Saturday, 27 August 2011

Serengeti - Day 2

Sunrise in the Serengeti
It was an eventful first night at camp.  Hyenas were running around the campsite, doing their whooping call, while lions were roaring close by.  Poor Dru, still struggling with the recovery of malaria, hardly slept at all and was able to tell me in the morning that the lions had killed in the night and had attracted the hyenas coming to grab the kill.  I slept through all of it ;) 

Hyena having a drink at a waterhole
We were up at 5.30 am for our cup of coffee and biscuits, before the packed breakfasts and lunches were loaded into the car, and we were off at about 6.15am.  About 50m from the campsite, Dru was proved right and we spotted 2 hyenas with the remnants of a wildebeest skull.  It was a bit too dark to take photos, so we headed off towards the river to catch some good sightings.   
A clump of lions
It was just after 8am when we came across a “clump” of lions… 14 in all, all lying on top of each other right next to the side of the road – why they chose that hot and unshaded area, I have no idea, but almost all of them were fast asleep, despite the numerous cars watching and taking photos. Eventually they started moving around, especially the younger lions. 

Finally one of the adult lionesses got up, which signalled move time.  Not that it was very far – across the road where they sought the shade of the safari vehicles ;)  We spent over an hour with these lions, enjoying the close encounter before heading off to breakfast.

Looking for shade
There is only one picnic site in the Seronera area, so we headed that way for breakfast.  It’s pretty run-down but has a great view up on a little hill (and of course more squatting toilets) so we had our packed breakfast and coffee at the site, kept company by the buffalo weavers and starlings. 

White-headed buffalo weaver
After breakfast was done, we headed towards the Southern side of the Serengeti, on our way to Moru Kopjes, spotting and photographing a tiny Pygmy Falcon.

Pygmy falcon
We came across a nice scene of buffalo and zebra, with a troupe of Olive Baboons having a breakfast of sausage fruit under a huge sausage tree.  

Hitching a lift
Baboons are very entertaining to watch, especially the little ones, and we spent a lot of time watching them, while trying to identify the birds in the tree eating both the flowers from the Sausage tree as well as the hard fruit that it produces. 
Resting zebra
After enjoying the peaceful scene we headed towards Moru Kopjes, where we found 2 lionesses sleeping under a little bush.  We decided to have lunch near them in case they got up, but in end they hardly moved, and we spent more time trying to identify a Coqui Francolin, than watching the lions!

Buffalo herd
We finally headed back to the Seronera river for the afternoon drive, and were lucky enough to spot a leopard in a tree.  It wasn’t too far away from the road, although the light was bad for photographing, and eventually we left all the cars watching and headed across the river to see what else was around.

Nap time for the leopard
Ali found us a great last sighting for the evening – an active hyena den!  It’s the first time we’ve seen so many hyenas together, and so many different generations of hyena together at once. 

Hyena cubs
We counted 5 generations in all – mothers, nephews and nieces that help look after the cubs, and then 3 different ages of cubs. 

The youngest of the hyena cubs
There were probably about 20 in total, all running around playing and very entertaining to watch – a lovely hour spent watching them and a lovely way to end a great day in the Serengeti!
Elephant investigates us

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