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Tanzania 2019- Northern Circuit Green Season


Amylovescritters
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Amylovescritters

Well after much procrastination I figure I better start this report already... We planned this trip for over a year and before I even get started I need to thank so many of the experts on this forum. Your input was truly invaluable. Many heartfelt thanks. 

After much deliberation to get our itinerary squared and incredible anticipation we ( me, the hubs, my mom, and our bffCraig) finally left forTZ on March 29th. Several long flights later we arrived at Kilimanjaro Airport on the 30th around 2030 (830pm). It really didn’t take too long to get through customs and obtain a visa. It was raining pretty hard and consistently upon arrival and continued for the night. Was I a little concerned? Nah. We were traveling with The Wild Source (cannot recommend them strongly enough they were a perfect fit for us and I am already planning Botswana with them) and were promptly met and transferred to Arumeru River Lodge for two nights. There were tiny frogs everywhere with the rains and I was already delighted... upon arrival we had some beers and quickly headed for our patios to watch the rains. All in all, we loved the lodge, the pool, and mostly the grounds with abundant dik dik, monkeys, and birds. We all slept and ate well in preparation for our safari beginning on April 1.

 

Our wonderful guide, Fadhil, met us at about 830am after suffering a flat tire and we were off, finally! The excitement was nearly too much. Lol. We stopped at a store in Arusha to hit an ATM and grab some snacks and beverages (adult and otherwise). Come on guys, hurry up!! The store was huge and immaculate. Better than many in the states. Fadhil said that most locals cannot afford to shop there and that it caters to tourists and folks working at a nearby consolate or embassies or something government related. Quite sad. Onward!

 

Traveling to Tarangire we drove by miles and miles of Masai cattle lands and several villages. It seems much in this area has been overgrazed beyond the point of any return... We continued on, clicking photos here and there of cattle, goats, donkeys, and villages. Oh the joy upon reaching the gate! 

 

We were immediately greeted by vervet monkeys and a myriad of wonderful birds, Buffalo weavers of several  species, starlings of several species, several species of hornbills, Mongoose etc. Herds were easily observed from the overlook tower. A cheeky monkey stole a sandwich while someone in our group was taking a pic (not me lol). After lunch we were off into the park... Yay! 

 

The rains had not really begun in earnest as of yet and the park was gloriously filled with game. Wildebeest, zebra, impala, giraffe, waterbuck, ostriches, elephants, dik dik, even saw a couple gemsbok/fringe-eared oryx. Birds galore, green and lush, and Baobabs in full leaf. This park really captured my heart. The landscape and essence is beyond words. Quintessential Africa.

The sighting of the day was a large, breeding herd of elephants at a beautiful river. Tiny calf along with a cornucopia of ages. Perfect. Definitely an overwhelming day of game but the ellies won the day for sure... It would not be the only time they would. 

 

We stayed at Tarangire Safari Lodge for 2 nights and loved it. Will stay longer next time. The view is quite likely the most fetching of any I have experienced. For us it was heaven. Not fancy, but rather just simple and comfortable. As our first camp it fit the bill perfectly. We had bungalows rather than tents. Afforded us a bit more privacy and room. Food was spectacular and the pool refreshing. Did I mention the terrace paradise and perfectly glorious views over the valley and river? Ok. Enjoyed drinks gazing over nature’s handy work. Heard lions nearby, chuffing loudly. This went on all night. Staff were nervously keeping watch. Will they show up? 

Our second game drive began with a bang. Lionesses (4 observed and one was collared) hunting no more than minutes from the lodge. Apparently the collared beauty has a bad, dangerous habit of leaving park boundaries and they are trying to keep track of her. The day provided more elephants, one experience where a matriarch let us know in no uncertain terms who was boss and to keep our safe distance from her family... within 5-6ft of our cruiser. Everyone just froze in amazement, and for my first time safari fellow travelers, maybe a bit of fear. Lol You never forget the 1st time this happens. Mine happened in Kenya2004... Needless to say, chalk up another winning sighting to these damn pachyderms. Lol. 

