View Single Post
Old 07-12-2012, 01:25 PM   #78
michnus OP
Lucky bastard
michnus's Avatar
Joined: Apr 2005
Location: South Africa
Oddometer: 1,361
Sir David Attenborough's in his soft whispering voice,
"More meat eaters hunt and scavenge on the short grass plains of the Serengeti than anywhere else in Africa.
"For lions in particular, this is — in the rainy season — a savannah paradise. With so much food on offer, it's a good time to raise cubs."

Trigger happy!

In the back of my mind David Attenborough whispered in his soft spoken corny voice something about the Serengeti lions while he sit meters away from then looking at the BBC TV program photographer. Maybe because that was how I grew up, TV and the programs depicting the cruel but beautiful Serengeti planes as told by David.

Masai and nature live togehter. The Masai do not hunt, they believe their god gave cattle to eat not wild game

The damn Land-cruiser bounces and jumps around on the rubbish dirt road. It is hot and cramped in the back of the sardine can with the sun baking us mercilessly. The typical sweet bushveld aroma fills my nostrils as we drove into the park, it is wonderful to smell and feel the bush again.

It is not at all, what I expected. The images of a Kruger National park we have in South Africa type formal set-up would meet us at the entrance of this mega park, I thought to myself. None of that, it is an informal affair with our guide, Salem, pays our entrance while we sip some beers while waiting and then off we went.

Early morning, and Giraffe for breakfast

Life is good for these kitties

Now here is the million dollars or Kruger-rand, question. Why would you pay so much money to come and see animals you can see in Kruger?
And especially for over seas people.

That was what Elsebie and I were asking ourselves just before the weekend, as we paid our 570USD over to Bobby tours with a heavy hand. We both have visited most game parks in SA and I have worked in Kruger National park in my young and stupid days as a student for a year and a bit.

click-click for big view

Stunning, majestic, the trees in the Serengeti are like works of art.

In short, this is not Kruger or any other game park in South Africa. It is mind-blowing jaw drop beautiful. There are some big advantages to having less people and camps without fences. Whatever David Attenborough whispered on TV about the Serengeti and the migration could not begin to explain the goose bump filled atmosphere while you are standing between thousands of Wildebeest and Zebras. The noise and dust charge the air with energy. Lions with fat big bellies sleep under trees, food is plenty, I swear I could see the smugness on their faces.

The shifting sands of the Serengeti. This heap of fine black sand move around the planes at slow speed. It's a weird phenomenon, the sand is completely different in colour and texture than the surrounding soil. The locals track the movement of the heap with small sticks in the ground.

Lunch under a tree. No fences, no rules!

Hyena laughing all the way to the den

As far as the eye could see there were animals roaming, never had I seen this in Kruger Park. It is a humbling feeling to see so many animals together and on the move. Salum said that was only the start of the migration! There are actually a few migrations throughout the year and this one is just a practice run for them.
In two days, we saw the most breathtakingly scenes the Serengeti could offer and the big five.

Game viewing vehicle Tanzania style.

When they say food included, it's not Prime Ribb steak. Spanish omelet, deep fried vienna, and bread. Still beats any Mcdonald's or KFC

Meat delivery Land Rover. Cold storage?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * What cold storage?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Bulk water supply Tanzania

To go back a bit, biggest disappointment was that we could not enter into the park with our bikes. Were also not too keen to spend the ransom money the Tanzania officials thought they deserve to get for their precious park. We would most probably not fly back just to see this. We went along with Harold and Linda seeing they have not been to parks that much and this must be a highlight in anybody’s books.

Having a mid day siesta under a tree, camp sites have no fences. This field mouse ran around us looking for some cheese, ye high hopes.

Harold and Linda took the time to research all the options for the 4 day safari and after many hours got to Bobby tours in Arusha. The first thing you need to know and to put things into perspective is that the Tanzanian park officials thought it good to try and discourage people from self-drive in the parks. Might be because they want to protect the environment or create jobs for locals or whatever, in the end, it will cost a normal person with his own 4×4 nearly as much or more to visit these parks than if you use an operator like Bobby tours.
For nearly 570USD you get 3 nights 4 days in Serengeti and Ngorongoro crater. It includes all meals and tents and only excludes alcohol, but a bit about that later.

click-click for big view

We used a Land Cruiser fitted with 4 seats in the back and a pop-up roof which allowed people to stand upright in the car to do game viewing.
I can understand why they do not want people to self-drive, the place is vast and flat. There are no direction boards to show the way to camp sites and look out points. You can self-drive for weeks and see nothing. The guides from the 300 different operators all talk to each other as they go around in the park and direct people to happening spots, which guarantees the visitor sightings of whatever is in the park. Chauffeur driven game drive rarely is this good. *
Before we entered Ngorongoro crater the last day we slept on the rim of the crater in a campsite, which is also not fenced. Elephants, Zebra’s and Hyenas walk through the camp at will.

Go for it son make daddy proud

Better luck next time

Ngorogoro crater camping

Elephants and other animals share the camp site for a close up feel to nature


This close and the sounds from their noise their stomachs make, is an eerie deep rumble.

Cool man you say your office overlook the New York stock exchange, that must be awesome?

Just before dinner, a few Elephants walked into the camp to drink some water from the water tanks. It seems like a regular occurrence as the guides just stood around and laughs at the overseas visitors coming close to the elephants for a photo. I spoke to one of the guides, he said there has never been a visitor killed, and the animals are quite tame! Yes, they thought wild elephants that are used to people are tame. At the same time, one of the older elephants made a mock charge at the visitors and in the blink of an eye, the campsite was empty.

Giraffe blocks and colors are different to the Giraffe we have in SA

Ngorogoro at dawn

Breakfast in front of a hippo pool in Ngorogoro crater. this is what makes Serengeti different to SA parks. This will never happen in SA. Too much rules

It is great still being able to camp like that, but for some reason I do not think this operation is going to last in future. Someone is going to be mowed down or seriously injured from stupidity and not knowing wild animals and the guides also do not educate people about this. It would be sorry if it happens but it is bound to.

Linda showing what prison feeding time must be like

That night a lone ranger Hyena decided my bags had something that was edible. I woke with the noise of a snorting Hyena and Elsebie trying to wake me up while she played tug-a-war with the beast. Elsebie reluctantly let go when I told her the Hyena would most probably win this fight. He must have had the same ideas as us. He dropped the bag and ran off in to the night.

The next morning before sunset, we took the small dirt pass into Ngorogoro crater. There is one way down into the crater and another steep uphill pass out of the crater. The enclosed ecosystem exists for 100 of years in an area 8km˛. Small power pack game viewing does not come better than this.

Just to round off a stunning few days we got to see these Cheetahs, they are not your average size house cat

On our way back to Arusha, Harold wants his bike back, this cramp limo is not for us.

In four days, we saw the big five and part of a migration in a park not over run with tourist. Better than that, you cannot ask for. If you are a nature lover or wild life narure photographer this is nirvana!

michnus screwed with this post 07-16-2013 at 01:20 PM
michnus is offline   Reply With Quote