East Africa Bush Tails

Field Sightings from Tanzania – October 2013

George Mollel was with Chang Party and reported,
As we drove to Gibbs farm for lunch, The drive took us through Arusha town and across the Masai steppe where we stopped at one of the Masai market to have a look . We arrived at Gibbs farm in time for Lunch. After lunch we got a chance to stretch our legs and go on a walk around the farm to see the coffee processing and the organic garden. After, we visited the Iraqw village to learn more about their culture and lifestyle, before heading to the Ngorongoro Manor where Chang Party had the opportunity to go Horse riding and enjoyed the experience.

We departed early in the morning and headed towards the Ngorongoro Crater as we descended into the crater in the morning mist. As we were circling the rim we spotted our first wild animal Buffalo. Down in the crater we had great sightings of Elephants, Lions feasting on a Buffalo they had freshly killed, Hyenas, and Jackals were quick to pay a visit for the remains.  Further on we spotted resident Wildebeest and Zebras before we stopped for wonderful breakfast enjoying the beautiful views. After breakfast we continued with our game drive and very lucky to find more Lion sightings, Hippos, birds like Kori bustard, Ground hornbill, Flamingoes at the lake. After lunch we continued with our game viewing where we saw more Buffaloes and an amazing sighting of a Serval cat.  As we decided to head back up on our way out we spotted two Rhinos which made the highlight of the day! We stopped at the viewpoint on the crater rim adoring the majestic views of the crater floor from above.

We began our long journey  to the Serengeti Plains, en route we visited the Oldupai Gorge and learnt more about early hominids, As we drove into Serengeti NP we spotted Lions , Elephants ,Hippos , heartbeats , Topi , and Impalas near our Lodge as we got to the Four Seasons Serengeti in time for lunch.  After Lunch and some time to relax enjoying the stunning views from the Lodge, we went out for our evening game drive and we saw Dik dik, Klipspringer, Thomson gazelles, Grant gazelles and headed back to the lodge.

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The following day we opted for a full day game drives as we explored the Serengeti Plains, we left with packed lunches and our first sighting of the day was a group of Hippos followed by Giraffes. We were lucky to spot the wild cats and enjoyed sightings of Lions, cheetah, and two leopard. The day got even better as we were so lucky to witness a Lion killing a Thomson gazelle which began the Highlight of the day! We also saw lots of birds and after a very successful day of great sightings we went back to the lodge.

We planned to explore the northern territories of the Serengeti as we headed up to the Mara river. As it was a long journey we decided to leave the lodge early in the morning and got to the river we eagerly awaited to see if we can see any river crossings, We patiently waited and  we got to see our first crossing and a crocodile taking one of the wildebeest down!!!  Well worth the long wait!!  

 
The crossing took almost twenty minutes and it stopped because of the crying and calling of the Wildebeest that was taken by the Croc.  Having witness a spectacular crossing we drove into the woodland where we had our lunch overlooking the majestic Serengeti plains.  We chatted and the Chang Party told me about their friends who came a month ago and they were lucky to witness the migration and the crossing and therefore it was their dream to have witnessed the same. It did not take long before we got another crossing we watched on and great miracle as one after another wildebeest followed each other struggling across the river in search for greener pastures on the other side of the river bank.  After having full filled our hearts desire we drove back towards the lodge and after around thirty minutes of the crossing they told me they were happy to go to the lodge.
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Our last day in Serengeti and we explored the Moru kopjes in search for the Rhino which is a very rare sighting.   We instead were treated with a great sighting, we saw a mother Leopard which had killed a Thomson gazelle and was calling her cubs out of the forest covering. To our great surprise it was not one but two cubs of about a year old about ten meters from the vehicle!! Later we saw a great show of the Lions and Buffaloes!  The Lion were trying to hunt down and bring down the massive buffalo, we eagerly watched on as the buffalo continued defending itself! What a breath taking sight! 
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We also got a chance to see a mother Lion and three cubs feeding on a Zebra! The day was full of great sightings as we saw another male lion scaring off buffaloes and Baboons who were approaching the kopjes they were on.
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Elibaraki was with the Keller party and reported,
Our Safari began as we drove to Maramboi Tented Lodge for lunch. After lunch we explored Tarangire National Park and on our game drive we saw giraffes pausing under the tree shade, impala  grazing and some females displaying and showcasing their jumping talent with tails up, a big herd of elephant parading across the plain some grazing along the road whilst others crossing the road. We also saw zebras crossing the road, big herd of wildebeest grazing with zebras, waterbuck lying in the shade, males and female ostriches one male with pink neck as a sign of breeding adult, big bachelor herd of impala. After great days of game viewing we headed back to Maramboi tented lodge for dinner and overnight.

