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TAKE TWO: WE FOUND THE MIGRATION IN MORU!


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KaliCA

We also find our own lions (always a true red-letter day for me) perched on rocks, one of the items on my wishlist; and another time I spot a mating pair of lions across the river by a hippo pool we did not know existed. We especially enjoy Lake Magadi with its many flamingos as well as the drinking activities by the river of hundreds of animals slacking their thirst. The sunsets in Moru are amazing as well and camping on Moru 4 spot was a big delight. Can you tell we love the Moru area? And one more thing, there are barely any game drivers around! Just the way we like it.F401F478-B8F8-4FF5-B769-0ED91F051DB5.jpeg.eeaf4925664c108615763f95d49b6fe8.jpeg

 

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Our Second Northern Tanzania Self-Drive Safari   21 Days in June, 2018     One of the things on my bucket list was to experience East Africa in the green season and photograph

The first afternoon we spot lions by a river and a leopard is in a sausage tree moving his carcass to another branch.  The next day we visit the Turner area that was teaming with gazelles, zebra,

Lake Manyara NP, 2 nights   Lake Manyara is certainly green, green, green and there are flowers everywhere. The vegetation along the tracks is very thick and even giraffes appear shorter and

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Thanks to all who are reading and pushing the like button. It is giving me motivation to continue!

 

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Seronera area of the Serengeti, (planned 4 nights, ended up spending 8 nights)

 

“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” and so it was with our Serengeti grand plan. As planned, we spent  the first 2 nights on one of my favorite spots in this world: Sero 4 special campsite. In 2015, we had so much wildlife on this spot with hundreds of gazelles, zebra, ellies, Hyena, and our favorite an early morning visit of 5 male lions playing with our camping chair. (See my TR from 2015 on ST)

This year not so much. We have our daily Hyena or two during dinner time and we hear lions roaring every night. One night we hear the mister roar when patrolling his neighborhood and he sounds extremely close, so we finish dinner faster than normal, wash up in a hurry and climb up into the roof top tent in order to be safe should he decide to come any closer. Try as we might, we can not spot him with our light beam, instead, we see two female lions walk by then sit down close to our car for a spell. Later, we hear ellies trumpeting loudly and I hear them rumbling so they must have been close as well. We can only guess at the meaning of all those nightly sounds of the African night. 

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When we reach Southern Seronera we notice the area teaming with wildebeest, zebra, as well as....many game drivers! When leaving Moru, we had wondered where all the huge herds are as we just saw a sprinkling of wildebeest and zebra around. So part of the migration has left Moru and has arrived in Seronera. That’s great news for our game driving.

 

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The first afternoon we spot lions by a river and a leopard is in a sausage tree moving his carcass to another branch. 

The next day we visit the Turner area that was teaming with gazelles, zebra, ellies, and lions last visit, but this time it’s mostly teaming with Tsetse flies and lumbering water trucks filling up at the spring. 

When filling up our water canisters at the public campground, a game driver is asking DH for a tool. My DH is helping him with the radiator and the grateful man shares the location of a mating lion couple. We find them easily and they mate a few times close to our car. Late afternoon we see them again and they come walking right in the direction of our car. They mate next to the Land Rover again and while the female is on her back, the male keeps staring intently at us. Within seconds, he is standing 4 feet from our open window and hatch and starts roaring at us. DH is crouching down trying to close his window, while I’m already crouched down low in my seat. Boy, that is scary and the only time I have ever been truly scared by a lion’s behavior. Eventually, the  male lion is turning away, and both male and female walk off. 

A couple in the only car next to us witness this incident and take a picture with their phone. We exchange emails and they are kind enough to send us the shot below with the Land Rover in it, that captures the situation. Here the sequence of events:B219F2EA-F042-4B40-B38E-6DEFF8DC5190.jpeg.564ed5709f7cb192a2a428860971f616.jpeg

 

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Along the river road67A6295C-24A0-4F70-9B3F-DCB87B17F084.jpeg.ece2961f8e2443b64acbc6ea2bb76dea.jpeg

 

Filling up washing water at Pimbi public

 

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Doing a GD a favor and getting mating lion tip in returnB27BEC0B-0F89-47E3-ADE0-C2E9652CBDAB.jpeg.49631ff3b5bb025a4911c60b393239bc.jpeg

Mating lion couple

 

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Coming closer to mate

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Staring....

