; ready to move in on the leftovers once the lions have had their fill. I think he'll have a long wait.

large_Jackal__Bl..acked_12-31.jpg

large_Breakfast_5.jpg

As we seem to be running out of time, we eat our boxed breakfast ‘on the hoof’ so to speak. We have to be out of the park by a certain time – the permits are purchased in blocks of 24 hours, and they are quite strict in enforcing the fines if you overstay.

large_David_Eati..akfast_12-1.jpg

Tawny Eagle

large_Eagle__Tawny_12-3.jpg

Elephant

A lone elephant is walking across the savannah, presumably to catch up with the large herd we can see in the distance.

large_Elephant_12-31.jpg

large_Elephant_12-32.jpg

Road Maintenance

Months of rain (we are right at the end of the rainy season now), tourist traffic, heavy trucks and the huge numbers of animals who also use the roads have taken their toll on the unsealed tracks.

By scraping off the top layer, the surface is smoothed out, getting rid of the washboard effect that is typical in this region.

large_Road_Maintenance_12-2.jpg

large_Simba_Kopje.jpg

Simba Kopjes

Named after the Swahili word for ‘lion’, Simba Kopjes are the tallest kopjes (rocky outcrop) in Serengeti and as the name suggests, a good place to spot lions.

large_Simba_Kopjes_12-1.jpg

large_Simba_Kopjes_12-11.jpg

large_C61D8BB99F6DF477F2014F9A184CECFF.jpg

Lions

And guess what? There is the aforementioned simba!

large_Lion_on_Simba_Kopjes_12-1.jpg

And another.

large_Lion_on_Simba_Kopjes_12-2.jpg

large_Lion_on_Simba_Kopjes_12-3.jpg

Migration

We come across a breakaway crowd who have obviously been dawdling on their journey up north.

large_Zebra_and_Wildebeest_12-1.jpg

large_Zebra_12-1.jpg

large_Wildebeest_12-5.jpg

large_Wildebeest_12-8.jpg

large_Wildebeest_and_Zebra_12-1.jpg

large_Zebra_12-2.jpg

Look at that long line meandering in from somewhere beyond!

large_C7355D319AB4B2BE80C46E70C14E9D42.jpg

Secretary Bird

large_Secretary_Bird_12-1.jpg

Naabi Hill

large_Naabi_Hill_12-1.jpg

This marks the end of our safari in Serengeti, as we have now reached the entrance / exit gate at Naabi Hill. We have a coffee while Malisa completes the formalities.

large_Coffee_at_Naabi_Hill_12-1.jpg

large_Malisa_wit..i_Hill_12-1.jpg

While Chris goes off to use the facilities, I prank him by hiding his coffee, putting an empty cup in its place. With hindsight it was not a good move, as anyone who knows Chris can attest for his love of coffee. Unfortunately Lyn gets the blame as he accuses her of drinking it. Oops. Sorry Chris. Sorry Lyn.

large_Chris_12-1.jpg

On a positive note: they have upgraded their toilets since our first visit in 2007 (PS these are the old ones)

large_Toilets_at..i_Hill_12-3.jpg

Kori Bustard

large_Bustard__Kori_12-1.jpg

large_Bustard__Kori_12-2.jpg

large_Goodbye_Serengeti.jpg

We’ll be back!

large_Goodbye_Serengeti_12-1.jpg

Just because we have left the Serengeti behind, does not mean our adventure is over. As soon as we enter the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Malisa drives off-road. Because he can.

large_Off_Road_Driving_12-1.jpg

White Stork

Just like us, the White Stork is not a resident in Tanzania, he has flown in from Europe and is just here for his holidays.

large_Stork__White_12-1.jpg

Vulture Feast

large_Warning__C..phic_Images.jpg

The zebra died of natural causes, and now the vultures are having a banquet!

large_Vultures_E.._Zebra_12-1.jpg

I love the red-necked vultures – no, they are not a new species, that is blood from where they have stuck their heads right inside the carcass.

large_Vultures_E.._Zebra_12-2.jpg

large_Vultures_E.._Zebra_12-5.jpg

It’s a chaotic and grotesque scene, yet morbidly fascinating.

large_Vultures_E.._Zebra_12-3.jpg

large_Vultures_E.._Zebra_12-6.jpg

You can’t hear it too well in this short video clip because of the wind noise, but the sound is deafening: like a huge mob of bleating sheep!

.

Giraffe

It is unusual to see a giraffe sitting down as it makes them extremely vulnerably to predators. Here it seems every tree has one.

large_Giraffes_Combo.jpg

Dust

As we rejoin the main ‘road’, we also meet up with traffic. And traffic means dust. Lots of it.

large_Dust_12-2.jpg

Ngorongoro Highlands

The road to Arusha takes us back up into the highlands, and at this altitude David soon starts to feel the cold.

large_David_Feel..he_Col_12-1.jpg

This area is farming land, and we see many herders with their livestock and small stock along the side and even on the road.

large_Cattle_12-21.jpg

large_Goats_and_Donkeys_12-1.jpg

large_Cattle_12-1.jpg

large_Cattle_12-3.jpg

large_Cattle_12-4.jpg

large_Goats_12-3.jpg

More Giraffes

large_Giraffe_12-45.jpg

large_Giraffe_12-46.jpg

large_Giraffe_12-47.jpg

Malanja Depression

large_Malanja_Depression_12-1.jpg

large_Malanja_Depression_12-4.jpg

large_Malanja_Depression_12-2.jpg

large_Malanja_Depression_12-3.jpg

Ngorongoro Crater

Not the worst view I have seen from a toilet stop.

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_12-1.jpg

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_12-2.jpg

large_Flowers_at..er_Rim_12-1.jpg

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_12-5.jpg

But David is still feeling the cold.

large_David_Feel..he_Col_12-5.jpg

Family Planning

The Maasai have an ingenious way of temporarily stopping their goats from reproducing. It is uncomplicated, cheap, safe for the animal and easily reversible – a simple flap physically stops the goats mating! I love it!

large_Goat_Family_Planning_12-1.jpg

Maasai Village Elders’ Weekly Meeting

Beats a day at the office any time.

large_Maasai_Vil..eeting_12-3.jpg

Picnic

We have our lunch in a picnic area within a camp ground between Ngorongoro and Arusha. We are all very sad that the safari part of our holiday is now over. Apart from maybe Malisa, as he now gets to see his family again and have a few days off.

large_Picnic_12-1.jpg

Makuyuni

Coming back into ‘civilisation’ again after eight days in the wilderness seems almost surreal – markets, shops, saloon cars, motorbikes, noise, traffic, and even a political rally!

large_Makuyuni_12-5.jpg

large_Makuyuni_12-6.jpg

large_Makuyuni_12-9.jpg

large_Makuyuni_12-10.jpg

large_Makuyuni_Market_12-1.jpg

large_Makuyuni_Market_12-2.jpg

large_Makuyuni_Market_12-3.jpg

large_Political_rally_12-3.jpg

Traffic Check

We also experience the ugly side of ‘civilisation’: Malisa is pulled over for ‘speeding’. Being totally secure in the fact that he was most definitely NOT speeding, Malisa argues the case, asking them to prove where and how fast he was going. Knowing they haven’t got that sort of evidence, the police eventually back down and let him go! Cheeky! I bet they were looking for a bribe!

Arusha

Back in the big town there is a hive of activity as usual.

large_Arusha_12-1.jpg

large_Arusha_12-2.jpg

large_Arusha_12-3.jpg

large_Arusha_12-4.jpg

large_Arusha_12-5.jpg

large_Arusha_12-6.jpg

Sugar Shortage

Due to some political agenda, there is a temporary shortage of sugar and we see long queues at the few stores that have any left.

large_Queue_for_Sugar_12-2.jpg

The Surprise

“Do you need anything from town?” asks Malisa, “if not, Tillya has a surprise for you”.

Avoiding the centre of Arusha, Malisa turns off the main road and weaves his way through the middle of Tenguru weekly market.

large_Tengeru_Market_1.jpg

large_Tengeru_Market_2.jpg

large_Tengeru_Market_3.jpg

large_Tengeru_Market_4.jpg

large_Tengeru_Market_5.jpg

large_Tengeru_Market_6.jpg

large_Tengeru_Market_7.jpg

large_Tengeru_Market_8.jpg

Lake Dulutu Lodge

Surprise! Our original itinerary had us staying at Kibo Palace in the centre of Arusha, but Tillya felt that we needed to finish the trip in style; and he was worried that we might not sleep well as the area around Kibo is very noisy. The service we get from Calabash Adventures never ceases to amaze me.

And neither does Lake Dulutu Lodge. Wow!

The entrance drive is long, with vegetation either side, and the car park is empty when we arrive. Nothing particularly awesome so far.

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-23.jpg

While the receptionist performs the registration formalities, we are invited to sit down in the lounge. This is where the wow-ness starts. The lobby is like something out of Harper’s Bazaar and I feel decidedly scruffy in my dirty safari gear.

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-8.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-9.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-10.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-11.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-13.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-14.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-15.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-16.jpg

Our room is an individual cottage in the grounds, which look nothing much from the outside.

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_13-1.jpg

Once we get through the front door, however, its opulence is evident.

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_12-3.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_12-4.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_12-5.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_12-9.jpg

And the moment I enter the bathroom I am extremely impressed: despite having been lucky enough to stay in some pretty luxurious properties over the years, I have never seen a bathroom like this before.

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_12-7.jpg

large_Lake_Dulutu_Lodge_12-10.jpg

large_E6CB3F24EBAF5288D5DB3C4C65DA7A40.jpg

Only two other tables in the restaurant are taken, so I guess the hotel is pretty quiet at this time of year. The service, food and wine are all excellent.

Vegetable Spring Roll with Chilli Sauce

large_Vegetable_..hilli_Sauce.jpg

Chicken with Rosemary Sauce

large_Chicken_wi..emary_Sauce.jpg

Beef Medallions with Pepper sauce

large_Beef_Medal..oivre_Sauce.jpg

Wine

large_Wines.jpg

Banana Tart with Chocolate sauce

large_Banana_Tar..olate_Sauce.jpg

After all that we should sleep well, especially knowing we don't have to get up for a 6am game drive tomorrow morning.

Thank you so much to Calabash Adventures for the last eight days of safari, and for Malisa's expertise, knowledge, sense of humour, excellent driving and caring nature.

large_BF2E9FE9E6FDA5D4098438C3227EC88E.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 03:11 Archived in Tanzania Tagged wedding travel market elephant police balloon sunrise holiday africa safari lodge zebra eagle luxury picnic coffee donkeys lions maasai hippo cold lioness ballooning giraffes cows serengeti ngorongoro dust hyena heron stork vultures cattle goats topi wildebeest hot_air_balloon arusha ngorongoro_crater kori_bustard hippopotamus african_safari grey_heron bustard family_planning political_rally speeding calabash calabash_adventures which_safari_company best_safari_company opulence olive_baboons maasai_cattle ngorongoro_conservation_area naabi_hill kopje coucal seronera babboons spotted_hyena brown_snake_eagle snake_eagle seronera_river martial_eagle goliath_heron white_browe_coucal lioness_on_heat tawny_eagle simba_kopjes simba elephant_herd confusuion_of_wildebeest speed_check white_stork off_road_driving tower_of_giraffes feeling_the_cold malanja_depression goat_family_planning makuyuni weekly_meeting wedding_car sugar_shortage tenguru tenguru_market lake_dulutu_lodge best_safari_operator which_safari_operator Comments (1)

Mbuzi Mawe - Seronera Part I

Zany zebras, baby baboons, eccentric elephants and lounging lions


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

large_Day_11_of_..Adventure_3.jpg

large_AF2EFA62F25B0195EE356C0E5BD757A1.jpg

Another early start in the dark today, complete with luggage as we are moving on to pastures new. Leaving Mbuzi Mawe this morning, we are all feeling the cold.

large_Chris_feel..e_cold_11-1.jpg

large_David_feel..e_cold_11-2.jpg

Lilac Breasted Roller

Much as I really enjoy leaving at the crack of dawn to make the most of the day on the savannah, this first hour or so is not conducive to photography. Darkness = high ISO = grainy and dull images.

large_Roller__Li..easted_11-1.jpg

Wildebeest

large_Annual_Migration.jpg

This morning we appear to be in the heart of the migration, with wildebeest all around us. Unfortunately, with the animals come the tse tse flies. Nasty little buggers and they are particularly numerous and bothersome where there are trees, such as here.

large_Wildebeest_11-2.jpg

large_Wildebeest_11-4.jpg

large_Wildebeest_11-21.jpg

Hot Air Balloon

A hot air balloon glides gracefully over the savannah as we make our way through the park.

large_Balloons_o..engeti_11-2.jpg

Grey Headed Kingfisher

large_Kingfisher..Headed_11-1.jpg

Flooded River

I think it must have rained heavily during the night, as the river is flowing over the causeway this morning.

large_Flooded_River_11-1.jpg

large_Flooded_Ri..eafowl_11-1.jpg

large_Flooded_River_11-3.jpg

large_Flooded_River_11-4.jpg

Lappet Faced Vulture

large_Vulture__L.._Faced_11-2.jpg

Zebras

Everywhere we look there are zebras. A huge herd – or dazzle – of zebras. Long lines of zebras. Adult zebras. Baby zebras. Lactating zebras. Mating zebras. Eating zebras. Zebra crossings. And more zebras. And then some.

large_Zebra_11-3.jpg

large_Zebra_11-4.jpg

large_Zebra_11-6.jpg

large_Zebra_11-8.jpg

large_Zebra_11-9.jpg

large_Zebra_11-11.jpg

large_Zebra_11-12.jpg

large_Zebra_11-14.jpg

large_Zebra_11-17.jpg

large_Zebra_11-20.jpg

Cheetah

Two young brothers can barely be seen above the long grass. Having just eaten (we missed it), they saunter off into the distance.

large_Cheetah_11-1.jpg

large_Cheetah_11-4.jpg

large_Cheetah_11-6.jpg

Olive Baboons

We follow a troop of baboons along the road for a while.

large_Baboon__Olive_11-1.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_11-6.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_11-7.jpg

The baby is very young - no more than two or three days old at the most.

large_Baboon__Olive_11-9.jpg

But I still think he looks like an old man.

large_Baboon__Olive_11-13.jpg

Such a tender family moment!

large_Baboon__Olive_11-14.jpg

That moment when your dad has got you by the scruff of the neck but mum is looking out for you.

large_Just_Don_t.._again_son_.jpg

Giraffe

large_Giraffe_11-11.jpg

large_Giraffe_11-13.jpg

large_Serengeti_..Centre_11-2.jpg

Located in Seronera in Central Serengeti, the visitors centre is a good place to stop for several reasons:
1. they have new and very clean / modern toilets (I have a problem again today)
2. there is a nice picnic area with lots of semi-tame birds, hyraxes and mongooses
3. an intersting exhibition displays information about Serengeti in general and the wildebeest migration in particular
4. there is also a nice little nature walk on elevated wooden walkways.

Banded Mongoose

large_Mongoose__Banded_11-3.jpg

large_Mongoose__Banded_11-2.jpg

Sadly the boardwalk is closed for crucial repairs today, but we are given a guided tour of the information centre.

large_Serengeti_..entre_11-21.jpg

Hippo Jaw

large_Serengeti_..po_Jaw_11-1.jpg

Buffalo Skulls

large_Serengeti_..Skulls_11-1.jpg

Those of you who have been following this blog from the beginning, will know that I have a wish list, and that aardvark is on that list (and has been for the last four safaris here in Tanzania - it became a running joke with our previous driver Dickson). I still haven’t seen one, so I have to make do with a mural on the wall.

large_Serengeti_..Centre_11-5.jpg

Rock and Tree Hyrax

It is very hard to tell the difference between these two different animals – the tree hyrax has a lighter stripe down the back, but it is not always obvious.

large_Hyrax__Rock_11-31.jpg

And I guess the Tree Hyrax is more often found in …. yes, you guessed it … trees.

large_Hyrax__Tree_11-1.jpg

large_Hyrax__Tree_11-2.jpg

But not always.

large_Hyrax__Tree_11-3.jpg

large_Hyrax__Tree_11-4.jpg

large_Hyrax__Tree_11-5.jpg

Although the hyrax, also called rock rabbit or dassie, are similar to the guinea pig in looks, its closest living relative is the elephant! They are present throughout most of Sub-Saharan Africa, and in some places they can become quite unafraid of humans and are considered a pest!

large_Hyrax__Rock_11-2.jpg

large_Hyrax__Rock_11-3.jpg

large_Hyrax__Tree_11-7.jpg

A hyrax with ambition: pretending to be a wildebeest.

large_Hyrax__Rock_11-5.jpg

large_Hyrax__Tree_11-8.jpg

Grey Capped Social Weaver

large_Weaver__Gr..Social_11-2.jpg

large_Weaver__Gr..Social_11-1.jpg

The Gowler African Adventure

On previous holidays with Lyn and Chris (canal barge cruising) we have always had a themed day where we all dress up for a bit of fun, so this time I made these T-shirts for us all to wear, with the ‘team logo’. This safari has been in the planning stages for well over a year, and along the way we have had a lot of fun.

large_The_Gang_11-1.jpg

After our usual packed breakfast at the picnic site here in the Visitors Centre, we continue our game drive, exploring more of the Serengeti.

Black Faced Vervet Monkey

large_Black_Face..Monkey_11-1.jpg

large_Black_Face..Monkey_11-2.jpg

large_Black_Face..Monkey_11-3.jpg

Hippo

large_Hippo_11-21.jpg

Although we can only just see the tops of their backs, we can certainly smell them!

large_Moving_Quickly_On.jpg

Black Headed Heron

large_Heron__Black_Headed_11-1.jpg

large_Heron__Black_Headed_11-2.jpg

Spotted Flycatcher

large_Flycatcher__Spotted_11-1.jpg

large_Flycatcher__Spotted_11-3.jpg

Wire Tailed Swallow

large_Swallow__Wire_Tailed_11-1.jpg

Giraffes

Q: What do you call a group of giraffes?
A: A tower, journey, corps or herd.

