Camping along the migration corridor

Trip Start Nov 19, 2002
Trip End Dec 13, 2002

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Sunday, November 24, 2002

Hello everybody.

Our first night in the Serengeti we pitched camp at Lobo.  It's within sight of the Kenyan border.  It's about 100 yards from the migration corridor.  In the distance we could see herds of African buffalo running by.  Nobody else around for about two miles.  This is feeling like safari!  Dowdi started putting up the tents.  I wanted mine next to the Land Rover just in case.  Dowdi then started to pitch their tent around the corner.  I asked why over there.  He said for privacy.  I quickly replied, "NO!  You guys are going to camp next to me!"

As Dowdi cooked dinner, animals started approaching camp.  The first were buffalo. Millinga said they can be the most dangerous animal.  They're herbivores, but when they get angry can be the most destructive.  At one point, they came about 40 yards away.  This was too I had Millinga take a picture.  One of my favorites, except everybody thinks they're just cows.

By the time we ate, the sun had gone down.  Just outside of camp, we saw several sets of eyes bobbing up and down in the dark.  Millinga and Dowdi were arguing over what kind of animals they were.  Supposedly, one can tell according to the size of the eyes, their distancing from each other and how they bob up and down.  Suddenly, Dowdi grabs a flashlight and runs after them.  He was right - they were only impala.

During dinner, we heard a lion roar about 500 yards away along the corridor.  Cleaning up after wards we heard him again - about 300 yards away.  By the time we were in the tents, he was about 100 yards away.  That night I woke up several times to noises outside the tent.  Something scratching the grass.  I desperately wanted to take a look but was too chicken.  What do I do if a claw starts ripping through the tent?  So I laid motionless in my sleeping bag the rest of the night.  When I woke, there were baboons right outside our tents.  Millinga said those were lions in our camp last night.

At dawn we went for a morning game drive.  One thing that caught Millinga's eye was a jackal making good time.  We followed it to a lion protecting a kill.  The jackal looped around the bushes and found some scraps.  Later on, a crane swooped down and fought off the jackal for some of his own.  Not far off was a tree full of vultures.

What really amazed me was how the animals communicate.  They all watch each other to see what's going on.  We saw a lioness coming out from some brush.  She was hunting for some breakfast.  Suddenly this tree starts singing.  All the birds sound the alarm.  A little ways further, monkeys follow suit.  Discovered, the lioness slowed down and started looking for a new direction.  As we drive on, there's a Kirk's Dik-Dik and a guinea fowl standing still with their eyes fixated on the lioness.

One of the main reasons we look for the migration corridor is that the predatory animals follow the prey.  That morning we saw lots of lions.  One male was sitting on top of a large rock.  Pretty amazing to see a wild lion at only 20 feet.

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