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Atravelynn

@@Atravelynn I have observed the same behaviour that you saw with the bushbuck, but only in Arusha nat park why I dont really know they must feel more secure there by some reason.

Very interesting. Your theory makes sense. I always like seeing new animal behavior. You know how some of the parks advertise "Tree climbing lions of Manyara or Tarangire"? Well, maybe Arusha should be advertising its Kneeling Bushbucks! Somehow it does not have quite the same broad appeal.

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Where the cheetah cubs romp is a take-off on the Namiri Plains slogan, “Where the Big Cats Roam.” Romping in Makao Plains, Ndutu. Mother and a pair of 3-ish month old cubs

Subtitle: Trip of the Traveling Trousers   Back in 2014 as we headed back to the Kilimanjaro International Airport at the end of our safari, Guide George Mbwambo stopped briefly at a market and re

Itinerary   Feb 27 Arrive Kilimanjaro International Airport on KLM, scheduled to land at 9 pm. Drive 1 hour to Arusha and o/nt Tulip Hotel, arriving after midnight, due airline delays and an hou

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Caracal

Am always fond of the smaller antelopes and am very taken with that beautiful Suni and its huge rather doleful but soulful eyes.

 

Great sighting and I can imagine your delight with it.

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Atravelynn

Am always fond of the smaller antelopes and am very taken with that beautiful Suni and its huge rather doleful but soulful eyes.

 

Great sighting and I can imagine your delight with it.

Doleful, souful! Yes, I was thrilled. It was @@offshorebirder 's recent surprise suni sighting that really got me thinking about how much I'd like to see this tiny antelope. So maybe I have him to thank.

 

 

post-108-0-76882700-1460735879_thumb.jpg Weekly Monday Cattle Markets: Nanji & Kisonga post-108-0-76882700-1460735879_thumb.jpg

 

Things don’t really get started until about noon each Monday at Nanji and Kisonga because it can take much of the day to walk the herds to market. Some of the herders we saw enroute had probably left in the middle of the night, and still had a long ways to go.

 

In contrast, we left Tulip Hotel in Arusha about 9:45 am. It was the rare luxury of a slow, leisurely morning where the bread art creatures at the breakfast buffet could be fully appreciated.

 

We first went to Nanji Cattle Market, per my itinerary, arriving just before11:00 am. Market Manager Elijah, was happy to escort me around, acting as a local guide. Before the herds arrived, we visited vendors selling everything from shoes to bananas to gospel CDs. Numerous eager sellers were happy to meet me and show me their inventory. I bought bananas and fabric. Tanzanian shillings only.

 

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Sandals made of tires. Large selection.

 

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I bought the shoulder wrap at Nanji market and truly needed it to protect my arms from the unrelenting sun throughout the day,

despite ample sun cream. Elijah escorted me around the markets. The first arrival of cows can be seen in the distant background.

We glimpsed an area where goats were being slaughtered but the butchers were adamant in wanting their privacy. I always asked Elijah if a photo was ok before whipping out my compact Canon sx280 (20x optical) that I kept zipped in my bum bag. All shots were quick snaps. Had I been alone, I would have passed on taking photos altogether. Walking around with a big camera, even with Elijah, would have been way too uncomfortable for me.

 

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Nanji Market

Eventually, more of the goats arrived. Elijah said the normal course of events is for goats to precede the cows at the market.

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Nanji Market – goats first, then cattle later in the day

 

I tipped Elijah at the end for his services. Tanzanian shillings only. In fact he reminded me about the tip so I would not forget. I was the only tourist at Nanji Market during my hour visit and Elijah said visitors were uncommon.

 

George had mentioned that just down the road was another option we might also wish to visit, Kisonga Cattle Market, with a corral for cows. When it appeared that this Monday would be mostly goats, not cows, at Nanji, and I had enjoyed almost an hour’s visit at Nanji, we made the half-hour backtrack trip to Kisonga.

 

We ate our boxed lunches in between the two markets.

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Kisonga Market with the corral – hot and dusty during midday heat

Kisonga was all cattle, no goats or other items. This place was really full of serious Maasai buyers and sellers—95% men but about 5% women. George and I agreed that my little Canon sx280 should remain out of sight as we entered the corral because we were so noticeable. Well, I was noticeable.

 

In fact after a few conversations with those around us, George told me some of the market participants assumed we were a couple on a cow buying mission. That’s how infrequent any tourist ventured into the corral. My Tilley hat, which screams foreign tourist, and the difference in our ages should have made such a conclusion preposterous, if not impossible. But given the lack of foreign visitors, it was the logical conclusion that was drawn by some of the guys that talked to George. I am thinking my lovely zebra trousers, sewn from fabric bought just down the road, helped perpetuate the illusion that I would be capable of selecting and buying a cow.

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Kisonga Market with the corral – hot and dusty during midday heat

After all the attention of the Maasai was directed back to their cattle and each other and I faded into the background, with George’s permission, I discretely snapped a few shots using my compact Canon, without really lining up to compose shots. I thought the results were surprisingly good, especially in the harsh afternoon sun.

 

Photography was not the focus of the cattle market visits. I could even envison instances where there might be zero opportunities for any photos at all. As it should be, in my opinion.

 

After an hour at Kisonga market, the corral was visibly filling up with cattle as the Maasai drove their herds of just one cow, up to dozens, into the huge enclosure.

 

What was an interesting afternoon cultural activity for me was a make-it-or-break-it livelihood for them—whether it was the buyer looking for protein to feed his family or the seller trying to support his life as a pastoralist, ultimately to feed his family as well.

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Kisonga Market with the corral – hot and dusty during midday heat

 

George said that the current price of beef was up and as a result, there was a palatable upbeat vibe to the market (at least from all of the herders), even though I could not understand what was being said. Lots of banter, laughter, greetings among the participants.

 

Visiting the goat and cattle markets (and I am glad I got to see both) was a fascinating, completely authentic, and enlightening way to spend a Monday afternoon. I appreciate that The Wild Source so readily arranged this and that George had the knowledge and willingness to offer a second market opportunity for a more well-rounded experience. Fascinating!

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Kisonga Market with the corral – hot and dusty during midday heat

Next installment: Maramboi Maasai-guided afternoon walk to Lake Manyara

Edited by Atravelynn
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offshorebirder

Wow - great Suni portrait @Atravenlynn. You captured the background reflecting in its eye!

 

Sounds like your Suni wish was granted in outstanding fashion.

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Atravelynn

Wow - great Suni portrait @Atravenlynn. You captured the background reflecting in its eye!

 

Sounds like your Suni wish was granted in outstanding fashion.

Yes, and thanks for any help that might have come from you!

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mapumbo

Really good stuff at the cattle and goat market. Kudos to you for having it arranged and going it alone with your helpful guide. Many folks would have not been comfortable doing this. I'm sure it will be a well remembered adventure.

 

I especially like your last photo with the fellow in blue jeans with his arm around the one in his traditional clothing. I always find it interesting to see African men walking arm and arm or holding hands.

 

Do you know how the process of buying and selling took place? Did each individual do the trading process privately, or was there a mediator helping conduct the sale? They didn't have an auction did they? Were they trading cattle and goats for other cattle and goats or was it for cash? I assume some of the livestock was going back out to the bush and some was going to the butcher shop.

 

When we were at Sosian, a cattle buyer came while we were there and they had their own scales and sold the cattle to him by the kilo. They put a strip of paint down the back of the ones that the buyer wanted while they were on the scale so they could sort them off later to deliver to him.

 

I found it interesting in the difference between the two markets. Also, the mix of men to women that were attending. Were there more women at the goat market since they had other items for sale?

 

Did you feel at all that you were unwelcome, or were most just curious to what you were doing there?

 

We would have had great fun showing our pictures of our cattle to the people. We will try to arrange something such as your market visit next time we go. Thank you for including it in your TR.

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Atravelynn

 

 

I especially like your last photo with the fellow in blue jeans with his arm around the one in his traditional clothing.

My fav of the markets!

