As we continued our drive through the Serengeti, we came across a group of vultures and a group of black backed jackals fighting over a fresh kill. In this photo, the vulture intimidates with his large wingspan while the jackal returns the threat with teeth bared. In the end, the jackals won this round and were able to run off with their dinner.
Our game drive leaving the Serengeti National Park passed through Cheetah country. Once again, we were fortunate to see this beautiful cat, and to have a close encounter with this elegant creature. Actually, it ended up being a very, very close encounter. At one point, this cheetah climbed onto the spare tire on the back of our Land Cruiser. Since the top was up, she could just as easily have tried to climb into the car. But fortunately for us, she just continued on her way. With every step, you could see her grace and power. So beautiful.
Our game drive day in Tanzania’s Serengeti was capped off with a third leopard sighting. Most people count themselves fortunate to see just one leopard. But with luck and an extremely skilled and sharp eyed guide, we caught sight of three separate leopards as they rested in the crook of a tree. Seeing them definitely required sharp eyes and a knowledge of their preferred habitat because they blended in so well with their environment. Driving by a tree, I would easily have assumed that I was seeing a hanging branch and not the tail of a big cat. It was definitely the highlight of our day and one of the many incredible highlights of the whole trip.
The feature photo for this post was recognized in the 2018 North American Travel Journalists Association awards competition with a Bronze in the Photography,Nature-Online category.
I don’t know how many people have actually seen one million of anything. Counting one million seconds would take about 11.5 days. One million pennies lined up side by side would form a line 11.8 miles long. So how does one grasp the concept of 1.5 million wildebeests? That’s approximately how many take part in the migration in the savanna that straddles Tanzania and Kenya. For these grazers, the grass truly is greener on the other side. They constantly relocate in a never ending cycle as they look for edible greenery. We were fortunate to be able to see a small fraction of this migration during our game drive in Tanzania’s Serengeti. As far as the eye could see, lines of animals were moving, coming together, forming a mass that continued to move forward in an unending stream of bodies, driven by some instinct to keep going, and going, and going. An amazing sight to behold.
We had seen a number of lion prides on our game drives in Kenya – but none of the sightings included males with big, full manes. I really wanted to see a big MGM lion. I got my wish in the Serengeti in Tanzania, with not just one big lion but two! We came across this pride, just “lion” around, taking it easy. Our guide told us that brothers often establish a pride together so that they can maintain and protect a larger territory. It turned out that by the end of our day in the Serengeti, we saw three lion prides and a total of 16 lions (plus three leopards – but that’s another story).
We saw quite a few olive baboons on our trip in Africa. Many of the baboons that we saw were sitting on the side of the road, picking at the trash that collected there. We also saw quite a few in the various National Parks and Reserves. We came across this mom and her very young baby in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. An infant baboon is born with black natal fur which eventually changes color as the baby matures.