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Serengeti, ten out of ten !


africawild

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Like an old postcard with the message "Wish you were here..." Wish I was.

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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.  

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africawild

@@africawild

 

I love the wide perspective of many of your photos.

 

 

More and more i enjoy taking wide scenes , i think African landscapes are ideal for that , and then if you are able to introduce an interesting subjet in the foreground of the pictue the result will be even better !

 

Paco

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africawild

Brilliant pictures, Paco.

The wide angle low light ones are spectacular- my favorite is the second to last one-"Kopje under a full moon"! What time was this shot- I can't make out if the light was just fading or it was dark, shot with a slow shutter on a tripod.

 

 

The shot of the moon was taken at sunset , you can see the orange color of some clouds , coming from the sun of course!

 

For this trip i took a compact camera (Sony RX100 III) and i use it a lot for wide scenes and i am very please with the result for a compact camera . I took the picture of the moon with this camera so no tripod . Is very good in low light situations because of the very bright lens and the good high ISO performance.

Of course it is not possible to mesure the light for both the moon and the kopje in one shot so either you take 2 shots with different exposure or you sacrifice one area of the picture and then you try to recover it later in editing, that is how i did for this photo , i use the best posible exposure for the moon and the sky and later recover the shadows in post-process !!

 

Paco

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Brilliant pictures, Paco.

The wide angle low light ones are spectacular- my favorite is the second to last one-"Kopje under a full moon"! What time was this shot- I can't make out if the light was just fading or it was dark, shot with a slow shutter on a tripod.

 

The shot of the moon was taken at sunset , you can see the orange color of some clouds , coming from the sun of course!

 

For this trip i took a compact camera (Sony RX100 III) and i use it a lot for wide scenes and i am very please with the result for a compact camera . I took the picture of the moon with this camera so no tripod . Is very good in low light situations because of the very bright lens and the good high ISO performance.

Of course it is not possible to mesure the light for both the moon and the kopje in one shot so either you take 2 shots with different exposure or you sacrifice one area of the picture and then you try to recover it later in editing, that is how i did for this photo , i use the best posible exposure for the moon and the sky and later recover the shadows in post-process !!

 

Paco

I have a RX -100 as well. That's an amazing shot from a camera with a 1 " sensor. If you had said RX-1 I would have said its still a terrific shot with a full frame sensor and great lens. Clearly your post processing skills are excellent.

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deano

@@africawild - fantastic report and pictures. The expression on the faces of those lion cubs sat on that flat rock...really shows that sense of fear or wonder or whatever they are thinking when they watch their world through their young eyes. Contrast that with the look on the faces of the cheetah; you said they were relaxed but there is definitely a more assured expression there. Lovely stuff and the landscapes and birds and everything else - equally good.

 

kind regards

 

deano.

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TonyQ

I am pleased you broke your rule and gave us 20 pictures instead of 10 :)

All are superb, but the lions on the road is a real treat.

I can learn a lot from your wider views!

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Alexander33

Loving this report and your photos. I'm liking the 20 photos instead of 10, too, so I vote for changing your title. How about, "Serengeti, Twenty out of Twenty"?

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africawild

First I want again to thank for all the comments !!

 

It was our last day in Namiri and we left the camp early , thinking about saying goodbye to central Serengeti in the best way possible.

 

 

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First we went to the SAMETU Kopjes where we saw the three lionesses with three small cubs that had not yet opened his eyes. The rest of the cubs were also there but they where all inside the rocks so we decided to continue.

 

Only minutes ahead we bumped into 3 cheetahs finishing a gazelle , we missed the hunt by minutes. It was the same family we saw the second day in our breakfast spot.

The mother was a few meters apart and had left the young ones finishing the gazelle.

 

 

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We spent about 40 minutes with the cheetah family, it was nice because they were right by the road and we were the only vehicle, then when another car arrived we decided to continue to see what we could find before breakfast time, but the morning had been fantastic already.

 

The previous night had rained a lot and there was water all over. Some animals got advantage of the water and stop to drunk in the roads.