 

Such insightful questions. I may not have delved deep enough to answer. But for anyone going to these livestock markets in the future, having these types of questions in mind would make the visit even more interesting, informative, and educational. You've given a heads up of what to look for.

 

Do you know how the process of buying and selling took place? Did each individual do the trading process privately, or was there a mediator helping conduct the sale? They didn't have an auction did they?

There was not an auction. I did see some big trucks on the perimeter that would be more institutional than just someone purchasing food for their family. I think they were to be loaded at the end of the day, and we left before that. The mediator would make a lot of sense. I must admit to me it was more pageantry, watching the approaching cattle, staying out of the way of the cattle, and watching the people interact.

 

Were they trading cattle and goats for other cattle and goats or was it for cash? I assume some of the livestock was going back out to the bush and some was going to the butcher shop.

I believe it was all animals for cash. Yes, I believe some were stocking their herds.

 

When we were at Sosian, a cattle buyer came while we were there and they had their own scales and sold the cattle to him by the kilo. They put a strip of paint down the back of the ones that the buyer wanted while they were on the scale so they could sort them off later to deliver to him.

Interesting, no paint that I detected.

 

I found it interesting in the difference between the two markets. Also, the mix of men to women that were attending. Were there more women at the goat market since they had other items for sale? I actually saw the women at the cattle market and don't recall women with the goats. But there were many other items for sale along with the goats where the women were the vendors. It may change week to week.

 

Did you feel at all that you were unwelcome, or were most just curious to what you were doing there? At the goat market, Elijah paved the way. But other than the vendors who hoped to sell me something, everyone else went about their business as if I were not there. That was good. The goat butcher made it clear he was not interested in my presence, and that was fine, and certainly his right. At the cattle market, I was a little uncomfortable. Maybe some of it was that I did not want to be an intrusion. George was quite relaxed about everything, which helped. We stood off to the side much of the time and I became more at ease as visit extended. But I was never afraid or felt we should leave. And I am so pleased I was able to do this.

 

We would have had great fun showing our pictures of our cattle to the people. We will try to arrange something such as your market visit next time we go. Thank you for including it in your TR. You are welcome! Thank you for your interest.

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Livetowander

Another great report Lynn. Nice selection of photos, just enough commentary (larger font appreciated!) and very relevant topics. Well done.

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Atravelynn

Another great report Lynn. Nice selection of photos, just enough commentary (larger font appreciated!) and very relevant topics. Well done.

Big font is our friend! Maybe not that big. Thank you.

 

 

 

Here is a brief stroll through the Mary Cassatt galleries again, a recurring theme in this report. American Impressionist Mary Cassatt’s style of intimate mother-child bonding seemed to be playing out in Ndutu, live, in feline form. So I’ll have it play out here too.

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More along the lines of getting ready to move out, than bonding.

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Cheetahs are in Makao Plains, Ndutu. Lions are Big Marsh Pride near Big Marsh Woodland, Ndutu

 

 

Gallery is closed. On with report.

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post-108-0-16346200-1460859991_thumb.jpg Maramboi and a Walk to Lake Manyara with Maasai Guide, Lingato post-108-0-16346200-1460859991_thumb.jpg

 

The complimentary afternoon walk at Maramboi Camp departs at 4:30 pm. Since I arrived after 4 pm (after the cattle markets) and no one else had signed up that day, we left about 5 pm. Lingato, the Maasai walk leader, offered me either a bush route for birding or a lake route. I chose the lake—to Lake Manyara.

 

The sun was at a perfect angle for pictures of both the lake and Lingato in his stunningly vivid Maasai shuka, which should now be on is FB page.

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Afternoon walk to Lake Manyara, led by Maaai Guide, Lingato from Maramboi

The distant flamingos on the lake tend to take flight before the flocks of pelicans as one approaches. Be prepared. I was not and missed most of the flying flamingos, but did well with the pelicans. (Even more important to be ready for the flight on a group walk.) All the birds were far off, as lake levels are low and you can’t get close to Lake Manyara anymore, except April and May, after the rains, when the lake enlarges.

