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Estimated 20,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 7 Aug at 9:19 for 16 minutes

 

 

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Estimated 20,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 7 Aug at 9:19 for 16 minutes

 

 

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Estimated 10,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #7b, Observed from Lamai, 5 Aug at 15:15 for 30 minutes

 

 

Aug 2018 Itinerary.  Brown = Northern Serengeti.  Green = Ruaha.

30 July  Depart Chicago to Frankfort (Lufthansa) to Addis Ababa (Ethiopian Air) booked through Lufthansa

31 July  enroute

01 Aug  Arrive Kilimanjaro at 1 pm, O/nt Tulip Hotel in Arusha (full board)

 

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Tulip Hotel.  The bread animals still roam at breakfast.

 

 

02 Aug 6:45 am depart Tulip for Arusha Airport.  Arrive 7:10.  Scheduled Coastal Air charter 7:45 departure, one stop, 9:15 am arrival Kogatende. 5-10 minute drive to Njozi Camp.

 

02-09 Aug Njozi Camp in Kogatende, Northern Serengeti  Safari spent 75% in Lamai Wedge, 25% in Kogatende of Northern Serengeti.  Big Bridge between Kogatende and Lamai Wedge is 20 minutes drive from Njozi Camp.

 

09 Aug  Depart Njozi Camp at 8:50 am for Kogatende Airstrip, arrive 9:00 am. Scheduled Coastal Air charter 9:30 am departure.  Actual departure was 10:40 am, one refueling stop, 1:30 pm arrival at Msembe Air Strip in Ruaha. Transfer from airstrip to Mdoyna Old River Camp = 1 hour approximately.

 

09-12 Aug Mdonya Old River Camp, Ruaha I chose to do all-day outings from the  options provided, eating breakfast and lunch in the bush.

 

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Mdonya Old River Camp

 

13 Aug  Depart Mdonya Old River Camp at 8:00 am for game drive and then to Msembe Airstrip.  11:30 am, arrive Msembe airstrip.  Scheduled Coastal Air charter noon departure, 2:30 pm arrival Dar es Salaam.  Transfer by Coastal Air Van to their lounge where meals can be purchased, 10-minutes from  from Julius Nyerere International Airport.  Wait in lounge until evening flight, then Coastal Air Van transport back to airport.

 

14 Aug  Depart Dar es Salaam. Fly Swiss Air through Zurich to Chicago, booked by Lufthansa

 

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Estimated 10,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #7b, Observed from Lamai, 5 Aug at 15:15 for 30 minutes

 

 

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Estimated 20,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 7 Aug at 9:19 for 16 minutes

 

to be continued

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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Looks like you stayed in the same tent at Mdonya as me Atravelynn.

The glimpse of the river crossing you observed looks fantastic!

Looking forward to following along.

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Hopes for this trip: (1) See the wildebeest cross the Mara River at least a couple of times and try to catch some croc predation. (2) Check out Ruaha National Park and see/photograph baobabs, general scenery and wildlife, and try to find a youngster baobab.  (3) Deliver Tums to Tumaini Health Clinic in Ndoombo, Tanzania.  All hopes fulfilled, all missions accomplished.

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Estimated 350 wildebeest, Crossing Point Between #7b & Hippo Pool, Observed from Lamai, 4 Aug at 17:25 for 7 minutes

 

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Unsuccessful attempt by croc on adult wildebeest

 

 

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Unsuccessful attempt by croc on adult wildebeest—A single croc against an adult wildebeest will likely lose the meal

and the wildebeest will survive.

 

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Wildebeest calves rarely escape a croc attack and are almost always taken.

 

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Wildebeest calf taken by croc.

 

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 Rocky areas of the river are the most dangerous for safe passage by the wildebeest

and the best hunting grounds for the crocs.

