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Soukous

Tanzania, Bush & Beach. Northern Tanzania & Zanzibar

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Soukous

Our drive back to camp was not a quick one and we were easily distracted; by various birds and lines of wildebeest marching in one direction and then another.

 

I neglected to mention one of the great things the makes the NCA such a great place for wildlife viewing; unlike Serengeti NP, you can drive off road. Our guide, Joseph, took full advantage of this as we roamed all over the plains.

 

By now we’d reached the stage where we were looking forward to getting out of the vehicle and having a nice cuppa when we spotted a stationery vehicle and recognised it as the same one we’d seen yesterday, parked close to one of the cheetahs.

We had surmised that they were on a mission to film/photograph a cheetah hunt. Sure enough, once we’d spotted them, we quickly located the cheetah they were shadowing. At the moment she was just sitting in some tall grass and weeds, but she was clearly alert.

In the distance we could see some gazelles grazing, but they were at least 150 metres away from the cheetah.

 

 

Cheetah (f)

 

We decided to wait for a while and see what happened.

 

For quite a while, not a lot. Apart from sitting up every now and then to take a look around, this female cheetah was in no hurry.

 

some Barn Swallows using the same patch of weeds

 

barn-swallows

 

After almost an hour of waiting, during which two or three other vehicles had come to see what we were doing and then moved on, we were debating whether to throw in the towel and head back to camp. Joseph urged patience; this, he said, was the time when cheetahs would be hunting.

While we were discussing how much longer we would wait, the other vehicle started to move. They re-positioned themselves about two thirds of the way towards the gazelles that were the only prey in sight for the cheetah.

We did the same.

 

Once again we settled in to wait.

 

After a while more vehicles arrived and soon there were six game cars watching the cheetah, which was still more than 100 metres away from us.

 

A small group of wildebeest wandered past. Then, quite unexpectedly a lone wildebeest calf trotted in amongst our vehicles. It was very young and very lost, calling plaintively for its mother as it stumbled from one vehicle to another. The other wildebeest were quite far away now and presumably could not hear its calls.

 

Whether it had heard the cries or seen the calf, the cheetah was now fully alert. She was on her feet and looking in our direction – which was the direction of the distressed calf. She started trotting and then she was running, slowly at first but gathering speed all the time.

 

Cheetah hunting

 

Cheetah hunting

 

The poor calf had no idea what was happening as the cheetah ran between the vehicles and chased it down.

It wasn’t much of a chase really as the calf wasn’t even old enough to have received basic evasion training.

 

Cheetah with kill

 

The sound of the cameras all around us was quite intimidating. One vehicle in particular was bristling with them.

battery-wpa.jpg.f4e5cae16dd61d574a5124b1795b19ec.jpg

Yes, I Photoshopped the tyre covers. No sense promoting someone else's business eh.

 

Once she had suffocated her prey we expected her to start feeding, but although she dragged it back and forth, she seemed reluctant to start eating. In the end we concluded that we didn’t really need pictures of her eating the wildebeest and decided to leave her in peace.

 

Cheetah with kill

 

Cheetah with kill

 

It had been quite an eventful morning.

 

In the afternoon, keen to explore somewhere different, we set out for Lake Masek. Which turned out to be a big disappointment. Although we did see some flamingoes, we saw almost no mammals at all and ended up zig-zagging back through the trees on the edge of the plains.

Lots more raptors, especially Tawny Eagles, but not much else, apart from lions sleeping under bushes.

Edited by Soukous

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Soukous

Greater Flamingoes, at Lake Masek.

Greater Flamingoes

 

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