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Seronera 2017 Will there be lions in trees again?


kilopascal

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kilopascal

     Uh oh.  Five trip reports not done and I distinctly remember telling @pault(I think) before I went to Amani and Pangani in December 2016 that I was "on it" for the trip report.  Not a complete lie.  I had started.  But mostly a lie.  So here I am with 3 trips to Tanzania, 1 to India, and 1 to Yellowstone and not a trip report to show for it.  This report is not the oldest or the latest but the easiest.  Very little text.  

     This was a short trip with very little planning just to get my travel fix.  I look to see if I can get from Chicago to Kilimanjaro for close to a thousand or less, then text George Mbwambo to see if he is free and that's all I do.  One week in Seronera at Kati Kati camp.  Not luxurious but reasonably priced and everything I need since I spend very little time in camp.  There are a number of Kati Kati camps so George hand picks which one he wants for this time of year and arranges this with Lucy at the Tanganyika Wilderness Camp office in Arusha.  Smooth flights and immigration.  George takes me to Mvuli Hotel in town.  I frequently stay here because it's only $50 and it is clean with excellent air conditioning and very nice staff.  Also not luxury, but I get in at 9 pm and leave early the next morning so who needs to pay for luxury.  George arrives the next morning, hands me a travel mug with coffee and we are off.

 

June 9th

We are only about 30 minutes past the Naabi entrance gate for Serengeti when we see a very recently killed Thomson's gazelle.  George stops and wonders if a cheetah might be bringing back a cub.  In less than 5 minutes we see a hyena running full out to make a claim.  

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My slight disappointment that there would be no cat of some sort eating this was replaced by a fascination at how quickly this hyena devoured the back half of this carcass, hooves and all, crushing bones as if they were popcorn.  Vultures were collecting in large numbers and the hyena would charge them, eventually running off with the remaining head, neck and front legs.  This all took less than 30 minutes.

 

Other sitings during our drive to camp

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June 10th

Early start and we see a cheetah and two cubs at a distance.  Much too far for good photos but we are shortly rewarded with this.

fullsizeoutput_33.jpeg.ba880b7e7ecca19817b731e6521f21fd.jpegfullsizeoutput_34.jpeg.93b86e5b3cddb8e8036d05c16a587ddb.jpegfullsizeoutput_35.jpeg.6c1e3fb52e451551617d337de04e4c92.jpegfullsizeoutput_45.jpeg.c62e893f02497d4f412f5d6b17c097f2.jpegfullsizeoutput_48.jpeg.69e2db0cdc819602454d78a71046efe1.jpeg

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Everyone's attention is now on a large male lion that is spotted way out in a field across the road.

 

... and more from day 2fullsizeoutput_4b.jpeg.69c3bab9e7867f683f1caeac6010135f.jpegfullsizeoutput_4c.jpeg.3d8ebe14da10831867470406e0285c52.jpegfullsizeoutput_3a.jpeg.6bb53cea3fad4529fa2a1d766a68d529.jpeg

White browed scrub robin??

 

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More to come... tomorrow.

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kilopascal

Oh crap.  So much for the title.  That would be trees, not tress

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kilopascal

...And this was 2017 not 2016... it's clearly too late to be writing this

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  • wilddog changed the title to Seronera 2017 Will there be lions in trees again?
Alex The Lion

In my experience, the lions are generally in the trees around 3.30pm once the Rangers have fed them, and before the return to their cages for the night!

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kilopascal

On to day 3

June 11th

Another early start.  George will start and stop a safari whenever you like.  If you want to go from sun up to sun down that is fine.  If you want a break that is fine.  On our very first safari with him he said "it is your safari".  We do whatever you like.  Tanganyika Wilderness camps have a nice set up for packing breakfast and lunch at all of their properties.  At Kati Kati they will make breakfast early enough that you don't really need to pack it.  For lunch there is a table set up where you select what you want and someone packs it all up for you.  Of course if you prefer to come back that is also an option but we always stay out all day.  

