Mar 5 - Journey to Central Serengeti - Lion in a Sausage Tree!
We bade a fond farewell to our wonderful staff at the Nomad camp and set off to our camp in the Central Serengeti - an area known for lion, leopard, rhino, and even the very rare wild dog. Our journey took us through a variety of habitat including open plains, woodlands and giant rock outcrops called kopjes. Highlights of the drive included a pride of lion with large cubs at the edge of the marsh as we first set off followed by two cheetah sitting peacefully under the shade of a tree on the open plains. One of the cheetah actually jumped onto the hood of one of the vehicles briefly for an amazing photo op! We then entered a verdant landscape if gently rolling hills covered in green grass as if perfectly manicured. We encounter large herds of migrating wildebeest and zebra on our route. One funny thing that happened was that as we were driving along off road over the relatively smooth and flat terrain we suddenly dropped into a hyenas den and the car rebounded as we all went flying into the air briefly. Luckily no one was hurt but the funny thing was that a hyena suddenly burst out of the den as if appearing out of thin air. Boy was he ever surprised...lunch was set under a tree with a great view onto a line of migrating wildebeest and zebra that literally flowed past us for the entire time we ate lunch - just an amazing spectacle to witness. Later, we entered into more hilly area and started to see the giant rock outcrops that make this area famous. We immediately saw two large male lions sitting royally on top of the smooth granite rocks accompanied by a single female. The males had fantastic manes around their necks and we got some great photo ops.
As we moved further into this landscape we saw over 30 giraffe and then the biggest surprise of the day - a lion up a tree! A huge male was perched about 30 feet up a sausage tree high in the branches enjoying the shade and cool air. What a great scene...tree climbing lions....who would have thought. How would you like to be the fireman called to rescue this kitty in a tree? As the late afternoon came on we saw several more lions up on kopjes and then met a family of elephants with a very young 3 month old baby who was still nursing under his mother - what a sight! Baby elephants have got to be one of the cutest animals on the planet. Mom was not worried about our presence and they actually came quite close to the vehicles which was great. I am now sitting in the spacious tented lounge in a comfy couch overlooking the guests having a sundowner cocktail around the campfire as the sun sets on another fantastic day. I can see all the way across the Serengeti plains to the horizon which is appropriate because Serengeti means "endless plains" in Swahili.