Friday, 26 August 2011

Serengeti - Day1

Tawny eagle
 After a good night’s sleep for me, and a bad one for Dru thanks to him still recovering from malaria, we met up with Ali and Chris at 6am before leaving Moshi for the 8 hour trip to the Serengeti gate.  The drive is a tough one – a 4 hour drive on tar until we get to the Ngorongoro Crater gate.

Buffalo herd

From there it’s all tough gravel driving and was made worse this time by the thick mist that hung over the crater rim.  We could hardly see 2 feet in front of us, how Ali managed to drive through it is beyond me! This time round there was so much mist and fog that we couldn’t see the crater floor from the view point. 
Black crake
Luckily, once we have passed the crater, it cleared up and the sun came out although it was still pretty cold.  Finally after a rough, bumpy road (is it possible that it was worse than last time?) we finally got to the Naabi Hill gate at around 2pm.  There was a surprisingly long queue of cars, so we took the opportunity to have our packed lunch while Ali sorted out the booking.

Martial eagle
It took us about 45 minutes before we were all sorted at the gate, and ready to head into the Serengeti plains. We got all the way to Simba Kopjes, about 20km inside the park, but instead of just driving through, we turned off and explored the marsh around Simba Kopjes, which we hadn’t known existed.  Turned out to be a good choice – 8 lions relaxing at the marsh! 

Unfortunately too hidden in the grass for any good photos, but we spent quite a bit of time with them and the nearby buffalo herd before heading back to the main road.  We had almost got to the central Seronera pool, when we came across a bunch of cars, and our first cheetah for the trip.  He wasn’t doing too much, but nice to have a spotted cat sighting under our belt first up ;)
We didn’t see much more except a sleeping lion and headed to camp soon after while it was still light to set up camp and so that Chris could get dinner sorted out.  The camp was CROWDED, about 50 tents set up in the area.  So a busy night ahead… and making it worse only 2 showers and 3 (squatting only) toilets for all the people… not the ideal camping scenario!  

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