Sunrise to Sunset. Threatened by Masai and big cats in the Serengeti, Tanzania, Africa

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September 14th 2018
Published: September 17th 2018
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Tanzania day 6

Sunrise to sunset, threatened by Maasai and big cats in the Serengeti, Tanzania, Africa

To the Serengeti today....eventually! Come on guys, get a move on! The sunrise was meh again-see yesterday’s blog-and breakfast was due at 7:30. We met two new companions Mark and Uri (I think) who are from Hungary and tried and tried to upload previous blogs but to not much avail. Homestly, it’s like being on Vodafone it’s that bad!
We were told we would be leaving at 9am which is really late for a start but we didn’t get on our way until 9:30. The best time for game viewing means getting there before sunrise as the big cats are still active. Setting off an a really long journey at 9:30 is frustrating as you just want to be out there seeing animals!
Our jeep is now full with six of us, our chef is with us and we have all our luggage as well as camping gear for the next place we are staying. Some stuff is fastened to the roof so we’re going to have to stop somewhere first to offload so we can open the roof. Aaaarrggghhhhh!
When the drunk driver reversed into us the other day our driver said he would get away with it because there are no police about. We have been going less than an hour today and we have been stopped by the police twice.... Now we are told they do random checks every day on the vehicles and the drivers. People drive pretty slow here or ‘pole pole’ in Swahili and if there are so many police checks I can see why. We have also stopped to get fuel and to have a tyre blown up. The Serengeti still seems like a long way away....
Later we passed through the Ngorongoro conservation area and had to register to pass through. While we waited we went into the shop. The coffee smelt great, the machine looked real, it was £2 for an espresso, it stayed in the machine. We then drove up to 2500 feet where we stopped to take photos of the crater. This is one of the most awe-inspiring sights in the world as you can see the whole of the caldera which is actually a collapsed volcano. I’m glad I had my wide angle lens with me that’s for sure!
So Glyn, what’s the difference between a national park and a conservation area I hear you cry. Well thank you for asking. It’s nice to know you’re showing an interest. Well a conservation area can have animals AND people living in it so it’s okay for the Maasai to live in the Ngorongoro conservation area.
We passed some of the young wannabe warriors who pointed out some giraffes to us. Some people then took pictures of the boys and they didn’t like it as they wanted money. So they picked up rocks after our driver and chef got out to shoo them away. When they were threatened with the police they did put the rocks down and we drove off. Threatened by the Maasai is a new one to add to the list.....
Lunch was taken at the side of the road sat on low lying branches of a boabab tree. Again I was glad I wasn’t eating the chicken that had been sitting in the hot vehicle all morning. There were a few Maasai about who had our leftover packets of biscuits and cakes in exchange for us taking photos of them. Much better than threatening us with rocks!
Soon we crossed from Ngorongoro into the Serengeti. Now, as you know, Serengetiti is the Maasai word for endless plains and, at first, they do seem to go on forever. (I’m not sure how you stop a nomadic people from living in such massive spaces as the national parks here... ) But then there’s another gate and another check-in to navigate. There’s also a viewpoint to climb to where a half blue, half pink lizard sat posing for photos. Luckily these places also have loos and you take every chance you can get as you never know when you’ll get to go again.
And finally, into the park and between us we managed to get the roof up past the luggage on the roof. It was now 14:30.
First stop, lions! Then a cheetah, then another lion, then another cheetah and later leopards, two of them! Every single big cat was either far away or in a crap position to get a photo but what a great haul from three hours. They were all lying down whether it be on the ground or in trees as...well....they’re cats....
And we saw some other things....mongooses, hippos, secretary birds, giraffes, zebra, one baboon, hartebeest, impala, Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelles, ostriches, a jackal, buffalo, a crocodile, maribou storks and Claire swears blind she saw an elephant before we reached the park. Some of the Maasai had some emancipated looking camels as well which was surprising as I’ve never seen them in this part of Africa before (emancipated or not).
We also saw some dust squalls which looked a bit like twisters and swathes of fire. The latter was on purpose so the new shoots can come through for the animals so it’s all controlled.
As the sun began to set we headed for a the middle of the Serengeti....with no electricity and no fences. Don’t think I’ll be uploading this blog tonight! We put up some old, olde, old tents whilst trying to sneak off to get photos of the sunset, which was amazing. We can hear the odd call of animals which should only get more interesting as it gets darker. I wonder how safe it is going for a wee in the night.....
We are absolutely covered in dust. The last time I was here I had contact lenses and it was absolute hell and I am so greatful especially now for Claire paying for laser eye surgery for me.
We had tea in a hut and again it was very nice. We chatted and laughed with our companions and Claire showed off her knowledge of French. We then had a warning about walking about and going to the toilet in the night. We should always use headtorches....that’s pretty obvious as it’s pitch black; with multitudes of visible stars I should add. And most importantly we should never go alone because if one of us is hunted the other can shout for help. While the rest of us contemplated that Claire asked what was likely to hunt her.... That’s my wife!!
Actually, thinking about it, it’s probably a good job I can’t upload this blog tonight as I can imagine my Mum being a tad worried....
Later....just been to the loo, together of course, and there are buffalo on the path....fortunately they moved....yes, buffalo, one of the big our way....

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