Our day began with an amazing breakfast that included omelets made to order, fruit and pancakes. Then we packed a lunch and headed out for the day. The plan was to go to location over an hour away because Daniel wanted us to see something special.
On our way, we saw another large elephant family with a tiny baby. The family was continuously surrounding this little one so it was difficult to get clear photos. They were clearly feeling the need to protect that baby.
After we left them, we drove past the river and were surprised to see a large hippo, dead in the water. It was floating upside down with its feet sticking straight up in the air. It will make a great meal for several crocs, who will no doubt find it soon.
In this new territory, we were also on the lookout for lions. We got really lucky and spotted a large male laying in the shade. We took a few great pics and left, as it didn’t look like he was moving anytime soon.
Next we happened upon a large baboon and were excited to see that he was part of a large baboon family, complete with several baby baboons. The babies were adorable, and ran and played in the grass.
What we saw next was remarkable. A lioness was sitting in the grass eating the wildebeest she had killed. When she lifted her face, it was covered with blood. She ate for a while, then got up and called to her cubs. We saw 2 cubs come out to her. While the cubs don’t yet eat meat (they are still nursing), the mother brought them to the kill to practice eating. Their little faces were also bloody when they looked up.
This wildebeest migration is a food bonanza for the lions. They are territorial, so they won’t leave their territories to find food. With nearly 1 million wildebeests in their territory now, they have food available to them at will.
The most amazing sight that we were to witness happened next, and stayed with us for many, many miles. As we drove slightly further south in the Serengeti and we saw the plains stretched out in front of us, there were wildebeests covering every inch of earth in every direction, as far as the eye could see. Literally millions of them moving north in a slow and methodical way. Watching this massive migration that occurs every year out of the wildebeests instinct, is to be awed by the forces of nature. They have their babies in the south Serengeti between January and March, then wait until the babies are strong enough to make the journey, sometime around mid-June. They arrive in the north hundreds of miles later, in search of better food. Along the way, they lose some of their herd to crocs when they cross the rivers, and to lions as they pass through. We saw many wildebeest skulls and skeletons along the way, picked clean by vultures and jackals. We came upon a dead wildebeest that the lions were finished with, and the vultures were taking their turn, fighting each other for whatever was left of it. Truly a sight to behold.
Tomorrow we leave for Ngorongoro Crater, a depression in the earth left many years ago by a volcano. Can’t wait to see what awaits us there…