Field Sightings from Tanzania – August 2013
Ephata was with the Stratton party.
Ephata reported; the two days spent at Tarangire were marvellous! The Stratton Party liked the beautiful scenery with the Baobab trees. We saw tons of elephants and had interesting experience as we watched their behaviours (wallowing, eating and fighting). We also spotted many giraffes, impalas, olive baboons, vervet monkeys, hippos, and waterbuck. The highlight was one cheetah standing on a termite mound. The birds in Tarangire were colourful and interesting too!
The next day two clients enjoyed horse riding while the other two went on a nature a walk. After the morning activities we left the camp and headed to Lake Manyara National Park for a game drive in search for better game viewing. We spotted troops of olive baboons, blue and vervet monkeys, hippos, gnus, buchells zebras, Maasai giraffes, waterbucks, impalas, buffaloes and lots of water birds. The highlight of the day was the leopard just resting on the tree near the road. The party also enjoyed the magnificent views of the Great East African valley. We returned to the camp for dinner and overnight.
We had a great time in the crater we spotted large herds of wildebeests and zebras that were spread out all around the crater floor. We saw herds of gazelles, many spotted hyenas, warthogs, hartebeest, olive baboon, few elephants and hippos.
We continued on our game drive and explored the Gorigor swamp, Ngoitokitok spring, and Lerai forest were we spotted two black rhino very near to the road and that made our day. Having had a thrilling game viewing experience we returned to the lodge with a successful day that included the two black rhino, 3 lionesses among other wonderful wildlife we had spotted on the crater floor.
Our afternoon game drive in the Serengeti was very special. We were very lucky with game on this day! We spotted a single male leopard with a baby zebra kill, 7 lions, 3 black rhino!!! In Serengeti! This was definitely a very unique sighting as it is very rare to spot Rhino on the Serengeti Plains. We spotted herds of elephant and buffaloes near Moru kopjes. We managed to spot the “Big five” in only 3 hours! What a thrilling day!
The next day’s game drive was equally impressive. It just got better and better. We spotted a pride of 14 lions, female leopards with her two cubs eating a Thomson gazelle on the tree, two brother male lions, 8 lions hanging on the tree enjoying the breeze.
We headed to the western corridor of the Serengeti and to Ubuntu Camp. The two days spent in Western Serengeti was impressive and enjoyable were we spotted the great migration of wildebeest and zebras, two lions mating, 1 lioness with a wildebeest kill, crocodiles in the river, hippos, black and white colobus monkeys, and monitor lizards as well These all made great game viewing and great sightings in the western Serengeti (Gurumeti/Kirawira areas).
They explored the Ngorongoro Crater and spotted Pride of lions and Flamingoes in Lake Magadi and also were lucky to spot two Rhinos while they were about to leave the crater floor.
We were warmly welcomed by the head teacher, we introduced each other, and we were briefed about the school and the difficulties and challenges experienced. Then we visit one class where the Geller party was able to interact with the pupils and they distributed books. The pupils were so exited!!
We then proceeded towards Ngorongoro Sopa lodge on the eastern crater rim where we overnighted. The following day was an early morning and we left Ngorongoro sopa at 6:15am to explore the Ngorongoro crater. Departing in the mist we headed down the eastern road and descended into the crater floor.
After lunch we headed to Maasai village, where we were welcomed by a Maasai dance, and followed by visiting their home. The Geller party was able to ask lots of questions and received information and explanations on the Maasai lifestyle and traditions.
Later in the evening we returned back to Treetop for a wonderful sundowner and clients enjoyed night game drive later.
We left Treetops after breakfast and drove towards Manyara stopping at Escarpment Lodge for lunch. Later in the afternoon we had a game drive in ManyaraPark where it was much quieter in terms of game viewing compared with Tarangire. The beauty of the park was the landscape and the Terrain of the park itself. Hippos were one of the attractions we had at the park and clients really enjoyed time spent at the Hippo pool. Later in the evening we went back to the lodge for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast at Escarpment Lodge we drove to Gibbs farm where we had a chance to stretch our legs and did a nature walk towards the waterfall. After the walk we were famished and enjoyed the lovely lunch at Gibbs. After lunch, we had the chance to visit the Iraqw tribe, a dominant tribe around the area where by they were able to share with us their culture and life style. The Daniels Party found the visiting quite interesting and listened careful to the explanations and had the chance to ask many questions after.
