Safari! Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

After an amazing three days in the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya, we took off from this dirt runway on a series of small planes to Serengeti National Park in Tanzania (with a ground transfer and border formalities in route).  We appreciated the lack of a line at the “check in counter” you see here, plus no security screening!

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Cats are a big draw in the Serengeti.  Lions sometimes climb to the top of granite rocks called kopjes, for a rest and a good lookout point to spot prey.  These lions were pretty relaxed.  Think pride rock from The Lion King and you have it.

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Other, smaller animals such as this monkey were also exciting to observe.

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Herds of elephants meandered across the grasslands.

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We stayed at the Serona Seronera Lodge in the central Serengeti.  The rooms are modeled after traditional African dwellings, with some serious comfort upgrades!

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Africa is not without its threats to human health.  We took malaria prevention pills for prophylaxis for the duration of our safari and for a week afterwards.  The biting Tse-tse fly can transmit African sleeping sickness.  There is no way to avoid this pest, except to stay out of infested areas and minimize the chance of being bitten.  Research has shown that these flies are especially attracted to black and blue colors, and we carefully avoided wearing clothes in these two colors while in the region.  As a control measure, black and blue flags are drenched in poison and hung around the lodges, as seen below.  We got lucky and were never bitten.  Whew!

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Serengeti is a native Masaai word meaning “endless plains.”  The grasslands here were drying out, as happens every year as the seasonal rains come and go.  These giraffes didn’t seem to mind.

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In the shrinking water holes during the dry season, the animals congregate in close proximity.  Here we got close to a large Afrcan elephant, with many hippos lazily resting in the water.

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We saw leopards and also cheetahs.  Probably our best and closest encounter was with this male and female lion.  We were  appreciative of the protection provided by the safari vehicle!

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Ostriches are native to this region as well.  Who knew?

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Although it is still techically the dry season, torrential rains do come occasionally.  We experienced this scene while out on a game drive far from the shelter of the lodge.

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There was some wash-out of the roads, but thanks to the 4 wheel drive safari vehicle we made it back safely to our room in time to see this beautiful sunset.

IMG_0694That’s it for now.  Our next stop in Tanzania will be the Ngorongoro Crater.  We can’t wait!


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