Game drives into the Serengeti N.P., Tanzania, October 28-30, 2011.
From Ngorongoro, we traveled to Serengeti National Park, via Olduvai Gorge--where we learned about the discovery of hominid fossils, representing 3.5 million years of human evolution, associated with the Great Rift Valley.
The Serengeti (meaning "endless plain") is located in the Rift Valley and is noted for its concentrations of wildlife. It shares with the Maasai Mara in Kenya The Great Migration where huge herds of wildebeest and zebras move to find sufficient grass to sustain them. In October the herds are moving out of the Mara and into the southern Serengeti where they await the rainy season and the wildebeest have their calves in February.
This year (2011) the migration was early and we only caught the tail end of it in the Serengeti. However, it turns out that many wildebeest and zebras do not participate in the migration and we saw many herds of both animals wherever we went.
We were fortunate to see many lions, most of them sleeping--which is what they do for up to 18 hours a day. They hunt mostly at night and sleep through the day when it is hot and exertion could be dangerous.
Lion prides can be large during the migration when game is abundant, but break down into smaller groups when food is not as plentiful. Single male lions are often found away from the prides, where they have been excluded by the dominant patriarch.
Leopards are a predator that is difficult to find. They are fewer in number than the lions and cheetahs and more secretive. On one trip, we were lucky to find a leopard using the safari vehicles as cover while she stalked a herd of Thomson's gazelles.
Our guide Nuru is a very keen birder. Betty and I were lucky to share his vehicle with Barry and Ward from West Virginia, who are also very keen birders. Being a biologist, I have an interest in birds, but not like these guys. As a result, Betty and I learned a lot about many of the birds of East Africa. I especially thank Nuru for his assistance in my recording of the exchange between him and the White-browed Coucal, shown in this video.
AHI Travel Group: alumni from the universities of Alberta, Cornell and Virginia Tech.
We thank our guide/driver, Nuru Naibety for sharing his knowledge and passion for the wildlife of his country.