 

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Estimated 20,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 7 Aug at 9:19 for 16 minutes

 

 

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Ruaha

 

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Warning:  This report contains many images of wildebeest leaping all about and may not be suitable for those with low wildebeest tolerance.

These crossings lasted from about half an hour down to just a few minutes, but sometimes the crossings can go on for hours.  I was told that late October or November is a good time for the lengthier crossings.  There are fewer  visitors then as well and the direction of the crossings tend to be just one-way, from Lamai to Kogatende.

 

Even though I saw 13 crossings, as outlined in the chart above, the vast majority of the photos center on a just a few of the crossings.  All the crossings were exciting, whether photos were part of the experience or not. 

 

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Estimated 350 wildebeest, Crossing Point Between #7b & Hippo Pool, Observed from Lamai, 4 Aug at 17:25 for 7 minutes

 

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Estimated 20,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 7 Aug at 9:19 for 16 minutes

 

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Estimated 10,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #7b, Observed from Lamai, 5 Aug at 15:15 for 30 minutes

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      To be continued

Edited by Atravelynn
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6 minutes ago, mopsy said:

Looks like you stayed in the same tent at Mdonya as me Atravelynn.  What a coincidence.  Do you have a report out?  Then I can follow along with you too.

The glimpse of the river crossing you observed looks fantastic!

Looking forward to following along.

 

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Aha, wondered when this TR would materialize.

You saw some massive crossings with the luxury of few vehicles.   Did you witness any bad behavior of tourists exiting cars or blocking the trails?

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Estimated 7,500+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 5 Aug at 12:20 for 25 minutes – Just crossed

 

 

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Estimated 7,500+ wildebeest, Crossing Point 7b, Observed from Kogatende, 7 Aug at 9:22 for 35 minutes – Just crossed

 

 

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Estimated 10,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #7b, Observed from Lamai, 5 Aug at 15:15 for 30 minutes

 

 

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Estimated 7,500+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 5 Aug at 12:20 for 25 minutes

 

Sometimes a wildebeest would take a tumble.  Both of the wildebeest in the next two shots bounced back up and continued.

 

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Estimated 20,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 7 Aug at 9:19 for 16 minutes--one fell down

 

 

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Estimated 7,500+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 5 Aug at 12:20 for 25 minutes--one fell down

 

 

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Estimated 10,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #7b, Observed from Lamai, 5 Aug at 15:15 for 30 minutes

 

 

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Estimated 7,500+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 5 Aug at 12:20 for 25 minutes

  To be continued

 

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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12 minutes ago, mapumbo said:

Aha, wondered when this TR would materialize.

You saw some massive crossings with the luxury of few vehicles.   Did you witness any bad behavior of tourists exiting cars or blocking the trails?

Yes, that is coming up with photographic documentation.  I was told Crossing Point #4 on the Kogatende side was the only one where you could get out of the vehicle per the rules, but you were supposed to stay near the car and in the bushes.  There were some violations and there were a whole lot of people at times on the Kogatende side when I was on the Lamai side.

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Wow,  13 crossings that’s impressive and sure to make a lot of people jealous! It looks from your table like you spent most of your time by the river, did you explore much else of the area during this visit? I’m going to be in the area in September, originally I was planning to mostly stay away from the river and the crossings but your awesome pictures have me reconsidering.  

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Much enjoying your wonderful photos and fascinating data on the spectacular wildebeest crossings.

Pleased to report no low tolerance nor any adverse overload reactions here so great to know there's more on the way to look forward to.

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Really wonderful photos of the massed wildebeest by the river.  Looking forward to more.

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8 hours ago, Zubbie15 said:

Wow,  13 crossings that’s impressive and sure to make a lot of people jealous! It looks from your table like you spent most of your time by the river, did you explore much else of the area during this visit? I’m going to be in the area in September, originally I was planning to mostly stay away from the river and the crossings but your awesome pictures have me reconsidering.  Those 13 don't even include a single zebra and a pair of elephants, which would make it 15, sort of.

