Up bright and early at 7am following a slightly disturbed night. Mrs L woke at 4am to hear someone unlocking our lodge door…….an experience which was somewhat disconcerting and mildly alarming! It transpired that it was the night watchmen showing some new arrivals to their lodge – but he got the wrong one!!
On the road promptly by 8.30am we then drove many miles over the next 3 hours until we arrived at the Ngorongoro Conservation Park entrance. The use of the term road can only be loosely applied as tarmac covered roads soon became a distant memory – and even those which were tarmacced were uneven and full of pot holes. So a bumpy ride which Cosmos calls our ‘African massage’. Our vehicle is a 4WD built specially for ‘off-roading’ so we were in good and safe hands as we climbed to 1,700m and beyond.
At the Ngorongoro Conservation Park entrance there was time to stretch our legs and quickly look around the visitor information centre whilst Cosmos went to the office to purchase the required passes to enter both the Ngorongoro Conservation area and the Serengeti National Park. We then drove up to the viewing area to look out over the Ngorongoro crater…….what an amazing view. Africa’s equivalent to America’s Lamar Valley in Yellowstone – in our opinion. We will be returning to the Ngorongoro crater later in the week so more about it then.
We drove on a further 6km and stopped for a picnic lunch. We were warned about the birds circling overhead, the black kites who like to take people’s lunches……. Mrs L was just about to tuck into her second vegetable samosa when suddenly, from behind, a black kite zoomed in, circled round and in a flash snatched said samosa from her fingers and lips – all done with huge speed and with a substantial whack on her upper lip from what can only be assumed to have been the bird’s claws!! Mr and Mrs L proceeded with the remainder of their lunch with extreme caution. Hopefully Mrs L’s first and last confrontation with wildlife on this African adventure.
Back on the road and we finally came to the entrance to the Serengeti National Park and finally into the Ndutu area of the Southern Serengeti – amazing scenery with the acacia trees providing the essential African landscape view together with herds of wildebeest, zebra, Thomson’s gazelles and Grant’s gazelles (bigger than Thomson’s). Cosmos then appeared to have a series of conversations in Swahili over his car radio and we headed off in a slightly different direction to where there were a number of other safari vehicles parked up and found a young leopard sleeping in a tree. In another tree was the carcass of a wildebeest – amazing that something like a leopard can drag an animal bigger than itself up a tree – very selfish as leopards don’t like sharing their kill. Apparently it is very difficult to see leopard so we were very fortunate.
We made it to our residence for the next 2 nights, the Nasikia Mobile Tented Camp, by about 6pm. Sitting here now writing today’s blog entry ready to be posted as and when we have internet again, looking at a view of green grass and acacia trees on the Serengeti savannah – truly beautiful. Our tent is something else, definitely glamping Serengeti style!! Mrs L unfortunately managed to use all the hot water for her shower so was sent grovelling by Mr L to ask for more……..
Dinner time commenced with beer and nuts by the campfire with zebra no more than 50m away and talking to an English couple on honeymoon but who live in Singapore. Dinner was in the dinner tent where the vegetarian option appeared to be chicken i.e. not red meat!! Dessert was fried banana – Mrs L passed on that too. Mr and Mrs L were both struggling to stay awake by 8.30pm so we took our glasses of red wine back to the seats by the campfire. It was an amazing experience to sit under a starlit African sky with a real ‘man in the moon’ type moon looking down upon us, flames flickering from the campfire and talking to fellow travellers. There was a young couple from Manhattan who had flown to Kenya and driven through Kenya to Uganda and then flown to Mwanza in Tanzania before touching base with their third driver of the trip for the Tanzanian safari experience. Tanzania is the best in their opinion – one which Mr and Mrs L would agree with most definitely.
Animals seen today include: dogs, camels, donkeys, buffalo, wildebeest, Grant’s gazelles, Thomson’s gazelles, zebra, giraffe, a leopard, warthogs, bustard, various brightly coloured birds, baboons, impala, dikdik (2nd smallest of the antelope), water buffalo, ostrich, jackal, and sheep that look more like goats.