Day 4: Leaving Ndutu, Arriving Ngorongoro

Mr and Mrs L were sad to depart the Nasikia Mobile Tented Camp at 8am this morning. We have loved our 2 nights here – great hospitality from the all-male staff, our very luxurious and comfortable tent, but best of all was sitting outside by the campfire under a starlit Serengeti sky drinking beers pre-dinner and finishing off our South African red wine after dinner.

Game sighting was not so prolific during the first hour as compared to yesterday but we soon came upon our first cat sighting of the day – 2 cheetah brothers sitting on the edge of a wildebeest and zebra herd.

Duma (cheetah) Brothers

Duma (cheetah) Brothers

Duma Brothers

Duma Brothers

Cosmos told us that they were looking to kill as they had their heads up and looking around. However, they made no great effort to pursue any vulnerable prey. They are the quickest of the cats over a short distance but have no night vision, cannot climb trees and are not as strong. Their normal prey is smaller gazelle but occasionally they will take down a small (i.e. baby) wildebeest or zebra. We waited awhile and were about to leave when a third cheetah appeared – no one had any idea she was here too; she was the mother and was also looking to kill. Further waiting but to no avail, nothing was going to happen any time soon so we decided to head off to look for other game sightings. Not far away from the cheetahs we came upon 2 female lions and their cubs, some of whom were only a few months old. Lions are communal animals so will look after and suckle each other’s cubs. About 200m away from this lion group there was a lone female lion sitting in the shade under a tree. Cosmos told us that female lions will do this if they are shortly to give birth, but also if they just want to be alone, and if they already have cubs then one of the others will look after it for her.

Simba

Simba

We drove across the Serengeti savannah from Nduti heading towards Ngorongoro and saw plentiful wildebeest and zebra as always together with giraffe and various sorts of birds e.g. Love birds, vultures (including a Griffin vulture), more Marabou storks, Guinea fowl……..

Twiga (giraffe)

Twiga (giraffe)

We then had our second sighting of elephant, a different one from yesterday but again a lone male. Once again, Cosmos, our very knowledgeable guide, told us he estimated the elephant to be at least 40 years of age with a potential 30-40 years still to live. Although elephants are social, the male bulls tend to leave the herd when they get old and lose their teeth and their strength, probably at around 40 years old. The bull elephant will then live alone in an area where it is rich in soft vegetation which he can eat without a need for his teeth.

Lunch was a picnic on an open and safe area of the Serengeti plain, sitting in the shade of our vehicle. Once out of the park area we were on the road to Ngorongoro – a bone shaker of a ride, our African massage as Cosmos says!! Arriving at the Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge mid afternoon, our residence for the next 2 nights, we were shown to our room which has an amazing view over the Ngorongoro crater.

View of Ngorongoro Crater from Mr and Mrs L's Bedroom Window

View of Ngorongoro Crater from Mr and Mrs L’s Bedroom Window

Sadly there is no electricity or hot water until 5pm and then only until midnight – obviously a limited resource – so we will need to get iPads, phones and cameras all charged up this evening. Mrs L was hoping to be able to post her daily blogs and upload some photos but the internet costs $10 for 1 hour for 1 device only……so no…….hopefully we will have internet when we get to Zanzibar on Friday evening.

We have loads of baboons living in the trees under our window – big, small, very small and everything in between! Fascinating to watch and Mr L has been trying out his videoing skills again…….he reckons much editing will be required but as long as we have some footage that will be great. YouTube won’t know what has hit it……

It was a struggle but we made it to 9.10pm before tiredness overcame us and we turned off the light. The alarm is set for 6.00am…….

Animals seen today were: cheetahs, dikdiks, elephant, Golden jackal, giraffe, lions, reed buck, warthogs, omerus, wildebeest, zebra, gazelles, impala

Birds seen were: guinea fowl, love birds, superb starlings, vultures, black-headed heron, Marabou storks, ostrich (1 male and his 3 wives who all walk in front of him), Egyptian goose, secretary bird, and many more the names of which I don’t know!

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