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Tanzania Day 6: Hip Hip Hippo-ray!

The next morning we met Maningo in the dining tent for breakfast around 6:30a. Breakfast at Serengeti Wilderness Camp was usually the same each morning. There was a table of fruits and cereals set out and hot items such as eggs and bacon were cooked to order. They also had some very good homemade peanut butter that I put on toast each day.

It was our plan today to find the migration. Millions of wildebeest, accompanied by large numbers of zebra, follow a circuitous route through the Serengeti each year. The pattern is fairly predictable so depending on the time of year, the guides and trip operators can somewhat predict where the herds will be. In June, they usually congregate somewhere along the western corridor of the Serengeti before crossing the Grumeti River. Since we were in the Central Serengeti, we headed west to see if we could catch up to them.

On the way, we saw a sacred ibis and some giraffe and topi.
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We startled a bachelor herd of impala crossing the road. There was one female amongst the herd. Maningo referred to her as a "lucky girl." Brenda and I looked at each other, laughing, and said we sure didn't think so.
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Finally, we came upon the migration. In this area, the wildebeest break up into smaller herds before heading north.
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Some of the wildebeest milling around were limping. This was very sad to see because we knew the fate that awaited them. They would not last long.

This group of wildies and zebras were drinking and seemed expecially nervous and skittish.
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We didn't think much of it. All of the zebras we had seen so far had been skittish. But then suddenly, from nowhere, a single hyena came running into the herd. Everyone scattered. I immediately thought of the limping wildebeest that we had just seen. But the hyena wasn't interested in food apparently. It ran through the herd and continued on its way.
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On down the road a warthog family was having a late breakfast. This was the first time the warthogs hadn't bolted the second we stopped the truck. They are so cute when they run as their tails stick straight up in the air but that doesn't make for very good photos. I was glad they stayed put.
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Some olive baboons were wandering around with elephants in the background.
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We came upon a much larger herd of wildebeest, walking in long lines. Every once in a while, something unidentifiable would spook them and they would start running and jumping. We decided this was how so many of them got injured. They didn't appear to be the smartest animals, poor things.
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We watched the wildies for a while then drove to a small pool of water to look for hippos and crocs. A marabou stork was sitting on the banks surrounded by several yellow-billed storks.
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A small group of hippos were sunning on the bank as well. The dominant male was clearly visible (the one with poop on his butt) and there were a couple of babies there, too.
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By now it was almost noon and we were getting hungry so we drove over to the Grumeti airstrip to eat our lunchboxes. The day's lunch was pretty good and consisted mainly of a beef pattie and a fried vegetable pattie. We had to fend off a few birds to make sure we got our fill.

After lunch, Maningo took us to a swinging bridge used by one of the camps when the roads sometimes flood. Usually there are crocs in the water under the bridge but today none could be found.
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We made our way to a larger hippo pool where there were lots of hippos and several crocs hanging around.
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We stayed at the hippo pool for quite a while, listening to the grunts and splashes. On our way back to camp, we came across some lions lying in very tall grass. They were hard to photo and in my inexperience, I allowed the camera to auto focus on the grass instead of the lions so the photos I did get are not good. But the gist is clear.
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We made it back to camp around 6p and were welcomed by Claudio and the staff. They immediately got some hot water ready for our showers so we could be refreshed before dinner. At this camp, you are allowed one bucket of water per shower which is warmed over a campfire by the staff then poured into the bucket behind your tent. To make it last, you must turn the water on and off throughout the shower when you're not using it (i.e.., during the lather and shampoo phases of the shower). It sounds unpleasant but actually, these were the best showers we had during the whole safari. They were always warm and a bucket of water lasted the whole shower.

Dinner was vegetable soup, beef lasagna, potatoes, vegetables, and salad. My notes do not include what was for dessert although I'm sure there was one. We washed it down again with a bottle of red South African wine. After dinner, we sat around the campfire with some of the staff, Maningo, and another guide named George who had quite the personality. George was guiding a couple from Colorado but they didn't join in the after dinner activities (and seemed a bit stuffy and unfriendly). When the wine was gone, we called it a night.

Posted by zihuatcat 20:34 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania serengeti brenda

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