Our two week safari left a big impression on me - it was one incredible experience after another. Saw huge numbers of wildebeest and zebra. Lots of lions, giraffes and elephants.
We witnessed a stunning show of nature at its rawest where three cheetahs ran down a juvenile wildebeest, attempted the kill, but were foiled by some hyenas - the Cheetah Incident. Many smaller animals too: gazelles, impala, baboons, monkeys, warthogs, jackals and bat-eared foxes, among others. The colourful birdlife was amazing and varied.
There were stunning landscapes that could dramatically change their scenic character in a matter of a half hour - particularly in the Mount Lengai/Lake Natron area. Tarangire Park is an incredibly scenic place with many stately Baobab trees, a healthy elephant population and a cliff-top lodge.
Half of our nights were at a variety of very comfortable lodges. Some nights were camping in the bush, hearing the nearby lion's rumble and hyena's bark. Big kudos and thanks to our hard working drivers, cook and crew for keeping us well fed and comfortable (most of the time anyway - through no fault of their own).
Waiting for the rangers to give the OK to cross a flooded bridge.
There was a Christmas day not soon to be forgotten - in the middle of the Serengeti! A drenching downpour in the morning. Land Rovers stuck twice getting out of camp. An unplanned pitstop at a luxury camp to get cleaned up, have lunch and allow our amazing drivers to go back and help unstuck the supply truck. A 2.5 hour wait at a flooded out bridge. A treachorous 43km track-soaked, night drive to our next lodge. A full xmas buffet waiting for us upon our late arrival. And culminating with a few complimentary glasses of scotch around the campfire. It was all fantastic!
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watch - Drive to base of Empakai crater rim for start of trek. Includes shots of the spactacular Embulbul Depression.
Trekking along the heavily forested Empekai Crater rim.
A 3-day hike through some of the most scenic landscape of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Along Empakai Crater rim, down escarpments of the southern Great Rift Valley and majestic Odoinyo Lengai volcano following us the whole way. Also some amazing encounters with the local Maasai people.
watch - Start of trek up Empakai Crater rim. Meeting our supply truck and then watching them high-side and get stuck. Continue to top of rim for some amazing views. First glimpse of Oldoinyo Lengai.
watch - Arrival at rim camp, meeting local Maasai couple on their commute and waiting for our donkey porters to arrive.
watch - Celebrating arrival of donkeys (the second group of donkeys - the first ones weren't ours). Great evening views of the crater and the valley.
watch - A very wet morning after a very wet night tenting. Hiking along the crater rim.
watch - Descent into the valley and visit to Naiyobi village.
watch - Lunch in pasture outside village. Don shows local kids how to use video camera. Dung beetle.
watch - Continue hike down to the beautiful Yellow Acacia camp. Encounter with Maasai warriors who treat us to some singing and dancing.
watch - Incredibly scenic decent of escarpment to Great Rift Valley floor and arrival at Lake Natron Camp.
Meeting the local Maasai.
Welcome relief at a tented lodge after the trek. Another amazing Maasai encounter and a very scenic wine & Pringles sundowner. Ending this leg with a big change to our itinerary because of all the rain we'd encountered - which meant driving the long route around to enter Serengeti National Park.
watch - A visit with the local Maasai with some amazing traditional dancing and singing.
watch - The walk back to our camp was quite magical.
watch - On the shores of Lake Natron, ending the day with a walk in the infamous "black cotton soil" and a wine and Pringles sundowner.
watch - The detour from our original itinerary, starting with a drive along the foot of Oldoinyo Lengai and a stop at the "Hole of the Gods" crater.
watch - Vehicle troubles and a lengthy stop in a village to repair a tire rim - beer, cards, soccer and the origins of the yellow "hoo hoo" bird. Then on to Mbu wa Mtu, spotting a giant flock of birds and fields of termite mounds on the way.
Simba near the lodge.
(photo courtesy Leslie)
Serengeti National Park
We'd seen alot of animals so far but the best was yet to come. So many wildebeest and zebra they'd sometimes black out the horizon. Stunning landscapes. A Christmas eve camp in the middle of the Serengeti - sitting around the campfire with xmas lights in a thorn bush and xmas tunes playing in the background. A loooong Christmas day and evening. Ending with a few restful days at the wonderful Ndutu Safari Lodge.