Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday, Feb 27th, Serengeti National Reserve


Tanzania's favorite wildlife reserve has to be the Serengeti. The name means "view that goes on forever". You will see in some of the photos that I tried to give you a sense of how large that is. 14,000 square kilometers is a lot of open view. With the exception of a few granite outcroppings resulting from small magma eruptions about 180 million years ago, it's flat. I am eager to spend some time when I return on Google Earth reviewing where we've been.

First, to get to the Serengeti Reserve, we passed through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It the world's largest caldera (sunken volcano explosion site), and it's where we're going tomorrow. There are thousands of animals inside, including hundreds of prides of lions. I took some photos from the top, and of a plateau above it where Maasai raise cattle.

As all safari days have gone, this one started out with zebras, wildebeests, cape buffalos, and impalas, graduated to giraffes, hyenas, and jackals, and then finished with lions, hippos, and leopards. Of course, there were lots of birds all along the way, riding on the backs, necks, and butts of the above, and picking off all manner of things.

We did have an entirely new species today ...... tse fly. We were warned to wear white clothes, and we sprayed ourselves with repellants. We were advised that a good strategy would be to close up all of the windows in the rover when we encountered them and drive to where they weren't as quickly as possible.

That would have worked if we hadn't come across the flies just after we left the lodge, and had just lifted the top and opened the windows for that first stretch of "let's go get the wildlife111'. Thinking we could just swat them down in the moving vehicle, we proceeded into what the YouTube video to come (Kathy promises to be kind) will no doubt portray as six travelers and a driver swatting each other with safari hats as carefully and strategically as possible just short of causing an accident. Fortunately, we kept Kashia (our driver) from having to beat off those which attacked him, enough so he could navigate us to aafety. But I'll bet the video will go viral.

We got our wish, and today's drive brought the animals up closer for the newbies to see. We who had fabulous wildlife viewing days in Kenya's reserves are feeling much less guilty about those experiences. The encounters here are on par with any in Kenya.

Having a lot of trouble getting photos up today, either into the past few days blogs, or up to Picasa. I'll try tomorrow (Tuesday), but we're at the same lodge, so I have only a little hope. But stay tuned, the scenes are great.

To see the photos taken today, Click on (150 in all): Monday, Feb 27th, Serengeti Sopa Lodge

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