A continuation of the post sent in by Africa Adventure Consultants, Inc.
Stella has proven herself to be a fabulous storyteller, so we all feel like we were with her on her recent trip to Tanzania. Here is day 3 of her adventures!
Day 3 – Central Serengeti to Northern Serengeti
Another early start! The stars were still out and I found new constellations before breakfast. This morning, fruit, bacon and tea seemed like the way to go. The staff collected our bags and packed the vehicle, and off we went to Seronera Airstrip in the central Serengeti for our flight to Kogatende airstrip in the northern Serengeti. We spent the next four days exploring the “Secret Season” in the north. We were told to expect excellent resident game and a chance to see rhino!
We left camp an hour earlier than needed to get a little extra time in to search for cats. We found lots of game getting their morning stretch and meal in before it started to heat up. What a great time of day to see these animals in the sun, also a perfect time to get in some good shots. We were five minutes from the airstrip when up popped a male lion from under a tree. The wind blew his mane around and he gave us a quick glance before disappearing back into the grass. I could only imagine how many cats we had passed, hidden right in front of our eyes.
This inspired me to find out how the guides found these animals hidden from our view. Markus, my second guide on this trip, told me to look for something that didn’t look like it should be there; such as a branch on a tree that is bulkier than it should be, a termite hill that moved, or a patch of grass that is a different color than the rest. I kept this in mind for the rest of the trip.
Our flight to the north was a quick 25 minutes in a 12-seater Caravan. The flight gave us a great view over the Serengeti. From above the animals looked like little ants moving across the plains. We landed and made our way to the vehicles and we were off to see what the north had to offer. The landscape was different than the south and central area of the Serengeti, but we still found the acacia trees and kopjes throughout.
We made our way to the Mara River to look for hippos and crocs, two animals high on mylist of must-sees. It didn’t take long to spot the hippo tracks and when we stopped at the river, I searched for the hippos in the water. All I could find were rocks…until I realized that the rocks were moving and I had just found my first pod of hippos!! I could not even start to count the number of hippos I could see, and the little baby hippos next to their mommies were my favorite.
By now, I had asked my guides if I could hug and take home one of every animal we have come across. They had finally learned to just say yes, knowing I was only half serious. We left the river and headed towards camp. We were off to Lamai Serengeti, a unique camp set in the side of a kopje. This camp required a little bit of a hike to get to your room, but the view was definitely worth it. The rooms were large and had a verandah overlooking the Serengeti. The en-suite bathrooms had running hot and cold water with flush toilet and a “real” shower. My room was one of 3 family rooms here, so along with the main bedroom, there was an additional bedroom off the bathroom. I was very excited to spend the next two days here.
We met for a late lunch and to discuss the activities for the remainder of the day. The plan was to relax for a few hours and then meet for tea and coffee, before hiking to the top of the kopje for sundowners. I decided a dip in the pool was needed. This was not a bad place to enjoy a swim and after several days of riding around in a vehicle – a great afternoon break.
I met the group for a cup of tea and we were off to the top of the kopje. There were two stages on this hike. The first stage was to the lower rock; we were told that we all could make this one. The second stage was the top rock; some might be left behind for this one as it was a bit tougher. We decided to get to the first rock and decide on the second rock at that point. It felt good to be moving. The first rock was an easy walk up a hill. There were a few tricky steps, but pretty easy. We got to the rock and checked to see who was going to continue and we were all in. This part was a little bit trickier, but with four guides to help us through, we all make it to the top!! From here on out, we were referred to as klipspringers. After enough time to take a few pictures and enjoy the view, we headed back down to the first rock to enjoy a St. Patty’s Day sundowners.
Back at camp, I freshened up for dinner and headed to the dining room to enjoy beef tenderloin with potatoes and green beans. This night, we had added two new additions to our traveling group and we started to get to know them. They fit in perfectly! After dinner, we moved back to the lounge/bar area to discuss the plan for the next day. It was going to be an early start with a bush breakfast, but that didn’t stop us from celebrating St. Patty’s Day in Africa!