There’s a bit of trivia for your next pub quiz.

large_Giraffes_11-31.jpg

Suddenly they all turn to face the same direction and continue staring that way for quite some time. I wonder what they have spotted?

large_Giraffes_11-32.jpg

We'll never know.

Olive Baboons

large_Baboons__Olive_11-51.jpg

large_Baboons__Olive_11-52.jpg

Elephants

large_Elephants_11-1.jpg

large_Elephants_11-505.jpg

They’re everywhere. So many of them – we count 31!

large_Elephants_11-3.jpg

large_Elephants_11-22.jpg

One of the older ladies appear a little ‘eccentric’, carrying grass on the top of her back.

large_Elephants_11-31.jpg

Having a good scratch.

large_Elephants_11-32.jpg

You know the grass is long when you can lose a couple of baby elephants in it.

large_Elephants_11-45.jpg

For the next half an hour, the herd of elephants (also known as a memory or parade) slowly meander all around us – sometimes very close - as they munch their way across the savannah.

large_Elephants_11-501.jpg

large_Elephants_11-30.jpg

large_Elephants_11-42.jpg

large_Elephants_11-43.jpg

large_Elephants_11-47.jpg

large_Elephants_11-49.jpg

large_Elephants_11-51.jpg

large_Elephants_11-56.jpg

large_Elephants_11-64.jpg

large_Elephants_11-503.jpg

large_Elephants_11-70.jpg

large_Elephants_11-59.jpg

large_Elephants_11-72.jpg

large_Elephants_11-69.jpg

large_Elephants_11-67.jpg

Lion

A lone male lion tries to hide in a prickly bush.

large_Lion_11-201.jpg

Giraffe

Earlier we saw an almost white giraffe, whereas this one is very dark. I had no idea giraffes vary so much in their colouration!

large_Giraffe_11-310.jpg

White Browed Coucal

large_Coucal__White_Browed_11-1.jpg

Impala

large_Impala_11-2.jpg

large_Impala_11-1.jpg

Tse Tse Flies

This area seems to be teeming with these pesky little flies, and I get bitten around fifteen times in as many minutes. They hurt when they bite you and itch like **** afterwards.

large_Go_Away.jpg

Lions in a tree

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-101.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-102.jpg

Just like I was complaining about the tse tse flies a few minutes ago, lions sometimes climb onto tree branches to get away from them, but as you can see from the photo below, it doesn’t seem to make any difference.

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-2.jpg

On the other side is another lion in another tree.

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-4.jpg

After a while, another car pulls up. As usual, we can hear the Americans before we see them. They take a few shots with their mobile phones and numerous more selfies before they move on again. They are not even here for three minutes.

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-103.jpg

large_Photograph.._Lions_11-1.jpg

large_Lion_Selfies_4.jpg

We, on the other hand, stick around to see what the lionesses might do, and are rewarded with a bit of action. If you can call it that – at least it is some movement rather than just photographing sleeping lions. Or photographing ourselves with sleeping lions in the background.

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-6.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-11.jpg

The lone lioness from the other tree decides to join her mates.

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-8.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-5.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-13.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-14.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-16.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-17.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-19.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-21.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-22.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-23.jpg

There is a lot of shuffling going on, they never seem to find a particularly comfortable position. I can see why you'll never see a male lion in a tree!

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-26.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-29.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-107.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-39.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-33.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-32.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-36.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-41.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-42.jpg

Look at the number of flies on this poor girl's face! It's no wonder she is not comfortable.

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-44.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-46.jpg

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-48.jpg

Well, that was certainly worth enduring the tse tse flies for!

large_ADC09FF8DC74B54B9D7E8300CE12D840.jpg

Time to stop for lunch, and a convenient time to break this blog entry. This afternoon’s game drive will feature in a new entry

Thank you so much to our guide Malisa and Calabash Adventures - the best safari company by a long shot.

large_F752D402D2F7E6CC0EDD50393B8DD826.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 02:35 Archived in Tanzania Tagged landscapes trees animals birds monkeys road_trip travel elephants roads scenery cute holiday africa safari tanzania unesco birding cheetah photography lions giraffe hippo baboons roadtrip ballooning serengeti vulture memory flycatcher impala kingfisher mongoose wildebeest shrike hot_air_balloon hyrax bird_watching hippopotamus game_drive tented_camp lilac_breasted_roller road-trip adorable safari_vehicle calabash calabash_adventures the_best_safari_operators which_safari_company best_safari_company vervet_monkeys black_faced_vervet_monkeys tower_of_giraffe serena_hotels central_serengeti tse_tse_flies lions_in_a_tree mbuzi mawe grey_headed_kingfisher lappet_faced_vulture serengeti_visitors_centre wildebeest_migration rock_hyrax tree_hyrax banded_mongoose swallow barn_swallow coucal grey_backed_shrike moru Comments (0)

Serengeti Part I

The lions of Togoro Plains and much more


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

large_Day_Tenof_.._With_Photo.jpg

large_Early_Morning_Start_4.jpg

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

large_Chris_feeling_tired.jpg

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

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-11.jpg

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

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-12.jpg

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

large_Kopje_arou..unrise_10-2.jpg

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

large_Kopje_arou..unrise_10-3.jpg

Cape Buffalo

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

large_Buffalo_10-1.jpg

large_Buffalo_10-2.jpg

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

large_David_feeling_cold_10-1.jpg

It will soon warm up when the sun comes out.

large_Sunrise_ov..engeti_10-1.jpg

large_Sunrise_ov..engeti_10-2.jpg

Lions

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

large_Lions_10-2.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-39.jpg

large_Lions_10-4.jpg

large_Lions_10-5.jpg

large_Lions_10-9.jpg

large_Lions_10-12.jpg

large_Lions_10-13.jpg

large_Lions_10-14.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-15.jpg

large_Lions_10-16.jpg

large_Lions_10-17.jpg

large_Lions_10-18.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-19.jpg

large_Lions_10-21.jpg

large_Lions_10-22.jpg

large_Lions_10-24.jpg

Wildebeest

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

large_Wildebeest_10-11.jpg

large_Wildebeest_10-12.jpg

large_Wildebeest_10-13.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-32.jpg

large_Lions_10-51.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-34.jpg

large_Lions_10-35.jpg

large_Lions_10-36.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-40.jpg

Well, kiss my ass!

large_Lions_10-44.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-49.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-59.jpg

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

large_Vulture__Hooded_10-2.jpg

large_Vulture__Hooded_10-3.jpg

Wildebeest

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

large_Wildebeest_10-15.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-61.jpg

large_Lions_and_Wildebeest_10-1.jpg

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

large_Lions_and_Wildebeest_10-2.jpg

large_Lions_and_Wildebeest_10-3.jpg

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

large_Lions_and_Wildebeest_10-5.jpg

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

large_Lions_and_Wildebeest_10-6.jpg

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

Meanwhile dad continues to eat his breakfast.

large_Lions_10-81.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-88.jpg

“Let’s go and harass dad”

large_Lions_10-89.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-90.jpg

large_Lions_10-91.jpg

large_Lions_10-92.jpg

Has he finished?

large_Lions_10-100.jpg

Nah.

large_Lions_10-99.jpg

large_Lions_10-101.jpg

Finally?

large_Lions_10-103.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-104.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-111.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-105.jpg

large_Lions_10-106.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-107.jpg

large_Lions_10-109.jpg

large_Lions_10-110.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-108.jpg

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

large_Vulture__A..Backed_10-1.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-114.jpg

Jackal versus Vultures

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

large_Vultures__..Backed_10-3.jpg

large_Vultures__..Backed_10-2.jpg

large_Stork__Marabou_10-1.jpg

large_Vultures__..Backed_10-4.jpg

large_Vultures__..Backed_10-5.jpg

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

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_10-5.jpg

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_10-1.jpg

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_10-3.jpg

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_10-4.jpg

large_Vultures__..Jackal_10-1.jpg

End of Round One: Vultures 1 Jackals 0

large_Vultures__..Jackal_10-2.jpg

large_Vultures__..Jackal_10-3.jpg

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

large_Vultures__..Jackal_10-5.jpg

The vultures bring in the reserves.

large_Vultures__..Jackal_10-7.jpg

large_Vultures__..Backed_10-9.jpg

large_Stork__Marabou_10-3.jpg

large_Vultures__..acked_10-10.jpg

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

large_Vultures__..Jackal_10-9.jpg

large_Vultures__..ackal_10-10.jpg

large_Vultures__..ackal_10-11.jpg

The opposition team regroup to work out their next move.

large_Vultures__.._Stork_10-1.jpg

It seems they don’t quite agree on tactics.

large_Vultures__.._Stork_10-2.jpg

large_AE123110CFF3C25B5BD1CF6BFB4D21FD.jpg

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

large_Vultures__Hooded_10-5.jpg

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

Lion and Jackal Prints

large_Lion_and_J..prints_10-1.jpg

More Lions + Another Kill = More Vultures

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

large_Lions_10-151.jpg

large_Lions_10-154.jpg

large_Vulture_Tree_10-1.jpg

large_Vultures__..acked_10-12.jpg

large_Vultures__..acked_10-11.jpg

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

large_Lions_and_..res__10-154.jpg

large_Lions_10-153.jpg

large_Vultures_Swooping_10-1.jpg

large_Vultures_Swooping_10-3.jpg

The lions and a jackal look on with bemusement.

large_Lion_and_Jackal_10-1.jpg

Topi

Does my bum look big in this?

large_Topi_10-101.jpg

Wildebeest Rutting Season

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

large_Wildebeest_10-203.jpg

large_Wildebeest_10-205.jpg

large_Wildebeest_10-204.jpg

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

Picnic Breakfast

large_Picnic_9.jpg

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

large_Picnic_Breakfast_10-1.jpg

large_Picnic_Breakfast_10-3.jpg

All around us is the hum of the wildebeest.

large_Picnic_Breakfast_10-5.jpg

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

large_Picnic_Breakfast_10-7.jpg

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

large_Picnic_Breakfast_10-8.jpg

Grey Crowned Cranes

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_10-1.jpg

Lions Re-Visited

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

large_Lions_10-155.jpg

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

large_Lions_10-156.jpg

large_Lions_10-157.jpg

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

large_Vulture__L..Faced_10-51.jpg

large_Vulture__L..Faced_10-53.jpg

large_Vulture__A..acked_10-51.jpg

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

large_Wildebeest_10-202.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_Title.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-51.jpg

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

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-54.jpg

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

large_19999CF4F38B53DE1203C13BD230C9F1.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe..uffalo10-54.jpg

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

large_Lizard__Fl.._Agama_10-4.jpg

large_Hyrax__Rock_10-1.jpg

large_Lizard_10-1.jpg

large_Lizard__Fl.._Agama_10-2.jpg

large_Hyrax__Rock_10-2.jpg

large_Lizard_10-2.jpg

large_Lizard__Fl.._Agama_10-3.jpg

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

Klipspringer

large_Klipspringer_10-1.jpg

Red Duiker

large_Duiker__Red_10-1.jpg

Cape Buffalo

large_Buffalo__Cape_10-51.jpg

large_Buffalo__Cape_10-52.jpg

Impala

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

large_Impala_10-1.jpg

large_Impala_10-2.jpg

Black Faced Vervet Monkeys

large_Black_Face..onkey_10-52.jpg

large_Black_Face..onkey_10-51.jpg

Giraffe

large_Giraffe_10-202.jpg

large_Giraffe_10-201.jpg

Hippos

A couple of hippos wallow in the shallow Orangi River.

large_Hippos_in_.._River_10-1.jpg

large_Hippos_in_.._River_10-2.jpg

Olive Baboons

large_Baboon__Olive_10-1.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_10-2.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_10-4.jpg

Dust

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

large_Dust_10-1.jpg

Warthogs

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

large_Warthogs_10-201.jpg

large_Warthogs_10-202.jpg

large_Warthogs_10-203.jpg

large_Warthogs_10-204.jpg

large_Warthogs_10-207.jpg

large_Warthogs_10-208.jpg

African Fish Eagle

large_Eagle__African_Fish_10-1.jpg

Bare Faced Go Away Bird

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

large_Go_Away_Bi.._Faced_10-1.jpg

large_Go_Away_Bi.._Faced_10-3.jpg

Magpie Shrike

large_Shrike__Magpie_10-1.jpg

Tree Python

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

large_Python__Tree_10-2.jpg

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

large_Python__Tree_10-1.jpg

Black Chested Snake Eagle

large_Eagle__Bla.._Snake_10-2.jpg

Little Bee Eater

large_Bee_Eater__Little_10-1.jpg

Black Headed Heron

large_Heron__Black_Headed_10-1.jpg

Serval

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

large_Serval_10-1.jpg

large_Serval_10-2.jpg

large_Serval_10-3.jpg

large_Serval_10-4.jpg

End of Part I

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

large_47869D41B9B7B95046C5F7DA66B0A840.jpg

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

Ndutu - Mbuzi Mawe

The Legendary Serengeti


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

large_Day_9_of_t..Adventure_2.jpg

large_24624F4A9BB2921EFF59F07A38680D0E.jpg

I start the day with a spot of bird watching as the sun comes up.

White Rumped Helmetshrike

Dung beetle for breakfast anyone?

large_Helmetshri.._Rumped_9-3.jpg

Superb Starling

large_Starling__Superb_9-1.jpg

Beautiful Sunbird

large_Sunbird__Beautiful_9-3.jpg

large_Backlit_Grasses_9-2.jpg

large_Sunrise_over_Ndutu_9-3.jpg

large_Breakfast_8.jpg

Unusually, we take breakfast in the lodge this morning, before setting off for another day of game viewing.

When asked if he would like egg and bacon, David jokingly says – in a lowered voice as the waiter walks away – “mushrooms, baked beans…” Of course, that is exactly what he gets!

large_Breakfast_at_Ndutu_Lodge.jpg

Aardvark

On our last couple of safaris with Calabash, I bantered with our guide Dickson about wanting to see an aardvark, and that I will keep coming to Tanzania on safari until I do.

Today I finally get to see my aardvark, in the grounds of Ndutu Lodge. Shame it is made from metal – I guess I can’t quite tick it off my wish list yet.

large_Ndutu_Safari_Lodge_9-8.jpg

Oxpeckers

These birds have a symbiotic relationship with the giraffes. The giraffe provides a happy home for ticks, which the oxpeckers eat, relieving the giraffe of the annoyance the insects can cause.

large_Oxpeckers_.._Billed_9-3.jpg

large_Oxpeckers_.._Billed_9-1.jpg

large_Oxpeckers_.._Billed_9-2.jpg

large_Oxpeckers_.._Billed_9-5.jpg

large_Oxpeckers_.._Billed_9-7.jpg

Giraffe

Today's host is an old male giraffe.

large_Giraffe_9-1.jpg

Black Faced Vervet Monkeys

As the leopard’s favourite food, the vervets go to great lengths to hide their whereabouts from their nocturnal predator, including smearing their poop on the branches at night, rather than letting it drop to the ground so that the leopard cannot easily detect where they are sleeping.

large_Black_Face..Monkeys_9-2.jpg

large_Black_Face..Monkeys_9-4.jpg

He is showing off his bright blue testicles again.

large_Black_Face..Monkeys_9-6.jpg

Dik Dik

large_Dik_Dik_9-1.jpg

Secretary Bird

On the prowl across the grasslands, looking for snakes.

large_Secretary_Bird_9-1.jpg

Spotted Hyena

large_Hyena__Spotted_9-2.jpg

large_Hyena__Spotted_9-4.jpg

large_Hyena__Spotted_9-6.jpg

large_Lyn_with_her_lens_9-1.jpg

Lions

These guys have not moved from the spot where we left them resting last night, although the missing ninth lion has rejoined them.

large_Lions_9-2.jpg

large_Lions_9-7.jpg

large_Lyn_with_her_lens_9-2.jpg

A couple of them head our way, coming right up to the car, sniffing the tyres and eventually settling down in the shade of the vehicle. That’s pretty close!

large_Lions_9-10.jpg

large_Lions_9-11.jpg

large_Lion_Check..the_Car_9-1.jpg

large_Chris_with_the_Lions_1.jpg

large_Chris_with_the_Lions_2.jpg

large_Lions_9-15.jpg

large_Lions_9-16.jpg

large_Lion_Check..the_Car_9-2.jpg

I think that means we have a symbiotic relationship with the lions – we provide them with shade, they give us some great photo opportunities.

This guy does not look too sure about Chris. It makes me wonder how high they can jump.

large_Lions_and_Chris__3_.jpg

Woolly Necked Vultures

large_Vultures__.._Necked_9-1.jpg

Engine Failure

Ten minutes after leaving the lions, the engine coughs, splutters and then dies. After a few tries, Malisa gets it going again, but not for long. We joke that he’s filled it with ‘jumpy diesel’, but eventually he cannot get it going again just by turning the key, and has to get out and under. Oh dear.

large_Engine_Repair_9-1.jpg

An area filled with lions, cheetah, leopards and hyena is not the best place to lie down on the ground under a car, so I am relieved when Malisa gets the car going again reasonably quickly – a wire had broken from all the off-roading.

large_Engine_Repair_9-2.jpg

Having a trained car mechanic as a driver-guide certainly has its advantages. Well done that man! I am surprised that breakdowns don't happen more often - this is the first one we've encountered in the four safaris we've had with Calabash.

