Serengeti National Park

Posted on June 21, 2015

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I cannot put into words how exceptional my safari has been. From the moment we left the registration office it has read like a Nat Geo series – except this was all achieved in less than 48hours – unheard of!!! My buddy B from Bozeman who works in wildlife docco couldn’t believe the list of animals I trotted off on my messages to him.

 
The cats were particular impressive  young male lions, females and their cubs, several prides (ranging from 10-15 cats), a huge lone adult male, juvenile brothers. Many of the lions were stretched out on different kopjes (pronounced copies) – the huge Tazanian granite rocks in the park, or sheltering in the bush. Hunting happens early morning so by 11am it is nap time.

  

   
 
The one thing you cannot prepare yourself for is the number of idiot tourists who shout, talk at a high pitch in ridiculous voices to the animals. In one care the jeep below (photo) had one muppet who actually tried to take a photo by placing his camera lens up to one of the lenses on his binoculars. Noel calls it “new technology!”

  
I am not someone to follow rules but I am sensible within reason. I have formed a good bond with Noel and he has let me clamber out onto the roof of the jeep to stand high above a pride to take pictures to the horror of other tourists. We’ve stayed out until 8pm and seen some of the best night wildlife at that time and he has been incredibly patient with all of us. He loves wildlife and understands their behaviour which has helped enormously in seeking out the animals at particular times of the day. He has an incredible knack of spotting stuff miles away that many other drivers have missed. Most of them look bored and just travel up and down the roads aimlessly or stop when they see another vehicle in case someone else has spotted something. Noel is living up to his name (born on Christmas Day), so we are now calling him Father Christmas because so far everything we have asked for has come to fruition.
  
  
I joked saying I wanted to see a cat eating a kill, knowing this would be near impossible. And it was as if he waved a magic wand. Twenty minutes later Noel spots a leopard high up in a distant tree devouring an antelope. Then one of the German girls joked it would be great to see another ungulate pass by (takeaway and self delivery food) and as if on cue, an antelope trotted past with the leopard eyeing it.

   
This prompted the second German girl to exclaim: “Noel I order a millionaire!!”

Some of the other highlights have been seeing a huge male lion and female with their pride lying in the road at 6am in the pitch dark. Their eyes lit up by the headlights of the car and their coats glowing eerily; a group of vultures attack a buffalo carcass in a frenzy, seeing the remains of a wildebeest calf skin and skeleton draped over the branch of a tree – most likely another leopard kill.

   
   
Seeing a serval cat at dusk, jackals. A family of hyenas in the early morning and watching a huge bull elephant feed and then break up the branch of tree with his trunk.

We’ve not see a rhino yet and that’s because they are scarce in Serengeti. I have now ordered a sighting of rhinos and hippos when we hit Ngorongoro Crater…..we’ll see if Father Christmas has more goodies left in the bag.

   

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