Cal VA
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Serengeti National Park Safari
Saturday, September 16, 2017

Venus was clear and distinct in the early morning pre-dawn.

We saw a pair of baby Jackals. Cal got beautiful shots of sunrise. The elephants walk across the plain breaking off branches and eating the leaves of trees. Many of the trees look like an umbrella canopy because the giraffes have eaten the tops.

Two Giraffes were along the creek bed. Again this morning, headed to the river crossing at the Ranger Station but it was too high to cross. We will try again in the afternoon.

Black Backed Jackal pup

Zebra and the iconic flattop acacia

We saw Fish Eagles and....

...lots of hippos in the water

Hippo surfacing for a moment in the middle of the Mara River

Several Yellow-billed Storks at the river's edge - this one flew right by us.

A troop of Banded Mongooses ran along the river's edge and then scurried up to what looked to be a den

White Backed Vulture, like everyone is waiting for a Wildebeest crossing

A Marabou Stork, many of these birds were high in the trees surrounding the Mara River

We stayed in one spot for quite a while assessing the crossing points and if there would be a Wildebeest crossing. Fortunately there was a lot going on around the river.

A hippo came out of the water and walked onto a little island. There he saw a crocodile and moved over to it's tail and then nudged the crocodile!! The crocodile moved away from the hippo and the hippo lost interest.
Two hippos play fighting in water. This went on for 10-15 minutes.

Then they got out of the water and proceeded to play fight on land.

The Nile crocodile just ignored the hippos who were all around him.

Monitor lizard curled on the rocks warming up

A hippo from the Kenya side of the river "slips" into the water

We finally left the crossing seeking Wildebeests up the river - we encountered a heard of Impala

We parked on top of a ridge overlooking the river's edge and saw a herd of about 800 Wildebeest cross the Mara River in current that was higher than usual. Then a crocodile swam up and opened his jaws wide to snap one of the Wildebeest taking the animal below the surface of the water and they were both gone.

We were there toward the end of the Wildebeest crossings from Kenya into Tanzania, so the massive crossings of thousands of Wildebeest had already occurred and only smaller herds were now crossing.

Wildebeest swimming across the Mara River

Wildebeest jumping into the river

Wildebeest swimming - the current took them to a rather rocky exit which was difficult to scramble up.

Watching the Wildebeest jump into the river was something - they really wanted to get across fast

After the Wildebeest crossing, we came upon an elephant and her little one, less than a year old. To our left was a larger herd of elephants.

The little elephant

We saw a male Leopard Turtle with the most beautiful tortoise shell!

We saw a 2-week old Gazelle. The gestation period for Gazelles is 25 days.

As we headed back to Camp, we saw a herd of Zebra with a baby. Since the demise of the little Serval by Zebras, we don't think the Zebras are as cute as we first did and, of course, they are everywhere in large numbers.

A group of Water Buck

For most of the morning we were off road. At one point we were coming down a hill and hit a small tree stump which burst one of the tires. So we had to get out of the vehicle (a big no-no) for a period. It was uneventful - thank goodness.

Curious Giraffe
Giraffe walk strangely - they move both legs on one side at the same time.

Elephant and very large acacia tree

These little piglets (warthogs) were racing along with mom. They were a long way from us and just running as if there were a lion behind them. So cute.

Topi on termite mound - indicating that this area is his territory

A hill on the landscape of Serengeti

Cheetahs do all their hunting during the day. On the road back to Camp, we saw a very large herd of Buffalo.

The Zebra migrate with the Wildebeest as they all head across the Mara River from the Mara Plains

We saw a Mom and Dad Jackal next to a Gazelle.

It's 1:00PM and time for lunch. We had a Trusker beer, a cauliflower dish, fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, greens, roasted vegetables and lasagna for lunch. Cheese and fruit were for dessert.

At 2:00PM we showered, washed hair and read under the front canopy of our tent. It is really HOT but if you are outside, you can feel a slight breeze. At 4:00PM, we had coffee, tea and then we were off for the afternoon game drive.

At Alex Walker's Camp, they are serious about safari and it is all about what animals can be spotted.

It looked like rain off in the distance and we hope it will come and cool things down. The jeep does not have a cover so you are exposed to the sun for long periods.

The stream beds look like green pea soup.
We saw a North African Tawny Eagle

We saw one adult male Ostrich, one female with one sub-adult. The male's legs and head were pink - a sign of mating.

A beautiful rainbow appeared in the clouds caused by the rain.

Cloud rainbow

Little Bee Eater

Landscape with the rain in the background - it never made it to us

A Topi walked by and two Giraffes.

We are driving about looking for Leopards especially one in a tree. We saw a little Bee Eater bird.

We saw a Black-Faced Velvet Monkey.

Nile spotted a Leopard darting across the creek bed bank but she was out of sight by the time we stopped to search for her.

We saw a pregnant Giraffe with large belly. The Oxpecker bird was on her back picking off and eating ticks.

Giraffe with Yellow Billed Oxpecker on her neck

Elephant enjoying some grass

Just past a Jackal, we saw two Cheetahs lying in the grass under a tree.

Cheetah in a pose which is a little more alert

Spotted Hyena

Black Backed Jackal pup - same as the the litter we saw leaving camp.

Black Backed Jackal pups would only come out of their den when the sun was down.

Sunset on the way back to camp

Amazing colors during sunset

We saw an Eland who looked sort of like a Brahma Bull.

As it was dusk, we headed back to Camp and arrived to see a bonfire burning to greet the guests coming back from safari. We had drinks around the fire and then tenderloin for dinner.
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