Early in the morning and later in the afternoon we explored elsewhere.  With a whole week in the region, there was time to sit and wait at the river and head out elsewhere.   While I was at Njozi Camp, a small group was there for 4 days.  They saw 2 crossing and lots of cats and other species.

Edited by Atravelynn
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Estimated 20,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 7 Aug at 9:19 for 16 minutes

 

 

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 Estimated 2,000 wildebeest, Crossing Point Singita, Observed from Lamai, 6 Aug at 13:50 for 3 minutes

 

Why early August? 2 reasons

Reason #1) I hoped to see wildebeest crossing the Mara River in Northern Serengeti between Kogatende and Lamai.  With luck, I’d see some crocs having a meal.  Earlier in the season (like mid-July) the crocs are hungrier and not yet satiated and lethargic from feasting on an abundance of wildebeest carcasses.  So mid-July is actually a better time to try to see croc predations, I was told.  But if the migration were late, maybe the crossings from Kogatende to Lemai would be delayed and I could miss the crossing by trying to see the crocs.  This year the crossings were late.

 

August is a time when the herds typically go back and forth across the river, not just one direction.  More crossings mean more chances to see a crossing.  We did see them go both directions, once all within the same crossing.  About-face.

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Estimated 2,000 wildebeest, Crossing Point Singita, Observed from Lamai, 6 Aug at 13:50 for 3 minutes

 

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Estimated 10,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #7b, Observed from Lamai, 5 Aug at 15:15 for 30 minutes

 

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Estimated 150 wildebeest, Crossing Point Little Serengeti, Observed from Lamai, 5 Aug at 17:58 for 4 minutes

 

The down side of August is that it’s high season.  Both the volume of visitors and the pricing, including airline tickets, are higher than during other months.  Lufthansa/Ethiopian Air booked early helped with the airline costs.  I did at times encounter other visitors en masse.  The crowds were only at a few crossing points—almost always on the Kogatende side, while we were almost always watching the crossing from the Lamai side. Though the Lamai side could get busy too midday.

 

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Jack and Jill went down the hill and I don’t think they are supposed to.  #4 Crossing Point at Kogatende.

 

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At #4 on Kogatende side, a spot most drivers know even if they are unfamiliar with the area, from noon to one, most crowded time for cars.

 

Why early August? 2 reasons

Reason #2) I wanted the dry season for Ruaha, but was concerned that going later, such as Oct, might mean too little water in the Great Ruaha River and therefore a scarcity of animals.  I knew several people who went to Ruaha very late in the season, and it also happened to be a dry year and the Great Ruaha River was nearly dry. They were disappointed to drive around all day seeing almost nothing.  So early August was a way to hedge against possible very arid conditions that would send wildlife far and wide in search of water and make it tough to see. But when there is enough rain for water in the Ruaha River, I think Sept/Oct would be great months to be there.

 

As it turned out, heavy and later-in-the season rains in Ruaha meant wildlife viewing was slightly compromised at the time of my visit because there was ample water for wildlife, not just the river. Still we did well, I think.

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Elephants along the Great Ruaha River

 

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Hippo along the Great Ruaha River

 

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Estimated 20,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 7 Aug at 9:19 for 16 minutes

 

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Estimated 20,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 7 Aug at 9:19 for 16 minutes

 

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Estimated 20,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 7 Aug at 9:19 for 16 minutes

 

The trip was booked through The Wild Source.  For Northern Serengeti Joshua was my guide.  What a nice and generous surprise that it was just me in the vehicle for the week!

 

I had booked a shared vehicle (not private) because:

 

(a) I was pretty sure that visitors to that part of the Serengeti in August would want to try to see crossings, so we’d be in synch and have shared goals for the game drives.