 

We see the cheetahs again today but still too far for photos.

IMG_2572.JPG.b458bb90b04b40a3551c5ab6f9180b1f.JPGfullsizeoutput_4d.jpeg.7250df13f7a65f6399e31511126f7f52.jpegfullsizeoutput_29.jpeg.9cf24e4b16febfae0d9b792432b8639b.jpegfullsizeoutput_2a.jpeg.9a36f50e4f7f628024f8406bd0e7ef09.jpegfullsizeoutput_3d.jpeg.0c154e65e9311ee627fdb965173e4c08.jpegThese three young lions hang out under a small cement bridge and they would often be sitting right by the side of the road, sort of like toll collectors.  We saw them several times on during the week.  

 

fullsizeoutput_3e.jpeg.8f138148f9c3788fce7fdfc8dca34623.jpegI had forgotten about this beautiful leopard until I reviewed photos for this TR.  It was toward the end of the day and we spent a couple of hours here, hoping to see her come down.  Several cars came and went but it was not super busy and we were often the only car.

fullsizeoutput_4e.jpeg.718d92fcb565435bb99982aff3c06ac6.jpegfullsizeoutput_2b.jpeg.2c17e63693f131359f1503dd7d9f6e24.jpegOn the way back to camp.  Another great day in the Serengeti.

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kilopascal

So the mongoose in the last post were actually one of our first sightings early in the morning on day 4.  Must have been a good omen for a day that would turn out to be one of the most enjoyable.

We drove out to Moru Kopjes today and there we found two beautiful big male lions sunning themselves.  They pose for a while, sunning themselves then get up with the intent of catching a wart hog.  They slowly walk through a field toward their intended lunch.  Periodically hiding in the grass.  Then back up.  When they are about 100 yards away the wart hog, who is clearly on a direct line mission to get somewhere senses or smells their presence and freezes.  Turns around.  Runs back a bit.  Then forward.  Then back.   Frozen statue.  Lions move forward again and reduce the distance by half.  More back and forth by the wart hog and in the end escapes.  So the brothers wander back for their afternoon nap.  fullsizeoutput_51.jpeg.0f918e7141fe6ce9331563c023b1ee66.jpegIMG_3316.JPG.c41c2ec21ed30051099c91d921c30247.JPGIMG_3352.JPG.ea766c725790a64dd63f0fbacd885720.JPGIMG_3428.JPG.1d2f5e6d6abea1b04364ce37755447cb.JPGIMG_3445.JPG.ff86a41a57d6810bd602106c24e6dec2.JPGIMG_3506.JPG.bc4cc7273e2c68207597e66f2c71d8c1.JPGIMG_3627.JPG.29b560702094e6e07d5fbb3872ebb614.JPGfullsizeoutput_1c.jpeg.a790e94a518fe511a80a689a7a85d023.jpegIMG_3591.JPG.ed9973caf521464582d93ec24531c086.JPG

We spend a lot of time here enjoying these two.  Most of the time as the only car.  We eat lunch here, join the lions in a nap, then start our drive back.  On the way back we see a reasonably large herd of Cape buffalo but pictures no where to be found.  No, I did not imagine it.  Two of the young 'under the bridge boys are out' and then some eles.  IMG_3679.JPG.4949b30ac19ba04a3f8185e0870e97c1.JPGIMG_3699.JPG.179de0cbfc386d38250f76d4c0270cae.JPGfullsizeoutput_52.jpeg.c77748ce56cdfb578d59a33b1bfb1ff1.jpegfullsizeoutput_53.jpeg.88fdd8dfd60d83aa6cfb575db8a3b092.jpegIMG_3904.JPG.57d0a3ef8b6d5d76e5da2ecba6ea4f3c.JPGWe finish up with a lioness and cubs.  One of which prompts a discussion on lion dentition and aging them.  Fantastic day.IMG_3933.JPG.8f223d7e32d39c5a78405a5016c6738c.JPGIMG_3961.JPG.ab6d7d9019f4da684756a1615f4d4678.JPGfullsizeoutput_55.jpeg.ff126a61ea8f548ca99480976e9489f4.jpeg