 

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Roaring at the perceived intruders. “Hey, that’s my woman..” Please understand that we did not pursue  them; they were walking towards us and then mated in the road, long after we had parked. 

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pomkiwi

@KaliCA What a great trip so far! The lion encounter must have raised the pulse rate a little - the last photo emphasizes the size of the male. Glad it ended safely.

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Treepol

@KaliCA I am enjoying your TR very much. The photo of the 3 zebras in the crater is priceless and I like the one of the zebra and wildebeest too, it looks a bit like a spoke. Lovely shot of the flamingos with out-stretched wings!

 

Quite an experience to be so close to that male lion I imagine and a wonderful sequence of photos. I see you have perfected the art of scrambling onto the roof of the LR to manage the tent! 

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@pomkiwiyes he was big and also limping. Maybe that’s why he was irritated. 

Thanks for reading along!

 

@TreepolThanks for the compliments. I’ll pass it on to DH as he took most of them. 

Yes, I’m the monkey and I had to be so conscious of every step up and down. This will come to an end all too soon. Glad you are enjoying my ramblings and thanks for reading along down under. 

 

@Abhi glad to have you along. Are you a self driver?

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As you may know, even though we pay $30 for public camping or $50 for special campsites per person per night, the infrastructure for campers is atrocious. There are  not enough toilets for the numbers of campers and there are only cold showers available at public campsites. Knowing this, we brought along a solar shower bag and so one of the highlights is taking a warm open-air shower at Sero 4! I spare you those pictures. It’s the small things that count a lot on a trip like this. 

Another highlight is finding a leopard in a camel thorn tree devouring a baby wildebeest. What a sight, and we can hear him crunching bones. He comes off the tree and marches across the savannah before going up a rocky outcrop and going to sleep on a ledge. The lowlight is easy to imagine. There must have been 40 cars all following along the track while the leopard walks half a mile to his resting spot. Phew, that is way too much traffic for my sensibilities.

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For the next two nights, we have vouchers to camp at BelaBela special campsite. I asked for this change at the depot, when it was clear that the herds would not yet be in the Western Korridor where Kirawira is located. The tourist boss in Seronera basically tells me to camp wherever there is space in the Western Corridor even at a picnic site! Well, after about two hours of driving, we decide that we do not like the area as there is no visible game around and the Grumeti River is only accessible at one spot. The most worrisome, however, are the many fires in the Western Corridor,  many of them close to the road. We were hoping to camp on Mareu picnic site, but it is all overgrown and the fires are burning by its entrance. So we decide to just turn around and go back to Seronera, because it is simply too dangerous to camp close to the fires, plus there would be no game anyway close to smoke and fires.

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Getting back to Seronera and our river loop, we have perfect timing as the whole river pride comes out of the bushes and one by one they parade to the river to drink. Among them is a tiny cub and it is playing with Papa’s Tail and is licked and cuddled by its mom and aunties. Too cute. Then they proceed to go back to their wildebeest kill and the whole pride feeds on it until the Papa roars at his family and drags the kill into the bushes to hog it for himself. Later, the tourist boss is telling us to camp back at Sero 4 as it is free tonight. Will do, happy to be back on our favorite spot.

 

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penolva

@KaliCAwe have great admiration for your ‘Can do’ sense of adventure. Those fires are similar to the ones in the Masai Mara in September. We were so glad our camp was a good distance away. Pen 

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@penolva  Yep, that’s us. We like doing things independently. Yes, those fires messed up our plans. The funny thing was to watch the birds having a feeding frenzy with all the bugs in the road. 

Thanks for reading along. 

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The next day, is a cat day again. That’s what you get in the central Serengeti: lots of cats but alas, lots of traffic as well. First, driving our loop by Sero 4 we come upon a pride on a very recent zebra kill. Great action and bloody faces.DC584442-448C-4320-92B6-5DBCA12111C0.jpeg.8dce89db59269377ca8ca7573296645d.jpeg

 

 

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Later, we meet some members of the river pride along the river (duh!) just as the second male appears at the fording followed by two females. They drink for a long time then one after the other, they jump across the small stream. We have never seen lions leap across a stream so that certainly is a highlight. 

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Edited by KaliCA
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 More sightings from around Seronera:

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Peter Connan

Some wonderful encounters and beautiful photography! 

