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A: Me, now.  

 

:)  I'm not as clever with my words as @michael-ibkand @pault, but I have some surprises up my sleeve for my trip report.  Most days held new treats; some of which I'm still trying to track down the answers.

 

A little background information for new readers:  I agonized for months about my first trip to Africa until finally surrendering to the fact that I would have to leave hubby Harry home in June 2017.  A colleague and I, along with our teenage daughters, went to Kenya for two weeks. When I had to cancel my second, previously arranged safari to Zimbabwe scheduled for early November due to Harry's unforeseen foot surgery in late October, I hoped that we might get to travel to Africa while his foot healed before returning to work.  All of the stars aligned, and we knocked out a trip in less than a week, and took off three or four weeks later.

 

So... Will I finally see the migration after missing it in the Maasai Mara by two days?  Any new species on the list? Which cats played a prominent role? Have I improved my photography skills?  Any new friends made?  

 

My first question of this post:  How old is the cub below and where is mama?  Did she end up as a meal?  Still no answers.  Tarangire National Park. (Lion was tenderly grooming the cub; looked like he was tasting her.)

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1TZA_2875.thumb.jpg.65ef8779ce87f35e11b88db34b81c68b.jpg

Edited by AmyT
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Welcome back, Amy, and wow, starting the report within a day - the rest of us should all be ashamed! Looking forward to hearing all about your trip.

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Welcome back Amy - really looking forward to your report. I have only just managed to start posting my report!

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Regarding the lion cub, what was your guide's explanation?

 

The cub appears to me to be no more than 4 weeks old.

Its at about the right age when the female would just have introduced it to the pride. 

Possibly both the cub and the father are curious about each other and the mother has gone off hunting with other pride members?

 

 

 

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@AmyT  Yay!!!!!!!!!!!  You are back!!!!!!!!!   :)    Was wondering when we'd hear from you again. Dying to hear all about it.

Refresh my memory- what was the itinerary again? I see from another post you went to Tarangiere (loved that area- I did a mobile tenting trip there many moons ago).

Edited by lmonmm
Cuz I had more to add :)
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3 hours ago, Julian said:

Regarding the lion cub, what was your guide's explanation?

 

The cub appears to me to be no more than 4 weeks old.

Its at about the right age when the female would just have introduced it to the pride. 

Possibly both the cub and the father are curious about each other and the mother has gone off hunting with other pride members?

 

 

 

 

Our guide was as surprised as we were.  The cub seems to be too young to be left alone with a grown male; we saw much older cubs in Kenya still sequestered with mom before being introduced to the pride.

 

Video link shows size

 

 

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This cub looks around 3 weeks old, and definitely should have been with mom.

 

The male is probably the father, if not the cub would have been killed right away.  I have seen this happen a few years back, and the male (who is not the father) would kill the cub instantly.

 

Maybe the mom went out to hunt and left the single cub behind.  I wonder what happened to the others?  Possibly killed?

Edited by serendipityntravel
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Thanks, @michael-ibk @lmonmm @serendipityntravel and @Julian!!

 

Our itinerary was:

1 night Arusha: African Tulip Hotel

1 night Tarangire: Camp Kichuguu (5 months old)

2 nights Ngorongoro Crater: Lemala Ngorongoro

4 nights Namiri Plains

3 nights Sayari Camp

 

We booked this trip through the Wild Source. While I had two excellent travel agents put together great itineraries, Bill Given had a slight edge over the runner up.  We had four days with private guide Fadhil Magoye (son of Deo Magoye who is Bill’s partner in The Wild Source) and then 7 days at Asilia properties using their guides.

 

Our trip was scheduled to begin on Nov 23, the day before Thanksgiving.  The KLM flight from LAX to Amsterdam was scheduled to depart around 1 p.m. so we didn’t have the usual mad rush of getting up early to head to the airport.  Nevertheless, we woke at 4 a.m. and promptly discovered that our flight was delayed due to air traffic control issues in Amsterdam.  We already knew that we wouldn’t be making our connecting flight to JRO that day.

