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Serengeti, ten out of ten !


africawild

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africawild

For some reason I am unaware , this trip has somehow revolve around the number TEN.

 

We spent TEN nights on safari in the Serengeti and those TEN nights were the last TEN days of October , the month number TEN of the year ???

 

And ten out of ten is the perception of the National Park that we have , after our two trips ( seven years apart from one another) and after visiting some of its most emblematic areas like Ndutu, Moru kopjes, Seronera, Eastern plains and the northern Mara)

 

The Serengeti has some of the most recurrent topics of African nature but perhaps that makes It unique and unrepeatable!

It has the endless plains dotted with acacias, the savannah with its rock formations, wild rivers full of crocs and hippos, the largest land mammals on the planet, countless antelopes and cats chasing them and of course one of the most epic migrations on earth.

 

Because of this curious alignment of elements around number TEN, I thought I'll upload 10 photos for each of the ten days we spent in the Serengeti (with some comments of course) and every day I will give a simple tip that may result interesting for some ( that would be TEN tips at the end of the report )

 

 

So Let's start !!

 

 

Day one

 

 

For the first four nights of this trip we decided to visit a more secluded area of the Park, something that makes it quieter in terms of number of visitors.

It is the area of the eastern plains where the Namiri camp is located, a camp from which we have already heard references in other Safaritalk reports.

 

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After some birding before catching our plane we had an uneventful flight from Arusha to Central Serengeti and from the air we could clearly recognice Lake Manyara , Ngorongoro Crater , the Gold Kopjes and finally the Seronera River Valley.

 

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It was midday when we landed in Seronera , very bad and strong light for photography , but nothing could beat that amazing feeling of joy when you find yourself back in the African plains and better yet if in a matter of 30 minutes you past herds of zebras , topis , Thomson and grant´s gazelles , huge herd of buffalo, mating lions and a nice family of elephants ¡

 

 

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The Seronera area is always a very rich area for wildlife and specially for predators but it is also the area that holds more visitors and you know the good sights are usually crowded. We started to drive towards the easter plains and soon we came across a family of 4 cheetahs , mother and 3 sub adults but there were also a few vehicles and the cats were far from the road , so we decided to proceed.

 

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A few kilometers further and , this time just us , we came across another 3 cheetah , a coalition in hunting mood. We followed them for about half an hour until they disappeared behind a hill with no roads near.

 

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Then we drove for quite a few km over open plains that had basically gazelles . Namiri is quite a drive from Seronera area , but that is good to get away from the crowds. But be aware that in this huge open plains you can drive a lot without seeing much.

Then suddenly we stop the vehicle because there were 3 big male lions sleeping beside the road, 2 in one side and 1 at the other.

 

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A bit further we could see a group of Kopjes , later we learned that this were the Sametu Kopkes and the 3 males were from the Sametu Pride .

When we arrive at the kopjes we were going to discover something that was going to mark our 4 day stay in Namiri. On top of one of the big rocks there was part of the rest of the pride ,

in particular there were two adult females and 3 small cubs.

 

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The pride was composed of 18 individuals, with the three adult males, three adult females, five young ones from last year, five little cubs and finally 2 cubs born the previous week.

 

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It was fantastic to spent more than one hour there while the cubs were nursing , playing , fighting and finally resting, all the time with no other vehicle around , a experience not to forget.

 

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When the light was fading we decided to say goodnight to the lions and started to drive to camp ( remember we still had our luggage in the car and we had already seen 7 cheetah , a family of lions , elephants , buffalos )

It had been and incredible start but the best part was that we still had 9 full days ahead of us to enjoy the unique and incredible Serengeti show.

At his time we were already prepare to take a shower , have a glass of wine by the fire , eat dinner and go to bed.

 

 

Another memorable day was waiting for us early the next morning !!

 

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TIP:

 

"The first tip is about the boring subject of the weight of our luggage, something that everyone, especially those who carry heavy photographic equipments, are concerned before starting every trip.

