Day 5 -Southern Serengeti

Finally got wifi so I can update my blog. I have 3 days to share with you. I cant wait. I will post by each day so read all three.

Today’s blog is brought to you by lions.

20130112-163040.jpg

What an amazing day.

We headed out early for a long very bumpy ride for about 2 hrs. Our guide, Ally, called it an”African massage”. I will definately need a real one when I get home. When I say bumpy, I think that does not describe it. Can’t upload the video. And this was the main road. The side roads (if you could call them roads) were full of ruts and bumps making it like riding a bucking bronco. Uncomfortable but harmless.

Once we got to the next stop we saw endless plains teeming with zebra, wildebeest and various antelope. Amazing number of animals.

20130112-163443.jpg
They take part in the great migration thru Tanzania. The zebras usually lead as they have a keen memory of how to go and a good sense of direction. The wildebeest do not. Once they get to the river crossing (which takes place at another time of the year hence we did not experience it), the zebra stop and let the wildebeest cross the river first allowing the crocodiles to get their fill of wildebeest before the zebra pass thru. Pretty smart. Now the wildebeest don’t seem to smart. We saw a large herd that would suddenly start running across the road, only to stop and suddenly start running back to the other sid, forgetting that they had just been there. This repeated for quite some time. Here’s a photo cause I can’t upload a video.

20130112-163855.jpg

Zebras often stand in pairs or groups each facing a different direction. That, along with their strips, serve to confuse the lions. Each zebra has a unique stripe pattern – no 2 are alike.

20130112-163507.jpg

Warthogs, giraffe, Cape buffalo.

20130112-164138.jpg

20130112-164156.jpg

20130112-164337.jpg

Baboon with baby on back

20130112-164502.jpg

First sighting of a croc

20130112-164526.jpg

We went a bit off road and got really close to some. Cheetah – a mom with her 3 cubs. Majestic. Unfortunately we did not get to see the cheetah run. That would have been spectacular.

20130112-164114.jpg

Speaking of spectacular, Ally got a tip about some lions. We headed there and found a lioness having just finished eating a wildebeest. She was beautiful. Nearby 7 cubs with very full bellies were lying around digesting. So cute.

20130112-164706.jpg

20130112-164719.jpg

A short drive later we were in for a special treat. A male lion. But not just any ma,e lion, this one was in his honeymoon period. When a lion mates with a female they seclude themselves for 7 days with no food, only water. And copulate every 15-30 min. That’s so he can be sure the cubs are his and no other male could have gotten in. So lion was napping with his current mate. After a wait of about 20-30 min, he suddenly got up, woke his partner and copulated. Took about 10 seconds.

20130112-164844.jpg

20130112-164854.jpg

Wow. Hat an end to such an amazing day.
Headed to a new lodge. A bit more rustic but very pleasant.
Stunning sunset.

20130112-171832.jpg

Dinner was great now bed and an early day tomorrow.

Advertisements

no internet

sorry for the lack of posting last night.  No wifi.  And this comupter is too slow to upload photos.  \perhaps tomorrow. 

Pat 2 days have been awesome though.  Greta photos.  Cheetah, lions, etc.  \

\later –Diane

Day 4 – Central Serengeti

Today’s blog is brought to you by elephants.
20130109-192034.jpg

Several people asked me how close we got to the animals. The better question is how close did they come to us. We have to drive on the “roads” (more about them later), but the animals of course know nothing of roads and can go wherever they want. For instance yesterday’s elephant was a lone male so our driver stayed a safe distance away in case he got aggressive, which he didn’t. Today’s herd of elephant came a little closer. We were probably within 30 feet. The baboons and monkeys were just a few feet away. Some animals such as some gazelles and warthogs run away when the hear the car, others don’t seem to care.
I have a long telephoto zoom, 70-300 with a 1.4x extender occasionally (if there was enough light) so I don’t have to get too close. Of course we’re in a Land Cruiser and are not allowed to leave it except in designated areas.

Ok. Back to the blog and photos. The day started out great meeting a herd of elephant with various aged young.

20130109-192934.jpg

20130109-193000.jpg

Then impala

20130109-193116.jpg
And giraffes “necking” which is not affection but fighting.

