The Savannah Plains of the Serengeti

Trip Start Jul 26, 2012
Trip End Aug 22, 2012

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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Monday, August 13, 2012

Back on the road again, this time to Serengeti.  When we reached the entrance gate to the park, we were told by our driver to close all the windows to the vehicle, especially if getting out.  Reason being is the monkeys will come and take things from inside the vehicle.  At the same time we were at the gate, a couple from South Africa were also there, with the drivers door wide open and the driver on the other side of the vehicle.  A monkey came along, had a look from a distance and then in a split second, jumped inside the vehicle, grabbed a pack of butterscotch and jumped out again.  Suddenly there were monkeys EVERYWHERE, trying to get hold of one of the sweets.  Very quickly the sweets disappeared.  We now understood why we should keep the windows shut!

I was actually a bit disappointed with the Serengeti.  I think I expected more.  The plains seemed devoid of many animals, I guess as they were moving to the Mara for their migration.  The land was all yellow Iike many other places and much had been burnt back by the rangers to encourage new growth.  I did a hot air balloon early one morning followed by a champagne English breakfast under a large tree out in the bush, complete with wait staff and all the trimmings.  The only thing missing was the Weetbix though, which I missed.  The views from the sky were beautiful overlooking the vast plains, but it was a shame there was little wildlife to see.  We did see hundreds of hippos in every waterhole we flew over and giraffes, elephants, hyena, impala, gazelles.  I'm glad I did the balloon ride, but it was certainly not value for money.  

Although there was not a lot of wildlife, we still saw a lot.  There were many lions around, with and without cubs.  Lionesses perched on top of a rock looking for their next meal.  A cub nestled in the crook of a tree watching all the vehicles go by while his brothers slept on in the grass below him.  A lion stalk a warthog and then decide he didn’t want it anyway as the warthog scuttled away.  Elephants and young baby elephants playing, giraffe, zebras, hippos, ostriches, baboons and the usual impalas, gazelles and birdlife.  We were also lucky enough to spot leopards in trees at different occasions.  They were fairly distant so without binoculars you couldn’t really see them, but they were definitely there.

The special treat this time which we saw leaving the park was a rare black rhino which had wandered into the park unnoticed by the rangers.  The rangers were slowly herding it back to its home 10km away while many vehicles stopped and watched.  All vehicles were told to give the rhino plenty of space so as not to frighten/spook it and we were lucky enough to be the closest vehicle to it when it crossed the road behind us.  It was a sight to see.  Its horn was massive; we’ve never seen rhino horns like that before.  It’s no wonder these guys need to be protected from poachers. 

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