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TAKE TWO: WE FOUND THE MIGRATION IN MORU!


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@Paul B wishful thinking about a Bushlore type business. I don’t think self-driving will ever become big in East Africa because the infrastructure for campers is so much poorer. Plus there is all the competition with guided safaris. But -with the right preparation, it can certainly  be done. But for sure, to hire in Southern Africa is a lot easier, cheaper, and we actually do get warm showers and flushing toilets,  at most places. Have you been to Botswana as a self -driver? I love Botswana for it’s wildness but the infrastructure for campers is quite good. I want to give Kenya a try if my DH agrees to drive. 

 

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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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@Birdie hello friend, thanks for your nice comments. If it weren’t for you and some others, we would never have discovered TZ as a self-drive destination. You and you DH did a lot of pioneering work ahead of us. So happy for you that you have another chance to go back to your favorite places. 

Safari nejima. Hopefully with no vehicle problems this time around!

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We wake up to a lion roaring in the distance. 

After making our morning tea, we leave Sero 4 and do the southern loops. (We usually have tea and cookies or rusks early morning and then stop for a real breakfast around 9). It’s sad, but all we see is one lonely topi. 

We check out the river road and I spot the orange male and a lioness across the river. The female is crossing and soon both appear in the grass on our side. He seems interested in mating but she is not. Both are walking in the road for a few minutes while we follow them. No animal walks as cool as a male lion walks!

Soon they veer towards the river again and plop down behind a bush. What great timing once again. 

With all those extra days around Seronera, it’s getting more and more difficult to decide where to explore next. We decide to go find some herds and revisit the Retina Hippo Pool and so we drive north along the Lobo road.7F646071-AB1B-4B08-AA42-F07B2344DF57.jpeg.3fab02784e7d435b8062b02020c087dc.jpeg

 

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We take the loop by Sero 6 (used to be called KubuKubu on older maps);which looks familiar from last trip and there is a mobile camp set up. The fever trees along there are so pretty. We see a huge herd of buffalo. The road comes to an end because there is a deep washed-out ditch where the road was and it’s impassable. Further north, we see lots and lots of wildebeest and zebra just like DH had predicted. We take a side road and are surrounded by hundreds of zebra and wildebeest once again, including the gnu-gnu noise.

This video will give you an idea of the masses of animals that one encounters during the migration. 

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Later, we are having a long breakfast with a second cup of coffee at the Hippo Pool and DH has two sessions watching and shooting their antics. (There are picnic tables and bathrooms).

We need to shower and do laundry, and we do both back at Tumbili Public. Just as we get there, there is a strong downpour and we have lunch in the car which is matza with ham and hard boiled eggs. (Eggs and frozen ham keep very well over longer periods of time) Then while DH takes a shower, I do three “bowls” of laundry at their convenient washing station. Then it’s my turn to take a cold shower, (I hate it) while DH is wringing out our clothes and hanging them up inside the car on criss-crossed bungee cords. What a sight! (Always bring along bungee cords)

 

The evening game drive is taking us back to the lower side of the river road where we spot some lions chasing a wildebeest, but alas, they soon give up and lie down again. 

Then we do the easy river road again and we see zebra drinking and then panicking. There are giraffe in good light and then there is the best sighting of today: A serval walking in the road and then in hunting mode. We have time to open the hatch and admire this small elusive cat. After that it was a breeding herd of ellies taking a dust bath.

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Then we take the long way back towards Sero 4 and our GPS is getting confused but oh luck! We end up at the best leopard sighting yet. At dusk, we see a female leopard dragging her baby wildebeest kill through the grass and stopping at the foot of a tree. She makes three attempts to drag the kill up the tree, but fails each time and slides back down again. The kill has already been opened and its guts are hanging out, so it’s larger and also the trunk is very steep. Before each try, she looks longingly up the trunk and I’m rooting for her to succeed. Finally, she climbs up without her meal and lies down on a branch. Wow, that was exciting. It’s almost 7 pm and we drive back back to Sero 4 in the dark with our lights on. 

What a red-letter day: a serval and a leopard in one evening.

Sorry, for the quality of the pics. It was almost dark and she was moving a lot. 65A1B53B-FAB8-4A9A-8984-EBCAB8AB3642.jpeg.e2cade63493a59bd37d03a40b37038a8.jpeg

 

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Just as we arrive back at our campsite, the rain is starting up again. DH is re-arranging the back of the car so we can cook there sheltered from the rain. (No awning on the Land Rover)He is sitting on the toolbox and manning the burner while I’m standing under the roof tent platform staying dry. We work as a team, cooking, eating dinner, and laughing together. That’s how life is as a self-driver: you learn to adapt to what circumstances get thrown at you and when given lemons....you make lemonade.

