Wim Reports from Serengeti:
We arrived in Serengeti after leaving Ndutu in the early afternoon.
But first let us start at the beginning of this incredible day …
We left the camp early and headed straight to the Ndutu Plains where we found a pride of lions near the marsh – two large males with a couple of lionesses and the remains of a young wildebeest.
Because the lions were quite full and unlikely to move again for quite some time we decided to go straight onto the marsh in an attempt to find cheetahs that we believed were there. It took some time, but we were successful – actually more than successful! There were two groups of three cheetahs in one place as well as another pride of ten lions in very close proximity. The lions had caught a zebra during the night and were still feeding hungrily. So, in a space of less than 2 KmSquared there were 6 cheetahs and ten lions, all visible to each other.
In addition, many hyenas could be seen milling around, just waiting for a chance at the zebra carcass, and jackals, not to be outdone, ran hither and thither, looking for any small opportunity to dash in and grab a morsel from the remains.
Back to the cheetahs – the first group of three consisted of two males following a female, hoping to mate with her at some stage. But while we followed them we noticed that the second trio were lining up in preparation for a hunt. We dashed over to them where a huge standoff between the stalking cheetahs and some Thomson’s Gazelles culminated in a magnificent chase scene. They chased one of the gazelles in a thrilling encounter and as we held our breath we saw that the quarry managed to get away – literally by a hair! We thought the cheetahs had caught it, but no! How the Tommy managed to get away I just don’t know, but there it went, to live another day.
From there we headed to the Ndutu Lake. On the way we encountered a cheetah family that we had not seen since our arrival here. A mother with five two month old small cubs. They had a kill, and were resting after feeding, so we photographed them and then left to return to the camp to pack up for our journey to Serengeti after lunch.
As we left Ndutu we spotted an African Wild Cat. Wonderful!
On route to Serengeti we passed the migration herds. There were hundreds of thousands of wildebeest as far as the eye can see, accompanied by zebras and gazelles. Being smack-bang in the middle of the calving season, it was exciting to see thousands of newborns and even some wildebeest mothers giving birth. With 8000 births daily, it really is a spectacle to behold! Excitement mounted in our vehicle by the minute!
We also saw lions – three large males with a female. They had caught a wildebeest not long before we arrived.
At Seronera we found two Servals, about four Km from each other, and late this afternoon we found a huge leopard. He was in a flat topped acacia tree, and with the dark, menacing storm clouds behind him together with the low, setting sun, he looked fabulous and we have photographs to emphasise this.
So here we are at the Serengeti Wilderness Camp now, after a long, ultra successful day and cameras filled with wonderful images.
Whew! How can any day top the experiences we have enjoyed so far. Let’s just see what tomorrow brings …