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February 21st 2009
Published: February 21st 2009
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Serengeti Sopa LodgeSerengeti Sopa LodgeSerengeti Sopa Lodge

View from the Serengeti Sopa Lodge and the vast savanna plains.
African Skies

Evening light was beginning to settle on the Nyaruboro Hills. As with many special places in the world travelers with cocktails in hand ventured out to witness the sunset. It was no different here at the Sopa Lodge deep in the Serengeti.

Across the valley on the far side of the Mbalageti River we could see a line of more than one hundred elephants. They were foraging through the Yellow barked acacia, sycamore and African Blackwood trees. Perhaps they were seeking a place of refuge for the dark night that was fast approaching.

A small rock wall separated us from the wild out there. Only four to five feet high it really wasn’t much of a barrier. It certainly would not hinder any of the large cats that inhabited the area.

A small sign attached to each boma, cottage, stated that no one should wander very far from their room at night.

To the east, on the Ndoha Plains, a thunderstorm rose to dizzying heights and glowed pink, gold and white hues. A double rainbow arched between the anvil shaped clouds with an occasional lightening strike bolting from skies.

Everyone sat in
Two GiraffesTwo GiraffesTwo Giraffes

They would wrap their tongues around the thorned acacia branches and strip the leaves.
silence, just watching, taking in the end of the day. There was magic on the Serengeti that night. Far to the west cumulous clouds now loomed on the horizon.

Three giraffe crunched on acacia leaves, fifty feet from the partition. You could hear them breathing. They munched on the thorn covered brushwood with long black tongues expertly wrapping around the branches stripping off the gummy leaves without a scratch.

Somewhere in the distance we could hear a low woofing sound. Lions were on the prowl near the river searching for their evening meal.

Those graceful long necked giraffes never missed a lick. You could hear their chomping now, less than thirty feet from the stone wall.

Darkness settled in swiftly, swallowing the landscape. Everyone moved indoors rather quickly seeking the safety and protection of the lodge.

After dinner, with a glass of wine, I entered into the dark, starry African night for a fast walk along the barricade heading toward my boma. Somehow that short rock facade made me feel safe from the bush, although, I did feel my heart thumping in my ears a little faster and louder than normal. It was invigorating.
Young GiraffeYoung GiraffeYoung Giraffe

He came prancing out of the bush just a few feet from the walled barrier at the lodge.

Like diamonds thrown into the black heavens from horizon to horizon the scene was awesome. The world was silenced. I felt as if I were on another planet on the far side of the universe.

I stood barefoot with my toes over the ledge absorbing this powerful wilderness that engulfed me, wanting it to last forever, desiring this night to embed itself deep into my soul.

Quiet. It was ever so quiet.

A whispered, “Jambo Mr. Wynes”, startled me. Two Massai watchmen stood ten feet behind me.
I realized that if they could approach me in this silent night what else could do the same?

Wrapped in their bright red sukas, blankets, to shed the cooling night air we exchanged a few words. They pointed out the Southern Cross constellation, now almost at our zenith when that low woofing sound drifted in from just beyond the wall.

Nervous chuckles ensued.

Without hesitation they escorted me to my boma. The magic of this night continues to fill my dreams.

All photographs used on this entry are copyrighted by Scherr Images, Inc. Reproduction or use of any kind is prohibited. To secure reproduction rights contact: wayne@scherrimages.com


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