There are always tricks to save some weight and this year I discovered that , instead of carrying my beloved and widely used Birds of East Africa bird guide, i could go an buy the Eguide to Birds of East Africa for a very modest amount and save around one kilogram in my bag.

I am sure that many of you already know about it but for the ones that don´t , you just can google for the e-guide , it is very nice for your smartphone and you can easily make a list with the bird, the date and the place you see every specie."

 

 

Paco

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For some reason I am unaware , this trip has somehow revolve around the number TEN.   We spent TEN nights on safari in the Serengeti and those TEN nights were the last TEN days of October , the m

Well thanks a lot for your nice comments , you are all too kind !!!     Day 2:   We were lucky we had a private guide and vehicle for the first 2 days so we decided it was going to be an early m

Thank you all !!   I have reviewed the photos of the fourth day (945) to choose 10 and I find it hard to follow the story with just 10 , so I'll upload 20 , I hope not to bore people too much.  

Posted Images

First pic is so awsome that i want it to be my system's wallpaper.also cheetahs on the field seems to be amazing.

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Julian

The photo of the bird is really superb.

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Alexander33

Wonderful shots of those lion cubs!

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madaboutcheetah

@@africawild - brilliant first segment!!!!! Can hardly wait for the rest .....

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twaffle

I am going to enjoy this unique presentation, wonderful already.

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bettel

Beautiful photos! But 10 per day seem to be like a low number ;), I would love to see more :)

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cheetah80

Great photos, I can feel this is gonna be a really awesome report :) I am especially interested in this because I will be visiting the Serengeti at the same time of the year - you don't get too many reports of that particular timing.

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wilddog

@africawild I like the 10 a day idea really focusses the mind and has given us some really superb images.

 

What a great start to your 10 days! I love the fact that you still had all your kit with you on the first long day of safari. Bet you slept well that first night.

 

That growling lion cub is just gorgeous.

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TonyQ

A great start. Those lion cubs are wonderful!

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No wonder with reports like these coming through I can not finish mine........Great stuff @@africawild - looking forward to the rest of the TR.

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pomkiwi

@@africawild Great start and I look forward to the summary of each day in 10 photos. If they are half as good as the first ten we are in for a treat...

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offshorebirder

Stunning photos @@africawild - especially the Scarlet-chested Sunbird! Great job capturing its eye shine and you also can see individual pollen grains on its bill.

 

I also like the mischievous Lion Cubs - very cute.

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africawild

Well thanks a lot for your nice comments , you are all too kind !!!

 

 

Day 2:

 

We were lucky we had a private guide and vehicle for the first 2 days so we decided it was going to be an early morning start with a packed breakfast.After a good night sleep and a nice coffee in our tent we were on the car at six ready to start .

We arrived to the yellow fever tree forest next to Namiri Camp on time for sunrise.

 

 

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This small forest in the middle of the huge and empty plains is a magnet for some mammals you won´t see unless you go to Seronera. Here we saw baboons and vervet monkeys , impalas , buffalos , giraffes and the guide said they get to see leopards in the woods quite often .

We did heard some vervet alarm calls but no predators around so we continue and after a small turn we arrive to Soit le Montonyi rock , which is a very iconic place in the area. Leopards are often seen in this rock also but again we were unlucky with the cat.

 

 

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The area was full of hartebeest so we spent some time trying to get some close portraits.

 

 

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We continue driving the plains and after several guinea fowl , hyenas and gazelles we came across 2 beautiful blonde mane lions . The guide said they were brothers and they had a small pride in the area. One of them started to walk away and when his brother stood up and began walking we could see he was badly limping from a hind leg. His condition was good so i guess the injury was not that bad and he was going to do well with the company of his brother.

 

 

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It was time for breakfast so the guide found a nice solitary KIGELIA in the middle of the plains , very nice packed breakfast by the way . We then started to drive back slowly and had several lions sights and a solitary male cheetah, all of them far from the road. You have to realize that with no off road many sights are far away from roads. This is one of the blonde mane lions.