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Afternoon walk to Lake Manyara, led by Maaai Guide, Lingato from Maramboi

Lingato had the right footwear—light sandals that could be removed quickly and easily when the going got muddy. I had boots and they got glopped with mud. But the beautiful walk was well worth it. The stick Lingato provided me was also helpful in making my way through the mud.

 

The garbage bag I always pack came in handy to stash the boots for travel the next day because there was no time for boot cleaning that night. I asked George if we would be passing a small stream or river where I could wash my boots. He suggested that instead I ask the staff at the next camp, Namiri Plains, to attend to the boots, which I did. My camp attendant at Namiri Plains got my boots completely clean, no easy task, which I really appreciated.

 

My one night at Maramboi after the cattle market, and in a location to make it to Eastern Serengeti the next day, was great.

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Early morning departure from Maramboi Camp, situated for visits to Lake Manyara and/or Tarangire.

Next installment includes the rats at Naabi Hill

Edited by Atravelynn
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michael-ibk

The cattle market really is interesting, Lynn. Sorry if I missed it - how many cows would you estimate were there for sale? Also calves?

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Atravelynn

The cattle market really is interesting, Lynn. Sorry if I missed it - how many cows would you estimate were there for sale? Also calves?

I had not stated any #s and the selectively, hastily snapped photos are not an accurate big picture of #s either.

 

At Nanji Market, probably 40 cows by the time we left. Not a lot of cow activity. Probably twice as many goats. So on our visit, Nanji was not in full swing for livestock during the timeframe we remained there. (Around 11-12) When we passed by Nanji again later in the afternoon on the way to Maramboi, there were more cows, maybe 100 and also more goats. Activity had ticked up since our departure around noon.

 

At Kisonga Market, 300-500 cows would be my estimate, which is a wide range. I did not notice young calves, but there were smaller juveniles.

 

Your question and my lack of being able to provide specifics points to the fact that even though it was a cattle (or goat) market, my attention was more focused on the herders. The cattle were backdrop for the interesting interactions of the people.

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Atravelynn

post-108-0-99247900-1460991208_thumb.jpgNaabi Hill Hits and Near Misses post-108-0-99247900-1460991208_thumb.jpg

About 10 minutes before reaching Naabi Hill, we had our first cheetah sighting and it was a big hit—a mother and four near adult cubs resting under a tree. Never got all 5 cats in one photo. So very cat-like of them.

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Family of mother and 4 grown cheetah cubs just south of Naabi Hill, right along the road. Pictures do not show 5 cheetah.

At the Naabi Hill picnic area, we international safari-ers were joined by two buses of Tanzanians going across the country. It was an interesting juxtaposition of travelers occupying the picnic site.

 

Soon, the buses loaded and took off in the direction of the Serengeti. As we watched the buses slowly chug up the sloped road, a man in a yellow shirt came bounding across the picnic, area—fast as a cheetah—towards the departing vehicles. It was obvious he had missed his bus. The speed of this yellow-shirted man and the sluggish, first-gear struggles of the buses made it appear the man just might close the gap and catch his ride. But he was no match for the buses once they got rolling. And the gap widened and widened.

 

As he turned, defeated, and started walking back to the picnic area, those of us who had been dining within our own little groups, realized we needed to unite to help the yellow shirted man. We were no longer isolated diners, we were a cohesive force for humanitarian action!

 

First we acknowledged the problem. Different people in varied accents were chiming in: “Oh, no! This guy has a big problem. This is awful! Poor man missed the bus.”

 

Next we formulated a plan. “We have to drive him to his bus. Let’s ask our guides if one of us can take him. Yes, I’ll go ask George (who was off attending to park permits) immediately.”

 

So we all set about seeing what we might arrange with our respective guides. George did not seem too worried and said we should first talk with the rangers before jumping in as individuals.

 

After chatting with the ranger, George told me that a ride had been arranged for the man with a safari vehicle and that the vehicle and bus would rendezvous at Simba Kopjes. So disaster was averted, the bus was not missed, and the guy got a bit of a safari as a bonus.

 

Since we were off the hook from intervening in the yellow shirted man’s misadventure, we could return to spend some more time with the cheetah family just outside Naabi Hill gate. A cheetah family is always a hit.

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Family of mother and 4 grown cheetah cubs just south of Naabi Hill, right along the road. Picture shows only 4 cheetah.

With all that excitement, I forgot about the Naabi Hill rat colony that I had learned about on Safaritalk and had been eager to find. Another near miss. But lucky for me we had a second stop at Naabi Hill after Namiri Plains on the way to Ndutu. That’s when I found the rats plus some birds, which was a hit!

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Rat at Naabi Hill. They are found throughout the area.

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Naabi Hill. Specked Fronted Weaver

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Naabi Hill. Rufous Tailed Weaver

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Naabi Hill Cordon Bleu on the ground

Cell phone reception at Naabi Hill: This is the location to make your connections to the outside world. George allowed me to use his phone for a quick call home on each of our passes through Naabi Hill. Worked perfectly each time.

 

 

post-108-0-99247900-1460991208_thumb.jpg The Leopard Magic Show post-108-0-99247900-1460991208_thumb.jpg

The setup to the show. In the Seronera Valley we could see a throng of vehicles from way off. As we drew near, they left, one by one. We found out a leopard had disappeared in tall marshy grass to eat a White Stork.

 

We waited about 5 minutes and the leopard was momentarily visible with the stork in its mouth as it moved purposefully through the high grass toward an open area, lined by trees. Only one other car remained to glimpse the leopard and stork.

 

George immediately decided to drive down the road we had arrived on and swing around to try to meet up with the leopard as it crossed to the open area.. As we drove away from the leopard, and then back into its path, I was scanning the open plain to try to find it moving on the ground. But George was already eyeing the trees. Exactly where it had gone.

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Seronera. White Stork is the leopard's prey, in the tree.

 

We were the only vehicle that had stuck with the chase and we were rewarded with a private showing of mother leopard in the tree calling to her cub(s) after she had stowed stork on a branch. She called and called but no cubs came into view. Then the stork accidentally dislodged and dropped from the tree to the ground. Mother leopard appeared to charge down several branches in preparation to jump down and retrieve the carcass, but she suddenly halted her momentum and just rested in a low fork of the tree. No more cub calling. We interpreted this behavior to mean the cub(s) was/were in the high grass below the tree, out of sight, eating the stork.

 

We enjoyed views of mother leopard. At times we were joined by other vehicles on either side of us and behind the tree on the other road further back. Vehicles would come and go. George had his eyes and often his binocs trained on the tree in hopes the cub(s) would appear. I kept vigil too.

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Seronera

The show begins. After about an hour of relaxing in the tree, mother leopard stood up and stretched to reveal a sizeable year old cub underneath her.

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Seronera – The suddenly appearing leopard cub from beneath Mom.

Where had that cub come from? There were vehicles on both sides of the tree that would have given away if they had seen the leopard cub leap up from the ground, or if it had descended from a higher, hidden branch. A one year old cub has some heft to it, so it could not have been underneath her the whole time or we would have seen parts of it sticking out. Even George was laughing and shaking his head at Act 1 of the magic show.

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Seronera

We enjoyed the mother and cub together and then on their own separate branches. Eventually the mother exited the tree. Then cub hopped down from the tree.

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Seronera

The very instant the cub hit the ground, I heard rustling in the dry tall grass next to our vehicle. We were about 20 meters from the leopard tree. It was a small leopard, slowly walking through the grass. For Act 2, had the cub magically transported itself across the open field to the other side of our vehicle?

 

More likely it was a second leopard cub that had been out of our view all along, but decided to get going when the sibling made a move. Still, the illusion was effective.

 

All leopards quickly disappeared and the show was over but it was worth the price of admission.

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From leopards in the tree to lions in the tree.

 

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Lion in tree, no zoom. Seronera

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Lion in tree. Seronera

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post-108-0-99247900-1460991208_thumb.jpg Mischievous Monkey Patch post-108-0-99247900-1460991208_thumb.jpg

The mischievous monkey patch is not about a live animal; it is part of the

Subtitle: Trip of the Traveling Trousers

I have an old pair of pants I really like but they are showing some wear, which I have addressed with appliqué patches. There is a monarch below my left knee and I had ironed on a little brown monkey (appropriate I thought for the upcoming trip) on the right thigh, just before the Tanzania trip. But I had not taken the time to reinforce the monkey patch with needle and thread.

