Hope all is well with you and the world. Didn’t sleep much last night. Kept on tossing and turning with excitement and jet lag.
At five AM someone woke me up from a very shallow sleep with hot coffee. We needed to get ready and be in our Land Cruisers by six AM. I mopped around, got dressed and had my coffee. At 5:50 I was picked up and escorted down to the vehicles. We were all ready and left by six AM just as the sun was beginning to appear. The sunrise and sunset is so different in Africa. The colors stand out as the sun rises and sets.
The morning was chilly as we drove along the plains looking for wildlife. We first made our way back to the spot that the spotted leopard had been seen last night. She and her cubs had moved during the night. We then drove along and spotted some ostrich and African Buffalo as the light was coming up. We have three vehicles and each vehicle is connected via radio. If one vehicle sees something then the driver radios the other two to come to him. That’s what happened. We received a message that the female spotted leopard from last night was spotted in a tree. We took off and arrived by the tree. There was a fresh kill on the ground and the driver told us that she had probably moved her cubs to be near the fresh kill. She was so beautiful balancing herself on a branch. She finally went down and walked in some scrub to find a place for a nap. We followed her and waited for her to go to her cubs but then took off before she woke up. We saw a herd of African antelope and some giraffes and then it happened. We were driving by a large boulder when the driver saw two spotted leopard cubs. They were older than the two from last night. The driver said they were probably 10-12 weeks old. Their nest was in an opening under the boulder. They were very playful and we spent a lot of time watching them play and of course, taking pictures of them. Andy, who has been leading photography safaris for over fifteen years, told us he had never seen something like this.
It was then time to stop for breakfast. Before we arrived at our breakfast stop, Sean spotted a leopard tortoise. We drove over to take pictures. A tortoise living in the Serengeti.
We then arrived at our breakfast stop. The drivers made coffee and put out a large spread of different breakfast items ranging from cereals to egg sandwiches. They put out folding chairs for us and we all sat down to have our coffee and breakfast facing the “Mara River”.
After breakfast we decided to take a drive down to the Mara River and try to find some hippos. The Mara River starts in Kenya, goes through Tanzania and empties into Lake Victoria and Victoria Falls. By the way, the Serengeti is very close to the equator but the temperatures do not get extremely high due to the high altitude. Summer temperatures are in the nineties and very dry. We drove on one side of the river and saw lots of hippos keeping cool in the river. We stopped at one spot to wait for any activity. Two large males faced off for some territory. Reminded me of two bears in Russia I took pictures off facing off. One finally intimidated the other as we got some great shots.
The light was getting to high so we decided to return to Camp. While driving back we saw a small herd of elephants.
Finally arrived back in Camp around 11:30. Lunch is at one and we gather for afternoon tea and coffee and then our afternoon drive.
Lunch was salad served buffet style. It is so nice to eat on a terrace overlooking the Serengeti. I kept on glancing at the view and wonder.
After lunch had a quick nap and got dressed for our afternoon drive. We all met for afternoon tea and coffee and boarded our vehicles at 4:30. Andy keeps on rotating us on every drive so we never share a vehicle with the same people and drivers consecutively.
Off we went. We immediately stopped to take some pictures of some zebras. I love the colors and patterns of zebras. There was one calf and her stripes were brownish and not quite black yet. I thought of my composition and took some great pictures of these beautiful creatures. Looking at the calf, I was so happy that she will never see the inside of a zoo. The wildlife you see in their natural environment all have a different spark in their eyes. The tails on all these zebras were wagging as we drove on.
We then drove for quite some time until we spotted some other vehicles stopped at another area facing a large boulder. On top of the boulder was a female spotted leopard lying down and enjoying the heat of the rock. We got ready and then she sat up to view her area. What a beautiful site. This majestic creature enjoying her world. We are the intruders and have to blend in to her world. I never go to zoos anymore. Once you see and feel this sort of experience, zoos become off limits. How content she is and how blessed I am to be able to see her the way God meant her to live.
The sun was setting as we drove back to Camp. Dinner is at eight and then this routine is repeated again.