 

 

 

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Back in camp we had a nice lunch and a deserved rest. This is how lunch is done in Namiri camp , for me it does not get better than this.

 

 

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Namiri is an excellent camp for my taste . Location is ideal , away from the busy areas of the Park but with a lot of cats around . The camp is very well manage with excellent people in charge , excellent food and good guiding. I would recommend it with confident.

Relaxing after lunch

 

 

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Afternoon was going to be full of lions again , 17 of them from 3 different prides . First we found 5 young ones with 2 adult females only five minutes from camp.

 

 

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Then 2 females on top of a rock in a small group of kopjes that where of course doing nothing. The next picture is of the 2 lioness and really does not say much , well almost anything , but i wanted to show it so i can give a small TIP at the end of this post.

 

 

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Returning to camp the sky was very cloudy ( it was cloudy most of our time in the Serengeti ) but there was also time for some nice dramatic lights and colors .

 

 

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It was a good first full day of safari and incredibly we were the only vehicle at all sights !

 

Paco

 

 

TIP

 

Is going to be about photography. First, i want to say that i am not an expert but after many lectures , photographic trips and big mistakes i think

i can give some simple tips that may be interesting.

For the tip i need to cheat and upload one more photo to explain my point. Let´s go back to the picture of the 2 lioness on top of the rock. They were in a nice spot and very close to the road so my first impulse was to grab my telephoto and start to take fulling frame portraits of the

bodies and faces. But they were doing nothing so the pictures are not going to tell much.

It´s a good moment to go back a bit , look at the whole scene and see if you can get something more interesting .

Here i saw that some sun rays were coming through the clouds, so i tried to include them in the frame with the lions of top of the rocks and also the road entering the frame from one corner. The picture is not great but i think is much better than the first one. What do you think ?

 

 

 

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michael-ibk

Just wonderful, Paco, and all your tipps will be much appreciated.

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AfricIan

Somehow I managed to miss day 1 Paco so I get 2 days in one - but I don't think that has spoilt my enjoyment at all. As all your Day 1 posters have said, you have a great set of very evocative images & I'm also looking forward to the next 8 days.

 

Sleeping lions or the much more dramatic 2nd picture? My vote goes to the 2nd, there is so much more going on

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bettel

And I would actually vote for the first one :) (yes, yes, I am a big cat fan). IMHO on the second one you can remove lions and nothing would change too much but it is a beautiful photo too.

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Beautiful pictures as always Paco.

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Days one and two are indeed a 10! I love the cats on a kopje shots and whole heartedly agree with your comment "nothing could beat that amazing feeling of joy when you find yourself back in the African plains".

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deano

@@africawild - amazing pictures all across the board. I particularly like the opener for each day - stunning landscapes. My vote goes to the wider image of the lions on the rock with the tree but I'd be happy with any of yours. Great stuff.

 

kind regards

 

deano.

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madaboutcheetah

@@africawild - Hi Paco..... Amazing images from Namiri. Quick question - I have friends going there soon..... Do you have a guide recommendation? thanks.......

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cheetah80

The photo of the lions on the rock with the tree is really nice - gives you a sense of place. I love it! Wonderful continuation of your trip report.

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JohnR

@africawild I don't think it is either/or for your two pics of the lionesses. The first is a record of two flat cats on a rock, the second is an attractive landscape using the same rock to provide foreground interest with beautiful lighting.

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TonyQ

I agree that it is not either/or

Both are really nice images, but the wider view is more unusual.The fact that you don't notice the lions instantly adds to the interest and the feeling of being in the landscape.

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anthracosaur

@@africawild Really lovely photographs. While I agree with @@JohnR and @@TonyQ above that both of the lion options are terrific, my personal preference is for the second. The open plains with the granite boulder in front just screams Tanzania to me, then you notice the lions just casually lying on the boulder. The photo seems to capture the essence of Tanzania and lions in one shot.

 

I'll be at Namiri Plains in two months. This TR will hopefully make the time go faster.

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