 

A quick email to Bill to let him know of the latest development, we took the shuttle at the originally appointed time to make schedule changes if needed.  Alas, code share issues (booked through Delta while flying on KLM) meant that we had to request later changes in Amsterdam. We checked into the KLM airport lounge, very happy to pay an arm and a leg (each!) to fly business class on this trip due to Harry’s back issues and foot surgery.  I placed a call to our travel insurance company while sipping a glass of champagne and hoped for the best… we had to spend the night in Amsterdam already; would Delta/KLM modify our return flight so we could have the full number of nights on safari? 

 

Answer: YES!  Another email to Bill to notify him of our new schedule (entire safari shifted by one day), we leisurely boarded at the front of the queue (due to Harry’s foot surgery) and settled in to our roomy seats.  Champagne was freely flowing… I could get used to this! Once in Amsterdam, we were put up in the Park Plaza hotel, a nice place about 10/15 minutes from the airport.  We could have used the 22 hour layover to go into the city but opted instead to start adjusting to the time change.  It certainly eased our 11 hour time change.  Next morning we were up and out, checked into the KLM lounge again, back to the front of the line at the gate, and then winging our way to Kilimanjaro airport.

 

Moral of the story:  Keep your cool (not my strong suit), have a backup plan, and roll with the punches. Cheers!

 

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P.S.  Oh!  Fun fact!  People boarding the KLM flight in Amsterdam all seemed to know each other.  Lots of waves, hugs, kisses, etc. Turns out that some were early investors in Asilia, on their way to a board meeting.  Sign me up!  I'm willing to invest if I get to go on safari at a board of directors meeting!!

Edited by AmyT
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9 hours ago, AmyT said:

 

Our guide was as surprised as we were.  The cub seems to be too young to be left alone with a grown male; we saw much older cubs in Kenya still sequestered with mom before being introduced to the pride.

 

Video link shows size

 

 

 

At Namiri plains we saw 4 cubs who were 5 to 6 weeks old, one viewing with their mother, the next viewing on their own.

They were on/in/and around a patch of Kopjes. The mother used to go off and leave them hidden in the kopjes, obviously she had to join the pride to hunt and feed.

Our guide told us that the mother had already introduced the cubs to the rest of the pride, but because the cubs were still very young they needed to be left in the relatively more safe kopjes, ie they were still too young to be moving with the pride on the open plains.

 

This pride were well known to the Namiri guides so this information was correct.

 

The same pride had another litter of six cubs who were about 11 or 12 weeks old. They were also in a secluded location - a small waterhole with bushes and rocks for cover. The two female mothers and one of the pride males were with them. They had been introduced to the whole pride some weeks previously.

 

Why only one cub?  

Its possible only one born alive, but most likely the others were killed by hyaenas/leopards/ buffalo. Only a small number of lions cubs reach the age of one year old  - I've heard various figures quoted from from one in four to as low as 1 in 10.

Edited by Julian
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2 hours ago, Julian said:

 

At Namiri plains we saw 4 cubs who were 5 to 6 weeks old, one viewing with their mother, the next viewing on their own.

They were on/in/and around a patch of Kopjes. The mother used to go off and leave them hidden in the kopjes, obviously she had to join the pride to hunt and feed.

Our guide told us that the mother had already introduced the cubs to the rest of the pride, but because the cubs were still very young they needed to be left in the relatively more safe kopjes, ie they were still too young to be moving with the pride on the open plains.

 

This pride were well known to the Namiri guides so this information was correct.

 

The same pride had another litter of six cubs who were about 11 or 12 weeks old. They were also in a secluded location - a small waterhole with bushes and rocks for cover. The two female mothers and one of the pride males were with them. They had been introduced to the whole pride some weeks previously.

