The plains of Serengeti

Trip Start Dec 16, 2005
Trip End Jun 12, 2006

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Off to the Serengeti this morning, very excited as it's a place I've always wanted to go. We passed through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area on the way where we got fantastic views over into the crater. It is 200sq miles all together and when we looked down we could see elephants looking like dots!

We stopped at the Samba campground up above the crater to pick up a new tent - there were Marabou Storks and zebra wondering around like they owned the place!

The drive down to the Serengeti was great and it gave us some idea to the vastness of the plains. There were colourful Massai people all over the place - these are the only people allowed to live and farm the land around the crater and the Serengeti.

We stopped for lunch and Dave managed to get a spear throwing lesson from some locals who were hanging out in the area.

Plenty more zebra, gazelle, impala, wilder beast and ostrich along the way.

A small hill at the park entrance gave some great views across the savanna and showed just how much dust the 4WDs were kicking up.

Spotted lots of other game. Topi, Heartebeast, elephants, lions, cheeters, and one of the highlights was a leopard hunting a troop baboons. Eventually a couple of the older wiser baboons spotted him and in turn they ganged up and turned aggressive, chasing the leopard back into to bushes. There were also a number of Blackbacked Jackels just as we were getting back into camp.

The day had felt a bit rushed due to the distance and not been able to stop that often.

Into Nyani and lots of colourful Superb Starlings around. Set up camp and wondered off a few feet from camp to watch the sunset, but got told off by the chef - something to do with the lions, I didn't quite understand :-) Fantastic sunset, unfortunately the camera was a bit tied up downloading to the IPod, so no photos of this one.

Heard lots of noises in the night that may well have been lions - apparently it wasn't unheard of for lions to pass through this camp. I was a bit concerned when I needed to head out for a pee mid way through the night. After a good scout around I deemed it save and managed to get back in my tent alive - I have to admit I did pee a bit closer to the tent than under normal circumstances!

Up early for a sunrise game drive. One of the munching noises we heard must have been the 3 buffalo 5m from the campsite!

Good morning for game again and not too rushed. Hippo pools, crocs and an elephant that bluff charged us must have been the highlights. Funny thing with the elephant was our driver didn't even try to start the car up. He either knew we were safe of figured there wasn't enough time and if it did charge we were gonners anyhow!

I spend most of the day with my head popped out of the top of our open topped Landcruiser scouting for game. What an experience, the wind in your face, game either side and the vast plains going on for ever.

A few other animals spotted include Nubian Vultures (they are the famous ones you see in cartoons with the red necks and heads), Secetary Birds and some beautiful Yellow Billed Hornbills down by the hippo pools.

Top lunch. Curried Quiche, chips and nice salad. Lucas our chef is great.

Again feeling a bit rushed in the afternoon, not able to stop that often so see the huge herds of zebra and wilderbeast spread out over the Masai Steppes. We had a bit of a winge at our guide and ended up doing a little detour giving great views of the wilderbeast and zebra and as a bonus we also got a great experience with a pride of lions and a close up Spotted Hyena. I guess it pays to be a winger.

Our truck stopped at a Massai village on the way out of the park. I thought it was going to be a bit touristy and although they did try their best to sell some stuff, the people were really friendly and it was an enjoyable and informative experience.

We got a welcome dance and a tour around the village and houses and photos without people asking for money. They even had me up doing a dance and judging by the smiles on their faces I think the were impressed!

Simba campsite overlooking the Ngorongoro crater was the destination that evening. It was mobbed with at least 30 other tents. The crater has a reputation for traffic jams when big game is spotted due to it's small size. It also has a super larger concentration of game in it's small confines.

As I lay in my bed I though to myself, what a top day. I was interested what to expect tomorrow.
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