We had great sightings down at Silale, too. 5 young lions lounging under a tree fascinated by the osprey perched above them, a hippo, more ellies, just perfection. Upon return to TSL three elephants decided to visit, passing right by our bungalows. This was an all day game drive. Sadly, our last except for our exit the following day. Oh, yes we were christened into the “I’m being eaten alive by tsetse flies” club in wooded areas. Worth it, 100%. 

We savored the splendor of the views our last night and the following morning. As we game drove out, heading to Ngorongoro crater, all the game seemed to appear to bid us adieu... Until next time critters, see you again one day. Oh, wait... Forgot our boxed lunches. Hi again, critters! Lol

 

Next up, the crater!

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Amylovescritters

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Amylovescritters

The lions under the tree were by Silale Swamp and they were mesmerized by an osprey perched in the tree above them. Also meant to crop/ edit a few of these a bit more... I am no photographer. Loved my Nikon Cool Pix P900 though.

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Amylovescritters

This is my first ST Trip Report... A little intimidating. And not to jump ahead too much but just because of the interest here’s a few pics of my pangolin. I did ge a good look at the entire animal but I’m afraid the only picsI managed were basically scales and brush. Lol

I was relishing the moment and did not want to be struggling with a camera and miss anything. 

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Amylovescritters

I believe  those two photos of the European Roller were the only onesI managed. Flighty booger’s compared to LBR. We saw them regularly throughout our safari.

Edited by Amylovescritters
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offshorebirder
57 minutes ago, Amylovescritters said:

I was relishing the moment and did not want to be struggling with a camera and miss anything. 

 

I know exactly what you mean and agree 100% @Amylovescritters.

 

That is one amazing Baobab.

 

Fun and interesting Trip Report so far and thanks for the postings.  

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Hard to beat a pangolin, but a nice find to get oryx in Tarangire. We tried for them last time we were there but they weren't in the area our guide said he usually found them. 

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Tarangire really produced for you.  I recognized several areas in your photos from when we were in Tarangire a year ago in August.  

Was the hammerkop nest on the way out of the park on the left hand side of the road?

Those dik dik photos were as good as they get...the one resting in the sunlight is spectacular.

Pangolin, wow and wow again.

Edited by mapumbo
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Thoroughly enjoying this TR. Adorable baby elephants (can never get enough of elephants) but OMG!!!!!- a pangolin. So jealous :)

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Game Warden

Well I would have been very happy to get that pangolin sighting :) Tarangire looks to have given you some great sightings. Hope this trip report influences more of us to go there...

 

Matt

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Amylovescritters

@mapumbo I believe so... and thanks. I cannot take credit for that photo though, as my friend Craig took it, but he did use my camera ;)

yes, @Game Warden, I was ecstatic over the pangolin. I fell completely head over heels in love with Tarangire. I will definitely return and spend a good three nights. 

@Zubbie15 the Oryx were beautiful but unfortunately we did not get any decent photos. We saw two relatively close up but we were switching camera batteries and before you knew it elephants had entered the picture and the oryx had moved into trees. Saw 4 more via binos from the terrace at Tarangire Safari Lodge, too, but too far to get a decent pic... Hoping for the bigger Oryx in Kalahari.

Thanks for all the positive feedback. Going to try and tackle Ngorongoro Crater portion today, but we shall see what pops up to interfere with plans...

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Amylovescritters

Few more pics from Tarangire 

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Amylovescritters

After two nights at TSL and far too short a Tarangire visit we headed off to Ngorongoro Crater for our first decent into the largest unbroken caldera on the planet and the veritable bowl of wildlife it contains...

Along the way we stopped in Mto wa Mbu for gas and red bananas... YUM. Also got swarmed by locals selling goods/souvenirs. Would much rather support local economy than buy from most lodges so we acquiesced and bought some jewelry and scarves happily, bartering away. Back on the road...

As we continued climbing towards the Ngorongoro area the landscape grew thicker, greener, and the air cooler. The smell of this fertile ground and the coffee farms it famously supports permeated all around us. As Fadhil mentioned, the Masai lucky enough to reside and graze here have won the Tanzanian lottery. Very little chance of losing grazing quality here. Very stunning drive. 

