Stella spent time in the Serengeti earlier this month viewing wildlife, visiting camps and generally taking in all the goodness that is a visit to this amazing ecosystem! Here, she shares the fun and excitement of her second full day in Tanzania.
Day 2 – Southern Serengeti to Central Serengeti (Serengeti National Park)
It was still dark when my wake up call arrived with coffee. I dressed for the day and repacked, before moving to the patio to enjoy the morning sun on its march over the horizon with a cup of coffee. I left my tent and looked to my right to find a family of giraffe about 100 yards away grazing in the trees. What a great start to the day!
We gathered in the dining tent for a quick breakfast, before heading to Dunia Camp in the central Serengeti located by the Moru kopjes. We enjoyed game viewing in route, seeing groups of wildebeest, zebra, hyena, giraffes and ostrich. We arrived at Naabi Hill gate, just in time. This gate is the southern entry into the Serengeti National Park. We had time to walk to the top of Naabi Hill, before hopping back in the car to continue on.
Back in the car, we were all using our spotting skills to look for big cats hidden in the grass. I have become an expert of at spotting termite hills and rocks. We came around a corner and we are surprised by elephants! Seven elephants to be exact, two of whom are babies. We spent a moment enjoying our first sighting of the day. The massive mammals paid no attention to us and continued to graze as we snapped our shots.
We continued on, following the tracks around the kopjes and scanning the grass to see what we can find. The vehicle in front stops and radios that there are three cheetahs in the distance. Our driver believes if we continue on the road, it will lead us directly to them, and sure enough, he is right! We came upon the momma and two brothers walking up the middle of the road. We sat and watched and I realized what amazing animals these cats are.
We sat with the cheetahs until they decided it was time to move on and then continued to camp for lunch. It seemed that we would be late for lunch again; I guessed that this would be a common theme for our trip. We left the open plains and headed back into the woodlands. Here we were introduced to the tsetse fly. Similar to the horse fly in the US, I spent the rest of my trip being a blood donor to these miniature pests. We drove for another 15 minutes to arrive at Dunia Camp, where we were met by the staff with cold towels and a fruity drink. We were given a brief introduction to camp and shown to our tents to refresh before lunch.
Dunia Camp is a semi-permanent camp located in the Serengeti National Park. There are 8 Meru-style tents with en-suite bathrooms with a flush toilet, a hot and cold water sink and a safari shower. The tents are open and roomy and have an enclosed sitting room, perfect for an afternoon nap.
We met in the dining tent for lunch. I was so excited when I saw that we were having ribs! Following lunch, I retired to my tent for a short cat nap. I woke up to three giraffe standing 50 yards from me. I popped up to move a little closer to watch the long necked mammals stroll from bush to bush. Then it was time to meet for tea and coffee, and to head back out for our afternoon game drive.
We departed in open 4×4 Land Cruisers with tiered seating. We drove back through the woodlands and on to the kopjes, then stopped at a small lake filled with flamingos. We spent the next three hours coming across baboons, gazelles, cape buffalo, zebra, giraffe, and far off in the distance on top of a very large rock a pride of lions soaking up the last rays of the day. It was getting late and we had to head back to camp before curfew. We came across a herd of elephants and can only stop for a minute, but it’s a great end to the game drive. We made it back to camp just in time.
After a quick shower, I met the group for a pre-dinner drink around the fire and used the stars to get my bearings. And the stars are amazing! We moved to the dining hall for dinner – another treat as tonight we are served beef kabobs. After dinner, we discussed the plan for the next day. It is going to be another early start, as it nearly always is on safari.