Brendon’s Bulletin from Ndutu:
It was with mixed feelings that we said farewell to Sopa Lodge and the Ngorongoro Crater this morning after breakfast for our departure to Ndutu. Sad because of the amazing time we spent at Ngorongoro but excited to move on to Ndutu to catch up with the action there.
We drove South through a slightly different route because it is so dry and we could travel directly without detouring for running rivers. The road was good, the drive was comfortable, and we made good time. We passed the Matiti Hills, and saw plenty of zebra and wildebeest. It was also interesting to drive through a number of Masai villages.
As we entered Ndutu, the first animal we saw was a caracal, setting the scene for a wonderful time here. It was extra special to see this one going about his business – a rare, and very welcome sighting. We took advantage of each moment and our cameras filled quickly. We followed the cat as it walked through the plains. Then to our total amazement the caracal bumped into a serval! A serval and a caracal in one sighting – who could ask for more?! Two little cats that are difficult enough to spot individually, but together the sighting really blew us away! Incredible.
We stopped for lunch and a short rest at Ndutu Wilderness Camp before we set out again. Ndutu is so dry at present that although the short sprinkling of rain that fell while we were at camp was very welcome, it will take quite a few downpours to alleviate the situation. However, it is a little less dusty since the rain shower.
We saw large numbers of wildebeest and zebra, although most of the migration is still at Serengeti, clearly waiting for the rain to fall here. We saw the first giraffe that we have seen on this trip. In fact we saw quite a number of them.
Then we found a cheetah with two subadult year old cubs. They were stalking some Grant’s Gazelle, but they were clearly not hungry enough as they soon gave up and went to lie down.
We found a pride of five lions resting under a tree, but because they were lying very flat and sleeping we moved on to another lion sighting when we heard that they were not far from us, and that a lioness had tiny cubs.
On the way we found a python in a tree – another great sighting!
The lioness had four little cubs – not more than three or four days old! They are still very wobbly, spend most of their time suckling, dozing, and rolling around with each other. We watched and photographed them for a long time. They are just the cutest ever little bundles of fur!
Then another lioness came to join the little family, and when a few zebra strolled nearby, the two adults started to stalk them.
But after a while the zebras realised that they were being watched, and they disappeared, leaving the lionesses to return to the cubs.
We moved on them and to our delight we bumped into another Serval!
Now we are heading back to the Camp, watching a dark bank of clouds on the horizon and hoping for some showers maybe tonight or tomorrow …