 

 

(b)  I knew the standard itinerary at The Wild Source’s Njozi Camp is all-day outings, taking two tasty boxed meals. I was confident I’d be out there all day increasing the odds of seeing wildes cross, regardless of who was in the vehicle with me.  I was not concerned I’d be “fighting” with vehicle mates over heading back for brunch, lunch, or whatever and perhaps miss the action.

 

 

(c) August in Northern Serengeti is an expensive location and time of year, especially for a whole week, so a shared vehicle seemed to be the more economical choice.

 

A big Thank You to The Wild Source for providing me the luxury of Joshua’s full attention during my week’s stay!  It was put to optimal use.

 

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Estimated 10,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #7b, Observed from Lamai, 5 Aug at 15:15 for 30 minutes

 

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Estimated 7,500+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 5 Aug at 12:20 for 25 minutes

 

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Estimated 10,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #7b, Observed from Lamai, 5 Aug at 15:15 for 30 minutes

 

A guide who is knowledgeable about the river crossing points between Kogatende and Lamai Wedge and who has a good relationship with the other guides who are based in Northern Serengeti is crucial for maximizing river crossing sightings.  The crossing logistics in Tanzania are more complex than in Kenya because there are numerous possible crossing points over a 30-kilometer area.  The map in posted #6 above, originally hand printed by Josh from memory, illustrates the numerous crossing points that span about 30 kilometers.

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Estimated 350 wildebeest, Crossing Point Between #7b & Hippo Pool, Observed from Lamai, 4 Aug at 17:25 for 7 minutes

 

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Estimated 20,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 7 Aug at 9:19 for 16 minutes

 

With 5 years of experience guiding at camps located in Kogatende and the Lamai Wedge, Joshua was an expert at putting us in the right spot at the right time for crossings.  His years in the area also forged friendships with other guides, so he could easily communicate and interact with them regarding crossing matters.  Josh’s overall guiding skills (not just wilde wrangling) were excellent and made all aspects of our safari a tremendous success. And a really fun time.  I’d definitely recommend Joshua of The Wild Source for Northern Serengeti in particular, but I also hope to travel to other parts of Tanzania with him as my guide someday. No better endorsement than that!

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Estimated 350 wildebeest, Crossing Point Between #7b & Hippo Pool, Observed from Lamai, 4 Aug at 17:25 for 7 minutes

 

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Estimated 350 wildebeest, Crossing Point Between #7b & Hippo Pool, Observed from Lamai, 4 Aug at 17:25 for 7 minutes

 

To be continued

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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wow, that is wildebeest overload! But the photos are fantastic. You may recall that I really hated the wildebeest crossings when we were in the Mara, and swore I never wanted to see another. But I do love your photos :) and I can "enjoy" the crossings without having to actually be there, lol.

 

And I remember now how great your trip reports always are, with graphs, charts, and maps like no others! Glad to read another one! Did you get any cat action? 

 

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wow you had incredible sightings of the crossings. the two persons on the banks have a death wish but i blame the guides/drivers for not properly instructing them. but of course if they are self drivers.... eeks. 

 

I'm very interested in the ruaha portion! can't wait for you to get there.....

 

 

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21 hours ago, janzin said:

wow, that is wildebeest overload! But the photos are fantastic. You may recall that I really hated the wildebeest crossings when we were in the Mara, and swore I never wanted to see another. But I do love your photos :) and I can "enjoy" the crossings without having to actually be there, lol.  At your service.

 

And I remember now how great your trip reports always are, with graphs, charts, and maps like no others! Thanks!  Glad to read another one! Did you get any cat action? 

Yes, in Northern Serengeti we saw

-2 cheetah bros in Lamai which I had an opportunity to look for several times, but once sufficed when there were wildes congregating riverside.