Short Grass Plains

Heading for the entrance gate to Serengeti, the track runs across what is known as the Short Grass Plains, for obvious reasons. One of the great things about a safari on the Northern Circuit in Tanzania is that even as you drive from one place to another, there is always an opportunity to do some game viewing, and this morning we see a few animals along the way.

large_Short_Gras..kground_9-1.jpg

Here we can see Naabi Hill in the distance, which is what we are aiming for - the official entrance to the Serengeti National Park.

large_Short_Gras..kground_9-3.jpg

Grant's Gazelle

large_Gazelle__Grant_s_9-1.jpg

large_Gazelle__Grant_s_9-2.jpg

large_Gazelle__Grant_s_9-3.jpg

Zebra

large_Zebra_9-1.jpg

large_Zebra_9-3.jpg

large_Zebra_9-4.jpg

large_Zebra_9-5.jpg

Ostriches

As we approach, panic mode sets in and these enormous flightless birds start running around like headless chickens. “Don’t panic, don’t panic!”

large_Ostriches_9-1.jpg

large_Ostriches_9-2.jpg

We leave the Ndutu area behind a join the main ‘road’ to the gate.

large_Ndutu_Safa..ge_Sign_9-1.jpg

Lions

Just before the entrance, we spot a lioness with two cubs resting in the shade of a kopje.

large_Lions_9-51.jpg

Giraffe Drinking

It is fairly unusual to see a giraffe drinking from the ground like this, as being in that position makes him very vulnerable to predators.

large_Giraffe_9-51.jpg

large_Giraffe_9-56.jpg

It is even more unusual to see a three-necked giraffe!

large_Giraffe_9-53.jpg

large_Naabi_Hill.jpg

Naabi Hill

Towering above the grassy plains of the Serengeti, Naabi Hill is the location of the main entrance gate to the park, and offers amazing views over the Endless Plains below.

large_Naabi_Hill_9-1.jpg

While Malisa goes off to get our tickets and sort out the registration, we take a short walk on the Kopje Trail that leads up the scenic observation point on top of the rocky outcrop behind the information centre.

large_Malisa_get..bi_Hill_9-1.jpg

large_Naabi_Hill_9-2.jpg

The kopje appears to ‘float in the sea of grass’ that is the Serengeti Plains.

large_Naabi_Hill_9-4.jpg

From the summit we can easily understand why the Maasai named this place Serengeti – 'a vast land that runs forever, where endless plains meet the sky' in the local language.

large_Naabi_Hill_9-6.jpg

It is said that the only way you will get a better view of Serengeti, is from a hot air balloon, and that is definitely not on the agenda for this trip, not at $539 per person!

large_Naabi_Hill_9-21.jpg

large_2C1A05C10D17ADA1909ABCCC08731D0E.jpg

Naabi Hill is a haven for lizards, who lounge on the sun-baked rocks along the path, totally unperturbed by passing tourists.

large_Agama__Fla..ed_Rock_9-1.jpg

large_Lizard_at_Naabi_Hill_9-2.jpg

large_Agama__Fla..ed_Rock_9-2.jpg

large_Lizard_at_Naabi_Hill_9-3.jpg

large_Agama__Fla..ed_Rock_9-4.jpg

large_Lizard_at_Naabi_Hill_9-1.jpg

large_Agama__Fla..ed_Rock_9-5.jpg

Exit is through the shop, as usual.

large_Naabi_Hill_9-8.jpg

While we wait for Malisa to finish up the paper work, we do a spot of bird watching.

large_Martin__Rock_9-1.jpg
Rock Martin

large_Starling__..venile__9-2.jpg
Juvenile Ashy Starling (I think)

large_866593D5CC8415F77A0ADBDE8077C890.jpg
Juvenile Hildebrand Starling

large_Starling__Hildebrand_9-1.jpg
Hildebrand Starling

large_Vulture__lappet_Faced_9-2.jpg
Lappet Faced Vulture

After a while I comment that the entrance formalities seem to be taking a particularly long time today, which considering how quiet it is, I find a bit strange. It turns out that while we have been waiting for Malisa outside the information centre, he has been at the car, wondering where we are. Doh!

large_86CF2FD5F3B9A1D312521A9CD079FF8B.jpg

large_Serengeti_..l_Park_Logo.jpg

Serengeti National park

This has to be the most renowned wildlife park in the entire world, and for good reason; with over 10,000 square miles of pristine wilderness, it’s like stepping in to a wildlife documentary. The variety and abundance of wildlife here is unmatched anywhere else in Africa. Serengeti is unparalleled in so many ways – not only does it have the world's largest herd of migrating ungulates, but also the largest concentration of predators in the world.

large_Serengeti_..al_Park_9-1.jpg

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-6.jpg

Most people think of the Serengeti as being a vast endless grassy plain, as well as totally underestimating its size. In reality the park is comprised of a wide range of ecosystems, with some parts featuring areas of acacia forest, others granite mountains and soda lakes, each with its own different character and range of wildlife.

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-4.jpg

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-51.jpg

Rather than taking the main road this morning, we head east towards Gol Kopjes, an area where we need a special permit to visit.

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-1.jpg

Giraffe

large_Giraffe_9-101.jpg

large_Giraffe_9-102.jpg

large_Giraffe_9-104.jpg

Warthogs

large_Warthogs_9-1.jpg

large_Warthogs_9-3.jpg

large_Warthogs_9-7.jpg

Aren’t they just the cutest when they run with their tails straight up? They do that so that the babies can see their mums in the long grass.

large_Warthogs_9-8.jpg

Mirage

A naturally occurring optical illusion, a mirage is caused by light bending rays, giving the impression of an oasis in the distance.

large_Mirage_9-1.jpg

Steppe Eagle

For one spine-tingling moment we believe he has picked up a snake; until we realise he is merely nest building.

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-1.jpg

It is still pretty cool to see him carry it away in his beak though.

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-2.jpg

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-3.jpg

Marabou Stork

This has to be one of the ugliest birds in existence, surely?

large_Stork__Marabou_9-2.jpg

large_2B57F051CD2FD7BE486FC4F2167623F6.jpg

Lions

In the distance we spot a couple of lions. We are becoming almost blasé to them now – there is not much point in hanging around when they are so far away. We have seen them nearer and better before…

large_Lions_9-150.jpg

Gol Kopjes

Kopje_Definition_1.jpg

Nicknamed the ‘world’s largest Japanese rock garden’, this is a picturesque area, with a series of granite outcrops (kopjes) dotted on the otherwise flat short grass plains.

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-2.jpg

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-3.jpg

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-5.jpg

large_Gol_Kopjes_9-8.jpg

This area is said to have the highest concentration of cheetah in Africa, but it is not a cheetah we spot sleeping on the rocks, but a lion.

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-1A.jpg

When we go closer, we see it is in fact a collared lioness. The head of the pride, she is an exceptional hunter, which is why the authorities want to monitor her.

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-2.jpg

As this girl is a well-known matriarch, it’s a pretty good bet that there are more lions in the near vicinity; and we don’t have long to wait before another lioness appears on the top of the rock behind.

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-3.jpg

With a full belly she walks slowly and lazily, settling down in the shade of a tree.

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-4.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-5.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-6.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-9.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-13.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-14.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-15.jpg

A heaving brown lump in the long grass indicates a male lion panting heavily. The lions have obviously recently eaten and are all full to bursting.

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-16.jpg

This one seems to have the right idea.

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-17.jpg

Golden Jackal

large_Jackal__Golden_9-1.jpg

large_Jackal__Golden_9-2.jpg

Committee Meeting

The collective noun for vultures is committee, and here we have Rueppell’s Griffon, Woolly Necked and White Backed Vultures, as well as a couple of Marabou Storks.

large_Vultures_9-1.jpg

Thomson’s Gazelle

It’s that time of year – two Tommy males spar for the attention of a female.

large_Gazelle__Thomson_s_9-1.jpg

large_Gazelle__Thomson_s_9-2.jpg

Topi

large_Topi_9-2.jpg

large_Topi_9-3.jpg

Tawny eagle

large_Eagle__Tawny_9-14.jpg

large_Eagle__Tawny_9-12.jpg

Coke's Hartebeest

large_Hartebeest__Coke_s_9-1.jpg

large_Hartebeest__Coke_s_9-2.jpg

Dung Beetle

This poor little beetle is trying to roll his ball of dung into a hole in the ground, but is finding the earth too hard. He eventually just rolls it into the grass cover.

large_Beetle__Dung_9-1.jpg

.

More Lions

Another kopje, another lion pride. Such is life in the Serengeti.

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-18.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-19.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-20.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-21.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-22.jpg

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-23.jpg

The one ‘security guard’ left out on the sunny savannah looking after the remains of dinner (probably a baby wildebeest) gazes longingly at the other pride members resting in the shade.

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-27.jpg

Tortoise

One of the animals on my wish list this year is a tortoise, and this morning one strolls right by as we are watching the lions.

large_Tortoise_9-1.jpg

Steppe Eagle

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-4.jpg

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-5.jpg

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-6.jpg

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-8.jpg

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-9.jpg

Judging by the droppings, I'd say this is a favourite perch of his.

large_Eagle__Steppe_9-11.jpg

large_Picnic_4.jpg

After finding a large pride of lions at each of the last three kopjes, Lyn is not at all happy about getting out of the car when we stop at another rocky outcrop for our picnic lunch. “Is it safe” she asks Malisa, but eventually - after plenty of reassurance - she reluctantly alights the vehicle.

large_Picnic_Lun..Kopjes_9-1A.jpg

Malisa teases her about it, and even takes a photo of her still in the van to send to Tillya.

large_Picnic_Lun..Kopjes_9-2A.jpg

As we drive away from the picnic site, Lyn jokingly shouts out “Oh, look: simba!” pointing to a non-existent lion near the kopje we had just been sitting next to. Much to our amusement, Chris falls for it!

Grant’s Gazelle

A bachelor herd full of young wannabes.

large_Gazelle__G..or_Club_9-1.jpg

large_Gazelle__G..or_Club_9-2.jpg

Topi

large_Topi_9-1.jpg

After one quick look at us, he takes off. Literally.

large_DF9783D7E7A964413C9EF1EB1D9DFB7B.jpg

large_Topi_9-5.jpg

White Stork

Non-resident, they are European migrants – just like us then.

large_Stork__White_9-1.jpg

Wildebeest

We come across a small herd of migrating wildebeest.

large_Wildebeest_9-1.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-2.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-11.jpg

A few minutes later we see this lone youngster, probably left behind when the herd moved on. He seems to be rather dazed – no wonder they call a group of wildebeest a confusion.

large_Wildebeest_Baby_9-2.jpg

He looks suspiciously towards us, then misled by his very poor eyesight, runs off in the opposite direct to the group we saw earlier.

large_Wildebeest_Baby_9-5.jpg

Having eaten too much for lunch, I feel like the lazy lions we encountered this morning and all I want to do is go to sleep in the shade to digest the food. I have a little nap in the car and wake up when we stop.

Dead Wildebeest

Malisa surmises that this wildebeest mother fell during a stampede and got trampled on, and has now become food for the vultures and Marabou Stork. Each of the different vultures have beaks that are designed for different actions, so as not to cause competition at a kill. The only one who can open a carcass is the Woolly Neck; so that's who they are all waiting for.

large_Stork_and_..on_Kill_9-1.jpg

The saddest thing about this scene is the baby wildebeest just standing there, watching the scavengers eating her mum. That really breaks my heart.

large_Wildebeest_Baby_9-6.jpg

In the middle of the road there is another, much younger baby wildebeest. We are guessing that his mother has probably been taken by a predator; this guy is so weak he can hardly walk and way too young to make it on his own - he is literally just waiting to be someone’s dinner.

That’s the stark and sometimes cruel reality of the wilderness.

large_Wildebeest_Baby_9-7.jpg

Long Grass Plains

As we drive further into the Serengeti, we notice that the plains change from the short grass that is typical around Ndutu, through medium grass plains around Naabi Hill to the longer grasses in this area. The plains are framed by rocky hills and river courses, swelled by the recent rains.

So why is the length of the grass worthy of a mention?

It is not so much the grass – although length does matter dontcha know – it’s the fact that the change of grassland also brings a change in the balance of the species – for instance, we see many more hartebeest and topi here than anywhere else on this trip.

Another point - sometimes we can only just see the tops of the animals, one of the disadvantages of travelling in the Green Season.

large_Wildebeest_9-12.jpg

large_Muddy_Roads.jpg

Muddy Tracks

One of the other downsides to coming here at this time of year is that often the tracks become just pure mud after a heavy rainfall.

large_Muddy_Track_9-1.jpg

Some even turn into impromptu streams and become totally impassable.

large_Muddy_Track_9-2.jpg

Malisa engages the 4WD to make sure we can get through OK – we don’t really want to have to get out and push unless absolutely necessary.

large_Engaging_4..ddy_track_1.jpg

It’s easy peasy when you have the right tool for the job.

.

Cape Buffalo

A breeding herd – or obstinacy – of buffalo.

large_Buffalo__Cape_9-1.jpg

Bateleur Eagle

large_E590D0EBE1E2239E41D6F83BA405A249.jpg

White Bellied Bustard

large_Bustard__W..Bellied_9-1.jpg

Warthog

large_Warthog_9-11.jpg

Maasai Kopjes

Kopjes – an Afrikaans term referring to isolated rock hills that rise abruptly from the surrounding flat savannah – are remarkable in that they have their own little ecosystems with a range of vegetation and wildlife.

large_Maasai_Kopjes_9___1_.jpg

large_Maasai_Kopjes_9___2_.jpg

large_Maasai_Kopjes_9.jpg

Lions

Maasai Kopjes are home to a large pride of lions, who are the subject of numerous studies by the Serengeti Lion Project. We study them sleeping for a while this afternoon.

large_Lions_at_M.._Kopjes_9-1.jpg

Dik Dik

large_ED569FCAAC855A85B85A2EBB8741002D.jpg

White Headed Vulture

Malisa excitedly informs us this is a very rare sighting – it is certainly a new bird to us.

large_Eagle__White_Headed_9-1.jpg

large_Eagle__White_Headed_9-4.jpg

Hippo

One lump or two?

large_Hippo_9-1.jpg

large_Hippo_9-2.jpg

Greater Blue Eared Starling

large_Starling__..e_Eared_9-3.jpg

Pin Tailed Swallow

large_Swallow__Pin_Tailed_9-1.jpg

Defassa Waterbuck

large_Waterbuck__Defassa_9-1.jpg

large_Waterbuck__Defassa_9-2.jpg

large_Waterbuck__Defassa_9-3.jpg

large_Waterbuck__Defassa_9-8.jpg

Zebra

large_Zebra_9-21.jpg

large_Zebra_9-31.jpg

large_Zebra_9-32.jpg

large_Zebra_9-33.jpg

large_Zebra_9-36.jpg

large_Zebra_9-41.jpg

large_Zebra_9-44.jpg

It seems that stripes are in this year.

large_Zebra_9-45.jpg

large_Zebra_9-47.jpg

Wildebeest Migration

The rains being a month late arriving this year has confused the wildebeest, and instead of being up in the Western Corridor now, they are found in great numbers here in Central Serengeti.

large_Wildebeest_9-302.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-305.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-308.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-311.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-312.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-314.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-316.jpg

Lappet Faced Vulture

large_Vulture__l.._Faced_9-61.jpg

Coqui Francolin

large_Francolin__Coqui_9-21.jpg

He makes the most peculiar sound – as if he is laughing.

large_Francolin__Coqui_9-22.jpg

White Rumped Helmetshrike

large_Helmetshri..Rumped_9-31.jpg

Stormy Clouds

Some formidable dark clouds are building up and the light is extraordinarily intense with the low evening sun creating remarkably saturated colours! I think we might be in for some rain before long…

large_Zebra_and_..beest_9-101.jpg

large_Wildebeest_9-101.jpg

large_Zebra_and_..beest_9-102.jpg

large_148FDD7BE3EFE5F69412AF591183E54B.jpg

large_Giraffe_9-76.jpg

large_Giraffe_9-78.jpg

large_Giraffe_9-81.jpg

Klipspringer

large_Klipspringer_9-1.jpg

large_Rain_12.jpg

And here comes the rain – bringing with it some even more bizzare conditions: the sunset reflecting in the water drops with a rainbow behind.

large_Rainbow_3.jpg

We move on a bit further and are able to see the whole rainbow, with the dramatic light constantly changing.

large_F7FD67C7E64E1690F839F35CB93F2F4D.jpg

Mbuzi Mawe

By the time we reach our camp, it is dark and the rain has really set in – what was a gently drizzle, is now a heavy downpour. It’s the first ‘proper’ rain we’ve had on this trip, so we shouldn’t complain.

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-6.jpg

large_Porters_6.jpg

A small army of porters with umbrellas meet us in the car park and take us to the reception. It seems a long walk.

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-5.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_9-5.jpg

large_Checking_in_1.jpg

After the usual formalities, we are shown to our tent – which ironically is half way down to the car park again. Apologies for rubbish photos taken hand held in almost pitch black.

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-2.jpg

The tents are very spacious, with two huge four-poster beds, a seating area and a writing desk. Attached to the back is a modern bathroom with double basins, shower, toilet and changing area. This is my sort of camping.

large_2C1F71ED01AEB9815BC6510D79B500E7.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_9-3.jpg

This place is as much of a surprise to me as it is to Lyn and Chris. When he knew the wildebeest migration was changing route, Tillya changed our accommodation to a more convenient position – that is one of the numerous reasons we keep coming back to using Calabash Adventures – their customer care!

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_9-2.jpg

I love it!

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_9-1.jpg

Just after we get to the room, housekeeping arrives to carry out the ‘turn-back service’. A young girl is being trained and they seem to take forever - I know they prefer to come and do it while we are in the room so that we’ll tip them; but its a bit of an inconvenience as we have just a short time between arriving back from safari and going for dinner.

large_Pre-Dinner_Drinks_10.jpg

So we have a drink instead of a shower. Shucks. Life is hard.

large_Night_Shots_4.jpg

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-1.jpg

The tents are all facing outwards on the edge of the camp, overlooking the kopje (or you would be looking at it if it wasn’t pitch black). Buffalo graze in the long grass the other side of the path.