Views afforded over the crater are truly awe-inspiring. It like arriving to Jurassic Park. Everything along the way to the crater is jungle-like, with trees towering and vines entwined in branches, cascading down to the ground. I do not know if I would have been more surprised to encounter a T-Rex or Tarzan... I may not have been surprised by either in retrospect.

Upon arriving at the gate we immediately noticed opportunistic baboons and vervet monkeys looking to grab lunch from ill-prepared tourists. It wouldn’t be us today, as our group learned that lesson in Tarangire. Lol We enjoyed our lunch while Fadhil took care of entrance formalities when a very familiar, loud cry reverberated in our ears... ELEPHANT and very close. A bull had decided to hang out essentially at the gate. Omg, I love Africa. When I used the facilities it sounded as though he might interrupt me mid stream. Lol Sorry, TMI but it was hilarious. In truth he was probably a good 1000ft or so away but it sounded like he was marching around and hollering 2ft away. Again, I love Africa.

Finally, we embarked on our first decent into the crater. It was cool, crisp, and overcast , maybe 70degrees F, a welcome change after the warm temps in Tarangire. Not the best for photography but very comfortable for game driving. Our fist view drew gasps. Truly unreal and truly reminds me of Jurassic Park. We winded on and on, down, down, down. Birds were plentiful along the road. 

Our first sighting would be a new species on the trip, big beautiful elands. Managed a few pics. We continued on, Grants gazelle, another new species for this safari. Flamingos, lions in the distance, elephants, zebra, wildebeest, everything green and indescribably lush. So serene but I was struck by how confining a space it proved. I felt almost sad for the species living in this gorgeous bowl, worried for genetic variability immediately. I knew going in this was the case but it struck me instantly as I gazed upon their limited habitats. 

It didn’t take long before we happened upon our target species here, Black Rhino. A huge bull maybe 250-300m off lying down. We took our place among 4-5 other vehicles (not too bad really). Once parked it was mere minutes before a hyena wandered too close and this Goliath beast rose, visibly agitated, and took a stance that firmly let the hyena know it had best skidaddle the other way, and fast! It did. No question or dissent. We stayed with this big guy for some time but he simply went back to lying down for R&R. We got word of a cow and large calf not far from our location and headed out in hopes of closer and more active rhino action...

The cow and calf were indeed a bit closer, maybe 150yards or so. They were lying down when we arrived but soon got up to graze/browse about. We stayed with them until it was time to head for Sopa lounge as the sun started waning. 

We came upon a big, gorgeous, black maned, but older looking lion fellow smack dab roadside otw out and stopped for a few photos. He wasn’t very interested in waking up, though. Still a great sighting. We arrived to the Sopa Lodge and were wowed, just as promised, by the views. It is a large,comfortable, brick and mortar lodge. Totally fit the bill but admittedly lacked the charm of TSL. The guys loved it, my mom and I missed TSL. Different strokes... 

We got settled for our one-night stay, got some drinks, and watched an incredible sunset over the crater. We watched the Masai show, had a fairly good dinner, and then retired. We would be leaving at dawn for an early morning decent in the morning before moving on to Ndutu with a stop otw at Olupai Gorge. 

We slept well and were out before light. We were one of the first to get to the crater floor, and things started slowly, with birds, ellies, large troop of baboons, but turned into some Nat Geo worthy experiences before we could say “Simba.” 

We got word that while we were on the opposite end of the crater, a life and death drama was unfolding. Two male lions were working to separate a buffalo calf from its large heard. The fight and strategizing was ongoing. We raced to the site, safely but expeditiously. We arrived for the kill but missed exactly how these two gorgeous beasts had managed to get the calf isolated to grab it. The kill was over very quickly but what ensued was amazing. Several of the large bulls began surrounding the lions who were on the calf. They encroached closer and closer, heads and horns down to essentially force the lions off the calf. They did just that, and the lions retreated to brush some 300 yards out.

