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Tanzania mid-March. 70% Serengeti, 100% Sensational. Includes Daily Weather


Atravelynn
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Marsh Lions of Ndutu

We found a male lion at sunrise calling to his pridemates and we followed him to their eland kill. One lioness had sustained an injury during the kill. Later in the day we encountered her again and noted the wound was well under way toward healing. Substantial recuperative powers--those cats!

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The females made the kill. The male lion drags the carcass into the bushes to eat.

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The similarity in fur color is striking

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Cleaning between the toenails. Somebody has to do it.

Edited by Atravelynn
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Room to Hunt

I was very impressed how the vehicles in Ndutu avoided blocking cheetah(s) from their prey. A couple of times I asked if we could drive up and take a look at a cheetah family only to be told that there were wildes or whatever off in the distance so we could not advance. A good rule. When a hunt commenced, the vehicles remained out of the way until it was over. There was absolutely no surrounding of the cheetahs. I asked if these were the rules year round and was told yes. I hope the rules are practiced during the busy months. I did witness one vehicle trying to herd Grant’s Gazelles toward a cheetah. They were poor cowboys and soon gave up.

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michael-ibk

Some gory details on that eland. Glad i already HAD my dinner. B)

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Hi can you tell me if you took all the photographs included in this report with your new camera? Serval cat, wide angle crater ones as well as the close up Leopard cubs (fantastic photos). I am thinking of getting the camera myself before we leave for Botswana in 4 weeks. Thanks Pen

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You can thank me for my weightloss program, @@michael-ibk. Next time view prior to your meal.

 

@Penlova

Here is a summary of the crater shots.

 

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The serval and all leopard photos were with the Canon SX50. In blue are excerpts from some of my Canon SX50 accolades.

 

The Canon SX50 did well under all conditions for me. For the running shots, I used mostly the Sony HX1 because I was most familiar with its action features.

 

No Offroading & Camera to Help Compensate

I am so glad I got a 50x!! optical zoom (Canon SX50 HS) before this trip to help compensate for the no offroad rules. Without it, I’d have only leopard cub memories and no leopard cub photos. While the photos using the longest zoom may not win awards, they show the leopard cub.

Here’s my pitch for the Canon SX50 HS, a high-end point and shoot: In addition to 50x optical zoom, there is up to 100 or even 200 digital zoom, good for identifying birds and for photos that won’t be enlarged. Quality at 100 and 200 definitely suffers, as with any digital zooming. I’ve used digital P&Ss by Nikon, Sony (3 kinds), and Panasonic (some of those cameras were used on this very trip) and have been very happy with the results. But this new Canon SX50 HS has the most to offer IMHO. The click, click, click, continuous shoot feature (in the P setting that retains all the automatic settings so it’s very easy to use) goes almost forever with no buffering. The even speedier 10 shots per second function has a fairly fast recovery time so you don’t miss pictures due to camera recovery time. I wait an eternity after my Sony HX1’s 10 shots per second burst. Eternity being about 15 seconds. The Canon has a reasonable megapixel count at 12. Too high of MP and I think quality/clarity actually suffers.

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Most of these leopard cub alone shots where it is on the limb are well beyond the 50x optical of the Canon SX50. The results look ok when compacted like this with many on one 8x10.

But using digital zoom over 50x does not yield nice 8x10s, or even 5x7s.

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The leopard tree with no zoom. This is the tree where bottom right cub in the collage above was photographed. He's on the right branch of the tree. Who'd even know he's there (except George) without a big zoom?

 

The only bad things about Canon SX50 HS can be solved by doling out a little more money. #1 You have to buy your own cable to connect the camera to your computer to download photos unless you already have a cable. (My Sony cable worked, fortunately.) #2 There is no hood that comes with the camera to help shield bright sun so I ordered a generic one online for a few dollars.

 

To keep expectations reasonable, at 50x if you are focusing on a tiny bird way out there, it will likely be a blurry bird. Trying to get action shots (running wildes for example) at more than about 35x optical also resulted in compromised quality. A monopod or beanbag, both of which I used—sometimes even together—really help at high zooms.

 

Some other brand may have leapfrogged way ahead of the Canon SX50 by the time this report gets done, offering more than 50x optical and other new features.

Edited by Atravelynn
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Hi lynn thanks very much. I can see the way you took your pics. Great pics. Been thinking about the Cannon and with my camcorder it looks a hit. My birthday next week! Think I will get one. Pen

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Happy Birthday @Penlova. It's time I wrap this up.

 

More on Ndutu...

 

Ndutu Cheetah

 

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Not a cheetah. Baby Grant's in Ndutu

When George stated that our mission in Ndutu would be cheetah, he wasn’t kidding. Along with 2 unphotographable cheetah in Gol Kopjes and 3 in Simba Kopjes, I saw an additional 18 separate (very photographable) cheetah in Ndutu, some of them numerous times. The 18 were comprised of:

 

2 brothers

1 single female

5 - Mother and 4 cubs

4 - Mother and 3 cubs

6 - Two sets of Mother and 2 cubs

 

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One of the cheetah brothers. You know those photos of overfed cats where the

owners feed them so much it borders on pet abuse? Take a look at this gut. Reminds

me of those disturbing photos.