-a mother leopard and her nearly adult female offspring and the mother leopard had a new brood of 3 tiny cubs where  I got a momentary glimpse (no photo) of one of the cubs hidden in the kopjes.  This was Kogatende

-In Lamai, a lion pride of about 3 males, 4 females, and 4 cubs that were dispersed over a small area in Lamai.  I was especially pleased with the active, playful cubs

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Early morning in Lamai

 

Quote

 

 

6 hours ago, Kitsafari said:

wow you had incredible sightings of the crossings. the two persons on the banks have a death wish but i blame the guides/drivers for not properly instructing them. but of course if they are self drivers.... eeks.   There needs to be a counterbalancing force to the power of the tip or the threat of no tip for the guides.

 

I'm very interested in the ruaha portion! can't wait for you to get there.....until it appears, which should be in a day or two, this is a good overview composite shot near the confluence of the Mwgusi and Great Ruaha Rivers with waterbuck, distant impala, even more distant zebra, and the ever-present eles approaching for a drink, baobabs looming in the background.

1610352946_0R3M7A2949elesandwaterbuckinRuaha(2).jpg.a0b1db950ec41a504d6c6c79d36435d3.jpg

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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Pre-safari:

What a coincidence!  In June a friend of mine asked me to join her at a Tanzania-themed dinner at a church in Racine, Wisconsin.  It was Tanzanian cuisine, prepared by the Tanzanian husband of the minister.  The special guest at the dinner was a pastor from Mt. Meru Tumaini Health Clinic in Ndoombo, Tanzania.  He was the brother of the minister’s husband. 

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The clinic is located between Kilimanjaro Airport and Arusha.  Perfect to make a delivery of items the clinic might need.  And what did they want?  Tums! These over-the-counter chewable tasty antacid tablets are not available in Tanzania.  But I was cautioned to bring no more than five bottles because bringing in more might cause problems in customs if I were searched and mistaken for an evil Tums dealer.

 

How odd that a clinic named Tumaini would request bottles of Tums.  I chose the Assorted Fruits.

 

The Wild Source Arusha staff knew about the clinic and arranged for a complimentary stop there with my Tums, after landing on the way to my hotel.  Sounds like an easy add-on, but the drive up the hill to the clinic, after leaving the highway, took 45 minutes over very difficult “roads” to cover just a few kilometers.  Thank you to The Wild Source for including this stop at no extra cost!

 

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Estimated 20,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 7 Aug at 9:19 for 16 minutes

 

 

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Estimated 350 wildebeest, Crossing Point Between #7b & Hippo Pool, Observed from Lamai, 4 Aug at 17:25 for 7 minutes

 

 

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Estimated 350 wildebeest, Crossing Point Between #7b & Hippo Pool, Observed from Lamai, 4 Aug at 17:25 for 7 minutes

 

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Estimated 500 wildebeest, Crossing point #7a, Observed from Lamai, 8 Aug at 14:22 for 23 minutes

 

 

To be continued

Edited by Atravelynn
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On safari in Northern Serengeti:

The general schedule was 6 am departure, look for predators in the morning, hang around the river from mid-morning on, then sometimes look for other animals later in the afternoon.  Back to camp at 6 pm or after.  

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Lions in Lamai Wedge

 

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Lilac Breasted Rollers

 

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Lilac Breasted Roller

 

 

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Bateleur and Tawny Eagle, both interested in the same morsel, not in each other.

 

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Estimated 350 wildebeest, Crossing Point Between #7b & Hippo Pool, Observed from Lamai, 4 Aug at 17:25 for 7 minutes

 

The behavior of a wildebeest herd can be frustrating and unpredictable for observers along the river waiting for a crossing.  My 50 years as a Chicago Cubs fan served me well as psychological preparation for the erratic whims of the wildes because I had been conditioned to accept disappointment of getting so close to a goal, only to fall short.  The Cubs eventually won the World Series in spectacular fashion and the wildebeest eventually crossed the Mara, often in spectacular fashion.

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Estimated 20,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 7 Aug at 9:19 for 16 minutes

 

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Estimated 20,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 7 Aug at 9:19 for 16 minutes

 

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Estimated 350 wildebeest, Crossing Point Between #7b & Hippo Pool, Observed from Lamai, 4 Aug at 17:25 for 7 minutes

 

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Estimated 350 wildebeest, Crossing Point Between #7b & Hippo Pool, Observed from Lamai, 4 Aug at 17:25 for 7 minutes

 

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Estimated 350 wildebeest, Crossing Point Between #7b & Hippo Pool, Observed from Lamai, 4 Aug at 17:25 for 7 minutes

 

From my perspective, sitting near the riverbank and watching those dithering herds, the wildebeest appeared to lack courage and conviction.  They continually waited for a leader that often never materialized.  When a leader did finally come forward, it often led them all back into the woodlands, where they scattered fearfully, instead crossing the river toward green grass.  Hours later the herd would regroup with new purpose, but ultimately never find the easy sloping path down the bank to the river that seemed to be right in front of them.  Egyptian Geese or an egret might flutter in, sending the herd fleeing back to the woodlands once again.  Won’t they ever learn?! Such stupid creatures!

 

Of course, not being a wildebeest, I have no idea what was actually going on in their brains and why they behaved as they did.   It made me wonder if there are more intelligent beings watching us humans, might they derive similar conclusions about our collective behavior as I did watching the wildebeests?

 

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Estimated 350 wildebeest, Crossing Point Between #7b & Hippo Pool, Observed from Lamai, 4 Aug at 17:25 for 7 minutes

 

 

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Estimated 7,500+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 5 Aug at 12:20 for 25 minutes

 

 

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Estimated 200 wildebeest, Crossing Point #7a, Observed from Lamai, 8 Aug at 12:31 for 10 minutes

 

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Estimated 40 wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Kogatende, 2 Aug at 11:34 for 4 minutes –

Just 45 minutes into our first drive we saw a small herd cross.  Only at Crossing Point #4

and only on the Kogatende side is it allowed to exit the vehicle and stand in the brush.  This is the only photo taken on foot.

 

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Estimated 20,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 7 Aug at 9:19 for 16 minutes

 

 

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Estimated 7,500+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 5 Aug at 12:20 for 25 minutes

 

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Estimated 20,000+ wildebeest, Crossing Point #4, Observed from Lamai, 7 Aug at 9:19 for 16 minutes

 

To be continued

Edited by Atravelynn
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The Quote of the Trip – unfit for printing

 

While sitting and waiting for the wildebeest to make up their feeble minds on what to do, it was often possible to hear the conversations from other vehicles in near proximity.  An American woman in the vehicle next to ours took out her phone to show the guide her pet cockatiel.  This woman then proceeded to provide a description of the bird’s x-rated antics, captured on her phone. The Quote of the Trip is her narration, which shall remain only a disturbing memory for me.   If I was uncomfortable overhearing her a vehicle away, I can only imagine the poor guide who had a front row seat to the bird show and her voice over.  That incident supports my theory that school nurses, ER docs, and safari guides have seen and heard it all. 

 

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Birds exhibiting exemplary behavior, in contrast to the video cockatiel

 

In our vehicle we whiled away the hours waiting for the wildes to cross with a more wholesome pastime--Swahili lessons, such as counting to ten.

 

1 - moja

2 - mbili

3 – tatu

4 – nne

5 – tano

6 – sita

7 – saba

8 – nane

9 – tisa

10- kumi

 

When I got to #10, sometimes I mispronounced kumi (Koo-mee) and flipped the sounds around for Kee-moo and then sometimes I got it more mixed up and said Kima, (kee-ma).  That made Josh laugh because he told me I was starting to pronounce the Swahili word that means bed-wetting for ladies. Oh no! I was devolving to the level of the bird flick and commentary next door.

 

Josh told me he had seen hippos intervene to thwart a croc’s attack on a wildebeest.  It looked like that might happen for us, but the hippos stopped short of interfering.  We discussed what might motivate the hippos—mere interest in checking out a commotion, dislike of crocs that may pose a threat to their own young, altruism...