The herd encircled the dead calf, smelling and attempting to rouse it. The cow whose calf lay dead spent several minutes trying to rouse the calf before making peace with her offspring’s untimely demise. The entire herd then headed out, moving far away from the kill area and marauding lions. The lions returned to claim their hard fought kill. It surely wouldn’t be enough to hold these big guys for long, but good enough for today. They looked a bit thin and definitely needed the meal. As I understand they need to consume some 20% of their body weight pretty much every day or so... 

Life and death are intimately linked here, and it wasn’t long before another drama unfolded. Hyenas viciously attacked a zebra foal, but abandoned the attempt as they apparently deemed the risk too high when the dazzle rallied to the foals defense. Sadly, the damage was done. Though the poor, doomed soul didn’t realize it, and marched on bravely on adrenaline and shock, it surely wouldn’t survive the night. Too much damage. We had to leave for Ndutu so I cannot guarantee which predator benefited in the aftermath, but there is no doubt the animal was doomed and would be finished off soon. 

Another sighting proved both inspiring and concerning. A buffalo cow with a freshly newborn calf in tow was desperately on the move to get back to her herd... Miles away from where she had apparently separated to give birth. They were making good time but oh so much real estate and so many predators likely laid between them and the herd. Every action, a reaction, for every plus, a minus, every up, there is down. Light and dark. A buffalo calf lost, replaced miraculously by new life. We wished this beautiful duo a safe journey back to the safety of their herd... A bit of luck, a balancing of today’s equation of loss... God’s speed to you both.

We made the long trek out of the crater and arrived at Oldupai Gorge around 1400/2pm, give or take. We enjoyed the lunch, new museum, amazing birds and agama lizards, an excellent lecture/presentation overlooking the gorge, and then embarked on our continued journey to Ndutu. The scenery as we traveled towards Ndutu and the view over the plains is completely stunning and breathtakingly indescribable. What could Ndutu possibly have in store?Could we actually have even more astonishing sightings? We shall see next installment...

 

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Amylovescritters

So cannot seem to attach my video  of lion/buffalo interactions :(

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@mapumbo I believe so... and thanks. I cannot take credit for that photo though, as my friend Craig took it, but he did use my camera ;)

yes, @Game Warden, I was ecstatic over the pangolin. I fell completely head over heels in love with Tarangire. I will definitely return and spend a good three nights. 

@Zubbie15 the Oryx were beautiful but unfortunately we did not get any decent photos. We saw two relatively close up but we were switching camera batteries and before you knew it elephants had entered the picture and the oryx had moved into trees. Saw 4 more via binos from the terrace at Tarangire Safari Lodge, too, but too far to get a decent pic... Hoping for the bigger Oryx in Kalahari.

Thanks for all the positive feedback. Going to try and tackle Ngorongoro Crater portion today, but we shall see what pops up to interfere with plans...

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Having embarked on the journey from the crater to Oldupai Gorge, we pressed on headed for Ndutu. This would be the first, true, small, intimate tented camp experience (and the only mobile option of our safari), Njozi Ndutu. The camp is owned and operated by The Wild Source and also serves as a research base. Two resident biologist researchers are on site to share knowledge of research and enhance the experience. As we continued to descend into the plains the views were magnificent. We began seeing herds of Thompson’s gazelle and the ecosystem grew more and more arid. 

 

Among our first of many phenomenal sightings were elands rubbing there heads in the salty, alkaline mud near the lake. Apparently, this behavior makes it difficult for certain boring parasites to infect them. I wish I remembered every detail, but we were quite weary after a very long haul and day, and  I truly Ido not remember every detail. Another really cool sighting was a secretary bird in a nest. We watched her successfully hunt a smallish mammal on the ground ( squirrel possibly) and return to the nest. She appeared to drop the prey into the tree the nest was in and continued sticking her head down into the far reaches of the tree. We chuckled, assuming she’d fumbled the kill. To our amazement out of the confines of the tree popped out a huge fledgling! He had the prize and consumed it readily. So much for our fumbling bird, eh? Judgmental humans are often WRONG. Anyhow, we watched these beautiful birds a bit, as both eventually flew ( one considerably better at it than the other) to the ground to resume hunting. On we pressed. 

