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Serengeti and Ndutu in May


Bush dog
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Some time ago, in 1996 and 1997, I came to the Serengeti. I was back in May 2010 and May 2011.

 

In 2011, I decided to go first, for about a week, to the Ndutu area. I stayed at Lake Masek. For most of the time, I was the only guest. Ndutu Lodge was also almost empty. So, when I was on a sighting, I was the only one. There was not a lot of plain game but the cats were there.

 

Hyenas on the road to Ndutu

 

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Some good lion’s sightings from different prides.

 

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Female cheetah near lake Ndutu.

 

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There was a female with cubs hidden in the marsh. One day, I followed her, knowing that she was out to find a prey. On my way, she suddenly stopped. It took me a few minutes to spot a lionness under a bush. I went closer and noticed that she was seriously ill. I continued to follow the cheetah until she crossed the Serengeti boundary.

 

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The previous picture shows the cheetah looking at the seak lionness.

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A couple of bar eared foxes

 

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Some pictures taken at Ndutu

 

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Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks for sharing this report, Mike ..... Quick question - I suppose the rains in Ndutu usually stop by early to mid April? I read one of your others posts where you said May 2010 wasn't a good safari at Ndutu - any particular reason why 2011 was better?

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Love the Bat-Eared-Foxes! How close were you when you took this?

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Hari,

 

In May 2010, I did not go to Ndutu, I only went to the Serengeti and you are right it was not a good safari, mainly because of poor sightings.

And you are also right about the rains, the weather was nice in Ndutu in the second half of May 2011. After Ndutu, I went to the Serengeti.

 

@@michael-ibk

 

The focal distance I used is 700 mm. So, the distance, about 10 m, not more than 15 m. That couple was very relax.

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The good surprise was the Matiti. From Lake Masek and Ndutu Lodge, it takes 45 to 60 minutes, through the forest, to go there. I was surprised by the great concentrations of animals and then I discovered that there was plenty of water.

 

The following pictures are birds seen in the forest, on the way to Matiti

 

D'Arnaud's Barbet

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White-bellied Bustard

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Long-crested Eagle

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The first day, I saw lionnesses, big herds of Thompson’s gazelles, elephant herds, zebras, Grant’s gazelles, wildebeests,…..

 

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Here's another rain and weather question for you. Do you recall what the rains were like in May 2011 when you were in Ndutu. Trying to figure out if your experience was fairly typical or if unusual rains affected it. Thanks!

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Lynn,

 

No rains when I was in Ndutu, mid May 2011.

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There was also many carcasses, with many vultures around, signs of an important presence of predators. I did not see cheetahs and leopards but I am sure that they were around. The third day, I even saw a huge herd of elands, several hundreds, but you all know that they are very shy. So when they spotted me from far away, they ran.

 

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madaboutcheetah

Awesome, Mike .....

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Thank you Hari

 

 

The second day, I decided to leave the camp earlier, when it was still dark. When I arrived there, it was foggy. I directly went to a place where I had left 2 lionnesses the day before and there they were again. At least I thought, so confused I was by the mist. It was in fact 4 young nomadic males.

The third day was quieter

 

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Some other pictures of the lions in the mist

 

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Then I went to the Serengeti. I stayed at Serena for 5 days. The migration was around Seronera.

 

Though Serena was fully booked, it was not too crowded. But I think that, due to the low green season’s prices , more and more people are coming in May, especially South Africans. One of them told me that he had dreamed to come here since he was young, because, even if they have wildlife in their own country, they do not have wide open and boundless spaces like Serengeti.

 

Concerning the weather, there were local showers, but never where I was.

 

During those 5 days, besides the normal sightings and interesting sightings, like lions on a buffalo kill, far from the road, there were 3 interesting situations.

 

During the night, a leopard had killed, in the Seronera area, a Thompson’s gazelle and had taken its prey on a tree, that was just a few meters from the road. It was a tree with not too many branches, so that the view was open. That leopard stayed 3 days on the tree. During those 3 days, I went to this place, 10 to 12 times. Sometimes a lot of cars were around, sometimes only me or 2 to 3 cars.

 

Pictures are more explicit than words

 

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madaboutcheetah

Wow - That Leopard sighting alone is worth the Serenora stop over ....... Serena or not!!!

Absolutely awesome Lions in mist series, too ...... Thanks, Mike.

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Thanks Hari,

 

 

 

It's not finished, some more leopard pictures will soon come.

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I said that the leopard stayed 3 days on the tree. In fact this is not entirely true.

 

On one of my visits, he was not there, a hyena was dribbling at the foot of the tree and a vulture was taking advantage of the absence of the cat.

 

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In fact not one vulture, but vultures.

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Absolutely amazing photos @@Bush dog! All of them! What a close up portrait of a vulture, the lions in the mist, the leopard... the vultures in flight, they are all great! Thanks for sharing!

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@@FlyTraveler

 

Once again, thank you so much

 

 

One morning, on the main road at Seronera, I saw that leopard. Then, he decided to go off and climb on a tree.

 

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Stunning photos, @@Bush dog, as I have quickly come to expect from you! Your leopards in particular are really good.

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