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-3.jpg

A gentle man with a big spear, little English and a contagious laugh escorts us from the tent to the restaurant.

large_Mbuzi_Mawe_10-4.jpg

Rock Hyrax

On the way he shines his torch at the rocky outcrops, illuminating a huddle of rock hyrax.

large_Rock_Hyrax..zi_Mawe_9-1.jpg

large_Rock_Hyrax..zi_Mawe_9-2.jpg

large_Dinner_10.jpg

The dinner is impressive, arriving served under large silver domes, all four of which are removed at exactly the same time to reveal the piping hot food underneath.

large_Dinner_at_Mbuzi_Mawe_9-1.jpg

large_Dinner_Dome_9-1.jpg

Both David and I have Kuku Wa Kupaka – a local dish of chicken cooked in a coconut cream with ‘coastal spices’.

large_Kuku_Wa_Ku..ocont_cream.jpg

Lyn and I share a bottle of white wine, David and Chris have red.

large_Footprint_Chardonnay.jpg

The dessert gateau is a disappointment apparently, as is my self-serve cheese and biscuits: there is next to nothing left.

large_Paty_Time.jpg

The servers and kitchen staff serenade an Australian couple celebrating their silver wedding anniversary, just as the staff did for us in Maramboi.

.

We retire to our rooms after another spectacular day on safari with Calabash Adventures. Thanks again guys!

large_2311A068E1FBC175BFD0469AF7F04935.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 03:51 Archived in Tanzania Tagged landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises animals birds sky night monkeys rain hills sunset road_trip restaurant travel vacation hotel adventure roads scenery sunrise clouds holiday fun party africa mud safari rainbow tanzania lodge zebra eagle wine beetle lizard birding chicken tourists picnic photography alcohol lions giraffe hippo roadtrip serengeti hyena vulture night_time glamping waterbuck starling wildebeest stunning bird_watching game_drive tented_camp road-trip ndutu african_food dung_beetle safari_vehicle night_photography canon_eos_5d_iii testicles calabash calabash_adventures the_best_safari_operators which_safari_company best_safari_company vervet_monkeys black_faced_vervet_monkeys blue_balls ngorongoro_conservation_area tower_of_giraffe hartebeest nadutu_safari_lodge gol_kopjes maasai_kopjes mbuzi_mawe serena_hotels long_grass_plains short_grass_plains naabi_hill central_serengeti mussy_tracks kopje stormy_clouds Comments (0)

Ndutu - Part I

More cuteness overload


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

large_Day_8_of_t..ture_Part_1.jpg

large_Early_Morning_Start_8.jpg

Bat Eared Fox

We leave the lodge while it is still dark this morning, and as dawn breaks we spot a couple of Bat Eared Foxes.

large_Fox__Bat_Eared_8-28.jpg

Having previously only seen the top of their ears in the distance, I get very excited at this sighting.

large_Fox__Bat_Eared_8-23.jpg

They in turn get excited at the sight of a White Bellied Bustard with a couple of chicks.

large_Bustard__W..Bellied_8-2.jpg

large_Fox__Bat_Eared_8-25.jpg

large_Fox__Bat_Eared_8-26.jpg

This is a chase they have little chance of winning, but they have a go at it anyway.

large_Fox__Bat_Eared_8-16.jpg

large_Fox__Bat_Eared_8-19.jpg

Still hungry and with the bustards half way across the savannah by now, the fox is left sniffing the air.

large_B7C454E89DA008624D96054BCD0EB550.jpg

Lake Ndutu Sunrise

We turn our attention to the lake, where a dazzling sunrise marks the beginning of another day filled with thrilling wilderness experiences.

large_Sunrise_ov..e_Ndutu_8-1.jpg

large_Sunrise_ov..e_Ndutu_8-4.jpg

large_Sunrise_ov..e_Ndutu_8-6.jpg

large_Sunrise_ov..e_Ndutu_8-7.jpg

large_Sunrise_ov..e_Ndutu_8-8.jpg

large_Sunrise_ov.._Ndutu_8-11.jpg

large_Sunrise_ov.._Ndutu_8-12.jpg

large_Sunrise_ov.._Ndutu_8-14.jpg

Verreaux's Eagle Owl

large_Owl__Verreaux_s_Eagle_8-1.jpg

Black Backed Jackal

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_8-10.jpg

Having stalked a guinea fowl which then flies up into a tree, the jackal spends ages just staring at it while it makes loud warning calls to its mates.

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_8-2.jpg

Eventually the jackal comes to accept that neither tree climbing nor flying are part of his repertoire; and he wanders into the sunrise, posing for some great rim-lit shots.

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_8-12.jpg

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_8-14.jpg

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_8-15.jpg

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_8-21.jpg

Broken Down Vehicle

In the distance we see a car with its bonnet open, so Malisa goes over to check if they need any help. Between the three of them they manage to get the Jeep going, albeit coughing and spluttering in a plume of smoke.

large_Broken_Down_Vehicle_8-1.jpg

This is not really the place to break down – roadside recovery service is somewhat limited and cheetahs are plentiful.

large_Broken_Down_Vehicle_8-2.jpg

Pale Tawny Eagle

large_Eagle__Pale_Tawny_8-2.jpg

large_C02BB8B206C8294A73AC52D49612CFD4.jpg

large_Eagle__Pale_Tawny_8-3.jpg

large_Eagle__Pale_Tawny_8-4.jpg

Coqui Francolin

large_Francolin_Coqui_8-2.jpg

Grey Breasted Francolin

large_Spurfowl__..reasted_8-1.jpg

Cheetah

large_853BF599F0DADEF0AAE2E89D91DB8E68.jpg

“What’s that?” With his binoculars glued to his eyes, Chris spots something in the long grass and exclaims excitedly: “it’s a cheetah!”

large_Cheetah_8-2.jpg

Bringing the car to a halt, Malisa takes a look: “There’s two… no, it’s a female with cubs!” There are four of them, about two months old.

large_Cheetah_8-1.jpg

Desperate for some breakfast, mum is constantly on the move, and wherever she goes, the cubs follow.

large_Cheetah_8-13.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-4.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-49.jpg

As is the unwritten rule, once we have had the kitties to ourselves for a while, Malisa radios the other couple of cars in the area to let them know about the sighting.

large_Cheetah_8-32.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-57.jpg

Painfully thin, mum really needs to eat soon, as her suckling babies have taken all her energy.

large_Cheetah_8-75.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-11.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-43.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-62.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-64.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-71.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-76.jpg

We spend the next hour or so following this family as they move across the plains, always on the look-out, always on the prowl.

large_Cheetah_8-79.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-80.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-81.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-85.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-88.jpg

Not a true cat in that it does not have retractable claws like those in the panthera genus (lions, leopards, jaguars and tigers); the cheetah belongs to the genus acinonyx, as it cannot roar.

large_Cheetah_8-90.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-91.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-94_Nik.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-95.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-98.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-99.jpg

Who knew that baby cheetah chirp like a bird?

.

large_Cheetah_8-104.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-101_Cropped.jpg

As the cheetah make their way towards the woodland, we reluctantly move on to see what else the Ndutu area has to offer today.

large_Cheetah_8-107.jpg

large_Cheetah_8-108.jpg

Black Shouldered Kite

large_133DA52D022C6A802EABFE9DFF595720.jpg

large_Kite__Blac..uldered_8-3.jpg

large_Kite__Blac..uldered_8-4.jpg

Lappet Faced Vulture

large_Vulture__Lappet_Faced_8-1.jpg

Yellow Throated Sandgrouse

large_Sandgrouse..hroated_8-1.jpg

large_Sandgrouse..hroated_8-3.jpg

Bat Eared Fox

After the excitement of seeing a Bat Eared Fox up close early this morning, I am doubly surprised to see another one!

large_Foz__Bat_Eared_8-51.jpg

large_Foz__Bat_Eared_8-52.jpg

Helmeted Guineafowl

large_Guineafowl__Helmeted_8-1.jpg

Lions

Down at The Big Marsh, two brothers – around seven years old - are trying to sleep off last night’s big meal.

large_Lion_8-1.jpg

large_Lion_8-3.jpg

large_Lion_8-6.jpg

large_Lion_8-9.jpg

large_Lion_8-15.jpg

large_Lion_8-17.jpg

large_Lion_8-18.jpg

large_Lion_8-20.jpg

Two Banded Plover

large_Plover__Two_Banded_8-1.jpg

Coke's Hartebeest

large_Hartebeest__Coke_s_8-8.jpg

large_Hartebeest__Coke_s_8-7.jpg

large_Hartebeest__Coke_s_8-6.jpg

This is what happens when you fight - you lose a horn! Let that be a lesson!

large_Hartebeest..e_s_8-3__1_.jpg

Dark Chanting Goshawk

large_Goshawk__D..hanting_8-3.jpg

Fischer's Lovebirds

large_Lovebirds__Fischer_s_8-1.jpg

Grey Headed Kingfisher

large_Kingfisher.._Headed_8-1.jpg

Breakfast

large_Picnic_2.jpg

We set up a picnic on the plains in the shade of a tree.

large_Breakfast_..__Ndutu_8-2.jpg

Ndutu Lodge has done us proud with their picnic box – there is egg, bacon, pancake, fruit, yogurt, cake, banana and juice.

large_Breakfast_..__Ndutu_8-1.jpg

Caterpillar

large_Caterpillar_8-2.jpg

A large, hairy caterpillar is attracted to our picnic basket, and David is attracted to its fluffiness.

large_Caterpillar_8-11.jpg

large_Caterpillar_8-6.jpg

large_Caterpillar_8-13.jpg

Only after David lets it crawl all over his hands for quite some time, does Malisa warn: “You’ll get a rash”.

large_Caterpillar_8-14.jpg

More Lions

large_Lions_8-21.jpg

While the large male lion in Ngorongoro Crater was a real Rasta Lion, these ‘teenage boys’ (around 1½-2 years old) have more of a punk style.

large_Lions_8-22.jpg

large_Lions_8-23.jpg

large_Lions_8-27.jpg

It’s a hard life being a teenager.

large_Lions_8-25.jpg

large_Lions_8-31.jpg

Hooded Vulture

large_Vulture__Hooded_8-1.jpg

If the vulture is hanging around hoping the lions will provide him with breakfast in the shape of a kill, I think he might have a long wait – these boys do not look like they are going anywhere soon.

large_Vulture__Hooded_8-3.jpg

large_Lions_8-32.jpg

He might as well make himself comfortable…

large_Vulture__Hooded_8-4.jpg

Oh, wait… there might be some action here…?

large_Lions_8-33.jpg

large_Lions_8-36.jpg

Or maybe not.

large_Lions_8-40.jpg

large_Lions_8-41.jpg

large_Lions_8-42.jpg

large_Lions_8-43.jpg

Spotted Hyena

large_Hyena__Spotted_8-1.jpg

They like lying down in the mud to cool off, which is why you so often see hyenas with dirty bottoms.

large_Hyena__Spotted_8-2.jpg

Empty Plains

For a while we drive across never ending plains, seemingly devoid of any wildlife.

large_Driving_Ac..avannah_8-2.jpg

Malisa spots leopard footprints in the sand and later rescues a dung beetle who has fallen upside down and cannot get back up. Our handsome guide is all heart, for sure – not just a good driver / guide but caring too!

large_Dickson_sp..tprints_8-1.jpg

.

Hidden valley

A shallow depression in the endless landscape unseen from the distance – hence its name – hides several small waterholes and an overwhelming number of animals.

large_Zebra_and_..Valley_8-18.jpg

large_Wildebeest.._Valley_8-3.jpg

What can I say? Apart from another “wow”, it is hard to find words to describe the spectacle of 200,000 or so zebra (plus around another 100,000 wildebeest) drinking, cavorting, taking a cooling dip, running, play fighting, and whatever else these ungulates do.

large_Zebra_at_H..Valley_8-37.jpg

large_Zebra_at_H..Valley_8-30.jpg

large_Zebra_at_H..Valley_8-43.jpg

large_Zebra_at_H..Valley_8-16.jpg

large_Zebras_1.jpg

Never before have I seen so many zebra in one place, the area around the waterhole is a veritable sea of stripes.

large_Zebra_at_H..Valley_8-39.jpg

large_Zebra_at_H..Valley_8-56.jpg

Lots of very young babies, some just a few days old.

large_Zebra_at_H.._Valley_8-4.jpg

large_Zebra_at_H.._Valley_8-6.jpg

large_Zebra_at_H..Valley_8-61.jpg

With a thunder of hooves and a cloud of dust, a few more thousand wildebeest arrive.

large_Wildebeest.._Valley_8-2.jpg

large_Wildebeest.._Valley_8-6.jpg

large_Wildebeest..Valley_8-11.jpg

They just keep on coming...

large_Zebra_and_.._Valley_8-3.jpg

.

Imagine the dust and the noise when a stampede ensues – what an extraordinary location and unforgettable experience this is!

large_Zebra_at_H..Valley_8-51.jpg

large_Zebra_and_..Valley_8-31.jpg

large_Zebra_and_..Valley_8-29.jpg

large_Running_Zebras.jpg

.

A small limping wildebeest baby causes us great concern – he is unlikely to last long if f he can’t keep up with the herd and his vulnerability will make him an easy target for predators.

large_Wildebeest.._Valley_8-9.jpg

.

All around us, in every direction, whichever way you look, as far as the eye can see, there are zebra and wildebeest. No other animals. The spectacle is surreal and immense.

large_Zebra_at_H..Valley_8-11.jpg

large_Zebra_at_H..Valley_8-17.jpg

large_Zebra_at_H..Valley_8-27.jpg

large_Zebra_at_H..Valley_8-63.jpg

large_Zebra_at_H.._Valley_8-9.jpg

large_Zebra_and_..Valley_8-25.jpg

large_Zebra_and_..Valley_8-24.jpg

large_Zebra_and_..Valley_8-14.jpg

large_Zebra_and_..Valley_8-10.jpg

large_Zebra_and_.._Valley_8-7.jpg

.

large_51192C47DFD5D7D2E70F428442C10B89.jpg

Time to move on.

With smooth ‘roads’, no animals in sight and a hot day, both David and I find ourselves nodding off.

large_Driving_Ac..avannah_8-3.jpg

large_Snoozette_8-1.jpg

Lesser Masked Weaver Birds

After a short ‘snoozette’, I wake when we stop for a tree full of weaver bird nests – all created on the western (leeward) side of the tree at the end of the branches to protect the eggs from their main predators: snakes.

large_Weaver__Le..n_west_side.jpg

And here is the architect herself.

large_Weaver__Le..Female__8-1.jpg

Lilac Breasted Roller

large_Roller__Li..reasted_8-2.jpg

A chirpy little D'Arnaud's Barbet

large_Barbet__D_Arnaud_s_8-5.jpg

large_Barbet__D_Arnaud_s_8-7.jpg

And his mate

large_Barbet__D_Arnaud_s_8-10.jpg

Lions

This is the pride belonging to the two daddies we saw earlier on this morning – three females with six cubs between them.

large_Lions_8-45.jpg

large_Lions_8-46.jpg

There is not much activity going on in the midday heat – they occasionally lift their heads, look at us as if you say “why are you sitting there staring at us instead of taking a nap in the shade” and go back to sleep.

large_Lions_8-44.jpg

large_Lions_8-47.jpg

large_Lions_8-48.jpg

large_Lions_8-52.jpg

large_Lions_8-54.jpg

Malisa explains that he first saw the growth on the side of this young male back in January, and that it doesn’t seem to bother the animal at all. It still doesn’t make comfortable viewing though.

large_Lions_8-51.jpg

The daddies are still resting under the trees on the other side of the marsh, their whole bodies swaying when they pant. It makes me think of a salsa dancer.

.

large_Lions_8-57.jpg

large_Lions_8-66.jpg

large_Lions_8-59.jpg

large_Lions_8-62.jpg

One of the females gets up and starts to walk across to where we – and her partner – are. Perhaps she is jealous? She spends a long time just staring at us before giving up and lying down.

large_Lions_8-70.jpg

large_Have_you_e..an_savannah.jpg

And how! A giraffe was the first large animal I saw on my very first African safari back in 1986 and I was mesmerised. I still feel that same way now, 30 years, eleven safaris, twenty-five game parks and countless giraffes later.

With thanks to Ndutu Safari Lodge for hose words.

Giraffe

large_Giraffes_8-2.jpg

Did you know that each time a giraffe lifts up its neck, it lifts more than 550 pounds?

Tawny Eagle

large_Eagle__Tawny_8-11.jpg

large_Commercial_Break.jpg

We return to the lodge for lunch, a siesta or some bird watching before resuming today’s game drive. For fear of overload, I shall leave you here and create a new blog entry for this afternoon’s excursion.

As always, thanks to Calabash Adventures and their expert guide Malisa.

large_85731954920D7E5CD2EB63891E37170E.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 05:03 Archived in Tanzania Tagged birds road_trip travel adventure sunrise cute holiday africa safari tanzania zebra birding cheetah picnic lions giraffe roadtrip ngorongoro hyena wildebeest jackal bird_watching game_drive road-trip adorable dung_beetle safari_vehicle canon_eos_5d_iii calabash calabash_adventures which_safari_company best_safari_company cuteness_overload ngorongoro_conservation_area hartebeest hidden_valley lake_ndutu bat_eared_fox Comments (0)

Ngorongoro - Oldupai - Ndutu

Education, education, education!


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

large_Day_7_of_t..Adventure_2.jpg

Seeing the clear skies from our balcony this morning, I really wish I’d got up in the night to take some pictures of the stars. I shall just have to photograph the sunrise instead.

large_Sunrise_ov..ro_Crater_1.jpg

large_Sunrise_ov..ro_Crater_3.jpg

large_Sunrise_ov..ro_Crater_6.jpg

Our room has an amazing view over the Ngorongoro Crater from its balcony. The hotel is rustic to the extreme, having been built from rough local stone with the rooms all set on the ridge, facing the crater.

large_Ngorongoro_Serena_31.jpg

large_Ngorongoro_Serena_32.jpg

large_Ngorongoro_Serena_33.jpg

There’s an even more spectacular view from the bar!

large_Ngorongoro_Serena_38.jpg

large_Ngorongoro_Serena_39.jpg

Walking Safari

large_Walking_Safari.jpg

This morning we leave Malisa and the car behind and set out to explore the area on foot with a ranger called Yohana, in order to get a deeper understanding of the bush and up close and personal with nature.

large_Walking_Safari_-_Yohana_1.jpg

The first wildlife we see is a Cape Robin-Chat, right outside the front door of the lodge.

large_Chat__Cape_Robin_7-1.jpg

We amble at a slow pace, along the Ngorongoro Crater Rim and upwards into the hillside as Yohana teaches us the language of the bush.

large_Walking_Safari_-_Yohana_2.jpg

large_Walking_Safari_1.jpg
These signs always amuse me – do the wild animals read them and refuse to venture past that point (in the other direction) too?