 

Tons of giraffe, several topi (one of my favs), wildies, zebra, impala, lovebirds, many birds truth be told... We continued on, observing game as we approached camp. By now it was nearly 1700/5pm. We came upon a younger bull elephant, Stubborn boy as he was known, literally meters from camp. So cool. Nothing better than a welcoming from an elephant. Well, the welcome we got upon arrival from the Njozi camp crew was a very close 2nd. Lol... We felt like family being welcomed home. This is partly because for Fadhil, it was his homecoming. He also works from this camp researching when not guiding, and the respect he garnered from the other staff and the other TWS guide made it clear how lucky we were to have him guiding us and be traveling with TWS.

 

The camp was wonderful... across a small ravine we watched giraffe, impala, zebra, wildie, and an occasional elephant (you know who) moving about... The sound of birds filled the air as a multitude of species darted about foraging, perched watching, flew overhead hunting. Definitely my kind of camp already and I haven’t even seen the tent. 

 

We shared a large family tent. Two double occupancy tents joined by a common area. Perfect for us. Beautifully appointed and so comfy. In room electricity with several options for charging cameras. Yay. The main, common areas were comfy and enjoyable. Soon the cocktail cart was rolled out and we happily imbibed. Watching the sunset was magic. My hubby and mom were having some stomach issues but began taking their antibiotics and turned in early. Food was plentiful and yummy, especially the soup. We had an early game drive planned so we all were asleep relatively early. Listening to the ungulates move about camp so close was fantastic. We could just make out the lions calling in the distance... The whooping of the hyena were not so far. 

 

The next morning found my mom and hubby, Greg,  not really feeling well, so Craig and I headed out with Fadhil, breakfast packed, with high hopes for cats. The day would not disappoint. Among tons of game viewing this particular drive would be all about cheetahs, and one very good serval sighting. Had a caracal sighting, as well, but it as quite fleeting.

 

Our first cheetah was a beautiful female, possibly pregnant according to Fadhil based on her behavior. Apparently, it is very difficult to tell they are pregnant until they are quite far along. She lazed, and then would get up and mosey along. We kept thinking she might hunt, but no such luck. She wandered and then rested on several occasions. Then a serval decided to wander along behind us, hunting. It was not concerned with the cheetah as she was resting, completely sprawled out under brush, likely unaware the gorgeous, little feline was around. It gave a bit of a show for a few minutes before disappearing into a thicket. Awesome.

 

Then Fadhil got a call from Sosy, the other Wild Source guide staying at Njozi with another group of safari goers. They work in tandem, heading in different areas to maximize chances of finding exceptional sightings. Sosy reported he had one. A female cheetah had killed a wildie calf, drug it under a small tree, and was enjoying her spoils very near our camp. Upon arrival she was gorging herself, stopping every 5minutes or so to catch her breath, panting heavily. We watched her consume as much as she possibly could and then she headed to have a drink, lakeside. She continued on. Fadhil said. “She has cubs in the area.” We followed a good distance behind and sure enough, she did. Stowed in a thicket were at least three tiny cubs, eyes not even open. We watched quietly and respectfully from a distance. 

 

Low and behold, another vehicle showed up. I was mortified. Had we just blown this family’s safe cover? We grew concerned as a couple more vehicles drove up. Fadhil got in contact with the two resident researchers at Njozi and let them know what was happening. They work to help The Cheetah Conservation Project and also in conjunction with rangers. They assured us they would contact both to see how to handle the situation. We left after letting the other guides know that they were too close and that rangers were being notified. We didn’t even get pics for fear of going too close and upsetting the animals. Later the two resident biologists returned to the family after speaking with the cheetah research folks and the ranger, neither of which were in the area. They were told to ensure people kept their distance and that further action would likely be taken to discourage encroachment. We felt awful, if anything happened because we showed less reputable guides of their whereabouts I would never forgive myself. We knew news would spread like wildfire and it did. Luckily, the family was in good hands for now. 