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Photos are unrelated to narrative. Klipspringer and Impala, Seronera.

After a few outings this trip, I could tell the monkey patch might come off. So I added instructions to the Namiri Plains launderers that should the patch come off during washing, that is ok, just please send it back with the trousers.

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Photo unrelated to narrative. Hare, Seronera. Manual focus used so the eye could show through the vegetation.

Sure enough, the neatly folded laundry on my bed had the loose monkey patch placed squarely on top of the pile. As I packed up my things that last night at Namiri Plains, somehow the monkey patch got tossed, underneath the luggage rack. Later when I glanced down, I saw what appeared to be a huge insect-like creature lurking beneath the luggage rack. I carefully approached this thing with my bird book in one hand, to push it out of the tent, and the insect spray in the other hand in case I needed backup. Closer and closer I got, until I discovered… I had been stalking my own monkey patch.

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Photos unrelated to narrative. Seronera at midday.

Fast forward to the first night in Njozi Ndutu Camp where I was pleased to be able to unpack and settle in for 6 whole nights. Unpacking somehow unleashed that mischievous monkey patch once again and it fell near the foot of my bed, where it remained unnoticed until bed time. Njozi has solar lamps in the tent, but they are soft light, which only slightly illuminated the scorpion-like creature sticking out from under my bed that so startled me I let out a little scream.

 

The adrenaline produced by the scream must have enhanced my vision and I immediately assessed the threat as the harmless monkey patch. I only hoped the other guests in camp had not heard this supposed safari veteran screaming in her tent, afraid of her own sewing notions.

 

The monkey patch was not going to thwart me again. I zipped it into the side pocket of my duffel, where it would stay put.

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Photos unrelated to narrative. White Storks. Between Namiri Plains and Seronera.

Near the end of my stay in Ndutu, my compartmentalized luggage organizer with zip pockets got a rip in the plastic. I decided to halt the tear by using some duct tape wrapped around a cut-off, stubby pencil that I always bring. This little home-made tape dispenser was stored in the zipped side pocket of my duffel bag.

 

So before going to bed, I brought the duffel and the organizer onto my bed. I felt around in the duffel's zipped pocket for the short pencil wrapped in duct tape and yanked it out of the compartment, (the same compartment housing the monkey patch) all in the low lighting of the tent.

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Photo is unrelated to narrative. Hyena, Ndutu.

The duct tape repaired the organizer in no time. Mission accomplished, I could turn in for the night. I zipped the duct-tape-on-a-pencil-thingy back into the duffel side pocket. I removed my glasses and returned to bed. Before turning off the light, something caught my eye in the shadow of the extra bed pillows. Aaaackkkk! What’s in my bed? Before I could plant my feet on the floor to flee, I realized I had been fooled a third time—and fortunately final time—by the mischievous monkey patch.

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Related to the narrative. The offending mischievous monkey patch.

Next installment: Coalition of 5 lion brothers and a Sverker sighting

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Marks

Fantastic cheetah and elephant sightings on page 3. Great to hear you were out all day, every day at Ndutu, as your results speak for themselves. Very cool about the cheetah cub learning to look around, too.

Still really impressed with the cattle market visit; what a good idea for having a real cultural experience in addition to the wildlife. Even if cameras were not always appropriate or easy to use in that scenario, your words make the scene come alive!

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Atravelynn

Fantastic cheetah and elephant sightings on page 3. Great to hear you were out all day, every day at Ndutu, as your results speak for themselves. Very cool about the cheetah cub learning to look around, too.

Still really impressed with the cattle market visit; what a good idea for having a real cultural experience in addition to the wildlife. Even if cameras were not always appropriate or easy to use in that scenario, your words make the scene come alive!

Thank you.

