With the exception of Lake Manyara’s tree-climbing lions, these big cats don’t usually attempt to climb trees without low hanging and/or easily navigable branches. Their sheer weight, and lack of specific shoulder muscles, makes serious tree climbing more difficult for lions than other big cats, such as leopards.Read More
Early morning mist greeted us at our camp on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater (7,400’) as we made preparations for a dawn departure to the crater floor.
The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the “wonders of the world,” and is always a treat to visit. The descent to the floor, about 2,000’ below the rim, is a ride unlike anywhere else in Tanzania.
We had a ton of photo opportunities today: from roaming wildebeests, to rolling hippos in the hippo pool, to majestic Black rhinos – we saw three of them. We also photographed numerous lions, too, but since our total lion count for the trip reached 65, we stopped counting!
We enjoyed lunch in the crater and a traditional Tanzanian dinner at the Thomson Ngorongoro Nyumba. We’re headed to Gibb’s Farm tomorrow, which is a wonderful place to conclude the safari.
I always enjoy the dramatic shift of scenery when we move from the plains of the central Serengeti to the lush acacia forests on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater. During our journey we saw several lions and a cheetah stalking a Grant's gazelle. In no time flat, though, the gazelle got wind of the cheetah, and no chase ensued.
Before arriving at the Thomson camp on the rim of the crater, we stopped at my favorite Maasai village where I did some environmental portrait lessons with my clients. Linda captured me hamming it up with one of the elder women before we started shooting. We had a blast!
Tomorrow is our big day on the floor the Ngorongoro Crater, so it is off to bed early with a full moon gliding high above us.
Many of my clients went hot-air ballooning this morning; afterwards we were off to the heart of the central Serengeti in search of more cats. Our efforts really paid off with cats galore, including one of the largest male leopards I have ever seen.
Another special treat was watching a mother cheetah and her three immature boys on a fresh a kill. After they finished their meal, they went for a drink in a nearby ditch, posing for us the whole way.
Total cat count thus far: 18 lions plus 10 cubs, 2 leopards, and 7 cheetahs.
Another wonderful sunrise in Africa this morning was a simple reminder how special it is to be here, and in the very capable hands of Thomson Safaris. Today we explored the far side of the Mara River in search of new animals and landscapes to photograph. Tanzania did not disappoint today, either – elephants were giving us a constant show and wildebeests were everywhere we looked. We were able to capture some wonderful images, including this fun photo of us standing directly on the Tanzania/Kenya border.
In the afternoon we were treated to a different kind of crossing when a Cessna 208 had to make multiple passes to clear the runway from wildebeests. Our guide estimated that about 15,000 wildebeests crossed right in front of us! They just kept coming and coming and coming.....what a treat.
We're enjoying our last night in the Northern Serengeti now; we're off to Thomson's Central Serengeti camp in Robanda tomorrow.
Last night, we enjoyed a delicious dinner, celebrated a birthday (with a delicious birthday cake made in the bush) and retired early. My campers experienced their first night sleeping in the bush amongst the lions, zebras, and monkeys, oh my!
After listening to the wildebeest and zebras chomping on their late-night meals on our doorstep, we awoke and ate a breakfast of scrumptious eggs, bacon, and pancakes, and washed it all down with fresh juices and piping hot caffeinated goodness. All the while, the sun was rising above our camp like a huge glowing globe, as intense clouds starting filling the sky. It was a glorious moving portrait of what a sunrise should be.
We headed to the Mara River in hopes of photographing a river crossing as herds of wildebeest cross from Kenya into Tanzania. Just when we thought we weren’t going to have an opportunity to witness a crossing, we spotted a large group of wildebeest massing – just looking for a reason to cross. With little notice, they charged into the river, presenting us with not one, but two crossings!
We headed back to camp a bit early to process our images and take a well-deserved intermission. As I close this entry for the day, the clouds are building and the wind is starting to gust… maybe an African rainstorm lull us to sleep tonight.
Kicking off another Thomson Safaris Photo Safari with a BANG!
After a wonderful overnight in Arusha at Rivertrees Country Inn, we found ourselves flying high over the Serengeti aboard two charter Cessna 208 Caravans. As we touched down at Kogatende, wildebeest and zebra flooded the sides of the runaway, and as soon as the propeller stopped, a herd of elephant ran across the end of the runway.
We were treated to a wonderful lunch at the Thomson Safaris Nyumba camp before heading out on our first game drive of the safari. Within a mere 30 minutes of our journey, we came across two lioness and 8 cubs. The family gave us quite a show – the cubs were very curious about us and the movements of the Land Rovers. Talk about a killer start to our safari!