Hello Big 5!!!

Trip Start Jul 07, 2011
1
46
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Trip End Jul 31, 2012


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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Friday, September 30, 2011

After arriving in Arusha for a night, we were picked up the next morning to head out for our 3 day journey into the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater. One of the best parts about this was that we were moving out of our truck into 4x4 jeeps with pop-off tops to make the wildlife viewing easier. We had a long drive out to the conservation area but it was well worth it because we had such an incredible time.



The first two days were spent driving around the Serengeti, which means "great wide plain." That describes the area perfectly as it just seems to stretch out for ages. Before we headed out on the game drives we had the chance to visit a Masai village. The Masai are another traditional tribe that lives completely off the cattle and goats that they raise. Their diet literally consists of goat's milk and meat, and cow’s blood. Chris and I had the chance to walk around with the chief’s son who took us into the chief’s house. One of the interesting things was that their goats stay in the house with them. After being conned into buying more bracelets we headed out to the park.

I cannot even begin to describe how lucky our group has been with the wildlife we saw. It honestly felt like whatever we were thinking about wanting to see, we saw. We had barely made it into the park before we came across a pride of 8 lionesses and a couple of cubs. It was still early in the morning and quite cool so they were fairly active. It’s pretty amazing just to sit and be able to watch the way lions interact and play with each other across these huge open spaces.  The first day continued to set the bar so high for what we would see – hyenas, warthogs, hippos, antelope, giraffes and even more lions. The highlight of course continued to be more cats. We managed to see a few cheetahs and even 2 leopards! One of the leopards that we saw had even just killed an antelope and dragged it up a tree. We saw it moving around in the tree and then climb down and hang out at the bottom of the tree. We went back later that day to the same location and the leopard was still hanging out there. The one other unexpected thing that we got to see was 2 lions mating. We had spotted 2 male lions lying under one tree and another one lying off in the distance. All of a sudden the one male stood up, and then a female stuck her head up. The male walked around, and the whole incident was over in about 3 seconds. Pretty amazing though.

The Ngorongoro Crater is definitely an amazing site to see but didn’t quite meet my expectations with the wildlife though. We saw some lions again and tons of zebra, buffalo and wildebeest but few and far between. I guess that’s what happens when game drives the day before are far beyond what you hoped for.

We lose a big chunk of our group when we head off to Nairobi in a few days, which is pretty upsetting. We’ve been travelling together as a group for 6 weeks so it will be hard to lose so many people. 
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