Sunday, July 22, 2007

Safari Part 3 - Serengeti Day 1

Where to start with the Serengeti? For starters it is the most well known National Park and biggest in Tanzania plus it is casually referred to as the eighth wonder of the world. The first thing that strikes you as you are driving through is the vastness the park. The plains and forest go in all directions as far as you can see....and in some ares the animals seem endless too.

We were in Tanzania during winter, the dry season. This means the plains are usually only inhabited by gazelles at this time who can quench their thirst by eating the grass so they don't need to be next to a water source. My favorite gazelle was the Thompsons Gazelle which is a smaller gazelle. They have a 6-8 inch tail that is constantly wagging happily like an excited dog. It is quite humorous to see a herd of them bent over eating peacefully but to see a wave of little black flicking tails! So cute!

One of our first stops was a hippo pool. Oh, the hippo pool, how it stinks. During the dry season the water where these hippos were doesn't turn over very much so the water becomes filthy dirty with poop. Yuk, it smelled so bad. Here is my initial reaction, funny I know. The hippos spend a lot of the time under the water or in the water during the day. They actually get out to eat at night. They are interesting to watch, bobbing up and down, snorting water, moving slowly about in the water...but the smell was too much to handle for too long!

We also found a huge crocodile, thankfully at a good distance. We were fighting off the infamous tsetse flies while spying on the croc. These flies are super annoying, flying all around your face and at your ears. They also carry the disease better known as Sleeping Sickness which basically makes you very sleepy. So, we headed straight for our bottle of DEET bug spray! It helped immensely!

The remainder of our first day was relaxing with several lion spottings but they were all in trees, relaxing in the shade from the late afternoon sun.

We also spent some time at a zebra watering hole. There was a VERY large herd of zebra and wildebeest next to the river. Zebra are smart, but suspicious animals so they always feel conscious of potential lion or crocodile attacks. The watering hole was hilarious because zebra in a group would wonder over, start drinking, then one zebra would flinch and they would all take off in a mad dash away from the river. In this short video clip you can see them running away but also here a zebra call (donkey-like he-haw). It was always being echoed throughout the herd. I wonder what they were saying...

We then took the long ride back to the lodge, speeding fast down some questionably rocky roads, but standing out the roof with the warm wind in your face was actually quite invigorating. Talk about fresh air - we were breathing it all in.

At the lodge, we relaxed with a cup of coffee and the view over the vast Serengeti before getting ready for dinner.

All of the Serengeti Photos

Next Up: Serengeti Day 2


  1. Your pictures look like you got them out of National Geographic. I can't imagine how much more impressive it would have been to be there in person. Are those spotted cats leopards? I loved the one sunset where the sun was low between the trees. Lori

  2. You didn't you know we work for National Geographic?

    One thing that does not come across is the scale to the animal herds. They were huge. Did you watch the video of the Zebra's? They were crazy.

    We only saw two leopards and they were very far away in trees. I think the spotted cats you are referring to are cheetahs...we have one more blog to write on that story....

    Oh, another thing that does not come across very well is the dust. Each and every day we were totally covered in dust.