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Croc attack on wildebeest calf where it appeared there might be hippo intervention. 

But there was not and the croc devoured the calf.

 

There were no intervening hippos and this wildebeest calf had no chance of escaping the crocodile.

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Hippos with no visible crocs:

 

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Hippos along the Mara River.  The hippo calf was estimated to be days old.

To be continued

Edited by Atravelynn
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Lots going on in Northern Serengeti besides the migration.  We spent a lot of time with a pride in Lamai Wedge, led by three brothers.  The pecking order among the three was evident.  At least two of the bros “got the girl” which is documented in the next photo if you can see it.

 

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2 lion couples in early morning

 

 

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We saw some members of this lion pride most of the days during my week’s visit

 

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I was told lions in Northern Serengeti have a more stable food source than their cousins down south in Ndutu.  When the wildebeest leave, there is a bigger resident population of other hoofed species in the north compared to in Ndutu.

 

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Lion cubs teethe just like human babies and gnawing a stick helps with irritated, itchy gums.

 

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There are 4 lion cubs participating in the group climb

 

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We were not doing illegal night drives.  These low-light shots were actually about 7:30 am on

an overcast day in a well-shaded area.

To be continued

Edited by Atravelynn
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duplicate

Edited by Atravelynn
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It is possible to see the Big 5 in Northern Serengeti, along with other popular species.

 

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I did not see a rhino (that’s why there’s a clipart rhino in the collage) however others who spent less time along the river did see one during my stay.  Rhino sightings during the migration were explained to me like this:  You know how locals who live in resort towns dread the influx of tourists during high season and lay low at these busy times?  Well, same thing with the rhinos when the wilde herds mob the area.  The rhinos literally lay low in the bushes and woodlands and steer clear of all the wildebeest hubbub.  Non-migration times are easier to see rhino.

 

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Leopard on Kogatende side, the first afternoon I arrived in N. Serengeti on Aug 2 and the following morning.

 

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Hooded Vulture

 

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Silverbird

 

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Paenungulata Photo—Elephants and hyrax are related, along with dugong and manatees, and belong to the clade (like a class of ancestors) Paenungulata.  For travelers who have been everywhere and have seen everything, there should be a Paenungulata Tour that could focus on elephants, hyrax, and dugong off the Kenyan coast.  Maybe advertise it right here on safaritalk!  The Paenungulata Tour sounds like one of those off-the-beaten path, special interest trips that @Sangeeta's Chalo Africa would run.

 

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Back at the Mara River...

 

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One croc in pursuit

 

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A second croc joins in

 

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Camp life

I shared time at Njozi with a group booked on The Wild Source’s Big Cat  trip. This group of about 8 (led by Deo and Fadhil) contained some very talented artists.  One guy brought beautiful notecards of hand painted scenes near his home as gifts to guides and travel mates.  Another women actually painted watercolor masterpieces right in the vehicle without dumping her supplies all over. That gives a whole new meaning to en plein air.  In contrast, I felt accomplished when I managed not to spill my juice box as we bounced along. Not only were these folks talented, but very enjoyable company around the campfire.

 

One of the campfire encounters I had with a lady from the Big Cat trip went like this:

 

BIG CAT TRIP LADY  I love your necklace.  That chunky medallion is so striking. Did you buy that at a local market here?

 

ME  Oh thank you, but it is just my headlamp from home that I am wearing around my neck.

 

Headlamp as an attractive safari accessory when not in use!  Perhaps I am a trendsetter.

 

Here is a re-enactment illustration of our conversation around the campfire. 

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A amazingly realistic depiction

 

Tents, food, staff, campfire and hors d’oeuvres around the campfire, at Njozi were all wonderful throughout my week’s stay.

