Today was our last full day in the park so we took the opportunity to explore a deeper, remote section that I’d never seen before. On our way south, we stopped to watch two male lions who crossed the road right behind our vehicle. They were calling to each other and when they’re that close, you really feel it in your chest.
It was interesting to see different behavior in the elephants in this more remote area. Since they don’t see humans as frequently, they were much more skittish around us. When they had babies with them, they would immediately form a circle around them, facing outward in order to protect them.
After driving through the beautiful umbrella thorn trees and flat-topped acacia trees, we drove back north. Near Tarangire Hill, we saw a klipspringer in the rocks, a small antelope you don’t see very often. We saw many birds along this route including goshawks, eagles (including my favorite, the Bateleur), doves, and nightjars.
As we approached home, we came upon a different pair of mating lions than we saw yesterday but they didn’t give us any show. Lazy!
Our second day in the park was our first full day and it was full of great sightings. Because it’s the dry season, the only major water source within the park is the Tarangire River so the wildlife tends to concentrate there. We saw elephants bathing, and plenty of animals getting a drink, wary of predators that might be around.
We were hoping to see a leopard in a tree near the river watching for a meal but no luck today so we drove on and found a mating pair of lions. Capturing this photographically is always a fun challenge because, well, the King of the Jungle only gives you about 10 seconds per show.
Later, traveling south, we came upon a lioness watching a warthog from a distance. She started to hunt, approaching it stealthily and hiding behind a rise, but the warthog was downwind and took off before the lioness could get close enough.
We saw plenty of birds as well including herons, ibis, storks, hornbills, eagles, and one of my favorites, the Secretary Bird.
At the end of the day, we returned to our rooms, tired but happy about what we were able to see. After dinner, seeing elephants about 20 meters from my window was a great finish to the day.
Jambo from Tanzania! I’m just starting my Fall 2013 photo safari and, when I have Internet access, I’m going to try to post daily trip reports describing what we’ve seen.
Last night, we overnighted outside Arusha in a beautiful country inn near the Usa River. This morning, we met our drivers, loaded our gear, and drove through Arusha where the jacaranda trees are in full bloom, forming a long purple arch over the streets. Leaving the activity of the busy town, we drove to Tarangire National Park and did a game drive on the way to our lodging. I really like staying within the park as that lets my groups start their morning game drives immediately near the wildlife when the early golden light is at its peak.
We had a great first day, starting the tour off with herds of zebra and wildebeest, many giraffe, and Tarangire never disappoints with its abundance of elephant including many small babies. The variety of birds has been too much to record every species. We’ve seen ostrich (with chicks that are already the size of large chickens), secretary birds, several types of eagles, hornbills, coucals, goshawks, rollers, and lovebirds. For landscapes, we’ve seen magnificent baobabs trees everywhere that inspire great landscape photography.
I’m frequently asked if I really see as much wildlife on safari as my pictures show. The surprising answer is, you’ll see more than I have pictures of! Although I have to warn people that it’s not like the Discovery Channel (although I did see a cheetah hunt on my March 2012 safari), it’s true that there is more wildlife than you can shake a camera stick at. There are supposedly 500+ species of birds in the Serengeti alone. I kept a species list from my November 2012 safari and thought I’d publish that here for people to see the variety and breadth they may see on one of my safaris: