Africa Day #38

Landscape shot in the Seregeti
Landscape shot in the Seregeti

We are going to the Serengeti!! This is why we have come to Africa!! I am buzzing with excitement!! We just have our day packs and packed up for 3 days 2 nights in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater. We will be leaving the Lando behind and packing into 7 person 4×4 safari vehicles with our Serengeti guides. Although we will be camping, for the next two nights everything will be set up and provided for us, which is always a real treat.

Ngorongoro Crater from the lookout point
Ngorongoro Crater from the lookout point
At the lookout point of the Ngorongoro Crater
At the lookout point of the Ngorongoro Crater

Our vehicles pick us up, and we are off for the two hour drive to the Serengeti! First we have to pass through the Ngorongoro Crater and conservation land and sign in at the gate. We also stop at the crater lookout point and grab a couple pictures. There are a lot of Masai people who live and farm on this conservation land. The landscapes are absolutely beautiful and vast. There were times it looked like a watercolor painting. I tried to capture some of it, but I don’t think my pictures did the area much justice.

Landscape on the way to Serengeti
Landscape on the way to Serengeti

We made our lunch stop, where we received boxed lunches. For starters, lunch was not great, but we also had to battle wildlife to eat it. The Kite birds were circling around and would swoop down and snatch your food right from your hand. I almost lost my chicken to one, and it grazed my face in the attempted. It was quite an experience to say the least. We were also surrounded by the Marabou Stork, which is a bird that looks like it came out of the prehistoric era. They were not quite brave enough to steal food from you, but they did come close and would gladly eat up any crumbs dropped.

Marabou Stork that was stalking my lunch
Marabou Stork that was stalking my lunch

We finally made it to the Serengeti gate! Once we did the paperwork, we were through and started a game drive as soon as we headed into the park. When you picture Africa, this is what you picture! There were so many Zebra and Wildebeest all along the route. We also saw giraffe and antelope just grazing along the road. I never expected to get as close to the animals as we have been getting! There were also warthog and hyena. We also witnesses the Wildebeest migration, which was so cool. There were so many of them, and it was fun watching them cross the road!

Welcome to the Serengeti
Welcome to the Serengeti
Elephant
Elephant
Hyena
Hyena
Serengeti wildebeest migration
Serengeti wildebeest migration
Hyena
Hyena
Giraffe
Giraffe
Zebra with it's foal
Zebra with it’s foal

AND A LEOPARD!! This was absolutely amazing to see another leopard, but this time up in the tree snoozing. I was a bit disappointed with myself with the first leopard spotting, that I was so focused on trying to capture it on camera, that I didn’t get to appreciate the sight. Thankfully this time I was able to have both. Not 15 minutes later, we made another leopard spotting, this one in a tree a bit closer. They look so much more cute and cuddly when they are curled up on a tree branch.

First male Leopard spotting
First male Leopard spotting
First male Leopard sleeping in the tree
First male Leopard sleeping in the tree
Second male Leopard spotting
Second male Leopard spotting

When we left the leopard, we made our first male lion spotting. He was sleeping under a tree right next to the road. We only stayed a short time as we got a call on the radio to head back to the leopard. When we arrived back, he was feeding on an antelope up in the tree. The antelope had been a previous kill, but it was amazing to watch. I love watching the animals when they are active.

First male lion spotting
First male lion spotting
Second Leopard - eating a gizelle
Second Leopard – eating a gizelle

After a really successful drive, we head to camp for the evening. Our camp site is in the Serengeti, and there are no gates. We have been briefed on the high likelihood of Hyena being in our camp site tonight, so all bathroom trips need to be done in pairs. When we arrive, our tents are all set up and dinner is being prepared. We settled in and sat around the camp fire until dinner was called. Tonight we started with a vegetable soup with homemade rolls, that was so good, with the main course being Caribo salad (which I need the recipe for) and rice with beef goulash for the main meal. The food and flavoring was so good!

I also tried a local banana beer, which was more like a cider and really not very good. We stayed around the camp fire for a bit longer than headed to bed. I already made arrangements with my tent mate about waking her up for an early morning bathroom run, as I have no desire to have a run in with a hyena alone!

Tomorrow, a group of four is heading out first thing for a balloon ride, which part of me wishes I could do, but I really cannot justify spending $600 on a one hour activity. The rest of us will be heading out for a morning game drive, followed by an afternoon game drive on our way back to the crater. This has already been such a  great day and an amazing experience. I feel so very lucky to be here and experience this, and I am so happy!

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