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kilopascal

June 13th

We leave camp early as usual, looking for the cheetah and there they are!  Close enough for nice photos.  The young ones playing and having a great time.  Mom gazing across the road, looking for breakfast.  It is still a little bit dark and actually quite cold.  My 'camera hands' are starting to freeze up.  But we stay with them for just over an hour.  Us and only us.   Then mom spots some gazelles far in the distance and they leave.fullsizeoutput_56.jpeg.ae0d66836e2082a1614a614e2d6856ae.jpegfullsizeoutput_57.jpeg.8a2134ea89e1dfbddb34bd346d69e2a5.jpeg fullsizeoutput_e.jpeg.0234a8de155440866a93f72fec6ada6e.jpegIMG_4228.JPG.51dbb638b77ff0c1f8385bdfd89fd0f9.JPGWe see lions from the same pride that was feasting our first day.  Take a gander by the hippo pool and just enjoy all Serengeti has to offer that we never take pictures of anymore.:rolleyes:

IMG_4290.JPG.6e3b86a222904eb75ddcd2392a366366.JPGIMG_4320.JPG.946c426a091c0afbb5cbc5a947fedb88.JPGfullsizeoutput_5e.jpeg.1f890fcc0e9097ca9b8c6cd8c1db27a1.jpegIMG_4382.JPG.748b1298519a3d050c8ed02d19b326b4.JPGIMG_4407.JPG.716566fe448f9cceec753b3395d3c36d.JPGfullsizeoutput_5f.jpeg.e2d6c774914abb0c709cb64d5d6928da.jpegIMG_4473.JPG.820cf3f0e2a97de7e4c3b1bab4e78d00.JPGIMG_4498.JPG.108bab6453acc8d5890db3201ad70c29.JPGfullsizeoutput_5d.jpeg.ebc5713e91eb44f0cde17f558d5279b9.jpegIMG_4539.JPG.51fd4c7d041ac05731a45b5c3f682f92.JPGIMG_4593.JPG.3749a5bd21daeb80b826af78273aa483.JPGOnly one 'toll collector' out today.

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kilopascal

And the answer is yes.  There will be lions in a tree.  This is apparently becoming a fairly routine practice for lions in central Serengeti.  Didn't exceed my count of 14 in a single tree in 2015, but 9 is pretty good.  Once again I only initially count 8 and George has to prove to me that there is another around back.  It's getting tiresome being wrong.  

fullsizeoutput_63.jpeg.7c0ae952df1a8228e14a4c89f7e2ca54.jpegUnlike the large group of lions in a tree that I saw in 2015, these are not always sleeping and a lot of fun to watch.  fullsizeoutput_2c.jpeg.d9e8f5504238b609ea5cba8b2479bc50.jpegfullsizeoutput_60.jpeg.db2cdcafe2413db991e1efdccf86b70b.jpegfullsizeoutput_61.jpeg.6b343556437ed6f74353b35a93391a16.jpegSome of them clearly had more enviable positions than others.  This one kept trying to sleep sitting up, then would fall a bit and wake up.

IMG_4792.JPG.53e6bdbf0c0ec615d539e983e7faf48d.JPGfullsizeoutput_62.jpeg.c419b675588338644c46b577ca0b38b1.jpegWhile this one had the primo spot.IMG_4743.JPG.c9405bea6b665e7ce450fb036039d34b.JPGfullsizeoutput_64.jpeg.9d378359305b0b3b5f996bdd9bba3d10.jpegThe elephants grazing beneath the tree just added to the enjoyment.

fullsizeoutput_65.jpeg.21148915c317637734748fe3783d0a29.jpegIMG_4793.JPG.eca797330c3e950a92994d8848239f8d.JPGAs we were sitting here watching, George sees something move out of the corner of his eye and looks over and says there's a serval over there.  I was quick enough to see it but it was gone before a photo could be had.  

