All along the road from Arusha via Lake Manyara and the Ngorogoro crater to the Serengeti, we saw many Maasai villages and Maasai people herding their cows, donkeys and goats.
Once we entered the Serengeti we all started to look for wildlife and it did not take us long to find Zebras, Elephants and lots of Thomson Gazelles and Impalas. We saw our first leopard lying in the shade of a tree some distance from the trail. Leopards are very shy though and it is often difficult to spot them. We also saw lions for the first time; a lion and a lioness on their "honeymoon" lying and sleeping in the sun. It was great finally to catch a glimpse of lions, and we were hoping we would be able to see lions a little closer.
Fortunately we had the whole next day to see more of them, and we got up early to do a morning game drive. We again saw lots of Zebras, and Elephants, but we also saw Buffaloes and Hippos. A little while later we got lucky and saw a pack of lioness' (7-8 of them) trying to hunt buffaloes, but no luck. The buffaloes spotted the trap and charged the lions on one flank and drove them away. No wonder the buffalo is part of the big-5 since they can chase lions. We continued to follow a group of 3 lions closer to us and we drove around them a bit and stopped the car. The lions kept going forward until our car was on their way. We got some really good pictures of the lions and it was an amazing experience being just a few meters away from 3 apparently hungry (since they just tried to hunt buffaloes) lioness'.
On the morning drive we also saw another leopard sleeping in a tree. Unfortunately again some distance from the trail, but still close enough to a decent look at it. It was lying on a branch with it tail hanging down. Later we also saw a cheetah with 5 cubs lying in the shade of a tree and with the cubs playing. Very cool!!
After having had lunch back at our camp we had an afternoon game drive, where we saw a big group of elephants including a baby elephant, probably only a few weeks old. Very cute. Later that afternoon we found a big lion walking along the trail straight at us. This was very cool and we could not believe how close it came to the car. It walked straight past our car. We could touch it out through the window if we had wanted to..... ;-D We turned the car around and passed it again and let it pass us once more, while we were working our cameras furiously.
After a late dinner we went to bed tired, but really excited about all the amazing animals we had seen that day and all the great photos we had gotten.
The next day we did another early game drive in the Serengeti before heading back to camp for lunch. During that drive we did not see as much of the big-5 as we did the day before. We saw a few lioness' lying behind some trees quite a distance away. We could have done a 4-day safari instead of the 5-day we opted for, but this extra whole day on the Serengeti really payed off. After the lunch we packed our camp and car and headed for the Ngorogoro Crater.
Next morning we took down our camp, packed the car and drove towards the Serengeti. On our way to the Serengeti we drove along the crater rim of the Ngorogoro Crater, which we would go into on our way back from the Serengeti. It was very impressive to be at the rim and look down into the crater. We also had a quick stop at a market to buy some supplies for Ugali - the national dish.