 

 

 

We saw the same grouping of cubs all together!!  10 cubs, two lionesses, and a male hiding around the back of the kopje.  :)  All accounted for.  Photos when I get to that point of the trip report.  Thanks, @Julian.

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Awesome start to your trip report, of which I am eagerly awaiting the next excerpt. We are also traveling with TWS and Fadhil will be our guide, as well. We plan to have a 24+hr layover In Amsterdam on the way to break up the long flights and do a quick sightseeing run in the city before continuing to KJO. Planning to get an overnight flight and arrive at KJO in morning and head directly to Tarangire... Cannot wait for more of your trip report. Definitely good advice to roll with the punches and keep cool when traveling as things are bound to go wrong here and there. 

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1 hour ago, Amylovescritters said:

Awesome start to your trip report, of which I am eagerly awaiting the next excerpt. We are also traveling with TWS and Fadhil will be our guide, as well. We plan to have a 24+hr layover In Amsterdam on the way to break up the long flights and do a quick sightseeing run in the city before continuing to KJO. Planning to get an overnight flight and arrive at KJO in morning and head directly to Tarangire... Cannot wait for more of your trip report. Definitely good advice to roll with the punches and keep cool when traveling as things are bound to go wrong here and there. 

 

@Amylovescritters... Excellent choice!  Fadhil is an exceptional guide, and as a biologist, speaks my language.  By day two, I had an enormous guide-crush on him and am planning a return trip with teacher friends.  I'm thinking about having our Next Generation Science Standards integrated into a daily debrief.  Our conversations were wide and deep, discussing everything from the life cycle of termites to the 128 tribes in Tanzania (to cars and engines with Hubby)  with everything in between.  At the Naabi Hill Gate (entrance to the Serengeti from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area), he introduced us to his father, Deo, whom he bumped into while filing entry paperwork. Truly a pleasure to meet them both.

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Perfect fit for me, too. The biological emphasis coupled with guides that are biologists actively involved in cat research really won me over. Also, the timely response, great communication, and the totally personalized itinerary based on my wants and needs truly eclipsed the other TOs.

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3 hours ago, Amylovescritters said:

AWe plan to have a 24+hr layover In Amsterdam on the way to break up the long flights and do a quick sightseeing run in the city before continuing to KJO. Planning to get an overnight flight and arrive at KJO in morning and head directly to Tarangire

 

@Amylovescritters... great plan.  At our last camp, most everyone flew KLM from California and all who did were faced with an unexpected layover in Amsterdam. I think we were the only ones whose trip was extended on the back end. I wasn't about to give up one whole day of safari!!  :)

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@Amylovescritters I couldn't agree with you more because there's nothing worse than going on safari with the feeling that your'e exhausted. I can remember very well when I flew from Nairobi to Johannesburg and was told by the staff of South African Airways that I couldn't get my bag out of the luggage bin. I didn't take her seriously. The result was that I was unable to sleep and tossed and turned all night worrying about getting my baggage back. So, I flew to Maun and began my safari at Tuba Tree Camp in Botswana in a state of total exhaustion. This is no way to begin a safari. I was tired for the next 3 weeks.

 

I have to say that when I was returning to Nairobi from Maun via Johannesburg the lady behind the counter tried to tell me the same story: that I had to keep my baggage in the storage bin. This time I refused and was able to sleep. 

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Not to hijack this, but what airline is flying from AMS to TZ and arriving in the morning @Amylovescritters ?? I’m curious as that would eliminate the overnight upon landing...

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KLM has flights listed leaving AMS just after 8 at night and arrival at KJO  around 830 I  the morning. 

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54 minutes ago, Amylovescritters said:

KLM has flights listed leaving AMS just after 8 at night and arrival at KJO  around 830 I  the morning. 

 

I see that KLM lists flights with their codeshare partner, Kenya Airways, leaving:

  • Tue 20:45   Amsterdam - Schiphol (AMS), arriving Wed 06:05 Nairobi - Jomo Kenyatta Intl. (NBO)
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I was searching March of next year... not sure what’s available currently.