Having being enriched with a wealth of information and learnt about a new culture and tribe we departed and headed towards Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge where we spent two nights. The next morning very early we descend to the crater floor with our picnic lunch. Our drive was great enjoying the majestic scenery around us and we were treated to a great sighting of pride of lions which were very close by. We spotted Rhinos which was great. We saw lots of hyenas who were busy eating a wildebeest carcass.
We departed to explore the Northern Serengeti and headed to Olakira Camp.
We spent three nights here and clients real enjoyed the camp. Game viewing was pretty tough as the areas had long grasses, though we were very lucky to spot lions on the tree and other lions mating. Back at Olakira camp the clients enjoyed the Meals and all the services.
The following day we left the camp at 7:30 am game drive en route and headed to Kogatende airstrip where we had to say good bye to the Daniels Party. They were continuing the adventure and flying to Ruaha. I had a great time guiding and sharing the beauty of Tanzania with Daniels family.
The four nights spent in Serengeti were the most fascinating part of our trip. We stayed at Serengeti Explorer camp and had a chance to explore Central Serengeti and western corridor of Serengeti. We encountered several highlights during our time in the Serengeti.
The migration of Wildebeest and Zebra became the highlight of the entire trip, Hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra were spread on both sides of Grumeti River heading western, though good numbers have turned right towards north east around Grumeti reserve.
We spotted a number of lions in different prides, four Leopards, two Cheetahs, Jackals, Serval Cat, Foxes, Baboons and many other ungulates made our stay very fruitful. Our success continued when the clients were intrigued by crocodiles sharing a dead wildebeest along the GrumetiRiver. It was an excellent sighting. The clients were not true birders but in Serengeti only we were able to identify more than 80 different species of birds.
They loved being alone watching the mighty herds Wildebeest and Zebra for several hours and also seeing crossing from the Olakira camp! It was awesome and incredible experience. Another Highlight was an opportunity at Manyara Ranch visiting remote Maasai village was incredible.
At Manyara Ranch, on our way we visited Maasai open market we saw lots of activities and trading of cattle and local products being sold that was good opportunity to have interaction with local people. In the Ranch we enjoyed and found out is a very good place to learn about conservation and enjoyed the activities like waking, visiting very remote Maasai village and night game drive and horse riding. During dinner I talked about rift valley escarpment and about MosquitoCreekTown that is Mto wa Mbu and about the activities at Gibbs. Our adventures started in Tarangire where we saw lots of elephants with babies just two kilometres from the air-strip. As we began our Game drive we spotted two cheetahs walking in grass enroute to Tarangire Treetops where we arrived for Lunch and client enjoyed a sun downer and night game drive after. Then the next day we had full day game drive where we saw elephant interacting with their young ones, baboons and a pride of 12 lions near the banks of TarangireRiver. During diner I gave a talk about Manyara Ranch that it is a conservancy where the government and AWF working together to protect the important corridor for animals movement from and to Tarangire National Park and Manyara National Park and due to human Settlement the impact was so high that was affecting the normal migration. Thanks to the conservation efforts taking place we now see some improvements.
As we headed towards Gibbs farm on the way discussed about cross-pollination of various tribes at Mto wa Mbu and that due to fertility of volcanic soil and under-ground water from the Ngorongoro high land At Gibbs we enjoyed walking to the elephant cave spotting foot prints of various game and waterfalls. After the activities the lunch was well awaiting and was fabulous and we had a chance to relax in the tranquil gardens. After lunch we enjoyed visiting Iraqw Center and learnt more on Iraqw culture and tradition, weddings how to use grinding rock to grind millet and how to make wedding skirt and observed a tradition Iraqw semi- underground house. We stopped at Ngorongoro view point where I explained all about the largest intact caldera in the world and that is unbroken wall and un-flooded and also known as area with the largest number of animals per square km.
The next morning we left early in the morning to explore the Ngorongoro Crater. We were as close as we just missed a pride of lions catching a warthog. Later we saw other lions closed by and lucky to have a rhino cross the road in front of our vehicle! Super sight!