 

June 14

On the road back to Karatu...IMG_4816.JPG.bcdbf83b9e47b10ba8aa9652279523a0.JPGSpent the night in Karatu at the Flamingo Hotel.  Nothing flashy but more than adequate.  Bar with WiFi and very reasonable price.  Next day my obligatory shopping at the Maasai Market in Mto Wa Mbu then back to the airport.  

 

1 down.  4 to go.

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Zubbie15

Thanks for sharing @kilopascal, any day in the Serengeti is a good day in my book!  On the first day you drove direct from Arusha all the way to Seronera, correct? How long did it take?

 

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Appreciate the report its always nice to return to the Serengeti. 3 trips to the Serengeti for me and not a lion in a tree yet, I'm officially very jealous!

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Atravelynn
23 hours ago, kilopascal said:

Oh crap.  So much for the title.  That would be trees, not tress

I read it as trees.  Power of suggestion.  I remember all those lions in trees in your previous trip.  Here they are again, jumping into the trees when  they hear your vehicle coming.

VVVVVariety!  Even a chameleon.  Will George appear?

 

 

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kilopascal

Hi  @Zubbie15 it took about between 7 and 8 hours from Arusha to Seronera incluing stops at the gate.  Can't remember exactly and we are never in a big hurry.  Stopped for lunch and a walk around at the gate.  We left around 7 am and I know we were in camp by about 3, but we spent time game driving in Seronera before going there. 

@Atravelynn wilddog was kind enough to edit my title so it did not live on in perpetuity as lions in tress.  Also corrected the year.  No George pictures on this trip which is kind of unusual.  He features prominently in 2 others.

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classic leopard photo @kilopascal and love the male lion walking through the grasslands.

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Atravelynn
19 hours ago, kilopascal said:

Hi  @Zubbie15 it took about between 7 and 8 hours from Arusha to Seronera incluing stops at the gate.  Can't remember exactly and we are never in a big hurry.  Stopped for lunch and a walk around at the gate.  We left around 7 am and I know we were in camp by about 3, but we spent time game driving in Seronera before going there. 

@Atravelynn wilddog was kind enough to edit my title so it did not live on in perpetuity as lions in tress.  Also corrected the year.  No George pictures on this trip which is kind of unusual.  He features prominently in 2 others.

You have to give the man a break now and then.

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pault

Very efficient trip. Maybe I will start doing this "If the flight is less than x, I'm going and let's email George" sort of thing as soon as I don't have to report for work every day. It sounds extremely attractive.

 

So are we getting the rest of the reports? I had completely forgotten about your promise, but now that you summoned me, I have to ask.  :rolleyes:

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mapumbo

Beautiful multi color maned brothers.  Great light and photo of the two female lions looking stage left.

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kilopascal
On 7/12/2018 at 1:16 AM, pault said:

as soon as I don't have to report for work every day.

work definitely gets in the way<_<

 

On 7/12/2018 at 1:16 AM, pault said:

So are we getting the rest of the reports

Second way in progress but the one I promised yet to come.  Have to round up the photos from someplace

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  • 1 month later...

Very cool shots of the lions in the tree. Some of them (the leftmost in the first shot) are perched rather precariously, too. I also love when the elephant comes into the frame. We were also fortunate enough to see treed lions in central Serengeti earlier this year, but yours look a bit more active and alert.

 

Also, I like the photos with the male lion in the tall grass.

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Game Warden

I'd certainly like to be seeing some lions in trees right now @kilopascal...

 

Matt

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Game Warden
2 hours ago, kilopascal said:

Is that because you are not currently out on any safari @Game Warden?

 

Well, I live my safaris through reading yours, though I haven't been reading as much as I should recently. But don't let that stop you all writing more ;) 

 

Matt

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