Blogs from Serengeti National Park, North, Tanzania, Africa


Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park November 7th 2022

I was so tired last night that I went immediately to bed, slept nine hours, woke thirty minutes before the alarm, and had breakfast on time at 6:00 to leave at 7:00. I pretend I am in a different time zone. Rather than exiting the Serengeti Park directly, we took a detour to see kopjes. These are strange, worn granite outcroppings, seemingly rising randomly from the flat landscape. In fact, they are the visible evidence of the volcanic history of the plain; underneath the surface are many more giant granite rocks and deposits. The ash and sediment of the volcanos to the east formed the soil of the Serengeti. Erosion has revealed the highest rock surfaces. Now these are fissured and marked by caves, which lions like to use for their dens. By this time, we ... read more
Dusty road
Dik diks challenge

Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park November 6th 2022

Up at 4:00 am and away at 4:45 on the usual bumpy roads for an hour and a quarter. Despite some lingering apprehension, I was committed to the hot air balloon ride. As we arrived at the Miracle Experience balloon site, the sky was deep pink, lightening to shades of blue. When the thirty-two customers and seemingly as many staff had gathered, we were introduced to our enthusiastic pilot, Rosa. (She was pleased to meet me, because she worked in Calgary for a year.) Her colleague, pilot for the other balloon, gave us a safety briefing – repeated in more detail beside the balloons. Initially the balloon was inflated by huge blowers. Our strange entry into the basket was required by the design: it was rectangular, on its side. Four compartments held four people each, plus ... read more
The other balloon
Zebra stripes
Loo with a View

Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park November 6th 2022

We were driven to the tourist centre where we bought the balloon tickets. The others of our group were there, walking through an outdoor display about local geography, geology and history. Information signs told the story of the wild-life parks, inspired and created by former President Julius Nyere and zoologist Bernard Grzimek. We spent the remaining morning on a game drive, moving in the direction of our camp. We saw two Lappet-face Vultures looking for prey from a tall dead tree, and they nicely waited for our picture-taking before soaring away. As a matter of course, wildebeest and zebras roamed the land, dashing one way or another in search of water and safety. We saw one lion on her back under a tree, sleeping off a full belly. Quite soon, we saw a prid... read more
A cacophony of stripes!
Cubs and siblings
Yawn turning into vocalization

Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park November 5th 2022

We got up before dawn to drive (no walking in the wild!) to a nearby hippo pool. Dozens of hippos were already in the cool water. For almost an hour, we watched as individual and pairs of hippos walked out of the terrain on the other side. The night is spent munching grass, and the day is spent chilling in pools in the slow-flowing rivers. The hippos congregated in extended family groups, thus, some small groups stayed away from the main group. Adults cozied up, making them look like slippery boulders. Only the ear twirling (insects) and occasional bobs (air) revealed their animal nature. Baby hippos were especially charming as they found moments to explore, and then they snuggled up to mom. Their silly-grin-shaped mouths gave them inexpressible cuteness. The biggest hippos pushed their way into ... read more
Hippos returning to their pool
Hippos as boulders
Hippos trotting into coolness

Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park November 5th 2022

Reunited with the group, our own lunch was eaten in a picnic site at the Ndabaka Gate, the entrance to West Serengeti. We sat dispersed at picnic tables, facing the wide plain beyond the wire security fence. Other than a few zebras, we didn’t see any big animals, which gave me a chance to focus on the birds that sought our crumbs. Most beautiful in colour and name were the Superb Starlings. Unlike dull brown Canadian starlings, these were large and magnificent with superb purple and blue feathers. As they poked at bits on the ground, the iridescence of their plumage glowed. Resuming our drive, Lucas caught sight of a leopard balanced on the branch of a date tree, sleeping off its full belly. Remains of the kill were up on the branch with it. How ... read more
Maribou Stork close-up
Buffalo Weaver
Superb Starling

Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park November 4th 2022

I woke just before 5:30 this morning to the faint smell of wood burning. They start the fire in the boiler each morning at 5:00 so there is hot water by 6:00 for guests. It would be good to have a more ecological way of heating water, because the boiler is fired up again 4:00 in the afternoon. Kenya is very ecologically minded, on the whole. The use of plastic grocery and zip bags is forbidden both here and in Tanzania. I had to think up several different ways of packing the items I customarily put in plastic bags, including buying reusable plastic shoe bags. Indeed, I have seen very little litter along the roads, except in some villages, and rarely is it plastic. In the hotel rooms, soap dispensers are used rather than little individual ... read more
Volcanic geology
 Shopping in the market
Tanzanian farm

Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park November 4th 2022

We were driving into Central Serengeti along the Western Corridor. Over 100 kilometres, the route was all on rough stone/dirt roads. At what seemed like a high speed (probably about 50 - 60 kph), we careened through big potholes and deep ruts. Later I learned that the speed reduces the effect of the corduroy conditions by hitting the tops of the ruts. Obviously, Jay Kim knew his job, and part of which was to get to the camp before dark. Even so, he and Edward, the other new driver, were generous in stopping the vehicles to watch wildlife being themselves. Almost immediately we stopped to watch a mother and a juvenile elephant pulling and crunching green bushes. Soon we saw a line of bachelor elephants crossing on the plain; male elephants roam together during their early ... read more
Wildebeest herd enjoying refreshened grass
Luxury tent interior
Bachelor group of elephants

Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park July 6th 2021

My live stream tour took me to Tanzania, an incredible insight into life in a Maasai village near the Serengeti with Mufasa our guide. Welcomed with song & dance we then ventured into the village where the gate is made out of a pile of Acacia sticks to keep them safe from wildlife. Cow dung & mud are daubed onto the houses by the womenfolk. The sun was setting as the cows returned from their grazing with one of the mothers immediately taking milk for the children which was served to them by the fathers. We listened to the children practice their counting skills and Mufasa sang them a song, much to their delight. As darkness fell it was time to eat, on the menu soup & goat. The younger men served the elders. A ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park February 5th 2020

I look out over this part of the expanse of the green Serengeti and see acacia trees and, because of all the rain this year, high grassland. This is dangerous because wild animals can hide in the tall grass; we cannot see them from the ground unless they move. We are constantly being warned not to walk alone at night; someone on the crew always accompanies us to our tents and makes sure we are safely ensconced inside before they go back to the main lodge tent. Last night, as soon as my head touched the pillow, I heard something big moving around outside. It knocked over the moveable water table out in front of my tent, then pushed against the canvas side; I was tempted to blow the emergency whistle provided for each tent, but ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park February 4th 2020

Very early this morning two of us, Patsy and I, were woken at 4:30AM since we were the only two in our group to sign up for the optional tour "Sunrise Safari & Hot Air Balloon Ride Over the Serengeti." At first I hadn't signed on because of the expense, but I had never been up in a hot air balloon, plus when would I ever have the chance again to do it over the famous Serengeti? So I signed on. I was a bit afraid at first, not knowing what to expect, but once we all clambered into the basket it lifted off as gently and silently as a train leaving the station. Waking up early is no hardship for me; I've usually been up by 4AM every day so far and was lying there ... read more

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