The Serengeti – The Herd

With less than amazing efficiency this time, we packed up and and were ready to start our day.  It was my turn at dish duty.  The first bucket was scrap, the next bucket wash, and third was rinse with a Detol solution.  Our guide, Julius was on the radio with other guides talking about potential locations for us to visit.  We were out of camp by seven.  Just outside of camp we ran into this beautiful Maasai Giraffe.

Maassai Giraffe

We drove by some thickets where hyenas were eating things, but our view was not great.  We drove around a little more in the area seeing Eland, Dik Diks, Francolins, Impala, and Gazelles.   It was time to move on,  so we drove south.  The brush-land opened up to another large Savannah. After another two to three hours of driving we encountered the herd.

The Savannah is vast.  I could look to the horizon and see the Earth curve.  And from horizon to horizon wildebeests were grazing, like a giant lawn mower.  The guides explained the wildebeests come first, then the zebras behind them, then the impalas.    Each eat a different type of grass and the result is a nicely trimmed Savannah.  There are over a million Wildebeests in this herd.  When zebras and impalas are added in, that is a massive amount animals eating grass.

The largest herd migration

And with all that prey, the predators had plenty to eat.  We watched this pride eating a carcass.   As the lionesses guarded the carcass and wallowed with their full bellies, a cadre of secondary predators waited for them to leave.  There were four hyenas waiting and watching intently and a group of hungry vultures waiting their turn. The African Lion is a vulnerable species according to the IUCN Red List with it’s population decreasing 43% between 1993-2014, with as few as 7500 left in the wild.

Lions feasting on a wildebeest

We drove on to where we saw some Cheetahs warming up for a hunt.  The Cheetah is vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List.

Cheetahs

Overall it was a pretty lazy day, and the animals knowing the predators had already eaten, weren’t too worried about the lions and cheetahs nearby.

Out destination for the night was the Ngorongoro Crater. After everyone had their fill of pictures and experiences we drove onward. We exited the park at the Nabbi Hill Gate. We stopped to rest and to walk around a bit.  I was never much a bird lover until I saw these birds at the gate.  I was so amazed at their color and vibrancy.

Superb Starling

The road from the Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Crater was very bumpy.  It was a long drive, but after three days of tenting, we were glad to enjoy the luxury of the lodge and prepare for our next day in the crater.

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