The next day we departed with picnic lunch and headed to Serengeti Soroi, on the way we talked about Olduvai Gorge from the Ngorongoro highland as we were going to the Gorge. The highlight was visiting and seeing live excavation site and being explained what is going on and that they had a new finding which was that there was a fresh water stream feeding the lake as they found Calcium carbonate traces at the area. We continued our Journey to Serengeti Soroi; on the way we saw a leopard which was a great spot.
The Whitcomb family went for an early balloon they left at 0415 hrs, they enjoyed it but they were quite tired from the early wake up call. We continued on en route game drive to Buffalo luxury. The highlight of Buffalo Camp was seeing the migration, special bush diner with Maasai dance and visiting Maasai village. The next morning we went to Lobo Air-strip where we took a plane to Olakira and said bye bye to the Nielsen party as they flew back to Arusha.
Upon arriving at Olakira we saw a crossing and that was just a second day of the onset of crossings. The Whitcomb family thrilled with the timing and happy they were able to spend the nights at Olakira to witness the migration crossings the river from Camp. The next day we saw a pride of 13 lions and one and a half hour crossing of wildebeest and some of the being caught by crocodiles. The last day we saw again several crossing and also a black rhino in Serengeti. This was a very unique sighting and we were extremely lucky. Sadly after so much adventure and great sightings that marked the end of adventurous safari, we took a plane to Arusha from Kogatende via Seronera and South Serengeti.
The Whitcomb family was thrilled with their visit and extremely happy they managed to sight the migration crossing and the timing of the safari and properties booked was just perfect and that made them have a really enjoyable safari adventure.
The following morning we ventured out into TarangirePark and spotted lots of gnus and zebras close to the camp, as we continued into the Park we spotted herds of elephants that welcomed us as we started our game drive. The Grass were still long and made it difficult to spot wildlife but we managed to see giraffes, mongooses, impalas beautiful birds.
Our adventure into the crater started early from Ngorongoro Farm house .We departed early morning to begin our journey to the crater, it was cold and fogy, as we drove further descending to the crater it cleared up.
We got to see some great wildlife sightings, lions who had just finished feeding on wildebeest from last night’s kill, followed by hyenas vultures and couple of jackals having a party with left overs. We stopped to use washrooms facilities and we saw an elephant heading towards our jeep! Observing the Elephants behaviour and my knowledge of crater elephants tend to be friendly to jeeps, so we stayed quiet and elephant just passed like 20meters close to us we took excellent photos! What a thrilling experience!
We then proceeded to the lunch spot where we could stretch our legs and watch hippos come close to the shore. In the afternoon, our game viewing was exciting; we got to see rhino very close! Having had a fruitful day we decided to head back for our lodge with big smiles, wonderful game drive!
The following day we checked out from Farm House and began our journey to Serengeti en route we stopped at Olduvai Gorge and visited the museum on site to learn more about the early hominids. We also had the chance to spot at a Maasai village and learn more about the culture and lifestyle. Grant Party really enjoyed the visit as they compared and contrasted with their visit in Amboseli.
As we entered the SerengetiPark we had an en route game drive towards our camp and saw lions, a leopard and we arrived in time at our camp to admire the great African sunset and beautiful view of the Serengeti plains from camp.
An early morning as they all went on balloon ride which they really enjoyed as this was different and memorable experience. I met my clients after their balloon ride and we continued exploring the Serengeti plains. We came across to a mama leopard with 2 young ones feeding on Thompson gazelle on the very low acacia tree branch! That certainly became the highlight of the trip! One of the young cubs happened to come down and rest close to our rear tire of our jeep! What a thrilling and memorable experience.
Another big day in Serengeti plains .After breakfast we left to Kirawira western corridor with picnic lunches, and headed in the direction of the migratory herds. We managed to spot the vast herd of wildebeest and zebra and witnessed a spectacle of the Great Migration at Nyasirori plains toward Grumeti Game Reserve, what a great sightseeing mass of wildebeests on the go!! Later we also saw our first cheetah! We spotted Crocodiles and hippos in GrumetiRiver. We also spotted lions with a zebra kill fifty yards from our jeep. We had a long day but rather adventurous day of game viewing and saw some breath taking sightings. We headed back to camp for shower and relaxed around the camp fire enjoying and revisiting our day’s adventures!
Our last day in the Serengeti as we made our way to the airstrip, we spotted wildlife en route; we saw 2 leopards and a tree climbing lioness. It was like they wanted to say goodbye to Betsy and Kristofer, They left with big smile!
We began our African Adventure, with a visit to local market, where clients got to experience and walk around with me as I explained. We then proceeded to Maramboi driving through the Masaai steppe where some women were doing laundry and men looking after their Life stock cattle and goats. We arrived in time for lunch.
After lunch we left for our game drive in Tarangire where we saw Elephants, Monkeys, Giraffe, Zebras, Impalas, Waterbucks, and birds with the beautiful landscape dotted with baobab trees.
The following day we continued exploring TarangirePark and left for a full day game drive with packed lunch. We were lucky and has some great sightings We spotting a Cheetah up close, Lions , Birds, Baboons, Elephants, Martial Eagle killing a quine fowl ,Giraffe,. We broke for lunch at Silalei picnic spot, where we were able to stretch our feet. After lunch we continued with our game drive stopped more Birds sighting and Warthogs, Elands, Dik Dik. After a successful day of game viewing we headed back to lodge in the evening.
Today we decided to have an easy paced day and after breakfast we had walk around the lodge and spent the morning at leisure, then followed by a nice lunch we departed and drove to Ngorongoro Farm house admiring a beautiful scenic drive.
Today a highlight was awaiting for us, we left early at 06:30 with our packed lunch and drove towards the Ngorongoro Crater and as it was very fogy we could not stop at the view point so we went straight down to the crater floor where we spotted some very interesting game : we saw Lions , Hyenas , Hippos, Thomson gazelles ,Grant gazelles , Wildebeest , Rhinos, Zebras and we went for lunch ,
After lunch we proceeded with our game drive where we saw more lions, Jackals, Kori bustard, Buffaloes, and finally magic moment Big guy crossing the road ‘Rhino’!!! What a fantastic sighting and truly made the highlight of the day. We began to ascend back to the Crater rim and stopped at the view point for pictures and returned back to the lodge in the evening.
We left for the Great Serengeti plains and enroute we visited Oldpai gorge, on our way there we saw Giraffes, we stopped at the gorge and the guest enjoyed the museum followed by lecture on the history. We then visited a Masaai village, where they enjoyed the village walk and dance.
We continued of Journey into the Serengeti plains and exploring the Ndutu plains and had great sighting of Lions with cubs, Cheetah, Elephants, Giraffes, Elands, a coalition of three brothers.
The follow day we left camp early with a packed lunch and got a beautiful sunrise with Giraffe followed by hundreds of Thomson gazelles what a moment! We managed to spot a lot of interesting wildlife on our game drive: Cheetah, Elephants chasing Lions, Male lion walking on the road, Mother Cheetah with two cubs on the Rocks Hippos, Jackals baboons, Monkeys, then we went for lunch. After lunch we continued with our game and saw Leopard and a cub, more lions and Zebras, Impalas, Crocodiles. We spotted a Secretary bird enroute to our camp.
We left the camp early in the morning to explore Moru kopjes and we spotted Hyenas, bat eared foxes, Giraffe, Ground hornbill, Flamingoes, and then visited the Ngong rocks, Maasai painting. We continued with our game drive and around the Sopa pools we saw female lions with cubs and then we broke for lunch. After lunch we went to the Maasai kopjes where lions were eating a Giraffe carcass but it was overcrowded so we decided to leave and drove to the Maasai kopjes pool and we were rewarded with a Lion kill. They had killed a Buffalo, what a moment to experience, my clients were emotional but they really enjoyed the experience as this became our highlight of the day as we drove back to Camp for the evening.
The next day the guests were anxious and excited and wanted us to leave early to see what was going on around the Giraffe kill, but when we got their the lions had already left and a whole pack of Hyenas, Jackals , and vultures fighting for left over’s. We watch as they all competed for the scraps left. After we went to looking for Topi which Michelle was really eager to see and we were lucky to spot them.