Tanzania Diary – Day 7

Day 7 – June 1st
It was about 5 in the morning and most of us were awake. The birds were singing but the Wildebeest had moved on. Suddenly everything went quiet. Then a loud barking noise came from very close by. It was a Hyena that had wandered into the campsite. Although we couldn’t see it was certainly very close. It stayed for several minutes before moving away and then calling from further away. It was a very exciting experience and one we won’t forget.

At about 5:30 we got up and went on our morning game drive – the last that we would do in the Serengeti. The first things we found were a group of Topi near the campsite. Also Impala were numerous in the area as there was much more vegetation here than around Seronera. Then we came up to an enormus herd of Wildebeest and Zebra – it was certainly the biggest we’d seen yet. Further away a single line of Wildebeest stretching for miles were galloping majesticly across the plains. Also around the herd was a Black-shouldered Kite, a Dark-Chanting Goshawk and several Wattled Starlings.

Then we got to the waterhole and saw Hippos, Blacksmith Plover, Crowned Crane and Black-headed Heron. Also a medium sized herd of about 30 Zebra were drinking from the edge. Then we set off to the Masai Kopjes again.

At the Masai Kopjes we got Red-necked Spurfowl, Hartebeest, Kori Bustard, Baboon and 2 Lions. The first Lion was a lone male lying on the top of one of the first Kopjes and the second was a female with a radio collar further on. Driving back towards Seronera we saw many Lilac-breasted Rollers as well as Red-billed Oxpeckers and Helmeted Guineafowl.

We then got to a marshy area where we hadn’t really been before and saw many different birds and mammals. Most notable were a pair of Giraffes with 2 young, a group of Elephants, Black-headed Heron, Little Bee-eater, Black Crake and Defassa Waterbuck.

Then the Lions began appearing everywhere. We first saw the mating ones that we’d seen twice before although this time there was only 1 female rather than 2. Then we found 2 in trees about 100m away the each other. Next we saw 2 females on a Kopje and then 1 lying on a log. Finally one was resting in a tree a few hundred metres away from the one on the log.

Then we went to the Serengeti visitor centre and walked around the place and read about the Serengeti. There were lots of Hyrax there and a Bateleur Eagle was soaring overhead amongst an army of Vultures and Marabous.

Next we went back to camp, had lunch and packed up. After our final visit to the pit we set off for our campsite on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater National Park. Driving through Seronera we saw many of the Lions that we had seen earlier and as soon as we got onto the short-grass plains we found another 3 beside the road. Also there were Thompson’s and Grant’s Gazelles everywhere with a few Hartebeest, Ostrich, Wildebeest and Zebra. Also Crowned Lapwings were numerous, either flying around in the sky or trying to get run over!

When we left the Serengeti and entered the Ngorongoro Conservation area there were still plently of Gazelles in the arid terrain. An African Hawk Eagle was beside the road and a flock of about 10 Olive Pigeons flew off from the road. To help us through the long journey we taught Maravit how to play eye spy so he could join in!

When we got to the campsite I saw a Stonechat of the african race that is black and white on a post by the entrance. Also 3 Marabous were on the grass and at least 5 White-naped Ravens were in the sky, sometimes coming down to the ground. After using the luxurious toilet facilities – at least compared to the Seronera campsite, we had some time to relax before dinner. The adults sat in the building and chatted although the kids played wrestling, some weird game involving trees and murders and petted one of the cats that lived around the campsite.

Then we had pasta again for dinner and went to bed ready for our early morning game drive in the Ngorongoro Crater National Park.

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