This is not so much a safari in that we are not really seeking out wild animals; we are here to learn what native peoples have known for millennia – how wild plants are used as medicine and food. I am hoping to find something for the back ache I have been suffering with since we left home.

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.

large_Walking_Sa..dom_Apple_1.jpg

large_Walking_Sa..dom_Apple_2.jpg
Plant with unripe fruit

large_Walking_Sa..dom_Apple_3.jpg
The flower of the Sodom Apple

Wild Marijuana
This plant, which is in the same family as the common marijuana plant, is used to produce pesticide, as insects do not like the smell of it. Neither does Lyn by the looks of it.

large_Walking_Sa..Marijuana_1.jpg

Leaves are soaked in water, which is then used to spray the fields to keep insects from eating the crop.

large_Walking_Sa..Marijuana_2.jpg

Enkang oo-nkiri Maasai Ceremony
We encounter a Maasai who is in the bush for the Engkang oo-nkiri, or meat-eating ceremony – one the many stages of initiation into warriorhood for the young men of the tribe. A dozen or so men take a bull into the bush and slaughter it, staying there to eat the meat for two weeks. This is said to help them remain strong.

large_Maasai_Man_7-2.jpg

Devil’s Snare
The fact that this invasive species is poisonous has not stopped the Mexicans from making drugs from it apparently.

large_Walking_Sa..l_s_Snare_1.jpg

Stingy Nettle
Like we do in the West, the locals make soup “and wot not” (Yohana’s favourite expression) from this.

large_Walking_Sa..gy_Nettle_1.jpg

Being full of sugar sap, nectar eating birds love this plant, whose name I don't catch.

large_Walking_Safari_3.jpg

large_Walking_Sa..l_Sunbird_1.jpg
Beautiful Sunbird

Natural Insect Repellent

large_Walking_Sa..Repellant_2.jpg

large_Walking_Sa..Repellant_1.jpg

Wild Tobacco
Yohana warns us that it is “not very good”.

large_Walking_Sa..d_Tobacco_1.jpg

Old Man’s Beard
The presence of this lichen on trees is an indication of the air quality – it will only grow where the air is pure and clean!

large_Walking_Sa.._s_Beard__1.jpg

large_Buzzard__Augur_7-1.jpg
Augur Buzzard

Altitude
We have been climbing gently but steadily upwards from the lodge, and here at 2400 metres above sea level I can certainly feel the altitude.

large_Walking_Safari_4.jpg

“I can see your house from here!” - Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

large_B4581082A17689508D5FF567B7DB6884.jpg

Elephants
Yohana tells us elephants came by here in the night, eating the tops of the plants.

large_Walking_Sa..hant_damage.jpg

large_Walking_Sa..hant_Dung_1.jpg
Elephant Dung

Here we learn to read the jungle as a ‘daily newspaper’, by identifying trails, inspecting bushes and trees, studying spoor marks and animal tracks to deduce what animals have passed by recently, which way they were going, how long ago, how fast they were going, what they have eaten and so on. In fact there seems to be a story to be told in virtually every track and dropping that we come across. A bit like opening up Facebook first thing in the morning.

There’s a great view over the crater from up here.

large_Walking_Sa..he_Crater_1.jpg

large_Walking_Sa..he_Crater_2.jpg

Eucalyptus

large_Walking_Sa..ucalyptus_3.jpg

It’s well know for being beneficial for clearing a blocked nose.

large_Walking_Sa..ucalyptus_1.jpg

Chris puts it to the test.

large_Walking_Sa..ucalyptus_2.jpg

large_Shrike__Co..venile_7-_1.jpg
Juvenile Common Fiscal Shrike

This is where we part company with the guys – Lyn and I head for the road where Malisa is waiting with the car; David and Chris continue their walk with a hike to the top of the hill.

large_Walking_Safari_6.jpg

large_Walking_Safari_-_22.jpg

While we wait for the boys to do their daily workout, we chat to a group of school children on the road. One by one, as they pass, they shout out “Shikamo” – the greeting reserved for respected elders. That’ll be me then, I guess. In reply, I shout back: “Marahaba” (the traditional reply), much to their surprise and delight.
The kids explain to Malisa that their bus has broken down, so they have to walk the 40 minutes to their school.

large_School_Chr..on_the_Road.jpg

The guys come back bearing gifts.

large_Walking_Sa..s_-_David_1.jpg

Mushroom – you can't get much fresher than this. And very good it is too.

large_Walking_Sa.._Mushroom_1.jpg

large_Walking_Sa..Mushrooms_2.jpg

Khat – the drug of choice from Somalia to Yemen and beyond (and is also available – although illegal – in our home town of Bristol). It does nothing for me – it’s a bit like chewing grass.

large_Walking_Safari_-_Qat_1.jpg

Quinine – this one might be useful for treating malaria.

large_Walking_Sa..-_Quinine_1.jpg

It’s time to move on to the next item on today’s itinerary – but first we have to get there, and we never know what we might see on the way.

large_Mount_Lemakarot_7-1.jpg
Malanja Depression with Mount Lemakarot in the distance

Emuratare - Circumcision ceremony

A couple of young Maasai lads have their faces painted to indicate that they have just undergone the circumcision ceremony. This is the most vital initiation of all rites of passages in the Maasai society and is performed shortly after puberty.

large_Maasai_Boy..mcision_7-1.jpg

large_Maasai_Boy..mcision_7-2.jpg

Cow Bells

We stop to listen to the sound of the cowbells as Malisa explains that this is how the area got its name. Ngoro ngoro ngoro ngoro. A lot of goodwill and some poetic licence is required methinks.

.

Kaki Weed

Today is an educational sort of day for sure, as Malisa hands us this plant which some people do smoke.

large_Kaki_Weed.jpg

Cooke's Hartebeest

large_Hartebeest_7-2.jpg

Maasai Warriors

Ahead a number of Maasai Warriors are walking along the road, and we are warned by Malisa not to take photos. The scene is surreal, like we are driving through a film set.

A Tower of Giraffes

large_Giraffes_1.jpg

At Endoldol we spot a few giraffe on the ridge, in the distance.

large_Giraffes_at_Endoldol_7-1.jpg

Then a few more.

large_Giraffes_at_Endoldol_7-2.jpg

large_Giraffe_at_Endoldol_7-5.jpg

Soon we have a whole forest of giraffe.

large_Giraffe_at_Endoldol_7-9.jpg

large_Giraffe_at_Endoldol_7-23.jpg

We count 53 animals – which beats Malisa’s previous record of 48 - but it's impossible to put an accurate number down as more and more keep coming from the back.

large_Giraffe_at.._Panorama_1.jpg

I have never seen anything like this incredible spectacle.

large_Giraffe_at_Endoldol_7-19.jpg

large_Giraffe_at_Endoldol_7-24.jpg

When a Maasai warrior appears in the distance, the whole scenario goes from being fantastical to becoming completely absurd as 50+ giraffe start running.

large_Giraffe_at_Endoldol_7-14.jpg

Giraffe are awkward runners, and with their long necks arching and bending as they go, they look like a wave. Totally, utterly unbelievable!

.

There is just one word that will do: WOW!

Elerai Maasai Boma

large_Maasai_Village_2.jpg

large_Elerai_Maasai_Village_42.jpg

We are introduced to David, the son of the chief, who explains – in very good English – about the village and the dances we are about to see. The name Elerai refers to the yellow barked acacia trees that grow around here.

large_David__the_Chief_s_Son_1.jpg

First of all, the men and women perform a ‘welcome dance’ for us.

large_Elerai_Maasai_Boma_3.jpg

The dance is accompanied by a single musical wind instrument (traditionally a kudu horn), an olaranyani (song leader) singing the melody and a chorus chanting harmonies, combined into a sort of screeching syncopation.

large_Elerai_Maasai_Boma_6.jpg

This is followed by a display of the Maasai men's famous ‘jumping’ dance, known as adumu. This dance is traditionally performed during the eunoto, the coming of age ceremony of a Maasai warrior.

large_Elerai_Maa..-_Jumping_3.jpg

large_Elerai_Maa..-_Jumping_4.jpg

large_Elerai_Boma_-_Jumping_1.jpg

.

Chris decides he would like to join in

large_Elerai_Maa..-_Jumping_5.jpg

So he studies the style and technique carefully.

large_Elerai_Maa..-_Jumping_6.jpg

His approach is a little strained initially.

large_Elerai_Maa..-_Jumping_7.jpg

But he soon gets the hang of it.

large_Elerai_Maa..-_Jumping_8.jpg

Elerai is what is known as a ‘cultural boma’. The Tanzanian government restricts visits to Maasai homesteads to just a small selection of villages in a bid to limit the damaging effect it has on their culture.

large_Elerai_Maasai_Village_39.jpg

The beauty of visiting one of the official villages is that not only are we shown around the village, we can also freely take photos of the people who have ‘dressed up’ for the occasion. Taking photos of the Maasai walking along the road is considered very bad and is strongly discouraged, as mentioned in the RULES AND REGULATIONS at the entry gate.

large_Rules_and_Regulations.jpg

Here at Elerai, however, I can snap away to my heart’s content. And I do.

large_Maasai_Woman_1.jpg

large_Maasai_Woman_2.jpg

large_Elerai_Boma_57.jpg

large_Maasai_Woman_3.jpg

large_Maasai_Woman_5.jpg

large_Maasai_Man_2.jpg

large_Maasai_Woman_6.jpg

large_Maasai_Woman_7.jpg

large_Maasai_Children_1.jpg

large_Maasai_Woman_8.jpg

large_Maasai_Woman_10.jpg

large_Maasai_Man_1.jpg

large_Maasai_Woman_11.jpg

The women have been hanging around while the men have been jumping, but now it is their turn to dance.

large_Elerai_Maasai_Boma_9.jpg

Over the years we have visited a few Maasai villages, as well as other East African ethnic groups, and never before have we been treated to a display of women jumping.

large_Elerai_Maasai_Village_35.jpg

They may not jump quite as high as the men, but they make a brave attempt.

large_Elerai_Maasai_Village_34.jpg

While David (the chief’s son, not my husband) takes Lyn and Chris around the village, Kaki, his brother, leads us into one of the other huts.

large_Kaki_showi..e_village_1.jpg

To us, the village doesn’t look all that big, but this collection of straw-and-mud huts is home to around 120 people.

large_Elerai_Maasai_Village_36.jpg

The work of constructing the huts falls on the women, who build a frame from wooden sticks, make the walls and roof from acacia grass, they then cover the whole lot with cow dung. During the rainy season the houses have to be re-covered with new dung every night.

large_Elerai_Boma_59.jpg

Standing around or walking very slowly, as we have been doing while watching the dancing, has a terrible effect on my troubled back, it is now hurting so much I am struggling to walk. I therefore decline the invitation to see what the hut looks like on the inside, instead I send David in with strict instructions to take photos using his video camera.

large_Kaki_showi..e_village_3.jpg

large_Inside_the_Maasai_Hut_1.jpg

large_Inside_the_Maasai_Hut_2.jpg

large_Inside_the_Maasai_Hut_3.jpg

The heigh of luxury it ain't, but I guess they don't spend much time inside.

Eventually curiosity gets the better of me, and I carefully put my head around the corner to take a peek.

large_Inside_the_Hut_1.jpg

Although the older children go to school in a nearby small town, the younger ones attend the on-site kindergarten.

large_Kindergarten_1.jpg

large_Elerai_Maa..dergarden_1.jpg

large_Elerai_Maa..dergarden_2.jpg

The children beautifully recite the alphabet and numbers in English for us.

large_Elerai_Maa..dergarden_3.jpg

.

The occasional grubby exterior fails to hide the beauty and innocence of these charming kids.

large_Maasai_Children_6.jpg

large_Maasai_Children_14.jpg

large_Maasai_Children_16.jpg

large_Maasai_Children_7.jpg

large_Maasai_Children_8.jpg

large_Maasai_Children_9.jpg

large_Maasai_Children_11.jpg

large_Maasai_Children_12.jpg

large_Maasai_Children_13.jpg

The Maasai – as well as most other ethnic tribes in this region – build their homes in a circular pattern, with a ‘fence’ made from thorny acacia bushes to keep any wild animals out.

large_Elerai_Maasai_Village_41.jpg

At night, the domestic animals are herded into a coral for safety.

large_Elerai_Maasai_Village_37.jpg

Exit through the shop.
A Maasai ‘market’ has been set up in the centre of the village where we are ‘encouraged’ to buy something from the stall belonging to the householder whose home we just visited.

large_Maasai_Market_1.jpg

This stuff always looks so good - and tempting - when you see it like this in its appropriate surroundings, but usually becomes horribly out of place if you take it back home.

large_Maasai_Market_3.jpg

We choose a ‘talking stick’ and a small calabash to go on our wall next to the necklace we bought in Kenya last year.

large_Maasai_Talking_Stick.jpg

The talking stick is a communication tool used by the Maasai elders during their community gatherings as a symbol of authority and a right to speak. Everyone present must listen respectfully to the person holding the stick, and only that person is allowed to speak. When he has finished talking, the stick is passed on to someone else, ensuring everyone present has a chance to be heard.

Not sure how it would work in the Howard Household…

We are only partially successful in getting a mutually satisfactory price, and walk away with a feeling of having been ripped off.

large_Maasai_Market_4.jpg

large_Twende_1.jpg

Moving on to our next educational stop, with a few interesting (or not) sights along the way.

Camels

Tanzania has become a lot more commercialised in just the 20 months since we were here last – these camels are brought to the road side by the Maasai who charge tourists to have their photo taken with them.

large_Camels_7-1.jpg

Dust

This may be the green season, but the only rain we have seen so far is a mere five minutes just as we left Kilimanjaro Airport. Any vehicles, especially large trucks, throw up great amounts of dust from the tracks.

large_Dust_7-1.jpg

large_0FA25651EC7AE943CCFCCBB456FD1E98.jpg

As we slow down for the junction, a group of teenagers shout and wave their arms. One young lad lifts his gown to reveal nothing underneath except a hard-on. I am left in a state of incredulity: “Did I really just see that?” You’ll be pleased to know that there is no photographic evidence.

Eland

large_Eland_7-1.jpg

Dark Chanting Goshawk

large_Hawk__Dark..Goshawk_7-1.jpg

Thomson's gazelle

large_Thomson_s_Gazelle_7-1.jpg

large_Thomson_s_Gazelle_7-2.jpg

Rough track

The vibration caused by the incredibly rough rutted track results in Lyn’s lens filter becoming unscrewed and me shouting: “Can you keep the noise down please!”

large_Dirt_Track_to_Oldupai_7-1.jpg

Beetle

A stowaway flies in through the window, hoping to catch a ride. One of my ambitions for this trip is to see a dung beetle, but this one is sadly dung-less. I know, I know, there is no pleasing some people.

large_Beetle__Dungless_7-2.jpg

Oldupai Gorge – Where human life began

large_Oldupai_1.jpg

The thirty-mile long and 300 feet deep ravine is part of the Great Rift Valley that stretches through East Africa. The original paleoanthropologists who excavated this area over 50 years ago, wrongly named it Olduvai after mishearing the Maa word for the wild sisal plant which grows in the vicinity. The Tanzanian government renamed it (correctly) Oldupai Gorge in 2005.

large_Oldupai_Gorge_Reception.jpg

It is thought that millions of years ago, the site was that of a large lake, the shores of which were covered with successive deposits of volcanic ash. Around 500,000 years ago seismic activity diverted a nearby stream which began to cut down into the sediments, revealing seven main layers in the walls of the gorge. Just one small pinnacle remains standing.

large_Oldupai_Gorge_1.jpg

This is another place I hardly recognise from last time we came – which admittedly was nine years ago in 2007 – there is so much building work and a completely new Orientation Centre.

large_Oldupai_Gorge_2.jpg

Scenic as the gorge may be, it is by no means on the same scale as the Grand Canyon, or even Cheddar Gorge; but then again it is not the gorge itself that is the star attraction here; it is all about the secrets this deep-sided the ravine concealed.

Cradle of Mankind Museum

large_Cradle_of_Mankind.jpg

Oldupai Gorge is considered to be one of the most important pre-historic sites in the world. In the 1930s Mary and Louis Leakey discovered fossils of early humanoid dating back some 5 million years (give or take a few hundred thousand years); which has been hugely instrumental in furthering our understanding of early human evolution.

large_Oldupai_Mu..is_Leakey_1.jpg

large_Oldupai_Mu..is_Leakey_2.jpg

Realistic replicas of some of their most important discoveries are on display in the modest museum, including the ‘Laetoli Footprints’ – perfectly preserved marks in the rock showing two upright bipedal hominids, out for a stroll more than 3.5 million years ago. If that doesn’t make you feel humble and small, nothing will.

large_Oldupai_Mu..ootprints_3.jpg

large_Oldupai_Mu..ootprints_2.jpg

large_Oldupai_Mu..ootprints_1.jpg

Other exhibits include fossils, tools, artefacts and display boards with old photos from the Leakey’s time.

large_Oldupai_Mu..f_Mankind_7.jpg

large_Oldupai_Mu.._Mankind_10.jpg

large_Oldupai_Mu..ootprints_5.jpg

Part of the exhibition is dedicated to Dr Yoshiharo Sekino, who set out on a remarkable journey following the routes of ancient civilisations.

large_Dr_Yoshiha..s_Journey_1.jpg

large_Dr_Yoshiha..o_s_Bicycle.jpg
Dr Sekino's bike

large_Dr_Yoshiha..s_Journey_3.jpg
His route on the map within the exhibition

We have our picnic lunch overlooking the gorge, next to the group of American college students we saw on the flight from Nairobi as well in Tarangire National Park. They are incredibly noisy, but I am more concerned about the fact that this girl thinks it is perfectly acceptable to eat her lunch in public with her great big walking boot on the table!

large_Picnic_Lun..n_the_table.jpg

History comes to life with a short presentation on how the various layers of rock strata have formed over the past 5 million or so years.

large_Oldupai_Gorge_3.jpg

We can clearly see three of the five layers here:

1. Basalt from 2 million years ago
2. Volcanic ash from 1.75 million years ago
3. Iron oxide from 1.2 million years ago.

large_Oldupai_Gorge_4.jpg

The top two layers (ash and mud – 800,000 and 150,000 years ago respectively) have eroded over the years.

Different types of humanoids inhabited the different time epochs. With my tongue firmly in my cheek, I have my own slant on evolution…

large_Evolution.jpg

We are also given the low-down on the sisal plant – which the gorge is named after – and its many uses: rope and mats, painkillers from the roots and animals will chew on it for water.

large_1ABB4616D0708A05052F17C562FB8B0B.jpg

After our educational break, we head down into the gorge itself, on some pretty basic tracks.

large_Oldupai_Gorge_5.jpg

large_Naibor_Soit_1.jpg

What I want to know is how we can be sure we are not actually driving on top of some hitherto undiscovered important archaeological remains.

large_Naibor_Soit_3.jpg

The Mysterious Shifting Sands

Having come across articles about this phenomenon while researching our trip, I asked Malisa if we could make a detour to try and find these elusive dunes.

large_Shifting_Sands_1.jpg

These fascinating crescent-shaped mounds are a remarkable occurrence known as barkan. Dunes are formed when ground dust blown by unidirectional wind collects around a stone and continues to accumulate until a small dune is formed. As more sand is added, the process continues and the dune moves, in this case around ten metres a year.

large_Shifting_Sands_5.jpg

Shifting sands is not a new experience for us; but this one is different in that it is not only made up of very fine black sand, but it is also highly magnetised due to its high iron content.

large_Shifting_Sands_9.jpg

Despite its very fine texture, when you throw a handful of the stuff in the air, it doesn’t blow away on the wind, it falls almost straight down. The whole thing is eerie and ethereal, like an alien world.

large_Shifting_Sands_6.jpg

.

The volcanic sand that makes up the 9-metre high and 100-metre long dune originates from the Maasai’s most holy of places, Ol Doinyo Lengai - meaning ‘Mountain of God’ - which erupts with frequent intervals sending plumes of steam and ash over the surrounding countryside.

large_Shifting_Sands_11.jpg
Erm... why Chris?

The sands have moved around 500 metres since people started to take notice of it – there are markers on the road to indicate its route – the first recorded resting place was over by those trees in the background some time in the 1950s.

large_Shifting_S.._moved_from.jpg

Lemuta

Instead of taking the direct route west from Oldupai to Ndutu, Malisa heads off towards Lemuta, “to see what we can find”.

large_Oldupai_-_..-_Ndutu_Map.jpg

Giraffes

The first thing we see is four giraffes lying down – a most unusual sight. In this position giraffes are very vulnerable to predators because of the time and effort it takes them to get up.

large_Giraffe_7-101.jpg

Beetle

Another dungless beetle flies in through the window and lands on Chris. “Throw him out” I shout, and with that Chris gets out of the car! Doh!

large_Beetle__Dungless_7-3.jpg

We make sure he is not on his back on the ground (the beetle, not Chris), before we drive off.

Thomson's Gazelles

A large herd of gazelles start running as we approach. One little baby gets separated from the rest and instead of running across; he sprints along the track as fast as his little legs will carry him.

large_Gazelle__Thomson_s_7-21.jpg

Malisa slows down so as not to cause him any more stress, and soon mum comes in from the left to collect him. Phew. Another disaster averted.

large_Gazelle__Thomson_s_7-22.jpg

A few gazelles refuse to run – instead they stand and stare eerily at us as we pass. David waves out of the window, but they don’t wave back. Ignorant so-and-sos.

(Ex) Wildebeest

It was the end of the road for this wildebeest as he died of natural causes.

large_One_that_didn_t_make_it_1.jpg

Vultures

Something obviously didn’t make it here either – Malisa explains that it is an old cheetah kill which the vultures are now finishing off.

large_Vultures_7-1.jpg

large_Lyn__the_Photographer.jpg

large_Lyn__the_Photographer_7-1.jpg

Endless Plains

Seeing the Short Grass Plains at Lemuta, I can understand how Serengeti got its name – it means “Endless Plains” in the local Maa language. As far as the eye can see in every direction there is nothing but grass, dotted with a few animals. It is quite overwhelming, and none of my photographs do it justice.

large_Lemuta_Sho.._Plains_7-1.jpg

The panorama below – joined together from nine different images, shows a 180° view, to give you some idea.

large_Lemuta_Sho..ns_Panorama.jpg

Secretary Bird

This large bird - standing at 125 cm - gets its name from the crest of long quill-like feathers which gives it the appearance of an old-style secretary with quill pens tucked behind their ear. Although it has the ability to fly (I have never seen one in flight), the secretary birds is largely terrestrial, hunting its prey on foot

large_Secretary_Bird_7-1.jpg

Lappet Faced Vulture

A lappet Faced Vulture surveys the plains, looking for food.

large_Vulture__Lapped_Faced_7-1.jpg

Vultures and Jackal

Another old cheetah kill attracts a number of vultures (White Backed, Woolly Necked, and Rueppell’s Griffon) as well as a Golden Jackal.

large_Vultures_a.._Jackal_7-1.jpg

Squabbles are almost constant, with everyone looking for an opportunity to grab a piece of meat for themselves.

large_Vultures__.._Jackal_7-1.jpg

The jackal is definitely at the top of the pecking order, while the vultures fight amongst themselves.

large_Vultures__.._Jackal_7-3.jpg

large_Vultures__.._Jackal_7-8.jpg

large_Vultures__.._Jackal_7-5.jpg

large_Vultures__.._Jackal_7-6.jpg

A couple of Lappet Faced Vultures arrive to join in the party

large_Vultures__..Griffon_7-1.jpg

large_Vulture__White_Headed_7-1.jpg

More fighting, and even the jackal joins in with a growl.

large_Vultures__..Jackal_7-10.jpg

large_Vultures__..Jackal_7-12.jpg

It looks like the jackal has his fill as he licks his chops and walks off.

large_Vultures__..Jackal_7-14.jpg

Then, and only then, do the vultures get a look-in.

large_271C95BAB6512DE3069F2E0B1B2B0644.jpg

They tuck into what's left of the once cute little Thomson's Gazelle.

large_Vultures__..Griffon_7-3.jpg

Having access to the meat doesn't stop them feuding, however.

large_Vultures__..Griffon_7-4.jpg

We continue across the short grass plains, looking for cheetah at every kopje. No luck. Not one.

Hyenas

We do, however, spot a cackle of female hyenas. They lie down in puddles and streams to cool down while digesting their food. Unhappy at being woken up from her afternoon nap, this one takes flight when she sees us.

large_Hyena__Spotted_7-2.jpg

large_Hyena__Spotted_7-4.jpg

large_Hyena__Spotted_7-6.jpg

Female hyenas have a false penis (which you can just about make out in the photo below) and are the pack leaders.

large_Hyena__Spotted_7-14.jpg

For a while they circle a Tommy family (Thomson’s Gazelle), but eventually decide it’s too much like hard work and call it a day.

large_Hyena__Spotted_7-19.jpg

large_Hyena__Spotted_7-16.jpg

large_Hyena__Spotted_7-10.jpg

large_Hyena__Spotted_7-11.jpg

Yellow Throated Sandgrouse

large_Sandgrouse..hroated_7-3.jpg

large_Sandgrouse..hroated_7-4.jpg

Kori Bustard

Another tall bird at almost one metre in height.

large_Bustard__Kori_7-1.jpg

Capped Wheatear

large_Wheatear__Capped_7-2.jpg

Crowned Plover

large_Plover__Crowned_7-11.jpg

Golden Jackal

large_Jackal__Golden_7-31.jpg

Eland

As a result of hunting (eland meat is highly prized), these animals have become very skittish, so it is good to get some photos that are not ‘bum shots’ for a change.

large_Eland_7-22.jpg

large_Eland_7-24.jpg

Dung Beetle

large_Dung_Beetle.jpg

Each time I go on a safari, I have a wish list of animals I would like to see. This year the dung beetle is one of my top requests for Malisa to try and locate. As always, he comes up trumps, and much excitement ensues when he stops the car to introduce us our new little friend.

large_Beetle__Dung_7-29.jpg

Aren’t dung beetles just the coolest, most fascinating little animals? OK, maybe you think I am very sad for getting excited about a small shit-eating insect, but just hear me out first before you poo-poo my statement.

large_Beetle__Dung_1.jpg

These tiny bugs (about twice the size of my thumbnail) prefer excrement from herbivores rather than carnivores, as the former is largely undigested vegetable matter. OK, so now we have a vegetarian poo-eating insect. Although, the veggie poo is not so easy for them to locate as it gives off less of an odour than the meat waste. So, it has now become a vegetarian poo-eating insect with a sensitive nose.

large_Beetle__Dung_2.jpg

Most dung beetles are fussy eaters, so they won’t just eat any old shit; it has to be waste from a particular animal. They also like their poo to be fresh – don’t we all – the fresher the better. I think I am beginning to understand this; these are finicky sensitive-nosed vegetarian poo-eaters. A new patty can be descended on by up to 4000 dung beetles within 15 minutes of being dropped, and as many as 15,000 have been observed on one pile of dung at the same time. A real sociable, finicky sensitive-nosed vegetarian, poo-eater it seems.

large_Beetle__Dung_3.jpg

All I wanted was one single beetle carefully rolling away his prized poo!

large_Beetle__Dung_7-30.jpg

You could say he is on a roll... actually, they move surprisingly fast!

large_Beetle__Dung_7-27.jpg

Dung beetles can eat their own weight in less than 24 hours, and are probably the most industrious resident on the savannah, clearing up the mess left behind by other animals. The original recyclers! We can now add another string to his bow, making him a sociable, finicky sensitive-nosed vegetarian, poo-eating eco-warrior.

large_Beetle__Dung_7-32.jpg

So how does a dung beetle know which way he should be rolling his poo? He navigates using the Milky Way of course. Now this is starting to get serious: he is a sociable, finicky sensitive-nosed vegetarian, poo-eating environmentally friendly astronomer.

large_Milky_Way.jpg
This image is all mine, although the pictures of the sky and the beetle were not taken at the same time.

Although not all dung beetles roll their dung away, those that do, do so to feed their young. There is nothing like passing poo to your babies eh? Those beetles that don’t move the poo, make their home in the pile of dung. You could say they are happy as a pig in shit – or it that beetle?

large_Beetle__Dung_7-34.jpg

As well as food and housing, that pile of manure is also great for cooling off your feet (or rather for the beetle’s feet) – a bit like us trying to get off the hot sand on a sunny beach. Dung is considerably cooler than the parched African soil, mainly due to its moisture contents. So, how is that little insect doing now? He can now be described as a sociable, finicky sensitive-nosed vegetarian poo-eating, hot footing environmentally friendly astronomer.

large_Beetle__Dung_4.jpg

The last point I want to make is about their strength (I’m am not going to mention about his horn) – imagine yourself pushing a giant ball (just try not to think about what it is made from) which is over a thousand times your body weight, which is equal to an average gym-goer pushing 80 tons!
Now our little friend has become a sociable, finicky sensitive-nosed vegetarian poo-eating, hot footing, athletic, environmentally friendly astronomer. He sure is my hero!

And you thought he was just another beetle!

large_Beetle__Dung_7-25.jpg

You think I am talking a lot of crap? Check it out for yourself.

Dung Beetles guided by Milky Way

Wikipedia

.

Safari Vehicle

large_Safari_Vehicle_1.jpg

This is what our ‘home’ for the eleven days in Tanzania looks like. Based on a Toyota Landcruiser, it has been especially converted for safari use, with plenty of room in the back (six seats plus luggage compartment), an elevating roof means we can stand up for a better view to take photos, and it is easy to move around on a flat floor. There are charging points for camera batteries, and a beanbag for photography, plus we can attach a clamp with a tripod head to the rails too. All mods cons (including a fridge full of cold drinks), and comfortable seats - it has everything we need for long days on the African savannah.

large_Calabash_S..Vehicle_7-1.jpg

Pregnant Hyena

This pregnant hyena is very close to giving birth, and all she wants to do is sleep. Instead she has to pose for these horrid tourists. It’s a hard life isn’t it?

large_Hyena__Pre.._Female_7-1.jpg

large_Hyena__Pre.._Female_7-2.jpg

large_Hyena__Pre.._Female_7-3.jpg

large_Hyena__Pre.._Female_7-5.jpg

large_Hyena__Pre.._Female_7-6.jpg

A congress of Jackals

Five or six Golden Jackals turn up.

large_Jackal__Golden_7-43.jpg

large_Jackal__Golden_7-44.jpg

A couple of Ostriches

large_Ostriches_7-11.jpg

large_Ostrich__Female_7-11.jpg
Female

large_Ostrich__Male_7-11.jpg
Male

And some Zebra

large_Zebra_7-11.jpg

large_Zebra_7-13.jpg

Spotting another vehicle makes us realise that the last time we saw one was actually four hours ago. I like this low season safari lark.

Wildebeest Migration

Because the rains arrived later than normal this year, the wildebeest seem confused and appear to have split up. You can see from the map below where they normally are during May, and where we spot large herds of them today.

large_Migration_Map_1.jpg

large_Wildebeest_Migration_7-2.jpg

Grant’s Gazelle

The wildebeest are accompanied by Grant’s Gazelle.

large_Gazelle__Grant_s_7-11.jpg

large_Gazelle__Grant_s_7-14.jpg

large_Gazelle__Grant_s_7-16.jpg

large_Gazelle__Grant_s_7-18.jpg

And a Tawny Eagle

large_Eagle__Tawny_7-2.jpg

Lion Pride

large_Lion_Pride.jpg

Not far from our lodge, and with the light fading fast, we come across a pride of nine lions spread out over a swampy area between Lakes Ndutu and Masek.

large_Lions_7-11.jpg

The females and young males lie in the late sun, stroll around or play fight.

large_Lions_7-2.jpg

large_Lions_7-6.jpg

large_Lions_7-7.jpg

large_Lions_7-14.jpg

large_Lions_7-25.jpg

large_Lions_7-27.jpg

large_Lions_7-28.jpg

By reason of a strict pecking order, these guys are waiting their turn to have dinner – once the two alpha males have had their fill.

large_Warning.jpg

large_This_Entry..ns_Scenes_3.jpg

large_Lion_Kill_7-1.jpg

large_Lion_Kill_7-4.jpg

large_Lion_Kill_7-6.jpg

large_Lion_Kill_7-7.jpg

large_Lion_Kill_7-9.jpg

large_Lion_Kill_7-13.jpg

And for those of you who are wondering exactly how close we are to the lions – THIS is how close!

large_Lion_Kill_7-22.jpg

large_Lion_Kill_7-21.jpg

large_Lion_Kill_7-30.jpg

large_Lion_Kill_7-31.jpg

When one of the boys has had enough and gets up and walks away, the others look at the kill expectantly.

large_Lion_Kill_7-45.jpg

large_Lions_7-29.jpg

But it seems his brother is still not finished.

large_Lion_Kill_7-47.jpg

Has he had enough?

large_Lion_Kill_7-48.jpg

Has he?

large_Lion_Kill_7-49.jpg

It seems that way…

large_Lion_Kill_7-50.jpg

Has he heck!

large_Lion_Kill_7-51.jpg

large_Lion_Kill_7-53.jpg

The youngsters resign themselves to having to wait a little longer for supper.

large_Lions_7-32.jpg

large_Lions_7-31.jpg

One of the braver ones decides he is going to risk it.

large_Lion_Kill_7-55.jpg

large_Lion_Kill_7-56.jpg

large_Lion_Kill_7-57.jpg

Finally!

large_Lion_Kill_7-59.jpg

Seeing the look on this guy’s face as he struggles to bit off a slice of the fresh rib, I am instantly grateful for steak knives.

large_Lions_7-36.jpg

large_Lion_Kill_7-62.jpg

And after all that, all he ends up with is a mouthful of bones. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

large_Lion_Kill_7-63.jpg

Maybe, just maybe… he is trying to bite off more than he can chew…?

large_Lion_Kill_7-64.jpg

large_Lion_Kill_7-65.jpg

He looks forlorn: “There’s got to be an easier way than this.”

large_Lion_Kill_7-66.jpg

“I’ll try a different approach”

large_Lion_Kill_7-67.jpg

“Or maybe I’ll just lick the plate”

large_Lion_Kill_7-70.jpg

Malisa points out that meanwhile, behind us, a glorious sunset is painting the sky orange over the lake, signalling the end of another extraordinary day and time for us to say goodbye to our lions and head to camp.

large_Sunset_ove..e_Ndutu_7-1.jpg

Ndutu Lodge

large_83ADC988DBF1FAA860915D23ADBCAD1F.jpg

As with our previous visit, it is dark by the time we arrive at Ndutu Lodge. Despite several other safari vehicles arriving at the same time, the check in is impressively swift and efficient. After a quick shower and change, we meet up dinner.

