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A very short trip report on Tanzania


tonypark
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Hi All,

 

After 15 years of travelling around southern Africa I finally made it to the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania, in January 2010. Mrs P and I travelled with Maasai Wanderings, an excellent operator.

 

And yes, if you haven't been, they were all they were all they were cracked up to be.

 

Highlights (and there were so many), were two hyena catching and devouring a wildebeest in the Serengeti, a serval feeding on an oribi (the only oribi I've ever seen), and a lovely sighting of black rhino in the Ngorongoro caldera.

 

In lieu of a proper trip report, I've put some photos on my flickr account here:

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Tony, no doubt about it, you are an artist. A fine set of photos which I would have been proud to call my own. Death by hyaena is about as gruesome as it gets … I always thought it would be best to be killed by a solo predator because they really can't eat you alive.

 

Your lion with the zebras and wildebeest in the background was a standout but there were quite a few others which showed a really interesting angle and composition.

 

However, for an author, no words at all??? I suppose all that is in your blog! :)

Of course, you're probably all written out by now.

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Thanks Twaff - but how could I match your trip report! (it's lovely, by the way).

 

Interestingly, the lion with the zebras and wildebeest in the background was on a hunt of a different kind when I took that pic - he and his brother were chasing a lioness, not prey! It was amazing the way all the thousands of other animals had to 'give way' while this wild pursuit went on across the plains.

 

I'm just absolutely flat out at the moment doing edits on my next non fiction book, and trying to finish the next novel, so that's the excuse for so few words. Jetlag and several beers (the best cure for jetlag) allowed me to upload the photos last night but I was in no fit state to write any more.

 

As you know (though others may not) I did write quite a bit about this trip on my Getaway Magazine blog at www.getaway.co.za where I'm under the "blogs" tab.

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Fabulous photos. Love the serval pics & the cheetah family. Gotta feel for that poor wildebeest, though...

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Thanks Rick, and like Twaffle alluded to earlier getting eaten alive does not to wonders for your health record.

 

The hyenas (in fact it was just one of the two that did all the work, while the other held back), hit and severed the wildebeest's leg muscles so that it was hamstrung. It could barely stand, and couldn't even walk away. The hyena actually sat in the grass and rested for a while after their chase, and then got up and started eating the poor thing alive.

 

It's a jungle (well, short-grass plain) out there...

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tonypark

Posted Today, 11:02 PM

It's a jungle (well, short-grass plain) out there...

You do have a way with words, don't you...

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Tony,

 

Thank you for sharing these great photos - they are absolutely fantastic. I'm envious that you got to see a rhino in the crater, (I was quite disapointed not to see one when I visited a couple years ago). Oh, well I guess that's just a good excuse to return some day! There has been a lot of press about the increased number of visitors to the crater - did it feel crowded at all? When I was there in Aug 2007 we would see one or two other vehicles around but it was certainly less congested then the part of the serengeti we visited.

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Game Warden

It's like reading the blurb on the dust jacket, tempting you in... glad you had a great trip Tony. I got to see rhino as well in the crater in 2005. Like PT123, be interested in your thoughts regarding visitor numbers, vehicles etc.

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Excellent photos. I'm sure you feel it was worth the wait. Great cheetah family!

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Wow, spectacular photos. Loved the running giraffe. The hyenas and wildebeest...almost like being there (gulp). Just a beautiful gallery from start to finish. Thank you!

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Thanks all.

 

GW and PT123 I didn't find the crater overcrowded at all (nor the Serengeti) but this was due in no small part to the excellent guide we had from Maasai Wanderings.

 

Our guide, Godwin had two pet hates - clients spotting animals before him, and following other vehicles. He had a radio but never used it once in the time we were with hi,.

 

When we were queueing to enter the crater there were about six vehicles ahead of us (and we were not first at the gate - maybe half an hour after opening time. As we descended we watched all six vehicles turn right, obviously heading to some reported sighting. Our guide, Godwin, got to the bottom and turned left, deliberatley avoiding everyone else. Just as well he did as he then spotted (on his own, with no radio reports) a pair of cheetah and a big male lion.

 

The only time we spotted a large number of vehicles was at the picnic site where a lot of people went for lunch. (and here Godwin proved his worth again by advising us to eat our lunch in the vehicle. Other tourists were being dive-bombed mercilessly by a squadron of yellow-billed kits!).

 

Same thing happened in the serengeti. The only time we encountered other vehicles in numbers at a sighting was at some lions in trees near Seronera. We went there especially looking for these lions and the queue of vehicles was visible from some distance.

 

Other than that, every sighting for every one of those pictures in my gallery was either just us at the sighting, or at least us as the first vehicle.

 

Godwin also told us something interesting that other safaritalk members may have heard of, or be interested in.... the practice of guides being given a limit of kilometres they can drive per day.

 

I'd never heard of this in southern africa and was quite shocked. Apparently in the serengeti some driver guides are given a maximum number of Kilometres they can drive per day (to save fuel and money for the operators). According to our guide, if these guys go over then the cost comes off their pay. OUr guide was under no such restrictions and he was not afraid to cover some big distances between sightings.

 

I guess the moral of all of this is check out your operator and look for references. In 15 years of travelling in Africa I would rate Godwin from Maasai Wanderings as one of, if not the best guide I've ever met in terms of knowledge, attitude and communication.

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Tony, I have heard people speak of km restrictions but never seen it myself. You are right that it pays to check everything. Godwin sounds like a gem. I too had few tourist encounters in the Mara so we both have shown that it is possible to visit these popular places without suffering too much.

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Enjoyed the photos again.

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samburumags

Fantastic photos but I am convinced that you took that male lion into make-up and had his "hair" done before you photographed him :P

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Well that was quite a trip! Really enjoyed the photos and I guess not many words necessary. What was your itinerary?

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love_nature

Hi Tony,

 

Thanks for sharing the link to your images on flickr. I really enjoyed your photos and I hope I will be lucky to see some action when I get there in May.

 

Thanks again,

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Tony, I'm just whizzing through the posts before I go off for a long weekend. Last night at Jo'burg airport book shop

 

bought one of your paperbacks from a great range of titles. I'm sure that when I've read this one I'll have to buy the lot!

 

Mine is called 'Ivory', the latest one ,I presume?

 

Jan

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madaboutcheetah

Hi Tony,

 

Awesome sightings on your trip - particularly the cheetahs and you captured them well. Also, loved the pic of the Lion turning back at you, with the migration in the background.

 

Cheers

Hari

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Thanks all, and yep, Jan, 'Ivory' is the latest book.

 

pault, we had one night at rhino lodge on the crater rim, then drove through the crater then to Oldupai, then to Maasai Wanderings' Nasikia temporary luuxury tented camp at Naabi Hills in one day. Spent a second night at Naabi, following the migration around the Ndutu plains, then drove up through the park for a night at Serengeti Sopa lodge. Also very nice. On the final day we drove all the way back through the park via the crater rim and back to Arusha. A short but fabulous trip.

 

cheers

 

tony

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