Friday, July 27, 2012

Self Drive Safari Part II: Serengeti National Park

Finally we arrived in the world famous Serengeti National Park, the park that all other parks seem to get measured against. We were definitely curious to see what all of the fuss was about.

As we arrived quite late we headed straight to our campsite in Seronera; we stayed in Pimbi. I’d read really bad things about the camp sites in Serengeti so was expecting the worst and although not worth $30pp, the site was actually ok. The ablution blocks were kept reasonably clean and had (cold) showers.

We got up reasonably early the following morning and went in search of animals, cats in particular, but anything that took our fancy.

The entrance to Serengeti from the Ngorongoro Crater road. It was a relief to
finally get to this point!
After driving around for a while we did come across two lions, a male and female, and a zillion cars surrounding them. Not what we wanted to see and as soon as we could get past all of the cars we left. Nothing makes me sadder than to see a distressed animal and both lions were, particularly when one of the tour cars drove stupidly between the lions, bewildering the lioness and angering the male lion. It’s a shame that many of the other tourists didn’t seem to notice their distress or have their guides back off!

The circus
And the poor lioness who got separated from her mate
Sad male lion wondering what happened to the lioness :-(
Moving on we came across a similar scene with elephants. Cars everywhere!! Again we sat well back and watched from afar both unsure if we were going to enjoy Serengeti.

Another crazed scene
And ANOTHER one!
We saw quite a few of these scenes during our time in the park, it was a bit of a circus really (or maybe a zoo?); it was the moments when we had the animals to ourselves that we were able to enjoy the park. These moments were rare but definitely memorable.

Elephants in Serengeti
Lots of giraffe in Serengeti
There was a leopard in the tree, but extremely difficult to see
Lioness just chilling
Hippo watching us suspiciously
A great way to see Serengeti if you are prepared to part with the money
Oh, how I love giraffe!
So pretty :-)
My favourite animals were the giraffe, that all had beautiful markings, and the two lion cubs and their mum. It was the first time I’d seen cubs and these ones were old enough to be full of personality and just cool.

Lion cubs with their mum
The lion cubs...
.....taking their close up. Both have a bit of blood on their chins too!
Just taking it easy :-)
And then he sat up. Check out the baby flab around his tummy!
We spent two nights in Serengeti, leaving through the west of the park as we headed towards the town of Mwanza. This also gave us the opportunity to see the Wildebeest Migration currently taking place in the west of the park.

The Wildebeest Migration wasn’t quite as we’d envisioned it; I’d expected wildebeest rushing across the land together, leaping through rivers, a bit like you’d see on a David Attenborough special. It was more like big packs of wildebeest eating grass together, occasionally running across the road together and just making us wonder if they were really migrating anywhere. But apparently that’s how it goes, depending on when you are there and the food situation; you might see what we saw or you might be lucky enough to see the “rush”.

Wildebeest munching away
The closest we came to a Wildebeest Migration .....
....and still "migrating"
And then back to eating

Two nights and days were enough for us in Serengeti. We saw a good amount of animals and for anyone coming from overseas the Serengeti it would be an amazing experience. As a matter of personal opinion, I still prefer the Southern African parks we’ve been to, the winners for me still being Chobe (Botswana) and Etosha (Namibia). They are very different offerings and not as famous, but they are my picks.

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