 

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Edited by Atravelynn
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The cheetah action started moments after we arrived at Lake Ndutu where we spotted a mother and four subadult cubs waking from their afternoon snooze. And it never let up.

 

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Found this family shortly after arriving in Ndutu

What impressed me most was not so much the numbers of cheetah but the quality of sightings we had, thanks to luck and to George’s willingness to spend the entire day in wait of a few moments of something exceptionally interesting. Although sleeping cheetahs can be adorable in their own right.

 

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Sleeping little adorable cheetahs

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Getting ready for a nap

 

I saw cheetahs stalking, chasing, hunting, killing, eating, nursing (3 instances – 2 families) , grooming, playing, racing each other, climbing. Other vehicles were never a problem, maybe 2 others at most were present for the really cool stuff.

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Edited by Atravelynn
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A break from cheetahs.

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Crested Eagle in Ndutu

 

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Edited by Atravelynn
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Wow that cheetah 'smile for the camera' is priceless :) or is it a cheetah grin? Pen

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Love those cheetah faces; never tire of them no matter what they are doing...& there

must have been a smile on your face all day long!! So they provide photo ops and happy

clients!

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madaboutcheetah

Hi Lynn,

 

Just catching up with this report after being away for work ..... WOW - awesome cheetah sightings and a great report (no surprises - we are used to these really fabulous reports from you!!!). Love those cheetah leaping series of images on this page!

Regards

Hari

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SafariChick

@@Atravelynn I'm just catching up with this report too, as always it's fantastic - your new camera is wonderful but your description and storytelling is what really makes your reports stand out. As always, you've made me want to duplicate your trip! Sigh - another one on this list!

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The 'battie' line-up is simply adorable!

 

@@SafariChick - a word from the wise (i.e. already burnt!) - stay away from Lynn's reports :) I have a list as long as my arm no thanks to these wretched TRs she always writes...

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SafariChick

@@Sangeeta I'm afraid it's too late for me - I've already read too many of them!

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  • 2 weeks later...
Atravelynn

Thank you for all the nice comments, @penlova, @@madaboutcheetah, @@SafariChick, @@Sangeeta!

 

I witnessed several unsuccessful but exciting cheetah hunts for warthog and wilde calves--along with the comical mongoose chase--plus two successful hunts. One was a wilde calf that had been separated from the herd and desperately tried to reunite with it and the other was a momentarily inattentive male Thomson’s Gazelle. The tommy kill was especially fascinating because the mother was teaching her two cubs to hunt and allowed them to continue to chase the tommy after her initial catch.

Mother cheetah teaching her cubs to hunt

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Note the mother in the background, ever watchful, but letting her cubs attend to the prey.

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Edited by Atravelynn
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Atravelynn

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Mother of 3 brought down a wildebeest calf that was separated from the herd and trying to find its way back

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Wash up after eating

Final sighting

One of the last sightings of the trip was pre-arranged for my final morning. On Ndutu’s lush Makao Plains, where wildebeest and zebras grazed beneath a rainbow, I met safaritalk member Sangeeta and members of her family. Unlike the other species I saw on this trip, I was able to exit the vehicle and give her a hug.

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The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faux Salami Curtain Call

 

 

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Edited by Atravelynn
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Game Warden

Fantastic cheetah action. And salami action...

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You know that I never saw one bat eared fox when I visited Ndutu and the souther Serengeti and that was quite sad. I'd have loved to have your fox sightings. Fabulous cheetahs though, it really is a great place to see them. Excellent, entertaining, witty and informative report. Thank you.

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Yet another atravelynn classic safari! Loved all your photos and captions but those cheetah shots are priceless. When I first started reading I wondered why you had someone take a picture of you looking at a squirrel on the ground. Then I looked closer and put 2 & 2 together with what you had written...a baby dik dik! Wow, wow, wow!

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michael-ibk

Another thank you. Great read indeed. Your cheetah shots especially are awesome. I think it´s your witty, methodical writing style that make your reports so outstanding, and they are a wealth of valuable travel information. Canon should say thank you, btw. Your recommendations made me buy your Powershoot model. :)

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Lynn, did you see the mom and two cubs get the tommy on the Makao plains? If the same family, we saw her do exactly the same training thing with another lost wildie calf on another day. One cub was interested in learning. The other just sat back and did not move a muscle.

 

It was a very nice hug, surrounded by zebras and wildies and all :) Have now had the privilege of meeting quite a few STers and it is always such a pleasure. @@Game Warden - what a great collection of people you've gathered together under one roof, Matt. Thank you!

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Game Warden

It's you all the members who make it so special...

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