Field Sightings from Tanzania – May 2013
Mkenda was with Gerald Smetana
His private safari,one on one with Mkenda was a thrilling experience and a memorable one. Having the opportunity to tap into Mkenda’sdepth of knowledge, they encountered unique sightings throughout their safari. Gerald a Professor at Harvard Medical University in Boston, author of three academic books and about 100 publications in Medical field, was truly overwhelmed by the wildlife encounters they had seen.
Several special sightings were witnessed including a cheetah at top speed chasing a gazelle and wildebeests, spotting a leopard and witnessing the great migration in Southern Serengeti.
Mkenda reported: Our drive to Oliver’s camp was great and we managed to spot a few Elephants and resident Wildebeest and Zebra en route. The following morning we spotted two lionesses and many more elephants and giraffes the highlight was certainly being so close to nature and being able to be the only ones at the sightings gave us more time to enjoy the wildlife,
The following day we left Oliver’s Camp with en route game drive thru Tarangire National Park and then arriving at Gibbs Farm for a delicious late lunch and later had some time to relax and spend some time at leisure, soaking up the tranquil surroundings.
After a good nights sleeps at Gibbs, We departed to next day with picnic lunch to explore the Ngorongoro crater. We managed to spot a large pride of 20 lions, what a great sight to catch! Watching the large dark manned male with the rest of the pride was awesome ! We spotted another unique sight of the black rhino with a small calf. The mother was very careful and protective and we ensured we kept a good distance. We witnessed Africa’s largest mammal cross the road just in front of us – elephant crossing the road was breath taking.
We departed the following morning with picnic lunch to spend a full day exploring the Great Plains. We spotted cheetah attempting to hunt, many lions and the great migration (plenty of wildebeest and zebra). We had a private picnic in the middle of the Serengeti, a table set in the middle of wildebeests what an experience and possible the highlight for a day along with the cheetah hunt attempt
Our visit to lake Manyara National Park was nice. We spotted elephants, plenty of olive baboons, blue and vervet monkey, hippos, impalas, buffaloes and many water birds. Spending the night at Kirurumu Camp.
We left early the next morning and drove thru Karatu town enjoying the farms and valleys and then had stop at the crater viewpoint to have same photos of the “Wonder of World” the Ngorongoro caldera. Our Game drive inside the crater floor was fantastic. We spotted 7 Black rhino, large prides of lions totalling to 18 lions, great number of lesser flamingos, many spotted hyenas, Jackals, gazelles
The second day we had a great time were we spotted 10 lions fro m different prides with two couples mating, black rhinos with 2 young ones. The highlight was the crater itself and the number of mammals within.
We continued our journey and into the Serengeti Plains. We had an impressive game drives were we witness the great spectacular migration of wildebeest and Zebra . The plains were full of them white and black spots across the plains towards the horizon.
We managed to spot 6 lions, 7 cheetahs (3 cubs jumping around and being playful near our vehicles). We spotted the resident wildlife like elephants, topi, gazelles, hartebeest, and tail wagging warthogs.
We left Olakira and headed towards Dunia camp. Enroute we spotted lions on the tree, giraffes before arriving at Dunia camp for lunch. The three days we spent exploring the Serengeti plains were the most enjoyable. We saw several prides of lions on the tree, another pride of lions with a kill and a cheetah mother with her cubs. Two leopards seen at Seronera were impressive too! Having seen numerous wildlife during game drives the Balloon ride was much enjoyed having a bird’s eye view of the great Serengeti plains.
Having a good night’s rest at Mt Meru Hotel, we departed on Safari the following morning. We had an interesting drive towards Maramboi as we drove through many villages.
As it was the start of the long rains we observed passing by many farmers at work cultivating their lands. We observed the women were doing their laundry work while the young boys were looking after their cattle. We arrived at Maramboi Camp for lunch.
After lunch we entered the Tarangire National Park where we spotted giraffe, elephants, monkeys and the grounds were green and lush from the continuing rains. We had a spectacular view of the park, with baobab trees and birds of which the secretary bird was their highlights on this day.
Having an early start we left at 6:30 am wit h picnic lunch and were very lucky. As we entered the park we spotted a great surprise and unique sighting of cheetah, which generally are very hard to see in Tarangire . We enjoyed the day with more wildlife spotting’s: lot of elephants, lions, baboons, Bat eared foxes, jackals, Dik dik, Hyrax. Certainly the highlight of day was spotting the bat earned fox.
We had the morning at leisure then drove to Ngorongoro farm house. We enjoyed a walk around the farm and treated to a beautiful sunset overlooking the Ngorongoro conservation.
We left very early in the morning at 0630hrs to get to the crater floor by 7:30 . Our early morning trip was worth it as we managed a few great sightings. We spotted lions hunting and another pride of lion feeding on buffalo! We spent a lot of time with the pride and watching how the pride interacted with one another.
Later on we were lucky to spot a Rhino crossing the road in front of us! Great timing!! Our adventure continued as we spotted hyenas, hippos, Jackals wildebeest, Zebras, marabou stock! The highlight of the day was the black manned Male lions, Rhinos and the big herds of buffalo, truly a memorable and enjoyable day in the crater.
An early start as we had a lot of activities planned, we left the lodge at 7:00 am and drov e across the Ngorongoro conservation. We managed to have a culture interaction with the Masai and were lucky to see them milking their cow. As we travelled thru we spotted around 30 giraffe and lot of Masai with their livestock grazing in the plains. We stopped at Oldupai Gorge – visiting the museum and lecture. We visited a Masai village of which we enjoyed and learned a lot on Masai culture and tradition. We stopped for lunch under the acacia trees, overlooking the great plains into the horizon looking at hundreds if not thousands of migrating wildebeest and zebras.
We continued our game drives and explored the Great Plains. We spotted pride of lions, 7 cheetahs, 3 leopard and the highlights of the day w as 3 cheetahs playing with a white tailed mongoose. What a unique sighting!
The Following day we broke the day in to two in the morning we went to explore the Moru Kopjes. En route to Moru kopjes we explored a Hyenas den here we spotted more than twenty hyenas with their puppy’s playing on the side of vehicle. We also had the chance to view rock paintings and Ngong rock.
We spotted the lions on the Kopjes rocks Andrea and Amanda commented this was their dream since it reminded them of the Lion king!!!!
In the afternoon another surprise!! A close sighting of a leopard! This was Zeke’s dream of a close encounter of the leopard, managing to get beautiful pictures of Leopard! We also managed to spot lions, elephants, hippos, giraffe and variety of colourful species of birds all along Seronera River.
Leaving the camp and heading back to the airstrip, whilst our short game drive en route we spotted another leopard! A remarkable farewell and end to the safari of a lifetime.