Into the Serengeti

      Comments Off on Into the Serengeti

Day 4

The sun is beginning to set in the Serengeti National Park as we wind our way over bumpy dirt roads towards our camp for the night.  The umbrella acacias stand out on the flat landscape, usually alone and apart from each other, with green and brown grasses interspersed with blackened land from a control burn.  We have made our last rest stop for the day and are amazed that in the middle of this vast park where animals rule, there is a clean stand of picnic tables and flush toilets.  The government fee for support for this park is well spent on facilities and conservation management.   As the sun winds down in the central plain, we see much wild life including brown white and black striped giraffes scattered over the landscape.   There are Thompson and Grant Giselles, Impala, and larger Topi springing across the grasslands.  It seems like a quiet land on the surface with the animals imposing the heirarchy of their world in their own time.

We started out the day by heading from Karatu towards the Ngorogoro Conservation Area and skirting the rim of the largest caldera in the world (we are told), which was covered in morning mist or fog.  From there, a long road which appears straight on the park map but which in reality was curvy and very rutted with large and small potholes took us into the famous Serengeti National Park. 

Three Generations with the Ngorogoro Crater in the Distance

Our first ride into this area began with a long stretch of endless grassland, stretching to the horizon.  After we entered the Serengeti National Park, we stopped to eat our lunch and were told, unlike the day before, that the cooler in the jeep with the food to be refrigerated did not work so that everything was now room temperature.  It was eaten by most, although with some trepidation, and once more I was glad that I did not eat any meat.  

The Serengeti Plain with a Long Line of Gazelles

This afternoon was a great ride spotting animals.  My older eyes have trouble picking up anything moving across the grassland but Drake and Shira are able to spot birds and animal movement at a great distance. We are in 2 Toyota Landcruisers, each of which sits 6 people in back and the driver and another person or luggage in the front.   I am sitting most of the time with my family of 4 as I am so happy to see my grandchildren’s excitement in spotting the animals.  The top of the vehicle opens up so people can stand up and look directly outside, with Drake able to take off his shoes and stand on the seat to look out.  Drake and Shira are very involved taking photos, Shira using her iPhone and Drake using his Grandpa Jimmy’s large Cannon Zoom camera.

The Inspiring Photographers at a rest stop on the Serengeti Plain

Among our exciting sightings were a lone lioness sitting by the side of the road, a long line of gazelles on the road in front of the vehicle, some majestic giraffes eating from the top of the trees, some fast moving kinds of antelopes, including the local Topi and a whole pod of Hippopotamuses buried in their pond.

The Topi Antelope

We passed several other tourist camps and came as the sun was setting to our Acacia Central Camp where staff greeted us with Swahili songs and warm hand towels. We were all given cold hibiscus juice as part of our greeting, which Drake particularly remembers. 

Rae’s Arrival at the Camp

We were taken to our luxury tents, which includes smooth wooden floors with zebra patterned throw rugs and attached bathrooms with a separate toilet and shower stall.  Without knowing the layout of the camp, Pat and I ended up at the very far reach of the buildings but it was worth the walk as we also could hear the animal sounds very clearly from our tent.  

Sunset at the Camp

Pat and I wake up to the soft roar near our tent of an unknown predator. Leopard? Lion? Cheetah? The unpredictable nature of existing even briefly in this environment is what makes it so memorable.

Note for this Post: I was fortunate to have Shira and Drake help me edit and revise this post. In addition, some of the photographs were not taken by me and I can’t remember from whom they were sent! including Rae, Judy, and Marge.