Musoma and on to Kenya

 Posted by Elizabeth at 6:58 pm
Jul 142011
 

We left the Serengeti via the western corridor. We thought the road from the south was bad, but this was ridiculous. Several hours of bone jarring corrugations and rocks and very little wildlife to be seen made it a long journey. Pushing on to Musoma, we stayed at the Tembo Beach Hotel where we decided to eat in the restaurant as it was so cheap and we had eaten there before. We both ordered chicken curry, which turned out to be a leg and thigh of the smallest chicken in the world which was tough and the meat was black – not particularly appetising. At least the rice and chips were ok.

As we opened our car after dinner the most revolting stench emanated from it. On investigation it turned out that the horrendous roads we have endured over the last few days had managed to burst a long life milk container so we had milk through the carpet – ewwwwwwwww! I washed it out as much as I could and hoped it would get better. Nope. I have washed it as much as I can and it is significantly better, but I doubt we will ever get rid of the smell completely.

In the morning we ventured into town to try and get some fuel and food. Everyone kept telling us to go to the vege market in Market St. We drove around 4 times until I finally managed to glimpse the market behind the other buildings. Once again everyone welcomed me as I walked around and they did not try and charge inflated prices, definitely better than the supermarket. Whilst I was in the market a man came up to Wayne in the car claiming to be an immigration officer. Wayne insisted he show some ID, which he did. He then asked to see his passport, but Wayne told him they were locked away and showed him a photocopy. That seemed to satisfy him and they chatted. A bit weird but no harm done.

The border crossing was again pretty quick and straightforward on both sides. For Kenya we needed visas at $50 each and $40 for the car. The money changing touts pestered us as usual, telling us the next ATM was 160km away. Turns out the ATM was more like 160 metres away and we managed to get cash out and once again avoided them.

Serengeti National Park

 Posted by Elizabeth at 6:45 pm
Jul 142011
 

Serengeti National ParkWe left the Crater about 2pm and endured the horrendous road to the Serengeti gate and then to Seronera. Given the crater cost us $400 and the Serengeti $200 a day and there are thousands of visitors, you would think they could use part of the money to maintain the roads. The safari vehicles speed along the roads without a care for their safety, we though did not feel comfortable travelling at such a speed with little control of our vehicle, so it took us some time to get to the gate.

Just when we thought we had had a fantastic day in the crater and really it couldn’t get much better, we came across a large pride of lions devouring a recently killed buffalo. There were at least 10 adults and 10 cubs feasting on the kill. The noise they made as they ate was incredible and watching the dynamics as they ate was fascinating. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay as long as we would have liked as we needed to make it to camp before dark. Then, not far from camp we came across 2 cheetahs! A pretty awesome start to our Serengeti visit.

Serengeti National ParkSerengeti National ParkSerengeti National ParkSerengeti National ParkSerengeti National ParkSerengeti National Park

Originally we planned to spend 2 nights in the Serengeti, but it was so fantastic we decided to spend 4 nights. There were soooo many animals, especially around the Seronera area, it was amazing! Our animal sightings included the following, as well as heaps of birds:

60 lions 7 leopards 6 cheetahs elephants giraffes
zebras buffalos wildebeests Thomson’s gazelles topis
Coke’s hartebeests hippos Grant’s gazelles ostriches servals
warthogs vervet monkeys dwarf mongooses rock hyraxes impalas
Defassa waterbucks olive baboons dik-diks hyenas klipspringer
crocodiles black-backed jackals marabou storks Ruppell Griffon’s vultures African fish eagle
Goliath heron Lappet-faced vultures      

 

Cheetah, Serengeti National ParkOne afternoon we came across a cheetah not far from the road so we decided to sit and watch her for a while. She came within a few metres of our car at one point which was awesome. She was quite nervous, constantly looking around her as she attempted to get a drink, especially when a hyena walked past. Then she started stalking a gazelle and before we knew it she was in full flight and attempting a kill! Unfortunately she was unsuccessful, but to see a kill attempt was amazing. We saw her try again later that afternoon. Whilst we were watching the cheetah, Wayne noticed something in the background which turned out to be a hyena who successfully took down a gazelle. How amazing to be watching 2 kill attempts at the same time!

We sat for a while at a waterhole and watched as several herds of elephant took it in turn to drink and play in the mud. The little babies were so cute as they played around, getting stuck at times in the mud. The different groups of elephants seemed to greet each other as they took it in turns at the waterhole and as usual, the elephants were great to watch.

Serengeti National ParkSerengeti National ParkSerengeti National Park

A leopard mother and her 2 cubs have been in the same area for the last month or so and we managed to see them a number of times. One afternoon the cubs had come down from their usual resting place high in the tree branches for a bit of play time. Whilst we were watching them a hyena came around, no doubt in search of some of the kill that the mother had dragged up into the tree. Nervously we watched as the hyena got very close to one of the cubs, hoping that it would not attack it, which thankfully it didn’t.  We also saw a number of other leopards during our visit, most of them resting high in the tree branches or sitting on a rock.

Leopard, Serengeti National ParkLeopard, Serengeti National ParkLeopard, Serengeti National Park

On one of our drives we saw what we think was a very small part of the migration. There were thousands of wildebeest crossing a small river. They were jam packed together, making a column about 50 metres wide that went on for ages, so far that we could not see the start of them. We both hoped that this was a good sign for the Masai Mara and that we would see the migration in full swing when we got there.

Serengeti National ParkSerengeti National ParkTawny Eagle. Serengeti National ParkBuffalo, Serengeti National Park

On our second day I started to get a sty in my eye which was getting sore, so I asked at the visitor centre if there were any medical services at any of the lodges that could give me some antibiotic drops for my eye, expecting to have to pay a tidy sum for the privilege. To my surprise he organised for one of the staff to take me to the staff dispensary where a lovely lady happily gave me the drops I needed, explaining that the service was free! I gave them a small amount to thank them, amazed at how helpful everyone was.

Serengeti National ParkOnce again we were definitely the odd ones out. During our 4 days we saw one other 4wd with a roof tent and couple of other hire cars. I think at one point we were the talk of the safari guides as once we stopped to ask a group what they had seen and the tourists in the back starting talking to us. Somehow they knew we were on a 6 month trip yet neither of us recall speaking to them previously. (We were chatting to number of the guides at the gate as we all waited in line to get our permits, so several of them knew a little about our trip). The photo is part of the car park at a picnic site at lunch time. Can you spot the odd one out?

We saw so many different animals and had such wonderful experiences whilst we were there, it was absolutely fantastic. Along with the crater, the Serengeti, especially at this time of year, is an absolute must if you are coming to Africa.

Serengeti National ParkDefassa Waterbuck, Serengeti National ParkLeopard, Serengeti National ParkHippos, Serengeti National ParkHippos, Serengeti National ParkKlipspringer, erengeti National ParkWhite-backed  and Ruppell's Griffon vultures, Serengeti National ParkSerengeti National ParkMarabou, Stork, Serengeti National ParkGrant's Gazelle, Serengeti National ParkLeopard, Serengeti National ParkTopi, Serengeti National Park

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