20130109-193216.jpg

We visited hippo pools. Man they are big. A bite from a hippo can cut an animal in thirds. Don’t worry Mom, we weren’t anywhere near them.

20130109-193347.jpg

20130109-193421.jpg

Then we spent quite a while driving miles and miles through the endless plains of the Serengeti looking for lions and other predators but did not find any.

The roads are dirt paths, some smooth but most were quite bumpy giving the feeling of riding s bucking bronco all day. But were completely safe, the only danger was getting stuck in the mud. Another Land Cruiser did and had to be pulled out. But our guide easily navigated the the muddy areas.

Then a large group of baboons. Warning may be x-rated.

20130109-193547.jpg

20130109-193601.jpg

20130109-193620.jpg

Velvet monkeys with little babies.

20130109-193757.jpg

20130109-193807.jpg

A lone jackel

20130109-193852.jpg

And finally Zebras.

20130109-194006.jpg

Tomorrow we pack up, and drive to a different area in the Serengeti where we expect to find wildebeest herds,more zebras and of course lion prides.

Now for dinner then bed.

Day 3 – Serengeti

Welcome to the Serengeti.
Today’s blog is brought to you by lion cubs.

20130108-214455.jpg

Wow. That’s about all I can say. Today was amazing

Started off with finally a good nights sleep, early rise and breakfast. Then a short drive to the Arusha regional airport. It’s exactly like you’d expect an airport to be in a third world country.

20130108-214711.jpg
We then boarded a small plane. Mom don’t read this. Seats 12. We were the only 3 on board plus the pilot.

20130108-214819.jpg
I have look happy but I admit I was a little stressed before take off.

20130108-214926.jpg
S I took 1/2 Xanax and was great. The flight was actually nice and kind of fun. Beautiful to see Africa from the sky. The cloud looked like little cotton candy.

20130108-215058.jpg

We first landed on an airstrip in the middle of nowhere to pick up other passengers then on to the Serengeti.

20130108-215219.jpg

Our guide joined us and we head off on safari.
Can’t believe what we saw today.
Lions

20130108-215404.jpg
Leopard

20130108-215543.jpg
Baboons

20130108-215624.jpg

20130108-215639.jpg
Impala

20130108-215712.jpg
Giraffes

20130108-215847.jpg
Gazelles, Cape Buffalo, and
Elephants

20130108-215950.jpg
And so many others.
Just too amazing for words.

After 10+ hrs in the Bush, we headed back to the tented lodge for shower, dinner me sleep.

20130108-220130.jpg

Tomorrow more of the Serengeti.
Goodnight.

Day 2 – Arusha

After a so-so night sleep (my internal clock still thought it was mid afternoon), we woke up early and had a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit – mango, papaya, etc – crepe pancakes, breads, grilled veggies and more. Alix and I ate out on the balcony – Dad joined us a bit later. Then a relaxing few hours walking around the grounds and sitting outside reading. More food – lunch.
begins.

;20130107-164604.jpg

20130107-163209.jpg

20130107-163218.jpg

Then we got a guided tour around Arusha. Imagine a city of a million people driving cars, vans, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians all on narrow 2 lane roads and not a single traffic light or even stop sign. Most roads didn’t even have lane markings. Not that it would have mattered. People seemed to drive wherever and however they wanted. Seemed like a miracle no one got hit.
Think Boston without traffic lights.

20130107-173629.jpg

Not a very pretty city. Most people are poor by our standards but better off than many other African nations. Lots of small shops. There's a lot of different people's living here. Christians, Muslims, traditional tribes and all seem to get along.

20130107-163814.jpg

20130107-163830.jpg

20130107-163840.jpg

Now we nap for a bit, then dinner and an early bedtime.
Tomorrow the safari

Night 1

Settling down into hotel for first night. It’s 10:45pm local time and I have absolutely no idea what time my body thinks it is. But I think I can agree its bedtime.
The room is very nice. Quite modern.

20130106-224830.jpg

Now I usually don’t get too excited about a shower but after nearly 24 hrs of traveling, this shower was magnificent. One of those rain shower heads. Nice and hot. Could’ve stayed under it for hours. But just a few minutes. Now bed.

Tomorrow, leisurely wake up, breakfast, lunch, then a guided tour of Arusha.