Good food, Savanna Cider, Genets in the Rafters, coffee in the lounge and Dik Diks on the lawn – a perfect end to a perfect day!

large_Chicken_and_Rice_7-1.jpg
Chicken and rice

Small Spotted Genet

large_Genet__Small_Spotted_7-1.jpg

Cat-like in appearance, the genets are wild but encouraged to hang around the rafters of the lodge by staff who occasionally slip them tidbits of food in exchange for keeping the rodent population down. They are also obviously very popular with the guests.

large_Genet__Small_Spotted_7-8.jpg

Apparently the roof of the dining room / bar area was originally supported by huge wooden beams which the genets used a climbing frame. When the rafters were removed during the refurbishment, one of the beams was retained purely for the pleasure of the genets

large_Ndutu_Lodg.._Lounge_7-1.jpg

Dik Diks

Normally extremely shy, these tiny antelopes have become accustomed to people and feed happily in the grounds of the lodge.

large_Dik_Dik_7-5.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_7-7.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_7-8.jpg

Yet again Calabash Adventures and their wonderful guide Malisa have given us a day in the bush to remember.

large_85AE5A1FB59EE3E1FE8B9825BD936DA4.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 03:04 Archived in Tanzania Tagged landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises animals birds sunset road_trip view travel vacation views shopping village adventure roads kids scenery museum sunrise africa safari tanzania lodge zebra lunch beetle unesco birding chicken souvenirs lions maasai giraffe roadtrip lion_cubs ngorongoro dust hyena kill tribes anthropology wildebeest olduvai jackal ngorongoro_crater rip_off bird_watching game_drive road-trip eland african_food dung_beetle safari_vehicle great_rift_valley night_photography canon_eos_5d_iii school_kids qat calabash calabash_adventures the_best_safari_operators which_safari_company best_safari_company nature_trail maasai_cattle ngrongoro_serena ngorongoro_conservation_area tower_of_giraffe maasai_boma kindegarten shifting_sands oldupai lamuta lion_kill Comments (0)

Maramboi - Ngorongoro

How can we possibly top that?


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

large_Day_6_of_t..Adventure_2.jpg

large_B8F1E3A8E6D039BF4099DA322DF4CC84.jpg

large_Breakfast_at_Maramboi_1.jpg

Breakfast at Maramboi is interrupted this morning by a family of warthogs coming through...

large_Warthogs_at_Maramboi_21.jpg

large_Warthogs_at_Maramboi_23.jpg

... a couple of birds visiting the dining area...

large_Starling__Superb_6-3.jpg

large_Bulbul__Common_6-3.jpg

...and the sunrise.

large_Sunrise_over_Maramboi_5.jpg

large_Sunrise_over_Maramboi_7.jpg

This morning we get to pick the contents of our own lunch boxes – another thing we like about Maramboi.

large_Maramboi_-..lunch_box_1.jpg

large_Maramboi_-..lunch_box_2.jpg

There is quite a selection to choose from – something for everyone.

large_Maramboi_-..lunch_box_3.jpg

large_Maramboi_-..lunch_box_4.jpg

Including for Chris, who struggles with the weight of his over-full box!

large_Maramboi_-..hris__Box_1.jpg

Why have a healthy lunch when you can have cake?

large_Maramboi_-..hris__Box_2.jpg

We are off to pastures new this morning – another park, another lodge, another eventful day filled with exciting animal encounters.

large_Maramboi_-..p_the_car_1.jpg

In order to try and contain the elephants within Tarangire National Park, bee hives have been hung from the trees along the park boundaries – it has been found that those big, brave, huge animals are afraid of a tiny little bee! And I thought it was just mice that freaked elephants out, and then only in cartoons. Apparently not.

large_Bee_Hive_3.jpg

large_Bee_Hive_1.jpg
The old traditional style

large_Bee_Hive_4.jpg
And the more modern type

Minjungu

At Minjungu Village, Maasai women are busy setting up the weekly market.

large_Minjungu_W..ai_Market_1.jpg

large_Minjungu_W..ai_Market_2.jpg

Today we are heading for Ngorongoro.

large_Ngorongoro..Area_sign_1.jpg.

We may not be in one of the national parks right now, but that doesn’t stop us seeing a plethora of wild animals along the way.

large_Ostrich__Z..he_road_6-3.jpg
Ostrich, Zebra and Wildebeest

large_Thomson_s_Gazelles_6-1.jpg
Thomson's Gazelles

Chris spots some animals in the distance and excitedly exclaims: “zebra!” They turn out to be donkeys, but shall be forever known as ‘Chris’ Zebra’.

large_Donkey_6-4.jpg

large_Chris__Zebra_1.jpg
Maybe Chris has discovered a new species? A zonkey known as Debra?

Donkeys have extremely strong bones and in an impact with a car they can easily get up and walk away even if the car is a total wreck.

large_Donkey_6-3.jpg

large_Donkeys__Albino__6-1.jpg
Albino donkey?

large_Donkey_6-5.jpg
Nice ass!

Maasai Manyatta (village)

In the far distance we can see a huge Maasai Manyatta (terrible photo, sorry), belonging to the local village chief and his 27 wives! With over 100 children between them, he has even built his own school; which, with the help of the government, has since expanded to allow other local children to attend. One of the richest men in the area, he built his empire to become the biggest supplier of milk in the region . (And he's been milking it ever since)

So it is true what they say about the milkman then!

large_Maasai_Manyatta_6-1.jpg

I can’t remember seeing so many tuk tuks on our previous visits. These three wheeled auto rickshaw taxis are known as bajaji here in Tanzania. They are cheap and readily available, but probably not a good idea for a safari.

large_Bajaji__tuk_tuk__Taxis_2.jpg

large_Bajaji__tuk_tuk__Taxis_1.jpg

large_Bajaji__tuk_tuk__Taxis_5.jpg

Mto Wa Mbu

The small town of Mto Wa Mbu is just beginning to come to life as we pass through this morning on our way to the highlands.

large_Mto_Wa_Mbu_4.jpg

The town owes its fast increasing population to Medicine Men in Loliondo near Lake Natron, some 250 kilometres away. Offering to cure all incurable diseases, the witch doctors are extremely popular with believers who overnight here in Mto Wa Mbu before being taken to meet the doctors. The medicine dispensed is very reasonably priced at 500 shillings (ca. 22cents in US$) – the transport required to take you there, however, will set you back US$100. Sounds like a dreadful, but apparently successful, scam to me!

large_Mto_Wa_Mbu_5.jpg

Hanging out of the window with my camera in hand, I practise my usual drive-by-shooting.

large_Mto_Wa_Mbu_9.jpg

Meaning Mosquito River, Mto Wa Mbu is one of the few places around where you can find all Tanzania’s 120 ethnic tribes represented; mainly because of the lure of the tourist dollar and also the aforementioned racket involving greedy quacks.

large_Mto_Wa_Mbu_10.jpg

large_Mto_Wa_Mbu_11.jpg

Mto Wa Mbu is where you find the entrance to Lake Manyara National Park, so there are plenty of tourist stalls around. Also, all road traffic to Ngorongoro and Serengeti come through here.

large_Mto_Wa_Mbu_9.jpg

Malisa stops the car and buys some little red bananas for us to try. They are sweeter than the normal yellow type, and Malisa explains how they will only grow successfully in volcanic soil – plant them anywhere else and the fruit turns green rather than red.

large_Mto_Wa_Mbu_12.jpg

large_Red_Bananas.jpg

This area is a major breeding site for storks (Marabou, Yellow Billed and African Open Billed) as well as Pelicans.

large_Storks__Ye..Marabou_6-1.jpg
Yellow Billed and Maribou Storks

large_Storks__Yellow_Billed_6-5.jpg
Yellow Billed Storks

large_Storks__Yellow_Billed_6-4.jpg

large_Storks__Yellow_Billed_6-3.jpg

large_Pelican__P.._Billed_6-1.jpg
Yellow Billed Stork and Pink Backed Pelican

large_Pelican__Pink_Backed_6-2.jpg
Pink Backed Pelican

large_Storks__Yellow_Billed_6-2.jpg
Yellow Billed Stork

It also seems to be a favourite place for Olive Baboons to hang out – maybe they are after berries dropped by the birds, or it could be that tourists stopping to photograph the birds feed the baboons too…

large_Baboons_6-2.jpg

large_Baboons_6-4.jpg

As we start to climb onto the Ngorongoro Highlands, we can feel the temperature dropping. We are doing some serious climbing today – thankfully by car – from an altitude of 4,150 feet above sea level at Maramboi, to around 7,200 on the crater rim. That’s a difference of a whopping 3,000 feet!

Putting it into perspective, the peak of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in UK, sits at 4,416 feet.

large_Climbing_u..o_Highlands.jpg

We stop part way up to look at the view over Lake Manyara, from the shores of which we watched the sun rise this morning.

large_Looking_ou..e_Manyara_1.jpg

large_Looking_ou..e_Manyara_2.jpg

large_Looking_ou..e_Manyara_3.jpg

As with all places where tourists routinely stop, a number of salesmen hang around. We negotiate a good deal on some fun little necklaces with carved animals, and we all wear one, including David and Chris.

large_Necklaces.jpg

large_Necklaces_with_Animals_2.jpg

large_Necklaces_with_Animals_3.jpg

large_Necklaces_with_Animals_1.jpg

While sandals made from old tyres are quite a common sight all over sub-Saharan Africa, Malisa has a very much more upmarket version!

large_Malisa_a_Sandals_5-1.jpg

Especially commissioned and made from brand new motorcycle tyres, they are totally unique and even have a cool antenna at the front! I love them, I can’t imagine, however, going in to a Clark’s shop in Bristol and asking for a “size 180/55ZR-17 with a six inch pole and four beds please”.

large_Malisa_a_Sandals_5-2.jpg

large_Malisa_a_Sandals_5-3.jpg
That's the best grip I have ever seen on any sandal!

As we climb higher, large fields of sunflowers brighten up the scenery.

large_Sunflowers_6-11.jpg

large_Sunflowers_6-12_Nik.jpg

So far on this trip we have been extremely lucky with the weather – especially as we are here in the Green Season – but those clouds looming over the hills do not look very promising.

large_Souvenir_Shop.jpg

Karatu

There’s a different look and feel to this town up here in the highlands than the atmosphere of Mto Wa Mbu in the lowlands.

large_Karatu_1.jpg

large_Karatu_2.jpg

large_Karatu_3.jpg

large_Karatu_4.jpg

large_Karatu_5.jpg

large_Karatu_6.jpg

large_Karatu_7.jpg

And they have motorcycle taxis – known as pikipiki – instead of tuk tuks.

large_Karatu_-_P..ycle_Taxi_1.jpg

large_Karatu_-_P..ycle_Taxi_2.jpg

Loduare Gate

As the portal to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area as well as the Serengeti further along, each year more than 1.5 million people pass through this gate!

large_Lodoare_Gate_1.jpg

It is not just safari tourists who enter – goods and passengers come this way too as this is the main B144 highway travelling north-west from Arusha.

large_Lodoare_Gate_2.jpg

While Malisa completes the registration and pays the fee, we have time to inspect the small information centre with a cool 3D map depicting the dramatic ecology, ethnography and topography of the region.

large_Lodoare_Ga..on_Centre_2.jpg

large_Lodoare_Gate_-_3D_Map_1.jpg

large_Lodoare_Ga..on_Centre_1.jpg

large_Lodoare_Ga..on_Centre_3.jpg

There is also an even smaller shop.

large_Lodoare_Gate_-_Shop.jpg

At least the toilets here have improved drastically since our first visit in 2007, although that wouldn’t take much!

large_Lodoare_Gate_-_Toilets.jpg

Malisa has our permit and we are ready to move on to the next part of our adventure.

large_Lodoare_Gate_8.jpg

large_Lodoare_Gate_6.jpg

large_Lodoare_Gate_5.jpg

Immediately after passing through the gate, the road goes from being a super highway (OK, that may be a slight exaggeration... but at least it is sealed and relatively smooth) to a simple dirt track. This is one of the things I like about Tanzania compared with places such as South Africa – you do feel that you are visiting a real African wilderness rather than a commercial safari park.

large_Ngorongoro..o_the_Rim_4.jpglarge_Ngorongoro..o_the_Rim_6.jpg

Over a distance of around six kilometres, we negotiate a number of switchbacks as we climb ever upwards. Here the vegetation is more like a tropical rainforest, and I am very surprised – disappointed even – that the usual heavy mist is absent from the densely forested slope of the outer crater wall today.

large_Ngorongoro..o_the_Rim_8.jpg
In the photo above, you can see the road we just came up at the back on the left

large_Ngorongoro.._the_Rim_10.jpg

large_Ngorongoro.._the_Rim_12.jpg

We even get some quick glimpses of the ‘lowlands’ below us.

large_Ngorongoro.._the_Rim_15.jpg

large_Ngorongoro.._the_Rim_16.jpg

Just as the road levels out, the mist finally appears.

large_Ngorongoro.._the_Rim_17.jpg

Then the dense vegetation surrounding the road abruptly opens up into a clearing and we are greeted by the most breathtaking panoramic view from the crater rim, a vista beyond all imagination.

large_Ngorongoro..m_the_Rim_4.jpg

large_Ngorongoro..m_the_Rim_6.jpg

Chris’ reaction as he looks out from the viewpoint brings me to tears.

.

Throughout our trip so far, we have all being uttering exclamations of delight with “wow” being one of our favourite expressions.
Chris on the other hand, has been more level headed. “I am not a ‘wow’ kind of person” he has been saying, “I was prepared to be amazed, and I have been”. For him, therefore, to be calling out “wow” at this point is really stupendous.

large_DDEDC653ADA48DA1895E79F90170B558.jpg

I know how he feels, however. That first glimpse of the crater floor spread out below never fails to excite me as I gaze in awe at the small dark specks, trying to make out individual animals below through binoculars.

large_Ngorongoro..ater_Rim_14.jpg

large_Ngorongoro..ater_Rim_17.jpg

large_Ngorongoro..ater_Rim_15.jpg

large_Ngorongoro..ater_Rim_12.jpg

large_Ngorongoro..ater_Rim_20.jpg

This is our first visit in the Green Season, and I am almost overwhelmed by how verdant the crater floor looks. It looks totally different to the dry season, like a completely different park! I love it!

large_Ngorongoro..ater_Rim_24.jpg

large_Ngorongoro.._Comparison.jpg

As we continue on our way around the rim in a clockwise direction, the mist descends on us.

large_Mist_1.jpg

The Tomb of Michael Grzimek

HE GAVE ALL HE POSSESSED
INCLUDING HIS LIFE
FOR THE WILD ANIMALS OF AFRICA

The German film maker and passionate conservationist Michael Grzimek is best known for the film 'Serengeti Shall not Die', and his tireless work (and infinite generosity) on the survey of the annual migration in East Africa which resulted in the mapping and extending of the Serengeti National Park.

After his plane crashed following a collision with a vulture in 1957, he was buried here at the rim of Ngorongoro Crater. Later this memorial was erected in his honour.

large_Michael_Grzimek_s_Grave_.jpg

I am totally blown away by the colours of the Ngorongoro Highlands in the Green Season. I didn’t notice the difference to the same extent down in Tarangire and surroundings, but up here the scenery is nothing short of breathtaking, with entire hillsides of the Malanja Depression covered in yellow flowers.

large_Malanja_De..n_5_Smaller.jpg

large_Malanja_Depression_10.jpg

large_Malanja_Depression_13.jpg

large_Malanja_De..ildebeest_1.jpg
Zebra and Wildebeest

In fact the surroundings look so different this time of year I am beginning to think that I have never been here before. David agrees. Malisa assures us that we must have come this way last time (and the time before), as there is a one-way system in and out the crater, and the only descent route is further down this road. That makes sense, so I guess the greenery makes all the difference.

large_Ngorongoro..th_arrows_1.jpg

large_Malanja_Depression_6.jpg

large_Malanja_Depression_15.jpg
Maasai herders taking their livestock to softer grass

large_Malanja_De..ai_cattle_1.jpg

large_Malanja_De..ai_Cattle_7.jpg

Red Duiker

Despite its best efforts to hide in the tall grass, Malisa spots a Red Duiker – a small, shy antelope. Malisa never ceases to amaze me how he can pick these smallest of animals out while still concentrating on driving. And an excellent driver he is too!

large_Duiker__Red_6-1.jpg

Patience rewards us with a better view as the antelope forgets we are there and starts to move around, feeding.

large_Duiker__Red_6-4.jpg

large_Duiker__Red_6-7.jpg

I am particularly excited about being able to photograph this guy, as I have only even seen one very briefly once before, and that one was far too quick for me to be able to capture him on film.

large_Duiker__Red_6-9.jpg

He eventually decides he’s had enough and makes a run for it.

Unlike Tarangire – and the more famous Serengeti – Ngorongoro is a conservation area rather than a national park. What this means in reality (amongst other things) is that the Maasai are permitted to live and herd their cattle within the area.

large_Maasai_Manyatta_6-2.jpg
Seneto Boma, a temporary Maasai settlement

large_Malanja_De..i_Cattle_11.jpg
Maasai cattle co-exist happily with wild zebra

The further we drive along the road which skims the rim of the crater, the more convinced David and I are that we have not come this way before. And the more insistent Malisa is that we MUST have done, as there is no other route. Because my memory is usually extremely good (as the tree in Tarangire proved), it bothers me. Greatly.

large_Malanja_Depression_7.jpg

It plays on my mind and I keep trying to recall our journey from 20 months ago. I fail miserably, vowing to check blog from that trip when we get to the hotel – and Internet access – tonight to see if that helps to throw any light on this.

large_Malanja_Depression_9.jpg

When we reach Seneto Entrance, I have to concede that I have a vague recollection of having been here before, but it seems a lot longer ago than two years. I am beginning to get seriously worried about my mental recall here.

large_Seneto_Descent_Road_2.jpg

The entrance area is full of flowers and plants.

large_Flowers_at..cent_Road_3.jpg

large_Candelabra..cent_Road_1.jpg

large_Flowers_at..cent_Road_2.jpg

And birds.

large_Wagtail__African_Pied_6-1.jpg
African Pied Wagtail

large_Chat__Nort..nteater_6-1.jpg
Northern Anteater Chat

The Maasai are allowed to herd their cattle inside the crater, but they have to be out by nightfall. They don’t use the same access roads as tourists – here you can see their path leading in and out.

large_F33CFE8AB7894849730F11CBB29A5CDB.jpg

And this is our road.

large_Seneto_Descent_Road_3.jpg

Seneto Descent Road offers a different view over the crater – I love the way whole areas are shrouded in purple flowers!

large_Ngorongoro..cent_Road_1.jpg

large_Ngorongoro..cent_Road_2.jpg

large_Ngorongoro..ent_Road_21.jpg

The scene is quite surreal, like an impressionist painting.

large_Ngorongoro..ent_Road_22.jpg

By the time we get to the bottom of the road, I am still feeling perplexed as I look – unsuccessfully – for any familiar signs within the surroundings. Nothing. Total blank.

large_Ngorongoro..cent_Road_3.jpg

large_Ngorongoro..cent_Road_5.jpg

Never mind, I will just enjoy the crater floor and check on my photos / blog tonight.

