Published: January 25th 2012January 15th 2012
Afternoon nap-time in the heat
Our first night in the N'dutu wilderness camp was a slightly more wild experience. Although the canvas tents were more luxurious than we expected, including beds and porta-potties, we still felt a tad unsure of their safety rating should we be swarmed by animals in the night. The manager of the camp assured Morgan (with a totally straight face) that the canvas and plastic venting were completely "lion proof." Yeah. Right. This was why we were always escorted to our tents with a Maasai gaurd armed with a spear and also why we were not allowed to leave our tents until daylight.
We headed out that afternoon on an evening game drive, with the hopes of coming across the wildebeests migrating. We were met with no success and were just a tad curious where you could possibly hide three million wildebeests, they should be fairly easy to spot, No? The guides had heard no reports of where they might be found and were not convinced we would see it during our stay, much to mom's dismay.
We did find twenty three lions total, in a few separate groupings, the first of which included two males and two females. The
Hiding from the flies
last group was three lionesses and cubs of varying ages. We watched them until one of the lionesses got up to walk over to the patch of grass where we were parked. As she approached she began grunting and out ran four little cubs who had been hiding in the grass. We stayed with the cubs until the sun started to set and thoroughly enjoyed watching them as they "hunted" each other :) We were all amazed that their momma let them come so close to us as the evening is when the temperatures drop and the lions hunt. During the afternoon heat we were able to get surprisingly close to them as they get very lazy in the heat.
The next morning we once again guessed what animals had invaded our camp in the night. Debbie and Carolina were convinced that the buffalo had come, even though we hadn't seen a buffalo in two days. However, there was no doubt in our minds that the grunting I heard right by my tent in the night sounded a little to similar to that momma and her cubs. Our Maasai guard and the guides confirmed that the lions explored the
camp in the night. No big deal, right?!? Even though I knew what I was listening to at the time, I had the best sleep, as did the majority of our group.
The next day we got two unexpected treats: we found the missing three million wildebeests and witnessed the great migration! It was not what we expected, and unlike the stampede we were looking for, we were met by a line of wildebeests running in single file. They are a "one brain" bunch, when one runs, they all run, when one stops to graze, they bunch back up and graze. After witnessing how they move, we discovered why it is so eazy to misplace such a large herd. They move very fast and look much like a tree line off in the distance, and because they are visable as far as the eye can see, it is easy to mistake them as such. Mom was thrilled...
The second surprise was getting to see three cheetah brothers resting together in the shade. Cheetahs are normally a solitary breed, but these brothers have been running together for the last three year. Because they are such s big group they
hunt larger prey than is typical for these cats.
We are still hoping to get to see lions hunting... Just as long as they are not hunting us :)
There are more photos below