Serengeti, part 1

I assume this entry will have to be divided into several parts as well.  I just finished processing day one and there was an awful lot going on…  first a few things along the way to the Serengeti.  Much of the area is Maasai land and we passed several villages.

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Landscape was so beautiful and green.  I’ve never been to Africa during this season.

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These giraffe were about to engage in ‘necking’.  Males engage in this activity to show dominance and hopefully win the affection of a female.

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They use each other’s bodies for leverage and swing their necks at each other.  It’s a wonder that more giraffe don’t end up permanently damaged.  The sound it makes is quite remarkable.

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Three’s kind of a crowd.. seems to be a distraction and no one knows who they’re actually fighting.  Or perhaps it was a female checking out the possibilities.  We were too far away to see anything very clearly.

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On our way to the Serengeti, we visited Olduvai Gorge.  It is a deep ravine that has been the site of fossils, animals and hominids, as old as two million years!  First a pit stop and a little comic relief.  Stephen was taking photos of the girls taking photos from the bathroom wall!

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I think this is the northern masked weaver…

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And this is an agama lizard.  The males are bright vivid colors so this is obviously a female.

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Love is in the air… I have no idea which bird this is.

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This is looking into the ravine..

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Inside showing what’s been found there.

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We encountered the plains and the wildebeest before we ever entered the park.  I knew the photos would not portray the incredible vastness of this landscape and the wildebeest (and zebra and other antelope species!) that can be seen as far as the eye can travel.  When you look at these, all the little ‘bumps’ along the horizon are all wildebeest just walking.. and walking.  And occasionally resting and eating and having babies.  I was hoping we’d see a birth but we weren’t so lucky.  The wildebeest drop their calves within a matter of a few weeks.  With so many babies around, it ensures that plenty will survive predation.

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You can see the ‘official’ park entrance way off to the right.

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Finally, the park entrance.

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These are geological features that I have been anxious to see for a very long time.  Flat plains as far as you can see with the rock outcroppings here and there.  Some are enormous with boulders as big as a house and some are smaller.  They are called koppi or kopji. 

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Finally we arrived at our camp.  The tents were all lined up facing out across the plains with a kopji behind us.  And so ended the first day.

A little bee eater, which one, I don’t know.  I saw far more varieties on this trip than I have in the past and I’m really not sure which is which.

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Stephen on the phone… when we arrived there were several guys up there making phone calls.  It helped, I guess, to be up high.  The next thing I wanted to see on these kopji was big cats lounging on them!

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Those little lumps on the rocks are hyrax.  There are rock hyrax and tree hyrax.  I think that most of the ones we saw were rock hyrax.  Did you know that they are the elephant’s closest living relative?  Their feet are built the same way, they live in family groups, and there gestation period is quite long, seven months, for such a small mammal.  And they can live up to 12 years which is a long time for a small mammal.  I got many close ups in much later photos.

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I haven’t seen a bright red sunset since Kenya in 2010.  But this purple was beautiful.

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Seems like a good place to stop for this post…

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2 thoughts on “Serengeti, part 1

  1. Oh wow, so green. It is very hard to portray in photos just how hard the giraffes strike each other with the their necks. The noise sounds so fierce. And like the fierceness of those blows, it is also very hard to show in photos just how many wildebeest and zebra fill those vast plains. I can truly see why the wildebeest follow the rains, there is food like I have never seen before.
    I am sure there will be more than one occasion on this trip of yours where you will find lions basking on kopji.
    Did the rock hyrax wake you in the night running around on the roof of your tent?

    Beautiful sunset to end a long day.

  2. Oh yes, we saw a number of lions on the kopj! That comes next. Dust was definitely not a problem. And yes, I think the hyrax woke me many more times than lions or hyenas!

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