Serengeti = Endless Plains = what I came for!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
That's the massive Masai Mara in Kenya and now it's off to the Serengeti in Tanzania.
I have always wanted to visit this part of Africa. It may be because of my various Serengeti sunglasses that I have ...
While the Masai Mara and Serengeti may back onto each other, it took us 3 days to drive the long way round. Seeing a map at last I can understand why! First the same 300 km drive back to Nairobi and then the next day a 270 km drive to Meserari Snake Park just out of Arusha.
Just after the border crossing into Tanzania from Kenya and shaded from the hot mid day sun by a large billboard at our lunch stop, we encountered the first real group of local children. Everyone was nervous but we did not have to be. Soon the soccer ball came out and all barriers were down. The Acacia Africa branded soccer ball paid for by one of the group and left over lunch food were given to the group of local children and was much appreciated.
Then onto the road to hell ... meaning that we were warned by Tom, our driver, that this section of unkept road would be bumpy, dusty and slow going ... it was.
Overnight near at Meserari Snake Park, Arusha before heading for the 2 night / 3 day excursion by 4 x 4 Toyota to firstly the Serengeti National Park.
But that was a half a day away so the drive there provided more changing scenery to look at plus this colourful toilet stop by a local arts and craft shop.
First stop overlooking the Ngorongoro Crater.
It's was midday with the high overhead sun meant a hazy view down below in the crater.
Serengeti can only be described as surreal, sensational, superb and words like that ... well these words are a bit OTT (over the top) but I was quite surprised and blown away by not only the constant fine dust but how flat the Serengeti was.
The video on the left illustrates the 360 degree view of the park being absolutely flat with distant hills.
The flat landscape was broken by kopjes or rocks outcrops where we saw lions doing what lions do ... not much except lazing about in the sun.
No wonder Serengeti means "Endless Plains" by the local Masai tribe.
It is as big as Northern Ireland or USA state of Connecticut, some 14,763 sq kms.
The vastness was also broken by watering creeks where the many different types of animals gathered.
A leopard dozing high up in a tree and worst still the setting sun was behind it so I had to quickly learn how to drive my camera manually and got a reasonable shot of the leopard with its spots.
Next morning and what is install for us today?
We had to pitch our tents last night very close to each other as we were right in the middle of the Serengeti with no fences to protect us from the wild animals. Yes, local Masai men were patrolling the campsite at night.
Zebras by the hundreds took shade under the trees as the midday sun beat down.
Got my "zebra" crossing photo! (zebras crossing the road in front of us)
A pride of 5 lions was witnessed with 2 of the cubs in a playful mood while mum and dad were content in staying put.
Yes, the wildebeest were gathering in small groups and about to begin their annual migration northwards. I would love to come back for that one year and see it from a hot air balloon. One needs to book a flight 6 months ahead!