In a joint milestone birthday treat to ourselves, my friend and I fulfilled another bucket list event with 10 days on African Safari in Tanzania from July 5 to 14, 2016. We saw an incredible amount of animals whilst touring around Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park. Here are my top five animal safari moments;
Elephants in Tarangire National Park
My friend ran to the look out point at the picnic spot yelling “look elephants!”. These amazing animals with tusks in tact were amazing to see, especially so close to the vehicle and so large in size. Elephants are in their hundreds in Tarangire and we never grew tired of watching them as they rubbed themselves against trees, or flapped their huge ears at us. On our second day, we went to view elephants in their masses down by Silale Swamp. More elephants dotting the landscape with the green swamp as a backdrop and Mount Lokasali in the distance. Phenomenal! I definitely recommend two nights in Tarangire.
The first sighting of a lion was on our first day in Tarangire National Park as it was eating its prey. We couldn’t see what it was eating due to the high grass, just legs sticking up as the lion got up and moved around its kill. Later that night, we went on our first night safari trip. We saw hyenas and jackels for the first time, but it was the lioness feeding that became the evening highlight. I can still hear the sound of her tearing the skin off her prey, and the sound of bones and cartilage crunching as she devoured her kill.
Lions and lionesses at the Simba kopjes in Serengeti National Park
Not long after we entered Serengeti, we encountered our first of three lions, and the first of two lionesses for the day. The first lion sat hidden in the grass, facing the lioness who was sitting on a rock some 200 metres away. The size of its head really struck me as it sat with its eyes closed. It was easily as big as my entire torso. Our second lion viewing was a few hundred metres down the road. It was perfectly positioned, sitting high on a grassy mound. It’s mane was so beautiful, and it looked at us with a face that said, “This is why I’m the King of these lands!”. It was a totally awesome moment. If only my SLR with its telephoto lens hadn’t broken the day before!
On the second day in Serengeti, we went on a game drive around the central part of the park called the Seronera. It was here we saw two leopards in the tree, with a recently killed gazelle hanging from the branches. One of the leopards was devouring the gazelle while the second leopard rested on a branch below. The torn skin off the stomach of the gazelle was clearly visible as it hung from the branches. At another location, there was lone leopard eating a diyk diyk. Another perfect photo opportunity for the broken SLR. Some things in life just need to be remembered in the moment.
Hippo pool in Serengeti National Park
We had seen a few hippos in the western part of Serengeti, numbering in their two’s or three’s. So when our guide Mr Jackson took us to the hippo pool near the Seronera area, we were blown away by not only the vast quantity of hippos present in one place, but also their sounds, smells and behaviour. No words to describe this, you just need to experience it for yourself.
We saw so many animals whilst on safari including the big 5 (lion, elephant, black rhino, buffalo and leopard). Although the above are my some of my most memorable safari animal moments, so many other animals were equally memorable. From the zebras that rest their heads on each other, the tall and graceful giraffes that seem so shy, the baby hyena cubs around their mother, to my personal favourite the Ganet cat, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to view animals in a zoo again!