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Njozi Camp

 

 

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The hospitality extended to the meals in the bush. 

 

To be continued

Edited by Atravelynn
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I had forgotten which crossing number we were at when we watched the only crossing we needed to see after the circus we witnessed.  After seeing your photos it was crossing #4 and that's why the people were out of their cars.

I'm not sure we would have spent more time waiting for other crossing the four days we were at Njozi Camp.  Our travel companions were getting kind of impatient the 2 or 3 hours we waited for the first one but it would have been nice to know that the other crossings were foot traffic free.

 

Great photos and always appreciate the detail and humor of your TR's.  Just keep on styling those neck lamps.

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I REALLY want to hear the Cockatiel conversation...I can't even imagine. :rolleyes:

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Christopher Moran

Loving the terrific trip report @Atravelynn.  We visited Kogatende and the Lamai exactly one week prior to you, and I have virtually identical crossing and hippo photos :-)   

We saw no crossings from the Kogatende side, but when on the Lamai we saw two fairly large crossings.  On the Lamai side there was probably five vehicles at a crossing, everyone inside, and on the Kogatende, maybe 30 vehicles, with most of the occupants out of their vehicles.   Later that evening, talking around the campfire to the guide John Moller, he said he saw one woman standing on the Kogatende side who narrowly avoided being skewered by a wildebeest..  She was standing on the edge of the cliff, with the animals crossing from her side to the other, when one wildebeest suddenly decided to climb back up and ran straight into her..  The wilde lowered his horns, and the woman just managed to swing her hips to the side, avoiding the 200kg creature as it ran past...  Very lucky.

 

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13 hours ago, mapumbo said:

I had forgotten which crossing number we were at when we watched the only crossing we needed to see after the circus we witnessed.  After seeing your photos it was crossing #4 and that's why the people were out of their cars.  Yup, #4 is the problem child--or can be.  It was at #4 that my most dramatic photos were taken with me on the Lamai side, but that was at 9:20 in the morning, before a lot of cars had amassed on the Kogatende side.

I'm not sure we would have spent more time waiting for other crossing the four days we were at Njozi Camp.  Our travel companions were getting kind of impatient the 2 or 3 hours we waited for the first one but it would have been nice to know that the other crossings were foot traffic free.  Only at #4 are people allowed out and that was adhered to from what I saw.  #4 is a fav with the wildes because it has a wide gentle slope downward on the Kogatende side.  It can be a long wait so it is good you got to see the wildebeest cross, plus all the rest that Northern Serengeti offers!

 

Great photos and always appreciate the detail and humor of your TR's.  Just keep on styling those neck lamps.  :P I should launch my own line.

 

12 hours ago, janzin said:

I REALLY want to hear the Cockatiel conversation...I can't even imagine. :rolleyes:   I'm trying to forget.

 

5 hours ago, Christopher Moran said:

Loving the terrific trip report @Atravelynn.  We visited Kogatende and the Lamai exactly one week prior to you, and I have virtually identical crossing and hippo photos :-)   Probably the same hippos and with the wildes going back and forth, it could be the same ones as well.  I believe the crossings between Kogatende and Lamai this year started right about the time you were there.

We saw no crossings from the Kogatende side, but when on the Lamai we saw two fairly large crossings.  On the Lamai side there was probably five vehicles at a crossing, everyone inside, and on the Kogatende, maybe 30 vehicles, with most of the occupants out of their vehicles.  That's a good comparison.  Later that evening, talking around the campfire to the guide John Moller, he said he saw one woman standing on the Kogatende side who narrowly avoided being skewered by a wildebeest..  She was standing on the edge of the cliff, with the animals crossing from her side to the other, when one wildebeest suddenly decided to climb back up and ran straight into her..  The wilde lowered his horns, and the woman just managed to swing her hips to the side, avoiding the 200kg creature as it ran past...  Very lucky.  I'll say!  Now that would be a video!

 

 

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