 

 

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We stopped for breakfast by a small stream with some water birds around

 

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After breakfast we drove around and saw more lions and hyenas but we had to go back to camp for a quick lunch because we had to pack and get driven back to the airstrip.

In our way back to camp we payed a last visit to our already beloved Sametu Kopjes and the 2 big males were there to say goodbye in the best " Serengeti Mood " , one in the grass and the other up in a rock !!

 

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A last meal and , although we were not ready to leave Namiri, we had to, a shame !!

 

Final impressions of Namiri Camp

 

The camp is simple but very comfortable, with everything you need and more, with style and excellent service, good food and the best possible place to eat it.

The best part is that it has a privileged location, over an hour from the nearest camp and the hot vehicle zone , but also with lots of cats around, especially cheetahs and lions.

You also have the chance to go and visit the Seronera area if you need a leopard fix but most likely you will discard it , at the end there is nothing like feeling all the Serengeti to yourself !!!
Paco
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africawild

The second part of this day will be a separate story because it involves the transfer to the airstrip , the flight and our first drive in Northern Serengeti.

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africawild

Thanks Matt !

 

The end had arrive for our stay in Eastern Serengeti but in our way to the airstrip we had some more interesting sights , a family of one lioness and 3 cubs blocking the road , a solitary cheetah very far from the road and specially a family of 5 bat eared foxes , 2 of them running away and holding a pup in the mouth and 2 really small pups they had left behind , just beside the road. We left the place right away so the adults could get back a pick the rest of the family.

 

 

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The flight was also nice , we saw elephants , zebras , 2 lions on top of kopjes ( this i only saw it back at home when i was editing the photos ) and a couple of very nice and big herds of buffalo.

 

 

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We also where able to see the first lines of the migration heading south,

 

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There were also several storms during the flight but when we were about to arrive to Kogatende airstrip and i was able to see the Mara river the storm was really impressive, see it yourself !

 

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Judging by the storm and the deluge that fell , we thought we had reached the northern Serengeti in a bad time, but fortunately we were wrong.There were several showers during our six days but none that would prevent us to get on game drive every single morning and afternoon.

At the airstrip it was our guide waiting for us with 2 big umbrellas but in spite of this by the time we where inside the car we where drenched.

Anyway it was fun and once we reached the camp we could change clothes, eat something and go on safari ( To bad weather , good face) we say in Spain !!

 

Our guide proposed us to go see a mother leopard with a cub that had been seen in the morning and soon we were around a huge kopje with 2 other vehicles trying to locate the cats . It was still raining a bit so a guess they were under cover , but soon we could see a small spotted cat peeked through the branches of a bush. And the mother in the middle of 2 big rocks !!

 

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About half hour later too many vehicles started to arrive to the place and at one moment the sight was too crowded , maybe our only sightseeing in trip that felt too crowded. My wife was asking to leave but I asked the guide to move away a little and soon many vehicles started to leave.

At the end we finished our afternoon in great style , all the vehicles had left and we were the only ones with the cats and could enjoyed 20 great minutes with a glass of wine while the cub looked at us with this curious face

 

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This area of the Serengeti is also especial if you enjoy the trees, especially the fantastic rock fig trees , they seem to grow in every pile of rocks

 

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And when we were about to arrive in camp We could slightly see the colors of the sunset peeked through the clouds

 

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In spite of the rain it was a nice first game drive in this area completely new to us .

 

The TIP for the fifth day is about something we have seen many times but this particular afternoon with the leopards it was somewhat exaggerated.

Almost every time I looked for a second to one of the vehicles next to ours, i saw people watching their camera´s screens. When I get to a new sighting I like to take a couple of shots and see if the exposure and white balance look correct and then either I take pictures or enjoy the scene. Once you make sure your parameters are right with the first shots , just enjoy and take pictures but don´t look at the back of your camera after every picture , you will probably miss something interesting .

 

 

Next post, our first full day in northern Serengeti

 

 

Paco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another fantastic set of images. I'm with the 20 over the 10 group

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cheetah80

Wow! I have never seen a photo of such a tiny bat eared fox pup - that is really special!