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_1.jpg

Descending the 2000 feet high walls of this natural amphitheatre is like entering another world. We drove through a rainforest earlier, now we appear to be in the desert. It may only be just over ten miles across, but the flat-bottomed floor of the sunken caldera contains a wide range of eco-systems featuring the whole world of East African safari in miniature.

large_Buzzard__Augur_6-1.jpg
Augur Buzzard

Warthogs

large_Warthogs_6-1.jpg

large_Warthogs_6-3.jpg

Wildebeest

large_Wildebeest_6-1.jpg

large_Wildebeest_6-2.jpg

large_Wildebeest_6-4.jpg

large_Lark__Flappet_6-1.jpg
Rufous Lark

I really can’t remember seeing Maasai cattle mingle with wild animals on our previous visits to the crater. I drive everyone else mad with my constant doubts: “are you sure there is no other way down?”

large_Zebra_and_.._Cattle_6-3.jpg
Zebra with Maasai cattle in the background

Zebra

large_Zebra_6-5.jpg

large_Zebra_6-4.jpg

large_Zebra_6-10.jpg

large_Zebra_6-12.jpg

“Is he dead?” We worry about a lifeless zebra on the grounds with two of his mates looking on.

large_Zebra_6-13.jpg

You'll be pleased to know he is only taking it easy in the heat of the day.

large_Zebra_6-14.jpg
Baby zebra are a delightful chocolate brown when they are young, gradually turning to black as they grow up.

Thomson’s Gazelle

large_Gazelle__Thomson_s_6-1.jpg

large_Gazelle__Thomson_s_6-2.jpg

Thomson's Gazelle is the second fastest land animal in Tanzania after the cheetah; which is why you only tend to find them on the menu for the cheetahs: they are too fast for any of the other predators.

Grey Crowned Crane

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_6-2.jpg

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_6-9.jpg

Grant’s Gazelle

large_Gazelle__Grant_s_6-1.jpg

large_Gazelle__Grant_s_6-2.jpg

These are the first ungulates we’ve seen in any numbers, as they are not present in Tarangire at this time of year. During the dry season large herds of zebra, wildebeest and gazelles can been seen in all three parks, so this is a new experience for us.

large_Lark__Fisc..Sparrow_6-1.jpg
Fischer's Sparrow Lark

large_Zebra_6-17.jpg

There’s nothing like a dust bath on a dry and dusty day…

.

large_Wildebeest..tarling_6-2.jpg
Wildebeest with Wattled Starling on its back

large_Ostrich_6-1.jpg
Female ostriches

Ngorongoro Serena
From the crater floor we can see the hotel we are staying in tonight, the Ngorongoro Serena, perched high on the rim overlooking the caldera.

large_Ngorongoro_Serena_3.jpg

large_Ngorongoro_Serena_2.jpg

A couple of spotted hyenas (with dirty bottoms) stroll by and appear to upset a lone elephant who disappears back into the woods with a loud trump.

large_Hyena__Spotted_6-1.jpg

large_Hyena__Spotted_6-4.jpg

large_Hyena__Spotted_6-8.jpg

large_Hyena__Spotted_6-9.jpg

large_Elephant_6-2.jpg

Ngorongoro has much to boast about: it is a UNESCO Heritage Site; the world’s largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera, it has the densest population of large carnivores and herbivores anywhere in the world (as in density, not lack of intelligence!), and it is arguably the most impressive geological feature in Africa – no wonder it is commonly referred to as the 8th wonder of the world. The crater delivers some of the best game viewing Africa has to offer, the Africa of wildlife documentaries.

An African White Backed Vulture flies overhead – I love watching the daily life in the Ngorongoro Crater.

large_Vulture__A.._Backed_6-1.jpg

When Malisa claims that the hyena is his favourite animal, I am not sure whether he is joking or not as I personally find the hyena quite sinister looking without any real redeeming features.

large_Hyena__Spotted_6-10.jpg

A very unhappy wildebeest alerts us to the presence of a male lion, mostly hidden in the grass.

large_Wildebeest_6-7.jpg

large_Lion_6-1.jpg

Not that the lion appears to take any interest in the wildebeest, but I guess if you are considered a menu item you can’t be too careful.

large_Lion_and_Wildebeest_6-2.jpg

large_Lion_6-2.jpg

Lerai Forest
Its name being Maasai for the tall, yellow barked acacia trees that grow here, Lerai was once a thick forest, but over the years elephant destruction has reduced this area to a mere woodland glade.

And, as if on cue, here are the elephants.

large_Elephants_6-31.jpg

large_Elephants_6-20.jpg

large_Elephants_6-11.jpg

The big male is in musth and ready to mate. Apparently they pee down their own leg at this time – I will be eternally grateful humans don’t do the same!

large_Elephants_6-12.jpg

This guy lost one of his tusks when trying to bring down a tree. I would say “serves him right”, but I guess it is what elephants do. When asked if park rangers ever replace the trees decimated by elephants, Malisa replies: “No. They just let nature take its course”

large_Elephants_6-19.jpg

In order to exit Lerai Forest, we have to ford the Lairatati River. It looks like they’ve had some serious rain here!

large_Fording_th..ati_River_1.jpg

large_Fording_th..ati_River_2.jpg

large_Woodpecker__Nubian_6-1.jpg
Nubian Woodpecker

Driving through the forest triggers a thought process in my brain, and I suddenly remember that last time we came, we descended into the crater through a host of flat-topped acacia trees. I mention this to Malisa, and he somewhat sheepishly admits: "yes, there is another road into the crater, right over the other side, and there were a few months in 2014 when Seneto descent Road was closed for resurfacing"

large_Ngorongoro..th_arrows_2.jpg

Eureka! I am not cracking up! We really didn't come down the same way last time. I breathe a huge sigh of relief.

It also follows that we used that other road the previous time too, as we were staying in the lodge you can see just to the right of the red arrow.

The mystery is solved and I can sleep soundly tonight!

large_Picnic_6.jpg

large_Lerai_Picnic_Site_1.jpg

large_Picnic_Lun..cnic_Site_2.jpg

large_Picnic_Lun..cnic_Site_1.jpg

We have company for our picnic.

large_Starling__Hildebrand_6-2.jpg
Hildebrand Starling

large_Weaver__Rufous_Tailed_6-1.jpg
Rufous Tailed Weaver

Ngorongoro Crater has to be one of the most iconic safari locations in Africa, and this incredible caldera is a haven for around 20,000 of Africa’s most cherished animals, virtually the whole range of East African wildlife including all three big cats but no giraffe (the trails along the crater walls are too steep for them to negotiate). We continue our journey in a quest to watch the dramatic unfolding of wilderness action. Malisa is on a mission to find a Rasta Lion.

Black Faced Vervet Monkeys

large_Black_Face..Monkey_6-32.jpg

large_Black_Face..Monkey_6-33.jpg

A barrel of monkeys (I have been checking out the various collective names of animals) hang around in the trees. This particular youngster is enjoying an afternoon nap.

large_Black_Face..Monkey_6-34.jpg

Blacksmith Plover

large_Plover__Blacksmith_6-32.jpg

I’ve never seen one sit like this before.

large_Plover__Blacksmith_6-31.jpg

large_Lark__Rufous_6-21.jpg
Rufous Lark

Wattled Starling

A deafening cacophony emanating from a tree draws our attention to a great number of wattled starlings.

large_Starling__Wattled_6-22.jpg

large_Starling__Wattled_6-23.jpg

Dozens of tiny hungry mouths beg to be fed. Every time one of the parent birds arrives in the tree, all the babies clamour for attention, not just the offspring of that particular adult. What a racket! No wonder the collective word for a group of starlings is chattering!

large_Starling__Wattled_6-26.jpg

And when mum – and the food – flies past to feed their offspring, the other babies sulk.

large_Starling__Wattled_6-27.jpg

Until the next mother arrives with food for another baby in a different nest.

large_Starling__Wattled_6-28.jpg

large_Starling__Wattled_6-32.jpg

large_Starling__Wattled_6-30.jpg

It’s all too much for one little baby, who promptly falls asleep.

large_Starling__Wattled_6-35.jpg

large_Starling__Wattled_6-36.jpg

He wakes up just as mum arrives…. to feed his brother!

large_Starling__Wattled_6-39.jpg

Once again he is left hungry as mum goes off in search of more grubs.

large_Starling__Wattled_6-40.jpg

This one’s not for him either.

large_Starling__Wattled_6-41.jpg

Much as we’d like to stay on to make sure ‘our’ little baby gets fed, we have places to go and animals to see.

Sacred Ibis at Gorigor Swamp

large_Ibis__Sacred_6-1.jpg

large_Ibis__Sacred_6-3.jpg

While we’re busy looking at the ibises, Malisa spots a mother and baby rhino way out there on the horizon. The rest of us struggle to locate them, even with binoculars. Eventually, after a lot of directions, we do pick them out through the heat and dust haze that always hangs heavily in Ngorongoro Crater.

large_Rhino_6-1.jpg

More wildebeest.

large_Wildebeest_6-51.jpg

large_Wildebeest_6-53.jpg

Including this suckling baby.

large_Wildebeest_6-52.jpg

Zebra - or horse in pyjamas as Lyn calls them. Or maybe we should call them 'Chris' Donkeys'?

large_Zebra_6-52.jpg

Always on the lookout for predators, the zebra can smell danger.

large_4D8ED378F3C7D1945133AF40F8372B16.jpg

The threat appears in the form of a spotted hyena.

large_Hyena__Spotted_6-31.jpg

Two more rhinos – another mother and baby – can be seen on the horizon. This time they are considerably nearer and we can make them out to be a little more than just two blurry blobs.

large_Rhino_6-2.jpg

Seeing a couple of lions walking on the road in the distance, we rush off to join up with them.

large_Lion_6-11.jpg

large_Lion_6-12.jpg

This one appears to have a broken tail. I wonder how that happened? I'd like to imagine some heroic escape from the clutches of a predator - but as lions have no predators in the crater, perhaps an elephant stood on it?

large_Lion_6-13.jpg

These are two youngish brothers, and not the Rasta Lion Malisa was hoping to see.

Malisa gets word from a passing vehicle - one of the very few we have seen - that there is a lioness nursing her two babies further ahead, so we speed off to see for ourselves.

As we approach, they get up and start walking towards the road.

large_Lions_6-31.jpg

They come right up to the side of the road, just a few feet away from us, and settle down in the part shade of a small bridge. To our absolute delight, the babies start to suckle!

large_Lion_6-14.jpg

large_Lion_6-25.jpg

large_Lion_6-19.jpg

large_Lion_6-26.jpg

.

If ever there was such a thing as cuteness overload, this surely is it!

large_Lion_6-15.jpg

large_Lion_6-16.jpg

large_Lion_6-21.jpg

large_Lion_6-28.jpg

Having had their quota of mother’s milk, the babies are full of life and mischief. If I thought the feeding cubs were adorable, when they start to play, it is almost too much to bear and I feel sure my heart is going to burst!

large_Lion_6-56.jpg

large_Lion_6-57.jpg

large_Lion_6-59.jpg

large_Lion_6-60.jpg

large_Lion_6-61.jpg

large_Lion_6-63.jpg

large_Lion_6-64.jpg

large_Lion_6-67.jpg

large_Lion_6-68.jpg

large_Lion_6-51.jpg

large_Lion_6-70.jpg

large_Lion_6-74.jpg

.

.

.

.

Mum, however, is exhausted and all she wants to do is sleep.

large_Lion_6-36.jpg

large_Lion_6-86.jpg

After spending a few tender moments with her little ones, mum is not amused when the cubs start jumping on her and pulling her tail.

large_Lion_6-33.jpg

large_Lion_6-34.jpg

large_Lion_6-72.jpg

large_Lion_6-78.jpg

large_Lion_6-37.jpg

Eventually she loses her temper and lets out a frustrated snarl at her cubs: “will you guys leave me alone. Please!”

large_Lion_6-87.jpg

.

As so many other mothers all over the world have done before her, she gets up and walks away is sheer exasperation to try and find a place where she can have a few minutes of peace and quiet.

large_Lion_6-90.jpg

large_Lion_6-82.jpg

large_Lion_6-84.jpg
Time to smell the flowers

Much to the cub’s displeasure: “Where are you going mum?” “Mum??”

large_Lion_6-83.jpg

She crosses the road to lie down in the shade, leaving her offspring behind, hoping that a bit of rough-and-tumble will have them worn out by bedtime.

large_Lion_6-92.jpg

large_Lion_6-93.jpg

large_Lion_6-91.jpg

large_Lion_6-100.jpg

large_Lion_6-105.jpg

One of the cubs appears to have lost interested in playing.

large_Lion_6-106.jpg

large_Lion_6-98.jpg

large_Lion_6-107.jpg

large_Lion_6-108.jpg

At a mere three weeks old, these cubs are incredibly inquisitive and heart-stirringly adorable.

large_Lion_6-103.jpg

large_Lion_6-104.jpg

When I look into those deep eyes, I feel like I am very much part of a wildlife documentary, not just merely on holiday! I have to pinch myself that this really is happening. I feel exceptionally privileged to be here, witnessing this.

large_Lion_6-101.jpg

We spend fifty minutes with the lioness and her delightful cubs, during which time we see one other vehicle. They stop for just a few minutes, take some photos and move on. I don’t understand that mentality at all – observing the interactions between the family members is what differentiates this wilderness experience from a zoo, surely?

This year's experience is also in stark contrast to our last lion cub encounter in the Ngorongoro Crater, in September 2014 during the dry season, when we struggled to get anywhere near the cats!

large_Ngorongoro_2014.jpg
Ngorongoro 2014

As we bid our cats goodbye and head towards the exit, I rib Malisa: "These cubs are very cute and all that, but you promised me a Rasta Lion! Where is he? It’s just as well Malisa understands my twisted sense of humour.

We see our two young brothers again (the one with the broken tail), walking across the marsh, but no Rasta Lion. I think Malisa is making this up.

large_Lion_6-48.jpg

Further along, a couple more lions rest in the grass right by the side of the road (that’s the shadow of our car you can see in the photos). Did Lyn say before we left home that she was worried about not seeing any lions on the safari? How many is that so far? Twelve? And it’s only Day Two of the actual safari.

large_Lions_6-203.jpg

large_Lions_6-204.jpg

large_Jackal__Golden_6-1.jpg
Golden Jackal

Finally, there he is – Malisa’s Rasta Lion, an eight years old king and a very powerful one.

large_Lion__Rasta_6-2.jpg

Really? He looks more like a big pussycat to me.

large_Lion__Rasta_6-4.jpg

Now, there’s a reason why I spent this afternoon teasing Malisa about his ‘Rasta Lion’ – we brought over a T shirt as a gift for him from Bristol Zoo, which coincidentally features… yes, you guessed it: a Rasta Lion! Although we had planned it as a parting gift, now seems to be the right moment.

large_Malisa__the_Rasta_Lion_1.jpg

We make it to the exit with seven minutes to spare until closing time – being late carries a $200 fine!

large_Ngorongoro..Exit_Road_1.jpg

As he does every evening, Malisa asks us about today’s highlight. As if there is any doubt!?! Malisa, of course, claims seeing the hyena was his favourite moment. Really?

Ngorongoro Serena Hotel

large_Ngorongoro_Serena_Hotel.jpg

large_Ngorongoro_Serena_1.jpg

As usual, we arrive at our accommodation for the night after dark. So do a lot of other people, so check in is not as quick and smooth as we are used to.

large_8857486BB838418A52CCA311CB0285B8.jpg

Our room seems to be down an awful lot of steps, and after a very quick shower, it’s time to climb back up them for a drink in the bar while we watch the Maasai dancing.

large_885C1CEBA38F71A0CAAC6A3C619EDA94.jpg

For such a big hotel (also part of a bigger chain), I find this evening’s set-up quite amateurish – there is no stage as such, just a small area of the bar, which has been cleared of furniture. A good view of the dancers is limited to those people in the front row only. The outfits are colourful, and the dancers fairly enthusiastic, but I find the whole scenario too commercialised and touristy for my liking. The main dance moves are rocking of the necklaces for the women and traditional jumping for the men. At least half of the performance is dedicated to ‘audience participation’. No thanks.

large_Maasai_Dancing_6.jpg

large_Maasai_Dancing_9.jpg

large_Maasai_Dancing_3.jpg

.

large_8A1E7A9DF285A0C4FC7F94E3C982F746.jpg

The hotel redeems itself over dinner. The restaurant is super, the staff friendly, the menu table d'hôte and the food tasty.

large_Ngorongoro..estaurant_2.jpg

large_Nguru_wa_Kupaka.jpg
Nguru Wa Kupaka - king fish in exotic Swahili sauce

What a day! What can I say, apart from “How can we possibly top that?”

Thanks, yet again to Calabash Adventures – not forgetting our wonderful guide Malisa - for what is turning out to be a holiday of a lifetime!

large_8A50EC48F050D8987AAF11796EE7AEB0.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 12:26 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds monkeys food road_trip travel vacation elephants adventure roads sunrise cute holiday africa safari tanzania zebra birding tourists photography souvenirs lions maasai donkey baboons flip_flops babies roadtrip lion_cubs ngorongoro woodpecker memory cattle glamping caldera boma wildebeest ngorongoro_crater bird_watching suckling karatu game_drive road-trip african_food adorable safari_vehicle manyatta calabash calabash_adventures the_best_safari_operators best_safari_company out_of_africa maramboi olive_baboons vervet_monkeys black_faced_vervet_monkeys cuteness_overload maasai_cattle seneto seneto_descent_road malanja mto_wa_mbu Comments (1)

(Entries 1 - 11 of 11) Page [1]