 

The all day every day cheetah focus in Ndutu was:

 

Cheetah, mother & 2 3-month cubs: 6 visits, probably 16 hours total. Other vehicles ranged from 0 for 30% of the time. 1 other vehicle for 10% of the time. 2 other vehicles for 20% of the time. 3 other vehicles for 20% of the time. 4-5 other vehicles 20% of the time.

 

Cheetah, mother & 1 nearly grown cub: 3 visits, probably 2.5 hours total. Other vehicles ranged from 0 for 75% of the time, 1 other vehicle for 25% of the time.

 

We saw 2 unrelated males posturing and sizing each other up for about 15 minutes. The "confrontation" if you can call it that was very civilized. More like the debate team than the boxing ring. One male was very comfortable with the vehicle and the other was not, indicating he was the outsider. There were 0 other vehicles.

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Two unrelated males sizing each other up in Matiti, Ndutu. One was uncomfortable with the vehicle, so we stayed back. The "confrontation" remained tame.

The bottom right photo looks like they could be headed out for a beer together as good buddies. But they departed in separate directions, alone.

 

There was one other male cheetah (0 vehicles) and one other pregnant female cheetah (1 vehicle). No photos. Viewing time about 30 minutes combined. Then south of Naabi Hill was the family with 4 nearly grown cubs and about 3 vehicles for 30 minutes on the way to lunch. 0 vehicles for 15 minutes after lunch.

 

Not really Ndutu but the family was headed there no doubt, and it was in the vicinity.

 

The intimate cheetah bonding I was able to witness and often photograph was the result of being able to hang out with the cheetah family on different occasions for hours of time.

Edited by Atravelynn
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elefromoz

@@Atravelynn, the "Monkey patch trilogy" is so funny, I read things on this forum where I think "you couldn't make up that kind of stuff". Yea for the boot-cleaners, we enjoyed that service in Rwanda after our trek, and were so appreciative. Mmm those Leopards, "cool, effortless" and stealthy it would seem.

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Caracal

Your Rattus Naabi Hill is a fine looking animal and an excellent model for the species.

 

Thoroughly enjoying following this report and hoping that the klipspringer photo you snuck in is just a teaser and that there'll be more on this excellent sighting later.

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Atravelynn

@@Atravelynn, the "Monkey patch trilogy" is so funny, I read things on this forum where I think "you couldn't make up that kind of stuff". Not one of my finer moments, but it was funny. Yea for the boot-cleaners, we enjoyed that service in Rwanda after our trek, and were so appreciative. Mmm those Leopards, "cool, effortless" and stealthy it would seem.

 

 

Your Rattus Naabi Hill is a fine looking animal and an excellent model for the species. The Latin name, right!

 

Thoroughly enjoying following this report and hoping that the klipspringer photo you snuck in is just a teaser and that there'll be more on this excellent sighting later. You can stop reading now. It is the only one. But I did not venture very far north in Serengeti, where they would be more likely.

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SafariChick

@@Atravelynn post # 112 is so full of goodness upon which I must comment!

 

First, the rat is very cute - I don't remember the story about a colony living there?

 

Second the photo of the Cordon Bleu is really spectacular - I am only familiar with that term being used for a dish or a cooking school!

 

Third, the leopard mother and babies - any leopard sighting is a good sighting in my book, but this one was really special!

 

Fourth, I love the lion resting its head on the branches.

 

And finally, I love the monkey patch story - it reminded me quite a bit of your story from visiting Kasanka when you mistook your socks, I think it was, for some bats in your room? Very amusing!

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pault

Your night-time vision makes for some wonderful stories. Having pictures completely unrelated to the story is novel, but actually quite effective - like palate cleansers between shots of exotic spirits.

 

The stolen shots at the cattle markets are particularly nice too.

 

I'm not going to mention all the cheetahs but I won't be displeased if you keep on posting them.

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Atravelynn

@@Atravelynn post # 112 is so full of goodness upon which I must comment!