 

We returned around 1330/130pm for lunch to check on Greg and my mom. They still weren’t feeling good, sadly. 

 

There’s much more to come on the evening game drive, though once again it would be only Craig and I who would witness it. PART 2 Ndutu soon...

And pics soon to follow.

 

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Unfortunately, my mom and Greg were still having stomach issues and not feeling up to a game drive in the late afternoon (I would be so devastated to miss an entire day). They were happy hanging out at camp resting, getting their tummy issues worked out, and watching game wander by. Lots of giraffes, antelope, birdlife , and of course, Stubborn Boy, hanging around.

 

Craig and I joined Fadhil on a mission to find lions... Which we managed to accomplish relatively quickly.We knew there was a local pride with seven cubs and found most the pride, but no cubs. We watched the interactions, reveling in their beauty and majesty. Sadly, the ruling coalition of male lions in this area have been suffering some sort of malady, wasting away to nothing. There are efforts underway to get to the bottom of this horrific plight, including blood work and genetic sequencing since it appears to only effect males. The only male remaining is gorgeous and appears healthy but is simply not interested in mating or ruling, apparently. Fadhil said he is scared of the ladies and responsibility. Lol.

 

At any rate we watched these cats most of the evening. Had a nice herd of breeding elephants, more bat eared foxes, leopard tortoise, more of the tail end of the migration still in the area, and so much more. We returned for sundowners and dinner, which was delicious, and turned in. Tomorrow we would leave at dawn with breakfast packed. Mom and Greg would be joining us. I really yearned for all day outings, but my mom and Greg were still not 100% and I’m afraid the rest of my group simply weren’t as gung ho as I. Lol. Oh well...

 

The next morning we happened upon a female cheetah and her three teenagers, lol. We spent the majority of our morning and then some with them, thinking we would get lucky enough to see a hunt. We watched as it seemed she was teaching some pointers on stalking. For a moment we thought the hunt was on, but mama backed off after one of the older cubs seemed to blow cover, sending the thommies scattering. They nuzzled and played, wandered, rested, and teased us with the promise of a hunt for hours. We had breakfast with them...

 

As the morning was moving towards afternoon we decided to move on, seeing more of all the usual suspects and enjoying every moment. We returned to camp around 1300/1pm for lunch. Greg was still having stomach issues and fancied a nap. He would be the only one to pass on the late afternoon game drive. It would be a choice he regretted.

 

Our game drive this afternoon would deliver one of the most remarkable wildlife experiences of my life. We came across two, beautiful lionesses. Fadhil was very familiar with the duo. The larger cat was Whitey, a legend among cats in Ndutu. The other cat was her daughter. Whitey began calling as we parked nearby, hoping for magic. She continued calling and it wasn’t long before little, chubby, cubs began emerging. She greeted them all with nuzzles and licks. Her daughter, too, arose to greet the furry bundles. The cubs belonged to both Whitey and her daughter. Whitey, at over 8yrs is still reproducing successfully and essentially leads this pride in the absence of viable males. 6 beautiful cubs romped and played with both mamas... Wait, Whitey quickly realizes the count is off and begins calling repeatedly and moving out until the missing cub bounces out of grasses. Ok, family accounted for.

 

A little history on Whitey... She has been a successful queen of this realm for nearly a decade. As mentioned, she basically has legend status here with resident biologists and guides who have come to know her and her story. Fadhil, lucky for us, has known her almost all of his guiding life. Several years ago, there was a takeover of the pride by a marauding coalition. The resident males were displaced and Whitey knew this would mean death to the precious cubs of the pride. She took her and her sisters cubs (8total I believe) and fled southwest, leaving behind the lionesses willing to allow the males to takeover. She successfully raised the cubs independently somehow. She triumphantly returned some year or so later with the now young lions. Low and behold, the displaced males (and fathers to the cubs she raised), came back bent on reclaiming the pride. She assisted with them doing just that. Truly a once in a lifetime cat, me thinks. So honored to share time and spare with her and her family. A truly humbling experience.

