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Northern Tanzania Abundance, August 2018


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katon

sorry, was typing a reply to you, @caracal and somehow I hit enter before I meant to!  I wanted to say thanks for your feedback.  I also quite like the leaping wildebeest; he looked like he was flying right over the other one.. Amazing what instinct will do!  

I didn't know that klipspringers were particularly rare, so probably didn't honour that sighting as I could have, but now I know; thanks :)

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katon

Day 10: Mara back to Seronera via the Hippo Pool

 

Theme for the day:  Small wonders galore

We didn't try for another river crossing given the abundance the day before!  Instead we headed back towards the Tabora B gate; along the way admiring the kopjes and the hills covered in wildebeest like ants near an anthill.  We did enjoy one last sighting of a bunch of safari vehicles 'hiding' behind trees :)

trucks hiding behind trees

 

As we were getting close to the gate, we were treated to some lovely bird sightings:  a pair of Bateleur eagles doing a mating flight high up in the sky; a couple of ostrich flirting, and a profusion of storks.  Burning was happening to the side of the road, and that seemed to attract the storks - maybe small animals or bugs were getting flushed out by the heat that the storks could then eat.  They kept circling and then flying in for a landing, pecking around a bit, and taking off again over the fields, only to fly down somewhere else along the side of the fields being burned.

storks

 

Nearing the gate, we saw a (huge) monitor lizard close up, and watched some very busy Grey-capped Social Weavers during a brief stop.  We then drove back down and into the Serengeti, and made our way through lovely paths and along a river with hippos in it.  We saw some lovely little dik diks and eventually we came to the Hippo Pool, where the Hippos definitely showed off. 

Hippos

 

Little creatures on the way to and around the Hippo Pool (plus our monitor lizard from earlier):

small wonders

 

We also saw a Long-tailed cormorant at the Hippo Pool.  Driving in the Grumeti area, we saw Zebras, giraffes, a gorgeous Tawny Eagle in a tree, another D'Arnaud's Barbet, a Silverbird, a Cardinal Woodpecker displaying his tail feathers, a collection of Red-cheeked Cordon Bleu in the road, some Green-winged Pytilia, a Magpie Shrike, and a White-browed Coucal. 

 

Here are some of these fellows:  the two Bateleur Eagles from the morning, a Grey-capped Social Weaver frpm our gate stop, the Cardinal Woodpecker, the White-browed Coucal, the stunning Tawny Eagle and the Long-tailed Cormorant from the Hippo Pool.

birds

 

And some of our animal friends - plus the fascinating Whistling Thorn Acacia with it's symbiotic relationship with ants.  Apparently the (stinging) ants hollow out the bulbous thorns and create homes for themselves, which then discourages giraffes from eating these particular acacia because of the risk of ending up with a mouthful of stinging ants!  Plus I find these branches visually attractive with their silvery colour contrasted with the almost purplish-brown bulbs.

misc animals and whistling thorn acacia

 

We enjoyed a diversity of landscapes in this varied day, including a leopard from afar climbing a tree.  This was a day to feel the serenity of the Serengeti in many different guises.

Serenity of the Serengeti

 

The day ended with a lovely sunset as we drove towards our camp (Central Kati Kati again).

Serengeti Sunsets

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Oooh how my heart aches seeing this beautiful Serengetti sunset, memories of times gone by

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@Biko, here's one more sun in the Serengeti picture, just for you :)  This was actually a sunrise, but honestly, who can tell?

Sunrise with acacia

 

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Day 11: Out of the Serengeti

 

Theme for the day: an Auspicious Morning OR a Blaze of Glory - especially big cats!


The Serengeti decided to say farewell to us in a big way.  

We started off with a cheetah just as the sun was coming up.  The light kept changing on her moment by moment as she came towards us.

Cheetah in the morning light


Then just the tips of the ears of a serval out in the grass.  I would love to see one of these close up one day!

serval ears


Then a family of lionesses and their cubs playing together.

Lionesses and cubs in the morning light


Then a lion king.  Running through the grass, then out onto the plain, where he settled beneath a tree for a well-earned nap.

Aug13-Lion2.jpg.8b0582c1b501068ab0a2c006d6ad01f3.jpg


Then a few more sets of lions; a lioness with two cubs; a couple of other lionesses going to drink from a stream and our male lion from earlier caught up with us again, and a lion lying upside down in the grass - sunning his tummy?

lions, lionesses and cubs


Next up was a group of elephants.  The highlight was one little baby who seemed to be just discovering how her trunk worked.  She contorted it this way and that, played with it, and then spotted some guinea fowl and took off chasing them and trumpeting.  I got a few photos, but mostly video.  She was so sweet and had us all laughing!

baby elephant learning how her trunk works


The elephants were busy feeding and interacting with one another, and we stayed with them as long as we could, but eventually felt we needed to move on.

elephants galore

 
As if that wasn't enough glory for the day, we then encountered a leopard and cub.  We first saw her in the grass.  I was impressed how well they both blended into the grasses!  In the open, their colouring looks like it would stand out, but in the golds and browns of the Serengeti, they do almost disappear.  She parked the cub, and headed off on her own, presumably to hunt.  Definitely not in any hurry.  

leopard blending into grasses

 

She found a nice rock; climbed up and spent a long time basking in the sun, while still watching all around here.  There was a small group of gazelles off in the distance that were possibly a meal for later.  I was impressed by how she completely disappeared into the landscape, and wondered how the guides do it to spot these creatures at all in the first place!  

leopard on rock

 

We sat with her for close to an hour, and then really had to move on as we needed to get to Olea that evening, and still had a fair drive ahead of us.  

 

Very few birds today - but no wonder (and absolutely no complaints) with all the cats!  Here were our small collection:  A White-bellied bustard, a couple of Kori Bustards, another Wattled starling, and a Temminck's Courser.

birds


Just as we were leaving the park, the pair of Kori bustards and a Grey-backed Jackal said 'good bye; come again'. 

We drove out and through the Masaii lands with a combination of sadness to be leaving and huge appreciation for all the gifts the Serengeti had given us on this particular safari.  And also excited about some of the adventures still to come as we continued on to our next destinations.

jackal and views of the Masaii lands outside the Serengeti

 

 

 

IMG_6366-Aug13LeopardWithBorder.jpg

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that was a truly wonderful last day in the Serengetti. Looking forward to what comes next.

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