 

First, the rat is very cute - I don't remember the story about a colony living there? I don't think it rose to the level of an actual story, though with some embellishment and imagination "The Rats of Naaibi Hill" could be a very cute tale. Somebody just mentioned it. The rats I have seen in the past were too fleeting for photos, so I was hoping these at Naabi Hill would sit still for a moment and they did,

 

And finally, I love the monkey patch story - it reminded me quite a bit of your story from visiting Kasanka when you mistook your socks, I think it was, for some bats in your room? Very amusing! I forgot about that one. Thanks for the reminder. Some people have harrowing adventures with animals charging the vehicle or approaching them while they are on foot. My adventures, whether socks imitating bats, orsalami following me around the Serengeti, or an umbrella popping open in my tent in the night, or this mischievous appliqué monkey patch, tend to be all in my own head!

 

 

Having pictures completely unrelated to the story is novel, but actually quite effective - like palate cleansers between shots of exotic spirits. That was exactly the effect I was going for! Right, exotic spirits and palate cleansers. Glad you picked up on it!

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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Atravelynn

post-108-0-21611300-1461202369_thumb.jpgCoalition of 5 Lion Brothers in Hidden Valley, Ndutu post-108-0-21611300-1461202369_thumb.jpg

As we approached Ndutu’s Hidden Valley, it appeared devoid of life. I was about to recommend we cut our losses and leave for something more interesting when George suggested, “Let’s check it out.” He wanted to see why there was not a grazer in sight in this enticing area.

 

As we dipped down into the valley we had our answer. There were two huge male lions resting near the water. Our gaze soon detected a third.

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Swishing tails. Hidden Valley, Ndutu

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A few minutes later, emerging from the thicket, was a fourth giant lion brother. My photo frenzy began and my thoughts turned to the 5-member coalition I had heard about. I surmised that it might be down to 4 by now or that this was a different group.

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Semblance of symmetry. Hidden Valley, Ndutu

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Hidden Valley, Ndutu

 

George continued to scan the surroundings. “I see a fifth lion.” He was hidden in a clump of vegetation. This fifth brother seemed to be a more intent on hunting, choosing to spend his time lying in wait and watching distant prey, as opposed to sunning on the shore with his siblings. It would be fascinating to spend enough time with these lions to understand the personality of each.

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One of the five lion brothers was more independent, hiding in brush, stalking prey, and roaming the pool. Hidden Valley, Ndutu

 

Five giant male lions! What an exciting development. Upon further contemplation, it also was a potentially extremely disruptive and threatening development for existing prides that were headed by one or two males. This is a force to be reckoned with—if they remain together. I viewed all our other lion sightings through this lens of possible demise and disruption to their lives.

 

The need for hydration overcame the wildebeests’ and zebras’ fear of the lions and they came to drink as the day heated up, avoiding the pride for the most part. A few strayed close enough to get the lions’ attention and even initiate a chase. But the big boys were so full they never posed a real threat.

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Hidden Valley, Ndutu

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Hooded Vultures drawn in by the loose stools of the overfed lions. Hidden Valley, Ndutu

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Hidden Valley, Ndutu

Except for a couple very wide angle shots when the brothers were only momentarily re-positioning themselves, I was never able to get all 5 lions in one frame. Typical cat behavior.

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All 5 brothers are visible. The independent boy is leftmost on the bottom and walking away in the top. Hidden Valley, Ndutu

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When some of the herds strayed near the lions, the cats assumed the flat, stalking position half-heartedly and gave chase half-heartedly as well. Too full to hunt.

Because we were out for the day, we could wait for the harsh light to mellow for better photos and we could watch the herds come to drink throughout the day. We were joined by only a couple of other vehicles for 10-15 minutes at a time.

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Hidden Valley, Ndutu

George had never seen a 5-lion coalition of brothers. I’m sure I never will again.

Sverker sighting is next

Edited by Atravelynn
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elefromoz

@@Atravelynn, what a lovely group of young males, the last photo seems to show one with a longer, darker mane developing. Such handsome boys, hope they all continue to do well

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pault

Brilliant sighting at the waterhole.

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michael-ibk

A really good-looking bunch - a force to be reckoned with! The even more impressive showstoppers in this latest post are the pics of the running Wildebeest and later Zebras with White (and some Abdim) Storks flying over. Love those, such beautiful pictures!

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kilopascal

Maybe you will see them next year when you do George 5.0

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