 

We watched the family nurse, play, bond, and then an amazing sighting occurred. A caracal came wandering down a green hillside. It was a bit of a distance but not for my binos. Got a great view of this beautiful kitty before it disappeared into grasses. Just then a herd of wildebeest appeared on the horizon, moving down the same hill straight for us. Would the gals hunt? The family clearly had not missed any meals recently but this was too good of an opportunity to pass on. The two lionesses began to pay very close attention to the approaching herd.

 

The cubs were told to stay put and still, and amazingly they did just that. Whitey got in place for the initial ambush while her daughter moved out, heading out beyond our vehicle (one other vehicle, Sosy and his group from The Wild Source and our camp Njozi, where present). I worried we were too close and might interfere with signaling between the cats in preparation for the hunt. As I understand they signal with ear motions... But moving the vehicles would surely spook the herd. We stayed put in silence.

 

Whitey made her move, graceful, powerful, and fast, managing to separate a cow and calf from the herd and force them in the direction her daughter had headed... One problem, her daughter had moved beyond our vehicles but didn’t move south to where Whitey was driving the calf. Missed opportunity and definitely not Whitey’s fault. Fadhil said he wasn’t sure if we had impeded by blocking their sight lines for communication. I was positive we had. Apparently, Whitey’s daughter is not the huntress Whitey is but I still felt guilty. The only solace was that all had full bellies and the missed meal did not hurt them tonight.

 

We watched the mamas greet the cubs upon returning from the foiled hunt. Another round of nursing and bonding ensued. This was arguably the most intimate, special sighting of the Safari. We spent about two hours so close to this family. They began to wander off. We had to head back to camp anyhow... Fortunate beyond belief, again so humbled and grateful, and completely in love with Whitey. Fadhil mentioned how devastating it will be to him and all a Njozi when her day comes. He has known her nearly all of his adult life and worked studying her days, months, years. Respect. He said if he were to get a tattoo it would be of this queen of the plains. I understand the sentiment.

 

Maybe she will be my third, lol...

 

We returned to camp still in awe. Poor Greg missed this Nat Geo experience, sadly. This is why I’d NEVER skip a game drive unless I am sure I’m dying. Lol. We had the most amazing send off our last night at Njozi. Singing, music, dancing, traditional foods for dinner, cake, and green banana soup. Perfect night and perfect camp. I still could not stop thinking about Whitey and her family. I still cannot.

 

Tomorrow we leave for the grand finale: The Serengeti.

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Amylovescritters

Will try and post Ndutu pics asap...

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Pics are coming

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Alexander33

Wow, pangolin and serval and caracal, all in the space of how many days?

 

It looks like you had a really special safari — and it’s not even over!

 

I’ve not been to Tanzania yet, and I’ve definitely been contemplating the April/May offseason (and least in terms of lower visitor numbers in the North, especially Ngorongoro). Your comments about wanting to spend a little more time in Tarangire definitely resonate. What about at the Crater?  I know it’s a relatively small area, but there’s so much to find in that space. Did you also wish for more time there?

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Amylovescritters

@Alexander33Indeed we had an extraordinary safari experience in two weeks and I am not even to the Central Serengeti yet (well I jumped forward to pangolin). Lol...I felt as though my two descents and one night were sufficient for the crater but I could see spending an extra night or two there for a walk on the rim or nearby hike and maybe one more descent. It is absolutely beautiful but it is a relatively small area. Absolutely chucked full of animals, though. I didn’t feel it demanded it, though. Tarangire did for me. You should definitely go. I would strongly recommend April (or May)...

Edited by Amylovescritters
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Wow! Looks like a great trip.  I am really enjoying following your report.  I just planned my first safari to Africa for next February, and part of it will be Ngorongoro, Ndutu and Central Serengeti.  Waiting to read more.

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Amylovescritters

@solpics you are a lucky person. You will have the experience of a lifetime for sure! We certainly did... I will do my best to get to CS this week ;)

We, well my mom and I, are thinking of trying to make it to Botswana early next year. We shall see if we can make it work. If not 2021.

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