 

The storm looked pretty impressive, fantastic aerial photo of it. I am glad the rain didn't impact your game drives.

 

Love the leopard photos, the kopjes make very interesting settings for them.

 

Great taster of things to come in the Northern Serengeti - looking forward to the rest!

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africawild

Having reached halfway of our trip, that night i thought "only" five days left but in the morning , as soon as i jump into the vehicle, i thought "still" five full days to go , what a joy !!!

 

 

 

And 2 minutes after we left camp, with the sun still hidden, the joy became fact. A couple of klipspringers were jumping from rock to rock. The light was very dim but i got lucky that this one stopped a moment to look at who we were !!

 

 

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Our guide Kivuyo asked if we wanted to go by the river to see if something was happening. It was migration time so , of course we said yes.

As soon as we arrived by the river we started to see the huge number of wildebeest that were congregating at the other side, with the intention of course to cross , so we decided it was going to be crossing day.

 

Huge lines of wildebeest kept coming and at some point the herd was really massive , but they also kept coming and going from one crossing point to the other , back and force all the time.

While we were waiting we saw a serval passing behind our vehicle in hunting mood but soon he went into the bushes so we did not follow.

 

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It had been about two hours since our arrival when the herd began to approach the river in a clear attempt to start crossing but suddenly someone arrived to the scene ...

 

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They all started to run away and after more that 2 hours waiting the cross had been ruined. I thought it was funny to hear people from nearby cars in disgust , it was the first time in my safaris that the people was upset by the appearance of a big male lion ??

Some vehicles left but Kivuyo said maybe was a good idea to have breakfast while waiting for the crossing and just minutes after we finished the crossing began.

I had seen several crossings in the Masai Mara in 2 previous trips but this was going to be something more intense , Thousands of wildebeest started crossing and it was not until 43 minutes later that they ended !!

 

 

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I started to take pictures thinking that i was not going to have in off time but minutes later i realized the cross was so big that i had time to enjoy , look at details , play with shutter speeds and more . At the end i found myself taking videos with my phone, i could not believe what i was doing !!

 

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Here I like the contrast between the chaos of the herd and the tranquility of the Heron, which looks like a first seat spectator !!

 

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Almost there !!

 

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The joy of getting to the other side!!

 

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But some of course did not made it. In spite of the big crossing this time only 2 wildebeest were going to fail , one with a broken leg and one that was taken by this monster ! We could not see the attack because it happened out of our view but seconds later we saw the croc bringing and adult gnu to the other side of the river , already dead.

 

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Finally the cross ended but only half hour later and one crossing point farther we experience the second crossing of the trip , and minutes later a third one. This 2 were much smaller but they were also interesting and fun .

 

2 line crossing !

 

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Some zebra joining the gnus !!

 

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Some times they crossed and ... they went back and crossed to the other side ???

 

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After lunch and some rain , our afternoon started with the same subject that in the morning , but this time was further. We went looking for the 2 leopards we had seen the previous day but we could not find them. In the area we came across a family of 3 klipspringers , unusually relaxed !!

 

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So relaxed that they left us take close portraits !!

 

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Since we were unlucky with the leopards Kivuyo said there was a mother black rhino with a calf that had been seen in the area close to camp so we headed in that direction and found them out in the open.We spent some time with them and although they were far , we enjoy the calf nursing , running and even playing with some wildebeest.

 

 

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The day was almost gone so we started to head back to camp , in the way we bumped into this hippo grazing

 

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We enjoyed some rock fig trees

 

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And end the day with a curious sundown , impalas in one side ...

 

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And right in front, thousands of flying termites coming out of several holes in the ground ??

 

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So our first full day in Northern Serengeti was gone but it had been great , with a memorable dramatic crossing , good rhino viewing and some special moments with klipspringers !!!

 

More to come soon.