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Aah, yes there is a short layover in Nairobi. Then continue to KJO.

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My brain doesn't want to think sequentially yet.  I just want to hit the high notes (and there are so many high notes!)  Hoping to have the next installment done soon.  

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" Moral of the story:  Keep your cool (not my strong suit), have a backup plan, and roll with the punches. Cheers!And don't forget the champagne!

 

That adult male and cub together is quite a sight!

 

Hope your husband's back holds up for the entire safari.

Edited by Atravelynn
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  • 2 weeks later...

So glad you went and I hope your husband was fine! Looking forward to the whole report!  

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OK! Here we go!

 

Episode One: Tarangire National Park

 

What I love best about traveling outside of one’s comfort zone is how it requires so much thinking. No cruise-control here; currency, language, customs, differences & similarities, smells & sounds; all assault the brain.  Instead of flying from camp to camp, as I did in Kenya, we drove… which gave a much richer experience. Seeing local markets, kids playing in the streets, people walking to their destinations, cattle along the road; all made for a heady journey. Add to it, interesting conversations about the 128 tribes in Tanzania and their subdivision, ages and stages of maturity for the Maasai boys, and we were enthralled.

 

Elephants are a favorite of mine, so when our flights were booked, and we discovered an extra day in the schedule, the choice between Lake Manyara and Tarangire was easily made.  Elephants, please! 

 

We entered Tarangire at noon, mesmerized by sheer number of animals readily available near the road. It almost felt like a wild animal park (zoo), so many species mingling together, with new groupings around every bend. The famous baobab trees did not disappoint; varying from completely bare, to leafing out, to fully green! The lighting was harsh but we were thrilled anyway.

 

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Ostrich youth ... unite!

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I was struggling with my camera so not many sharp images from this day.  Still, plenty to remember. 

My darling lion cub... so tiny.  I wonder what their story was.

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As the sky continued to darken, we saw animals running at top speed. What could have startled them?

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At this point it was raining.  What indeed, would spook them?  A pride of lions, walking along the riverbed. The rain disturbed them and they decided to stalk.  While we could see them clearly through binoculars, it was beyond (clear) reach of my camera. Still, I'll share an image for mood's sake. There were a total of seven lions but they were widely dispersed. As we couldn't go off-road, we watched for a while and then continued on our hunt for the main event.

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An ostrich was enjoying the bounty that the rain had provided...

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As did this savanna monitor lizard.

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Termite drones were emerging from the earth, to live out their destiny to mate and die, all within 4 hours.  It was a feast! (Shown below: termite drone exit holes.) This is where I really appreciated having a biologist as my guide. Not only was Fadhil a great guide, but he talks knowledgeably about what might to some people be a mundane topic during a low season.  I appreciated learning about the connections of non-mega fauna and the landscape.  

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Waterbuck (?) I have all my 'bucks' in a muddle and can't find my book.  

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Monitor Lizard (11 second video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qwkl30S3MQ

 

Next up: Elephants of Tarangire!

 

Edited by AmyT
Added monitor lizard video.
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By this time it was nearly 5 p.m. Kind of astonishing, to think back on it... it passed so quickly.  Happily, our next hour was to be spent with my favorite of the mega-fauna, Elephants!!

 

We came across a smaller family grouping of 5 or 6, and then noticed a couple of larger herds in the distance. We were able to watch in isolation while the herds joined up.

 

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Finally meeting, then continuing on...

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This one needed a good scratch.

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Could not zoom out anymore when this one decided to step into view.TZ1_3038.thumb.jpg.8b4a37c4b10ec5709335841d7c8e116d.jpg

 

Ready for her close-up.

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I could go on and on, as we saw well over 100 elephants. Truly magnificent, and I would gladly return to Tarangire for more time with the ellies!  But the light was fading, and we still had a long way to go to our camp before dark.  I'll leave you with this last one for the night.

 

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