Simba Sightings

Trip Start Nov 19, 2004
Trip End Dec 06, 2004

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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Thursday, November 25, 2004

It seemed apparent when we arrived at Seronera campsite last night that close encounters with wildlife were more likely here. If the warning signs ("Animals may attact human being"!) and the gated, enclosed eating areas weren't big enough clues, the guards carrying heavy-duty elephant rifles and our guide's warning not to go to the bathroom alone at night sure were. So, we were not all that suprised to hear lions grunting nearby during the night. The large kitty paw prints around the outhouse doors in the morning made me very glad I was able to avoid any bathroom trips until morning.

Lions continued to figure prominently today - we saw four different cats on three separet occasions.It was the last female that really blew us away. She was right by the side of the road, just sitting quietly. With not even a glance in our direction, she slowly and casually crossed the road immediately behind our jeep. She was so close we could see the fleas buzzing around her coat!  We stayed and watched as she walked off into the distance through the tall grass. I was awestruck and speechless at her sinuous grace.

Assorted other memories from the road:
  • - A half dozen warthogs running alongside our Land Rover, tails stuck straight up in the air. When grazing, they bend their front legs so that they are "kneeling" to eat. They look so comical when retreating into their holes - always backwards so as to keep watch for predators until the last possible moment. Such homely, yet adorable little things.
  • - A baby zebra, upon losing sight of its mother, seemingly staring right at us and whining "mama .... mama!"
  • - Women carrying all kinds of packages on their heads, from small baskets of brightly wrapped cloth bundles to huge 10 gallon pails. In particular, I recall one who bent all the way down to pick something up off the ground while still balancing her giant bundle of sticks.
  • - The bright red dots of Masai robes in the distance, in sharp contrast to the browns, golds, and greens of the plains.
  • - Amy and Emmanuel singing Swahili songs in the jeep, grooving and smiling away
  • - Harold trying to say goodbye to someone in Swahili, but mistakenly calling out "wapi chai" ("Where's my tea?") instead of "kwa heri" (goodbye).

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