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11 hours ago, KaliCA said:

That’s how life is as a self-driver

 

... and camper! Sometimes lemonade is bitter ... but there is always a bottle of gin to make it friendlier.

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14 hours ago, KaliCA said:

Have you been to Botswana as a self -driver?

@KaliCA we have been to Botswana twice but never on self-drive. In 2016, I had all of my campsites booked but decided against it. After staying in the special campsites in Tanzania the thought of having noisy neighbors in Moremi or Savuti made us decide to take a pass. Did you find camping with others close in proximity to be an issue?

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@Paul B only in Savuti did we have very loud neighbors from a certain European country. So annoying. In most places the sites are spread out with some distance between parties. Some Mobil  Camping companies there are able to book special campsites called HATAB...and those spots are secluded and very private. The good thing is that come morning, people head off in different directions and we hardly see or meet any other vehicles when game driving. 

So you take the good with the bad, the good being close to toilets and warm showers. The bad, you may have contact with some inconsiderate people. 

Below is a TR about Bots trip in 2016

 

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penolva
On 1/23/2019 at 2:07 AM, KaliCA said:

Then we take the long way back towards Sero 4 and our GPS is getting confused but oh luck! We end up at the best leopard sighting yet. At dusk, we see a female leopard dragging her baby wildebeest kill through the grass and stopping at the foot of a tree. She makes three attempts to drag the kill up the tree, but fails each time and slides back down again. The kill has already been opened and its guts are hanging out, so it’s larger and also the trunk is very steep. Before each try, she looks longingly up the trunk and I’m rooting for her to succeed. Finally, she climbs up without her meal and lies down on a branch. Wow, that was exciting. It’s almost 7 pm and we drive back back to Sero 4 in the dark with our lights on. 

What a red-letter day: a serval and a leopard in one evening.

Sorry, for the quality of the pics. It was almost dark and she was moving a lot. 65A1B53B-FAB8-4A9A-8984-EBCAB8AB3642.jpeg.e2cade63493a59bd37d03a40b37038a8.jpeg

 

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Wow as you know I love leopards and that sighting is fantastic ?

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On 1/23/2019 at 11:53 AM, KaliCA said:

@Paul B only in Savuti did we have very loud neighbors from a certain European country. So annoying. In most places the sites are spread out with some distance between parties. Some Mobil  Camping companies there are able to book special campsites called HATAB...and those spots are secluded and very private. The good thing is that come morning, people head off in different directions and we hardly see or meet any other vehicles when game driving. 

So you take the good with the bad, the good being close to toilets and warm showers. The bad, you may have contact with some inconsiderate people. 

Below is a TR about Bots trip in 2016

 

@KaliCA thanks for sharing, not sure how I missed this, just finished part 1. Envious of the length of your trip, you covered a lot of ground. Might need to look into a Botswana self-drive again, you had some amazing sightings and your DH got some great photos. Like you, Robin was extremely helpful in assisting with my Tanzania trip, we exchanged many emails and even Skyped one night. She passed along numerous detailed notes she had kept from her two previous trips. Really enjoying your current report and now your past travels. Lots for me to read! Many, many thanks.

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How lucky are you!! I have always wanted to see a leopard drag a carcass up a tree - no such luck yet!  Question for you - you mention (and have a photo of) the Endabash public campsite in Lake M. On my maps, I see the Endabash SC and the two Endabash picnic sites, but no public campsite. There is a public campsite marked on my maps, but it is not named - is that where you were? On the public campsite just south of the main gate? Thank you for your kind words but you give my DH and me far too much credit. You and your DH are far braver than us - your trips would exhaust/kill us. We retreat to the height of luxury (tented camps) once in a while, whereas you and your DH spend the entire time camping. We admire your endurance/strength!  

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@BirdieHere is the location of Endabash public.

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It’s the one called river side camp side. The “ lake show “ is a spelling and a location mistake!

i think you would be better off asking the rangers at the gate for a hose to fill up water when leaving. I remember seeing a hose at the exit gate. I mean the campsite has flush toilets and a shower but how would you connect to your tank?

