Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Aug. 5, 2010. Serengeti

This morning we left at 7 AM for our game drive through the Serengeti. We have become quite jaded about the animals now - barely even noticing herds of zebra and Thompson's gazelles. We have seen quite a few warthogs here and
I have really come to enjoy them. I used to think they were interesting because they were so ugly, but actually they are very entertaining and cute - especially the babies. When they run they keep their tails straight up in the air like little flagpoles.
We drove to a hippo pool and observed a thunder of hippos sleeping in the water. They just looked like grey rocks until one would wiggle it's ears or put it's snout up for a breath.
Our driver then heard that there had been a leopard sighting and we raced to the area. There were many jeeps full of tourists watching a leopard off in the distance. She began to walk and we followed her in the jeep. There was one moment when she came out of the brush right in front of us. We followed parallel to her until she jumped into a tree and was completely camouflaged. She was quite a presence striding through the brush. An entourage of jeeps followed her and all the other animals around her watched her every move and then scattered.
We also ran across a couple of cheetahs who were having a stand off with a few hyena. One cheetah was wounded on his back leg and one of the hyenas had a bloody neck. We don't know exactly what had occurred but it was obvious that the two were very wary of each other.
We watched them for quite a while as they positioned and repositioned and finally moved away from each other. Our new driver, Samson, is a little more patient with out stops and we have longer opportunities to observe and take pictures.
After a while we came across another thunder of hippos who were out on the bank sunning themselves. After a while a whole herd of elephants walked into their pool . The hippos made way and held perfectly still as the elephants drank and washed in the pool. They had a baby elephant with them who was a curious little clown. First he went up to check out the hippos and then he went to play in the pool with all the relatives. It was an amazing scene - hippos and elephants at the pool.
We stopped at a visitor's center where we saw hyrox. I paid a fortune for a map of the park. Everything in Tanzania is expensive and the vendors really have no interest in bargaining. We have all bern disappointed by that.
We started back to the hotel, ate lunch (hamburger and fries), and then spent the rest of the afternoon resting.
Tomorrow, Ngorongoro Crater.

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