Kaleidoscope of Tanzania – a safari holiday through the Serengeti, Ngorongoro highlands, Tarangire and Ruaha // Day 6: Serengeti Serena Lodge

Wednesday 01 November 2006

 

It was light when we got up this morning. Hot water arrived at 7.00 and as we got ready we packed our bags as well. We had a cooked breakfast and afterwards said our thanks and goodbyes to all of the staff. Then off we went to the Serengeti Serena Lodge, game-viewing en route.

On the way to Kleins park gate we saw impala, zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, giraffe and vervet monkeys. We drove along the Lobo Hills and saw a lappet-faced vulture in flight above us, quite low. We saw a pair of grey-crowned cranes (they are the national bird of Uganda – we’re always trying to take photos of them in zoos). We saw two black backed jackals, hartebeest, lots of impala, Thomson’s gazelle, wildebeest, topi, buffalo and zebra.

Heiko noticed all the zebra and Thomson’s gazelle were looking in the same direction so we stopped and saw a young male lion sitting under a tree. We saw lots of elephants (two herds, both with young) and later saw a female lion lazing under a tree.

We then caught up with “de Bikkels” – they had stopped to watch a lion up a tree but as we reached them she had come down and disappeared in the ditch.

Driving further ahead Protty saw something strange in a nearby tree. It had thick foliage so it was difficult to see, but hidden in the branches was a very large male leopard feeding on a young zebra. You could just about see the spots of the leopard and the stripes of the zebra!

Protty was on his radio and heard there had been another sighting of a leopard on the kopjes not too far from where we were and with a much better view. In only 15 minutes we were greeted by the sight of a beautiful male leopard lazing on top of a large rock, cleaning himself. It was amazing to be so close and for him not to move away. We got some really great photos as he looked directly at us. “de Bikkels” caught up with us and they too enjoyed the moment. It was fantastic to see not one but two leopards in just one day, and better than that – only 15 minutes apart! We left and headed off to Seronera to the Serengeti Serena Lodge to try and get there for lunch.

As we passed the Togoro Plains we saw a group of vultures feasting on a kill but they were too far away for us to see what it was they were feeding on. As we passed over the Orangi Riverbed we saw a group of hippo in the water and one was out of the water. The river was very dry though. We headed over to the nearby “hippo pool” where we saw many more, plus some young ones too. There must have been lots under the water as we could see lots of bubbles. We also saw a fish eagle, goliath heron, yellow-billed stork and also a few crocodiles.

IMG: At the “hippo pool” near Seronera, Central Serengeti

Back in the vehicle we set off again and soon arrived at the lodge to be greeted with face towels and fruit juice. Our room is number one and there are a lot of baboons playing nearby.

* * * *

Protty is staying in the drivers’ accommodation so Heiko and I had lunch on our own and we met up again at 16.00 for an afternoon game drive. We saw impala, topi, Thomson’s gazelle, baboons, and zebra – the usual! We also saw some marabou storks, yellow-billed storks, sacred ibis and a grey heron. We saw some elephants with young and a journey of giraffe. We saw a school of hippo and two of them were yawning. We also saw two lions lying in the tall grasses – they were very difficult to see and nearby we saw three hyenas heading in the direction of the lions. We wished we could have stayed longer to see if they would meet but it was getting dark and we had to head back to the lodge.

IMG: Photogenic trees in Seronera, Central Serengeti
(also lots of zebras in the far distance that you can just about make out!)

We saw ostrich on the drive back to the lodge, also zebra. I spotted a cheetah standing in the tall grasses not far from the road. We saw lots more giraffe – one of them was very tall – 5-5½m!! Heiko saw an adult and an immature tawny eagle.

We arrived back at the lodge to take quick showers and then met with our balloon safari representative – we have to get up EARLY tomorrow, even earlier than normal. We have to meet everyone at 4.50. We sat and had some drinks with Protty and some people behind us were jumping up out of their seats – we found out it was because of a rat. Well, this rat decided to visit our table and steal some of our nuts. I first saw it out of the corner of my eye but wasn’t quite sure… I saw it a few more times but Heiko still hadn’t seen it and didn’t believe it could jump up onto the low table. You should have seen the look on his face when he finally saw it – we all couldn’t stop laughing and the rat kept coming back – it liked the cashew nuts best! I tried to film it. One time it climbed my leg to reach the table – I really wasn’t expecting that!!!! Protty left us then and Heiko and I went to have dinner.

As got to the dining area all the chefs were lined up dancing and singing hakuma matata around the restaurant to a table where it was someone’s birthday. After dinner and back in our room I downloaded the day’s photos and now hope for some good sleep. There is no noise from the wind at the moment but there are some very very noisy bullfrogs outside!!!

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