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Published: October 11th 2018
This blog entry covers our days in both the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater conservation area. We have 2 full days in the Serengeti and a morning game drive in Ngorongoro. It’s unfair to try to compare the two different parks as both are excellent and quite different from each other, so really it's the combination of the 3 areas (these 2 plus Tarangire) that makes a very good short safari.
As with any wildlife activity there is a huge amount of luck as to what you actually see on any given day, but a good guide certainly helps and Pablo our guide and driver is a wise old bird who knows the country well and seems to be able to find almost anything on demand.
The Serengeti is a huge area of grassland and in our time we can only see a small part of it. Right next to our preferred campsite four male lions have just killed a water buffalo. Prosper, our cook, isn’t too happy setting up camp here so we opt for the neighbouring campsite, but even this is little more than 400 metres away from the resting lions. Although the cooking/eating area
is a walled shelter the camp ground itself is unfenced, so we’re warned to be careful when walking around the camp, especially at night as there is plenty of wildlife around (At night I shine my torch out into the bush and see the eyes of hyenas close to the campsite. We’re also a little shocked when just after breakfast a solitary lion wanders no more than 20 m away from our tents).
When we find the kill towards the end of the day one lion appears to be guarding it whilst the other three lions rest nearby. We hang around watching them until sunset expecting them to start feeding but for some reason they don’t. Pablo tells us that at night the hyenas will use sheer weight of numbers to chase the lions away.
Just after dawn we return to the kill to watch the hyenas feeding. It’s hard to capture the action on still photos but the video our friend Phil takes is the sort of stuff I’ve previously only seen on wildlife documentaries and is something truly memorable. The hyenas have obviously been feeding most of the night and when we arrive are slowly beginning
to drift away whilst the vultures start to move in.
Our highlight of the Serengeti are the lions. On each of our game drives we find them, sometimes in the trees, at other times lazing in the shade. One time we follow a family group with several young cubs down to the river to drink and they walk right past our vehicle. We also see cheetahs here and though the area is known for having a high concentration of leopards we don’t see any. On our drive out to the hippo pool we come across a herd of wildebeest so they don’t all migrate. The hippo pool is full of hippos but until the rains return isn’t the most appealing of places, but the hippos themselves don’t seem to mind.
At Ngorongoro we camp on the crater rim and have a morning game drive down into the crater. Like the Serengeti there is plenty of wildlife at the campsite. We have zebras grazing through the camping area and after dinner we see an elephant right behind the dining shelter. At Ngorongoro we see many of the same animals as in the Serengeti but here there aren’t any giraffe.
There is a significant number of Black Rhinos here but we only sight one and that is some distance away.
The safari has been far better than I had ever hoped it could be. The sheer diversity and number of animals has been impressive and we have been lucky enough to witness some amazing sights. Personally I think the camping experience adds to the atmosphere of being in Africa and you certainly are closer to the action, sometimes perhaps even a little too close! Maybe we’ve been lucky as there is certainly luck involved, but there is no question we have chosen well with our safari company, both Pablo and Prosper have been brilliant.
But for now we head on to Uganda for a very different type of wildlife encounter.
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