The following day after an early breakfast we departed with picnic lunch for full day game drive exploring the park.  On our game drive we saw a big bachelor herd of impala crossing the road and four of them were fighting with their horns showcasing their strength against one another. We also saw bachelor elephant bulls, seven of them walking towards the road and two of them had broken tusks and the other one his right tusk was completely missing. We watched as eventually two of them crossed the road in front of us. After fifteen minutes we saw another big bachelor herd of fifteen elephant bulls in the western side of Tarangire river digging and drinking water from under the ground. We continued on and we saw giraffes browsing and one of them walked towards us, where they gave the clients different profiles, we saw dwarf mongoose coming in and out of termite hill den, male ostrich far away shortly walked towards us and crossed the road in front of the car. We were lucky with plenty of sightings and saw zebras, warthogs, wildebeest, olive baboons, vervet monkey, and a lot of birds.

The following day we drove to Lake Manyara Park for morning game viewing, and  we saw blue monkeys jumping up and down in the trees some grooming each other,  we saw troop of baboon young one playing whilst some grooming each other. We saw three giraffes along the lake shore posing, vervet monkeys, silvery cheeked hornbill, crowned hornbill, big group of impala, bachelor herd of impala and we stopped at picnic site for lunch overlooking spectacular views. After lunch we continued with game drives, where we saw one family of eight elephants walking very fast toward us when they approached us they started browsing on the tree branches and eventually decided to rest under the shade of acacia tree. We continued with our game drive where we saw another family elephant with a matriarch with no tusk. After a great day’s game viewing in the late afternoon we drove to Ngorongoro Serena for dinner and overnight.

We departed early in the morning after an early breakfast and descended down into the Ngorongoro Crater where we saw a lot of resident zebras, wildebeest, Thompson and grant’s gazelles, golden jackal, lesser and greater flamingos. We were very lucky and had an amazing sighting of Black rhino walking away slowly from the road and later on we witnessed lions mating, individual bulls of elephants in lerai forest. Close to mid-day and the sun became stronger which made the animals head towards LakeMagadi to drink water. The wildebeest and zebra were all at the drinking place and an amazing sighting was watching them with the pink flamingo in the background. We also saw porcupine almost at mid-day walking around searching food in the ground. We headed to the Picnic site and enjoyed our packed lunches and got a chance to stretch our legs. After, lunch we continued with afternoon game drive where we saw big herd of buffalos just drinking water at Munge river close to them was a pride of two lions and three lionesses. We watched and waited for a drama to unfold but the Lions looked well feed and no appetite to hunt. We headed back to our lodge on the Crater rim after great days of game viewing.

We continued our journey to Serengeti and visited Oldupai gorge and Masai village en route. We stopped at Naabi hill and enjoyed our picnic lunches. After we headed out in search for game in the Serengeti Plains, we saw Thompson and grants gazelles, ostrich, and giraffes seven of them eating/feeding in one tree. We then spotted a leopard lying at the base of a tree and opposite a lioness that walked to SeroneraRiver to drink water.

After quenching her thirst she walked back into the bush for the shade. As we were busy watching the lioness, the leopard walked to the next tree and climbed it for shade.  We continued with our game drive and we spotted hippos coming out of the pool. We also saw Huge Nile crocodile along SeroneraRiver. Further on we saw big herds of elephants, vervet monkeys, baboons in the tree. As we headed to camp we saw a big herd of about fifty elephants which was very close to Serengeti Explorer camp where we overnighted.

The following day after breakfast we departed with Lunch hamper to explore the Serengeti plains for full day’s game drive. On our game drive we saw an impala with waterbuck together with Thompson gazelles, two martial eagles in the tree, lilac breasted roller, African grey hornbills feeding on the termite on the ground, hippos at retima hippo pool bachelor herd of buffalo herd of nine topi, dikdik, zebras  two bat eared fox, warthogs, white backed and lappet faced vultures feeding on the carcass, elephants, two leopard in a different trees but close to each other. We enjoyed our Lunch Hamper overlooking the Serengeti plains.

After lunch we continued with afternoon game drive where we saw a pride of lion with two cubs of about four months old walking from across the plains and  crossing  the road in pursuit for some shade under a tree where they parked themselves , As we continue we spotted giraffes, more elephants, hippos . After a successful day game viewing with some wonderful sightings we headed back to Serengeti explorer camp for dinner and overnight.

Our following morning exploring the vast Serengeti Plains we headed outafter an early breakfast for morning game drive, we spotted big herd of buffalo, We saw two cheetahs mother and almost fully grown cubs, we watched on and eventually the mother cheetah stalked something and disappeared in the bush, was too far for us too see. We continued and spotted a big family of elephants browsing on trees, herd of eleven topi and another big herd of about twenty two elephants under acacia tree under the shade. Further on we spotted two more cheetahs moving from one tree to another for shade. We headed back to Camp for lunch and after headed out for an afternoon game drive, we saw black backed jackals, topi, giraffes, warthogs, elephant we headed back to camp.