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@Paul B  if you managed and even enjoyed TZ, Botswana will be even easier. But... as you said, you will have to share the public campsites with 9 or so other parties. All spaces are assigned and spaced out nicely, not like in TZ where there is a grassy area and everyone is very close. And there are facilities. 

You will almost certainly have nightly visitors of the four-legged kind. The delta is beautiful and some people do a fly over, to get an appreciation for its size and location, or they do a fly-in or boating Safari from Maun as well as a self-drive. Many choices. Hope you will try it!

I have now been to Moremi three times and just love it. Chobe twice but it’s busier there along the river. R and R did a houseboat safari on the Chobe and had a great adventure doing that. 

Thanks for the compliments! 

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Thanks for the link to the map - it is better than either the Roodt or Tombazzi maps that I have been working from. I will have to check out all of the maps on that website. We usually fill 1.5litre water bottles at the tap and empty the bottles into the 4x4 tank - it takes a while. The Land Cruiser comes with a hose, but it never seems to fit any of the taps. 

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@Birdie I’m thinking your best bet would be to check with the Rangers upon entering the park where there is a hose to fill water. The exit gate had a hose lying around, but it would be good knowing for sure you can fill up there, before going through all the trouble with the bottle. 

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Thanks to everyone for reading along and pushing the “like” button. That’s motivating.

On to out last day in the Serengeti

 

In the morning the rain has stopped, but we pack up a very wet tent and the Land Rover is all slippery when I climb up on it. I’m very careful and watch all my steps. We check the spot where we saw the leopard last night, but can’t cross the ditch safely for fear of getting stuck in the muck. After our BR stop at the Visitor Center, we check the west river road and find a lioness with a wildebeest kill. The others must be somewhere in the tall grass. 

Then we take the loop below Makoma Hill and find a small leopard turtle crossing the road. Later, we have lunch at Mawe Picnic site and hang our damp laundry on hangers in the trees and the towels over a table. It looks like a Garage sale and we get some stares from other guests. We stay a while until our laundry has been dried by the wind.

 

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We drive out to Maasai Kopjes and further out following a game driver’s tip hoping to find the Namiri pride out in the plains. We reach the short grass plains and see Thommy and Grant gazelles, but alas, no Cheetah. At this point we talk to a GD who says there is nothing more further out and our GPS doesn’t show the location of Namiri Camp, our guide spoke about. 

We turn back the same way we came and on a hill we see a single car off the road. He leaves and we are alone with a young male lion who is devouring a wildebeest calf. He is very intent on eating and all alone in this wide open space. We are guessing that he got kicked out of the pride because of his age.

 

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We get back to the Visitor Center and buy a few bites of internet time and talk to the kids which is always a treat.  After that we go back to south river road and find a small leopard jam, but the animal is quite far away so we don’t stay. Further down river we encounter the lions we were looking for earlier. A male is walking through the grass and three lionesses are climbing around in a tree, but again, far away and not good for photographing. 

 

We return to Sero 4 and get an unpleasant surprise. There is a car in our spot; the roof tent is already up and a fire is burning in the fireplace. Oh no! Is it a double booking or a hijacking? 

We drive up and a man and a woman come closer. After inquiring what they are doing here, they reply that they have a booking on Sero 4 for tonight and also for yesterday,  (they couldn’t find Sero 4)and the Rangers at the gate had told them to camp at Sero4. Well, then I guess it’s a double booking because we have booked this site in January and they booked it two days ago and according to the couple, the Rangers even verified it with the office in Arusha. Well, it is what it is and neither party is happy about it, but this is Africa and there is after all plenty of space for two parties. We chat  a little but they clearly want to continue cooking their dinner, and we need to set up before dark. So both parties keep to themselves and we have a quiet night, except there is a Hyena visit and zebra are braying.

Edited by KaliCA
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Makoma Hill is where Lemala Ewanjan is located and we had very good luck with leopards and cheetahs in that area. Pity about the double booking at Sero 4. We have only had that happen once in Tanzania - in Tarangire. Luckily, as you say, the special campsites are very large, so it is possible to retain some privacy.  I laughed at the thought of the other guests at the picnic site peering at you and your laundry - we have had our share of stares as well.  I cringed at the thought of you up on the roof of the wet Land Rover - yikes!

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Tom Kellie

~ @KaliCA

 

Those running zebra and walking serval images are terrific!

 

Also the open-mouthed crocodile.

 

You had such a productive safari!

 

Tom K.

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@Tom Kellie yes, you are right. Looking back on it now, we really did have many many great sightings. 

Thanks for coming along!

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