20 October 2017 Friday - Drive to Serengeti ~ Day 11

Today is our first full day in the Serengeti. This place feels more “wild” like we’re out in the wilderness.

Last night, I heard the sounds of cape buffalo eating outside my tent. Like, two feet away from my ear, on the other side of a canvas wall. This morning, this was the view outside the tent. I really regret that we didn’t bring our trail-cam from home. That would have been so cool to see.

This is what our tent looks like. These are the most rustic tents we’ve stayed in so far this trip, but they’re still pretty nice. They still have a flush toilet. The only issue I have is that the ground in uneven, which is a bit unnerving when I got up in the middle of the night to pee.

Here is our fire put and dining hall in the background.

We spent all day driving around the Serengeti on a game drive, and we saw pretty much all kinds of animals. Last night in the valley below, we could hear a low rumbling sound. It was made by thundering herds of wildebeests. This morning, that was our first stop. It seemed like we saw literally millions of wildebeests today.

We also say hyenas up close and personal.

We saw more of those topi, the “cowboy” antelope.

We also saw hartebeests.

Grant’s gazelles with their characteristic black stripe across the side:

Did I mention we saw millions of wildebeests?

As far as the eye can see.

We saw a small troop of baboons with some small babies.

The babies were so cute, as they clung to mama.

And breast fed.

We saw a large group of mongooses.

We saw a fair number of birds today, too.

We went down to a pool where we saw another huge crocodile.

There was another one of those strange rodents that reminded me of a woodchuck.

The obligatory impalas, McDonald’s of the bush. Only the male impalas have antlers; the females do not.

Some of the impalas had young ones too.

Everywhere we went, there were wildebeests.

And usually with them, a handful of zebras.

It was fun to watch the wildebeests run, hop over puddles and such.

Then we saw a big tree with lions in it, lazily sleeping.

As we watched, another female lion climbed up the tree and looked around.

She tried to sleep on the limb too. I guess she was too uncomfortable because she climbed to a much higher branch to lie down.

We went back to the camp for lunch and I took some more photos of our tent. This gives you an idea of how big it is.

This is the view from the back. There’s a large barrel of water that feeds into the toilet tank whenever you flush. Someone has to manually fill the barrels when they get empty. Notice the bucket hanging from a rope. This bucket is filled by hand with warm water and hoisted up high. Then it feeds into the showers. So we always had a hot shower in the morning. At the expense of some poor guy who has to fill and lift the bucket.

After lunch, we went back out to look for more animals. We saw more zebras, and they had a cute baby. Baby animals are so cute.

Next, we drove down to the hippo pool. We spent a lot of time looking at the hippos. They were much more visible and photogenic than the ones we saw in the Masai Mara.

The dominant hippo would occasionally open its mouth as wide as possible to make sure we saw his teeth.

One young hippo spent most of its time on its back, playing in the mud upside down. It was so cute. Most of the time, its entire head was under water. Sometimes, though, it would poke its snout up to catch a breath.

We also saw the skull of a long-dead cape buffalo.

There was also an absolutely huge monitor lizard. I’m guessing this thing had to be six feet long.

This was one monster lizard.

The hippos didn’t seem to mind him there.

We took lots of photos of the hippos.

We saw some more of those saddle-billed storks.

A weird bird called a red billed hornbill.

Lilac-breasted roller:

Black-backed jackyl:

A young giraffe.

Occasionally we’d see a “secretary bird” with feathers stuck up in the air. They were weird looking, but we had a really hard time getting a good photo. This is about the best we got:

We also kept seeing a waterfowl they called Egyptian Goose.

We even saw a couple cheetahs today, but they were so far away, we couldn’t get a good photo.

We even saw a leopard today, climbing in a tree. It was very hard to see, and camera shy, so this is the best shot we could get.

At night we sat around the campfire. What a busy day.