 

 

 

The tip for today is " be patient ". We all have heard this advice many times , from guides , from photographers and from fellow experience travelers but the thing is i still see many people arriving at a sightseeing and leaving 5 or 10 minutes later because nothing is happening. Well amazing things can happen any time so whenever you have found something interesting be patient because something great can happen.

In the case of the migration and the crossings still it makes more sense , specially if is your first crossing , sometimes the cross can take place after hours of waiting !!

 

Paco

 

 

 

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Superlative pictures. Some of the finest crossing pictures I have seen. The heron tranquility amidst the gnu chaos picture is both stunning but also a moving snapshot of natures contradictions.

Also, patience equals success on safari. Luck only goes so far. No shortcuts. Good tip.

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PaulTully

@@africawild Fantastic images Paco and those lions are stunning, great captures.

 

Had Namiri on my mind for the past 2 years, so this year it's a must. October seems pretty good for it also by the looks here - how was the weather besides?

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Tom Kellie

~ @@africawild

 

All I'm able to do after enjoying your latest gift of sublime safari images is to shake my head and smile.

Thank you for your kindness in sharing your talent with us.

Utterly lovely.

Tom K.

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TonyQ

@@africawild

Thank you for expanding beyond 10 photos!

So many really superb images - the crossing, klipspringer portraits, and that tiny little Bat-eared fox

Wonderful

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AfricIan

More wonderful images Paco, especially from the crossing. 2hrs waiting!! - a mere "blink of an eye", it took nearer 4hrs before they crossed when we were in the Mara (2010) but it was well worth the wait and there was always something happening to keep you amused.

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michael-ibk

Wow, that crossing series is just awesome. And of course I love the Klippspringers.

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africawild

@@africawild Fantastic images Paco and those lions are stunning, great captures.

 

Had Namiri on my mind for the past 2 years, so this year it's a must. October seems pretty good for it also by the looks here - how was the weather besides?

 

 

@@PaulTully It seems the weather is quite unpredictable in Africa lately and more difficult even in the month of October.

In principle the month is considered favorable in terms of weather is concerned, however, the rains may have arrived, in our case it was obvious that had already fallen quite a few storms on arrival and during the ten days we spent we had a few more, more frequent in Northern Serengeti than Seronera and Namiri area.
However we had no problem going out every drive or moving around everywhere!
Paco
Edited by africawild
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africawild

Hi Ian ,

 

I asked Kivuyo ,our guide what was his longest waiting time at a crossing. He told us he once had some guest arriving from France that had been several times in the Mara and had never seen a crossing so their main goal of course was get to see one.

 

They had 3 days ahead so they concentrated every day in the river where big herds had seen. It was early in the season and Kivuyo said normally at the beginning the crossings may take longer. Anyway .On the second day they waited in 2 crossing points where huge herds were moving back and force for 11 hours , they even had lunch taken to them to be sure they did not miss the crossing but they had no luck.

The french couple was desperate and the morning of the third day of course they went to the river again with the same sad result .

Finally they return to camp to pack , have lunch and go to the airstrip.

Kivuyo told them maybe they could grab a sandwich instead of sitting for lunch and they could go to river for a last desperate try . When they arrived to the river a few vehicles were already there and a huge crossing had started !!! Of course the french couple were in pure joy , he said in stead of taking pictures they were both crying while enjoying the spectacle.

Then he took the couple to the airstrip , they said goodbye , very happy to achieve what they were looking for. At the same time he took another guests. In the way to camp they stopped at the crossing point and the cross was still going !! They went to camp , left the bags in the room , had a light lunch , went back to the crossing point and it was still going !!!!

 

Whether the story was completely true or was exaggerated, it seemed fantastic to me and a good example of the patience required in these cases.

 

Paco

Edited by africawild
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pomkiwi

@@africawild Once again thank-you for taking the time to post this superb report. What a day with the crossings - superbly photographed. I would have been happy with just the other sightings on that day alone.

Edited by pomkiwi
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Gregor

@@africawild

 

Fantastic trip report and marvelous pictures. Thanks for sharing.

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twaffle

The photo of termites is beautiful, I've never seen anything like that before.

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