Serengeti: Day 1 (Part 3) – Everything Under the Sun

2 Jan. 2009 – Part 3

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

(Part 1 was Oldupai Gorge and Maasai village; Part 2 was Guess the Critter!)

After the cheetah, everything else might seem anticlimactic, right?  NOOO!  The Serengeti is too beautiful, the scenery majestic, the wildlife thick, the animals gorgeous.  And surprisingly unfazed by vehicles and observers.

 

A zig-zaggy view from the visitor’s center.

 

Leetle leezard!  There were many of them, some in different colors.  I love leezards!

 

Secretary bird.

One theory on the name is that the black and grey coloring looks like a man in a suit, and the black feathers on the head look like quill pens stuck into his hair, like old-timey secretaries! While visiting the San Diego Wild Animal Park in summer of 2010, we saw a demonstration of how they hunt: they STOMP their prey to death!  It’s HI-larious to watch!  …well, unless you’re the prey, I imagine.

 

Kopje (KOP-ee), a rocky hill type structure. Woohoo! Cue the Lion King music!

 

Dario with the little camera. He got some pretty good shots!

 

Herd of Thompson’s Gazelle; Grant’s Gazelle in the foreground.

 

Our first lion! As the lolcat wisdom goes, “Jesus Christ it’s a lion. GET IN THE CAR!

 

Ooo, look! She has a collar! Probably she’s very friendly.

 

Where’s the button that—  oh, there it is!

 

A different lioness.  Stuck this in so you could get a hint of the aforementioned vast herds of wildlife.

 

This is one of my favorite photos so far.

Wow, I love hyenas. They are not just scavengers, btw, they are excellent hunters as well. The females are larger than the males.  For some reason (fuzzy memory) I think this is a female, possibly pregnant or nursing.  But I could be wrong.

 

Suspicious zebras keep an eye on a hyena.

 

Wildebeest, a.k.a., “gnu.”

I came to love gnu. I love the way they are shaped and the way they move. The coloring on their coats makes them look velvety, too. Beautiful!

 

Hyena 1: “Do you smell something?”

Hyena 2: “Yeah, lunch.”

 

Again with the perspective shot.  Hyena and zebra, unconcernedly crossing the road; huge herds of grazing animals as far as the eye can see!

 

Who gnu?

 

Gnu 1: “Did you know?”

Gnu 2: “Gno!  I thought you gnu!”

 

Look at the neck!  The stripes, so velvety looking!  Beautiful!

 

Seeing double.

 

Click here for appropriate sound effects.

 

Africa is god’s country and this picture proves it! (Ok, ok, I’d better give a shout-out to Oya and all the the other awesome African goddesses before she throws a monsoon at me or something! ;)

 

Ooo, a male lion!

 

Just hanging out, waitin’ fer the womenfolk to bring home some vittles.

 

MONKEY! (Ok, olive baboon. ;)  …look at the little curled tail!  Adorable.  :D

 

I took over 100 photos on the way out of the park, bouncing along in the back of the Land Rover.  2 or 3 of them actually turned out!

 

We paused very briefly to take a peek at another hippo pool.

Hippo: “YEEEAAAAHHHH!”

 

Ok, this didn’t turn out quite as well as some of the other road pics, but I had to throw it in there for the colors.  Lovely!

Goodnight, Serengeti.  Goodnight, hippos.  Goodnight, lions.  Goodnight, mouse.  Goodnight, house.  Goodnight, moon!

 

And that, finally, is the end of Day 1 on the Serengeti!  The experience was so rich that I get excited and exhausted again every time I go through these pictures.  I think I’m just going to have to go back and spend a month or two on safari.  Maybe next time I’ll go to Kenya, too!

 

 

Part 1 is here: Oldupai Gorge and Maasai village

Part 2 is here: Guess the Critter!

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Original comments.  And no, I don’t know what “cudne” means.

 

We spent the entirety of the next day on the Serengeti!  The best parts were when rain clouds obligingly drifted past, bringing out some beautiful lighting as we beheld an amazing herd of elephants.  Wow.  So grateful to have been there!  …but I’ll save more waxing poetic and such for the post.

Have I mentioned that you really need to GO TO AFRICA?  You must!  GO!  :D

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