Serengeti - seeing the big 5 up close!

Tanzania's flag
Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park
January 6th 2010
Published: April 13th 2013
Edit Blog Post

Safari day 2 we started off towards Serengeti plains from Lake Manyara. I was super excited to be finally headed to the famous plains. On the way we passed through Ngorongoro crater. We were going to stop by it later on our way back, but we got a glimpse of the crater. Its an absolutely beautiful area, very very green. Huge caledera but all green with a salt water lake in between and a river going through it. The whole area was just so beautiful that its hard to describe. I did not know that Africa can be so green.

We stopped by Olduvai gorge on the way. The gorge was a little disappointment. I expected gorge to be beautiful green like columbia river gorge. But this one was more of a dessert. It was carved by tactonic forces and there was no river. This is the famed place where remains of early humans are found and it is said that its one of very few places on earth where there are signs of continuous inhabitation of human life. We also did not see any actual excavation site.

Heading out from the gorge, we saw wildebeasts covering the landscape. It

They were plentyful here
was a wonderful site. Whereever you looked, there were wilderbeast, zebras and impalas grazing. These were in migration. We decided to have lunch at a high point from where we could look at the migration. There were wilderbeasts everywhere, more than a million, running, grazing. It was a site you can see nowhere else. At lunch some Maasai children also came over. We gave left over food to them and took their pictures. Those children were carrying real sharp spears. From there we headed straight to Serengeti plains.

As soon as we entered the Serengeti National Park, I was amazed at the extent of those vast plains. There were just grasslands till the eyes could see. To top it off, very soon we saw a group of lions sitting near the road. Wow! And we had just entered Serengeti. There were 5 lions, just lazying around, playing, having fun. Soon 5 - 6 tourist vehicles collected there. The lions did not at all mind the vehicles, they totally ignored any human activity. Looking at the lions so close was scary and thrilling. It was assuring to hear that lions have never attacked any vehicle in the park. We watched
Lion and HyenaLion and HyenaLion and Hyena

Lions protecting their kill and Hyenas trying to take it!
them play for a bit and then reluctantly moved forward. The plains were just endless. We did not see any animals from there other than impalas. It actually seemed impossible that any animals could be found in the large plains. There were hardly any trees.

By the evening, it had become cloudy had started raining. This was a total damper even if the landscape was beautiful with clouds and rainbow. We also found that a small stream had overflown and blocked the way to campsite. We tried to get through a different way but that was also impassable. By then some park rangers came and gave us a go ahead to cross the stream. It was scary, jeep dipping in water, but we managed to cross and reach the campsite. There were quite a lot of people at the campsite, and it was in the middle of wilderness. An actual wilderness where lions roam free. The guide did tell us to be careful at night as lions could be around! nice!

Safari day 3

We had one full day of game drive in Serengeti. I was hoping to see some animals today as we did not see anything other than lions. As soon as we got out of the camp, we sighted some giraffes. They are definitely my most favourite animals. They walk with such elegance! I was quite thrilled to see them. Somehow I had this image of Serengeti that we will see vast plains with lot of animals roaming around, Jurassic park style. But that did not happen, we were quite starved for animals in Serengeti, especially after close enconters at Lake Manyara, expectations were high. Still I was keeping a positive attitude and not getting disappointed. We saw that lions, that was a lot.
Very soon unexpectedly we came upon a interesting jungle scene. A lion had hunted giraffe yesterday. Today we came upon it eating the giraffe. But there were also a pack of hyenas there and they were calling even more. The guide told us that they are going to chace the lion away. I was like no way! Soon there were about 20 hyenas there, coming from all directions. Some brave ones slowly started advancing towards the giraffe. In the middle 2 small jackals came in and started eating left over giraffe. The guide said that lion won't mind jackal because they are small. The hyenas were advancing, and I was just waiting for the time when lion would be chased away. But the lion was totally undisturbed. Soon we learnt why. About 5 - 6 more lions walked into the scene from somewhere. It was a sight to see, lions just marching in from somewhere. Not making a sound, not looking anywhere, just strolling in. They took positions at different spots, just sitting casually not even lookin at hyenas. As expected, all hyenas just backed off immediately. They stuck around for a bit, some would try to advance from a side, but then get scared. They left the scene after new minutes. It was really interesting to watch this show happening!

The guide drove us straight to the place where leopard can be sighted. We got glimpse of one yesterday, but today it was just getting active. And as bonus we also saw a cub. So cute, hanging out at the tree. After the leopards, we soon also saw tree lions and their cub. The lions that can climb trees are only found in this region of Africa. The only cats left to see now were

We saw it chase a gazel
the cheetahs. But still we were quite happy. On the way we also saw more giraffes and lot of impalas, some other buffalos and other types of deers. We headed back to campsite for lunch. It had started raining again. The plan was to take some rest and then go for another game drive in the evening.

There were no elephant sightings and that surprised even the guide. In the evening we wanted to see some crocodiles, so drove near the river. We did not see any crocodiles. But we saw lot of giraffes, some were just roaming on the road. We also saw impala fighting, and some dik-dik. I wish I could see more of the dik-diks, they are just so cute. When I first saw one, I thought its a baby impala! It was nice, just somewhat disappointed at lack of elephants. Still you cannot complain after seeing the 3 big cats, you cannot see them in wild anywhere else. We were quite done with game drives by then. We wanted to head back to campsite early. At the campsite, we took some rest, had dinner and then headed to sleep. Driving on those uneven roads was quite tiring.

At night I heard the drivers driving the jeeps around campsite and making a lot of noise. I was like what's wrong with these people. I thought they were racing the jeeps or something. In the morning I heard that there were lions near the parameter of the campsite and drivers were chasing them away with the jeeps. Good that I did not try to go out!


Tot: 0.24s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 13; qc: 33; dbt: 0.0098s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb