An Unforgettable African Safari Experience – Part II
They knew we were there but we were perfectly silent and just observed them, so they didn’t feel threatened, and they just went on eating. All while we were watching, we were filming them with our cameras and videos and believe it or not, I got good video footage in the pitch dark due to the spotlight and the nightlight on my video camera. We continued on to see a few impalas, a hippo, a hyena, a porcupine, and a few other nocturnal animals. The drive lasted about 3 hours and was great!!
Our next stop at Ngorgongoro Serena Lodge was for two nights and we felt was the best of our accommodations. This lodge was high up on the side of the crater and had the most spectacular view looking down directly into the crater and onto Lake Magadi. The wildlife in the crater never leaves and is a wide variety of almost everything. We saw loads of elephants, impalas and gazelles, giraffes, cheetahs, etc.
Our game drives would start around 8 in the morning (sometimes as early as 6:30) and would continue the entire day to around 6 or 7pm. We never got tired and the day seems to go so fast when you are caught up in viewing or searching for game. We’d usually have a picnic lunch out on the plains just to prevent us from cutting our drive short and having to take the long drive back to the lodge.
Our next stop was at the Serengeti Serena Lodge. Here we were able to game drive in the Serengeti National Park for the most spectacular view of the zebra and wildebeest migration around the Serengeti. Explaining what we saw is almost impossible so just imagine if YOU saw 1.5 million wildebeest and 400,000 zebras traveling all clustered together over this vast plain, migrating from the dry lands in order to find water.
I’m not exaggerating on the volume! That’s how many they say is in the Serengeti land and migrate yearly. They migrate together because they help each other. The zebras have a keen sense of hearing from a long way off and can detect danger quickly, and the wildebeest have a better sense of direction although they are extremely dumb animals for the most part.
They also have a larger volume and have a tendency to travel in straight lines so that it gives the impression, to their foes, that they are one large animal. The wildebeest live off the tall grasses and once they eat the grass down, it is perfect for the zebras that need to feast on short grasses. The pair seems to work just fine but the sight of them together is one beyond belief. The Serengeti is also a good viewing spot for lions and vermit monkeys. If you are extremely lucky, you might also spot a leopard, although they are extremely hard to spot in the daylight since they rest most of the day hidden high up on tree limbs.
Being among the wildlife in Africa gives you, as a human, such a feeling of ‘smallness’ and unimportance. For once we are not the king of this domain and you have to respect the fact that this is not your land or your place of belonging. You feel very minute and hope that you are unobtrusive ….as YOU are the visitor to this land!
All life there has a purpose and is not wasted or taken for granted. A ‘kill’ is a kill for food and survival, not for dominance or respect or for fun! There are usually only certain species within each wildlife’s food chain, and the others are ignored. Life is not wasted or taken for granted. All wildlife shares the same space and land and ignores each other unless threatened, and then of course, they try to protect their own.
After our stay at the Serengeti we caught a small 15-seater plane and flew back to Arusha for a short day stay before driving to the airport to head back home. As I mentioned, this trip stayed with my soul so much that I grabbed the opportunity to go back the following year.
So this year, in July 2008 for 9 full days this time, this trip was also with family: my cousins Kay and Charles, Charles’ step-daughters Lorilie and Rowena, and Lorilie’s boyfriend Kenny, and I. We stayed in some of the same locations; Mount Village, Lake Manyara, and Ngorgongoro, but this time, we also included 2 nights at the Serengeti Mobile Tented camps by the CC Africa Tour Company, and 2 nights at the Mbuze Mawe Tented Camp, sponsored by Bushbuck Safaris.
We requested to have Fabian as our guide again and he ‘personally’ provided us with the best viewing experience ever, because this year, he found us the leopard that we couldn’t spot last year. And boy, do we have the most unbelievable photos of this leopard, because Fabian made an effort to get almost right beside the tree for a few seconds so we could capture those few unforgettable shots.