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.
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.