Our last morning in Serengeti after breakfast we headed out on game drive en route to the airstrip where we saw gazelles, zebras and group of about  fifteen wildebeest together pausing for picture. We continued with our game drive en route towards Seronera airstrip where we said goodbye and they departed on their Flight to Selous.

 
Hilary was with Sotak and Iseman Party and reported,
After landing at LakeManyara airstrip safely we began our journey as, we drove to Gibbs farm. Lovely place and they really enjoyed their two night stay. In the evening we had the chance to share the experience with Iraqw people who live around the area.  It was a great learning experience as the clients participated and asked many questions during the tour and learnt a lot on the culture and lifestyle, including how the bio gas is made.

The following morning we spent a full day in the Ngorongoro Crater game viewing and it was very successful!  Our day started very early with packed lunches and we managed to see some great sightings as soon as we entered the crater! The day was highlighted by several sightings including lion with two week old cubs, Male lion feeding on wildebeest while number of hyena and jackals ‘surrounded him. Later the hyenas chased off the lion and took over the carcass It was great experience!  Other sighting where we spotted Giant Elephants, Serval cat, Foxes Jackals fighting, Hartebeest Zebra Wildebeest, Baboons, Gazelles and many others were very impressive. . The landscape of the area, its geology and birds of Ngorongoro made the trip very special.

Our Safari ended in TarangireNational Park where we stayed at Olivers Camp. With the few rains in the area this made it look green though big part still looks very dry.  Most of the animals are now along the river and swamps. The Highlight was big herd of Elephants about 90 mostly calves enjoying their mud bath in the silale swamp.

We had a chance to spot good number of lions including one tried who to hunt on Zebra but failed. The balloon ride in the morning was among the highlight of their trip, seeing the Tarangire habitat from above.

 
Mkenda was with the Luque Party who were serious photographers and had just visited Botswana.
They shared the pictures of recent sights Leopards and Lions and Mkenda was up for the challenge to showcase what Tanzania had to offer Flora and Fauna and sights of the big cats. They wanted to see Male lion with a large black mane and Cheetahs and Rhino up close!
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The Luque Party commented to Mkenda on their experience. Wow! it was real special and incredible as everything we were looking for we managed to see and get great photos! We really enjoyed extraordinary game viewing where we captured the big five and the migration crossing in Mara River! These sightings turned to be the highlight of the trip and the clients fell even more in love with nature and want to come back to experience the southern Serengeti and time it to witness the wildebeest calving in a near future.
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As we drove into Central Serengeti – Seronera from Migration Camp we were treated to some extra special sightings of 4 leopards and three cheetah!
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As we began our journey we drove to Tarangire NP where we saw a leopard and lots of elephants and other resident game. The next day we started very early with both breakfast and picnic lunch and spotted a big male and lioness mating and lots of elephants again.
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We departed from Tarangire and we drove to Gibbs far and on the way we made a stop at a local Maasai village where we learned more for the lifestyle and culture.  It was great as they managed to capture some unique shots of the Masai with their traditional clothing.  This created great interested in other tribes in the area and we discussed more about the Maasai, Datoga, Makonde, Sonjo, Iraqw and the more traditional Bush men the Hazabe.

We enjoyed lunch at Gibbs and then we visited Iraqw people to learn more about their lifestyle and culture and use of biogas. We then headed to the Manor Ngorongoro which was one of the favourite lodges we stayed at with the spectacular views.

The following day we had a very early start as we departed at 06hrs to the Ngorongoro Crater. Our early start rewarded us as we spotted three lionesses and one big male in morning light and this was ideal for some great photo shots!  We then saw a lioness with very tiny cubs at least a month and few days walking on the road as the cubs were be able to walk in grass.

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The following day we left early morning from Migration Camp for Seronera as there was limited game in Lobo area having explored it. We were treated to some awesome sightings! We saw all the big cats and unique sightings. A mother leopard with her two cubs and three cheetahs’ one on the tree and two walking just close by and the other leopard on the tree close by entertaining us as she decided to come down, we managed to get some Fantastic pictures.
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Having explored Central Serengeti it was time we headed Northern to explore the Kogatende and Mara area. We drove to Sayari Camp, as we drove north in the afternoon we stopped in distance and black figure and drove closer to find a rhino! What a great and unique sighting in the Serengeti!

The next day we embarked for a full day with both picnic Breakfast and lunch. We were so lucky and saw a rhino and migration crossing at the MaraRiver! It was incredible!

This was truly an unforgettable experience with some breath-taking wildlife.

 
– by: George Mollel, Elibaraki, Hillary, & Mkenda
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