The never-ending plains
Trip Start Jun 11, 2011
19Trip End Jun 26, 2011
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Before we even reached the gate things got interesting. We were still in the woodlands near the gorge when we spotted some giraffes. Once we entered the plains, we passed herds of Thomson's and Grant's gazelles grazing together. We stopped at the official gate to take photos of us entering the world-famous park and to admire the vast plains stretching out all around us.
There were more gazelles grazing beyond the entrance, then some ostriches
We stopped again at the real park gate - the one where our drivers had to buy our permit. We made a little hike up a high kopje (basically a bunch of rocks in the middle of nowhere) where we could again see the vastness of the plains and get close to the agama lizards that enjoying sunning themselves on the rocks.
Now we had a long drive through the Serengeti to our campsite but fortunately for us our driver wanted to make a game drive out of it. We spotted some vultures in a tree, more ostriches, and some warthogs before we came across a very large herd of elephants. It was an exciting moment! They were fairly close to the road so we took several photos and watched them graze. The adorable calves never strayed far from their mothers. Wolfi then announced that he wanted to have his photo taken with all of the Big 5 as we spot them, but since you cannot leave your vehicle in the Serengeti it was nearly impossible. We did our best though, and I have a photo with him and some gray blobs in the distance.
We continued driving along the game roads (instead of the highway) and circled a few kopjes because they are well-known to hold all kinds of wildlife
The lions didn't care about us at all. Occasionally one would gaze at our jeeps through half-closed lids, or just open the one eye that wasn't squished against the surface of the rock, just to see what was going on, but they would quickly return to their napping.
They were good to us, yawning, stretching and cuddling to feed our excitement and allow us to leave the experience with some great memories and photos. Big T told us he was lucky to see something like that maybe every one or two years, so our car was incredibly lucky to see it on all of our first safaris.
We continued on across the plains, passing several more ostriches and gazelles, and a few hartebeests too. Things got exciting again when we spotted a hyena sitting next to the road, waiting for some prey to pass her by
Then suddenly as we drove along, there appeared two cheetahs right next to the road! Again we were lucky as the are normally solitary animals but today we got to witness two mates relaxing in the tall grass. At first the two walked through the grass together, then one laid in the grass and the second came even closer to us, to a spot where the grass was flattened, and started sniffing the area. She seemed to be sniffing quite intently and Big T told us that a kill had probably occurred there quite recently.
We drove along the highway now as the sun lowered in the expansive sky. Just as it was about to touch the plains, we started to enter a woodland where our campsite is located. Not far from the site is a hippo bath, and one hippo was just leaving the water to begin its night-time grazing. Hippos stay in the water all day and come out only at night, for the entire night, and eat. They graze individually and mark their paths from their water source as they go, scattering their feces so they can smell the way back. We didn't watch this one for long as the sky was getting darker, tinted with pinks and purples, and Big T wanted to get us to our campsite before dark so we could get our bearings.
Two jackals crossed our path as we turned toward the campsite, but they disappeared quickly. We made it to camp and once again all the work was already done. All I had to do was quickly shower and turn up for dinner.
Another group of campers sitting next to our table told us that there would be a full moon eclipse tonight that could only be seen in the southern hemisphere. We have an early start tomorrow but I did make a point of watching some of the eclipse before going to bed.