Anybody who has had an encounter with a charging lion like that will attest to the fact that adrenaline has a very particular smell and is brown in colour...

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@Peter Connan thanks to the first part!

 Second part...yewh... not at all....

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On 1/11/2019 at 4:54 PM, KaliCA said:

 

For the next two nights, we have vouchers to camp at BelaBela special campsite. I asked for this change at the depot, when it was clear that the herds would not yet be in the Western Korridor where Kirawira is located. The tourist boss in Seronera basically tells me to camp wherever there is space in the Western Corridor even at a picnic site! Well, after about two hours of driving, we decide that we do not like the area as there is no visible game around and the Grumeti River is only accessible at one spot. The most worrisome, however, are the many fires in the Western Corridor,  many of them close to the road. We were hoping to camp on Mareu picnic site, but it is all overgrown and the fires are burning by its entrance. So we decide to just turn around and go back to Seronera, because it is simply too dangerous to camp close to the fires, plus there would be no game anyway close to smoke and fires.

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I know what you mean about the fires and how uneasy they can be. While staying at Hondo Hondo in Tarangire we had just crawled up into our roof top tent when we could see a glow. Over the next 45 minutes it kept getting closer and closer. At 10 PM we decided it was too risky to stay. We drove all the way to a camp spot close to Balloon Camp where we could spend the night, over 45 minutes if the dark. We passed and dodged through numerous elephant and buffalo herds on the way, quite the night drive! Then at 4:30 AM we could hear a big truck approaching, which made us a bit nervous, it was the balloon operators who used the open area to launch their balloons. Self-driving gives you so many amazing experiences and stories to tell.

 

 

 

 

 

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@Paul B Wow, good thing you noticed the approaching fire before going to sleep! I’m wondering why you did not spend the night at Silale picnic site, which is closer than the ballon place. Were the fires coming from that direction? 

Only goes to show that you have to have your wits about you when in Africa. No one will come an warn you like they would here when camping in a National Park. You have to take care of yourself because no one else will!

Yes,  plenty of stories here as well. One about HondoHondo to come...

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In the afternoon, we decide to go up north to Lobo, a bit earlier than originally planned. As we get closer to Lobo with its green hills and many kopjes, we get tsetses inside our car and have to slap them away before they bite. But I’m not fast enough and I get bitten numerous times. So we close the windows and they proceed to ride with us by just sitting on the hood of the car. No AC, so it soon becomes unbearably hot but we dare not open our windows. 

At Lobo Public, DH steps out of the car and is instantly swarmed by tsetses, no way we can camp here! We move on trying to find one of the special campsites. This is impossible, as all the tracks are overgrown and hardly recognizable. We get to the springs and have a nice zebra, ellies, and wildebeest sighting. Not many bugs there but we don’t dare to set up camp next to the watering hole. 

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When darkness falls, we give up looking for a designated site and just camp in the access road that should eventually lead to Lobo 2.  (Where we camped last trip, but we did not recognize the track)We set up camp even though we don’t like being surrounded by very tall grass and sure enough, we hear lions roar during dinner. Up to the roof tent in a hurry where we feel safe and protected. 

We decide that there is no way we can game drive around Lobo with such a Tsetse infestation and we leave at first light. Luckily, I am able to use my screens(brought from home) and duct tape them over the open windows, so at least we have some air and are not stung anymore, except when trying to photograph a pair of cute Klipspringers. 

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Clearly, you can guess what the lowlight of the Lobo trip is. I was so very disappointed not to be able to stay in Lobo as I just love the landscape there. I must have had about 50 very irritating Tsetse bites and used a prescription ointment that helped the irritation(the bites’, not mine!) and also took an antihistamine to keep from scratching. I hate those beasts even more now that they made us miss Lobo. 

But I’m reminded that were it not for Tsetse flies, the land would be allocated to cattle farming and most likely not  be a wildlife conservation area. So there.

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While driving south we encounter a huge number of very excited Hyena on the road and then more off the road on a wildebeest kill. We have this exciting sighting all to ourselves and there are no more Tsetse around. Go figure, and it’s still hilly and wooded just a few miles south.

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Further on, there is a huge number of vultures on clean-up duty. Some are sitting on the carcass trying to claim it while others push and shove to be king of the hill. It’s a steady coming and going and hustling for bites of left-overs.

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Edited by KaliCA
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