Up and out bright and early at 8am. By 9 o’clock we had seen a female cheetah and her 2 cubs, a hartebeest, a Thomson gazelle, 3 giraffe and a pride of lions – 13 in total, 1 male, 6 females and 6 cubs of various ages. They were not far from our camp but were clearly well fed with big distended bellies. Cosmos informs us that they won’t need to feed again for another 4-5 days – music to Mrs L’s ears!! We watched the lions for some time as they are fascinating to observe.
Time then to head up out of the valley to the more open area where there were thousands of wildebeest together with their companion zebras. Wildebeest and zebra stick together apparently because they share skills. Wildebeest have a good sense of direction and good hearing whereas zebra have a good sense of smell. During the annual migration all the wildebeest herds eventually come together until there are approximately 1.8 million wildebeest as a single herd – must be an amazing sight to see. There was also a single cheetah lurking around in the short grass and both us and the many other safari vehicles that were gathered were hoping to see a cheetah chase and kill, but we were out of luck.
Word was out on the car radio of a leopard sighting so we headed off on a leopard hunt but to no avail. Nevertheless, en route we saw another group of lions – this time just 2 females and 3 cubs. Cosmos advised us that the male would have been somewhere around within a 1-2km vicinity and was protecting his area. Where there are lions there are also vultures so we saw various types of them today. Vultures, jackals, hyenas and Marabou stork are the chief ‘cleaners’ of the Serengeti.
Then back to Nasikia Camp for lunch and a siesta before setting off again mid afternoon. Whilst having lunch a herd of wildebeest and zebra passed through our camp, just to prove that we really are camping on the Serengeti.
The afternoon game drive took us all around Lake Masek, a beautiful spot with plentiful wildlife to see. Flamingoes at one end of the lake, a Nile crocodile in the middle on a little island, and around the other side of the lake there was a hippo school wallowing in the shallow waters. Driving on we came upon our first African elephant who was munching on grass and shrubs and completely unperturbed by the 3 safari vehicles watching him. Next up was an Egyptian geese family and their fluffy little babies – parent goose was not impressed at us looking at them and was definitely facing us off!
There were only 6 of us for dinner tonight – the English couple who live in Singapore and are on honeymoon having got married 6 months ago and a French couple of whom only the woman speaks any English. The French couple will also be on the same flight as us out of Arusha to Zanzibar on Friday and will then be staying at the same resort as the ‘Singapore’ couple. Everyone was tired, despite earlier siestas, and Mr and Mrs L are proud to announce that they were able to stay up longest – however, they also succumbed to tiredness and were in bed by 9.15pm!! Goodnight.
Animals seen today were: cheetah, hartebeest, Thomson gazelle, lions, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, water buffalo, Grant’s gazelles, oryx, warthog, black-backed jackal, African elephant, mongoose, common hippopotamus, impala, Nile crocodile and dikdiks.
Birds included: lapwings, vultures of various sorts, Marabou storks, owl, superb starlings, guinea fowl, sacred ibis, flamingoes, Egyptian geese.