Serengeti National Park Day 2 – Tanzania

Two game drives a day plus three meals is de riguer in Serengeti safari life. The cooking and eating is done in a chicken wire enclosure. No refrigeration, no electricity but a small table and candles for dinner. In between are glorious game drives with our expert guide, John Timothy who is a Masai part-time and father of three: bush pilot, doctor and other college educated professional.

John lives near Arusha and can be requested as a guide from Tanzania Travel Company.

This morning we find a leopard 40 yards off the track (well it was John really who could spot a leopard in the deep grass). Neither Chiyemi nor I saw it and when asked, could not point it out. John was happy to show that he could find game that we couldn’t see with a searchlight and an arrow pointing the way. This one was at the base of a large acacia tree, near a stream (that should have been a clue) and had something.

Leopard by tree - Serengeti

Leopard on the move - Serengeti

Check the full size pic out by clicking!

Leopard in acacia - Serengeti

Keeps looking off to our left - something coming?

The something was a reedbuck kill – reedbuck which are the favorite food of leopards and live next to the small stream running parallel to our “road”. Roads in Serengeti are dirt, unimproved, cross streams where needed and wander aimlessly (to us) here and there.

Set amidst the grass plains and roads are geologic features called kopjes (pron. copies) or head. Small rocky outcrops that often provide a lookout for lions, home to lizards and snakes. Small ranges of mountains run along the horizon providing, as far as I could see, the only landmarks that a reasonable person could use to navigate the nearly endless plain.

Fourth row down in the middle is a tsetse fly. They used to harbor the trypanosomes that cause sleeping sickness. There are deep blue and black flags planted along the roadways to attract them to the poison contained. The tsetse flies are pretty common and stab one with the little nose-piece that you can see in the photograph.

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2 Responses to “Serengeti National Park Day 2 – Tanzania”

  1. 1 Ray
    September 5, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    Two questions………firstly what do you mean by a “game drive” and second where is John Timothy??

    It sounded like he was one heck of a well educated and probably very intersting individual.

    • September 6, 2010 at 1:30 am

      Thanks, Ray!
      I could explain at large in the blog but a “game drive” would be in an area of a country, Zambia, e.g. where the animals were free to roam about, eat each other, frolic and carry on. Humans would be excluded to a large degree from the reserve or conservation area or national park.

      Other humans would be driven about (usually though there are walking tours with an armed guard) to view the animals. They or their tour company would pay a large fee for the privilege of viewing: Ngorogoro craters, I’m told has a $250/vehicle fee for going down to the crater floor. Usually the vehicles are special open topped or even open sided Toyota Land Cruisers and the driver/guide goes where he feels like, pointing out animals that would escape our eyes.

      John Timothy lives near Arusha, Tanzania and works for/with Tanzania Travel Company. John is indeed a fascinating person and I’ll save one or two stories for the blog about his sharp 60 year old eyes.

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