Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park

The word “Serengeti” in Swahili translates to “the land that goes on forever”. The open plains of the Serengeti make animal viewing far easier than in other terrain.

Our camp in the Serengeti, Asilia Sayari, was much more luxurious than the previous two camps.

Large lounge
Dining deck
Dining room
Bedroom
Bathroom with a soaking tub

The resident rock hyrax is not a rodent. It is actually related to the elephant. One trait they share is that they both have internal testes.
The banded mongoose is another small animal found around camp.

Antelopes of all sizes can be found everywhere this time of year.

The oribi is a territorial small-sized antelope. They use the preorbital gland secretions to mark their territory.
The topi is easily recognized by the blueish tint on its hind quarters, giving them the moniker “Mr. Blue Jeans”.
Silhouette of a klipspringer.
Klipspringers balance on their hooves like ballerinas, allowing them to jump from rock to rock with ease.
Both males and females have horns, and they mate for life. Like oribis and dik-diks, klipspringers are territorial.
Elands are the largest of all antelopes. Like the klipspringers, both males and females have horns.
The reedbuck is water dependent, and can submerge in deep water to escape from predators.
The Defassa waterbuck is also water dependent. All waterbucks release an oil into the skin that makes them distasteful. Thus, they have few predators.
The way to distinguish a common waterbuck from a Defassa waterbuck is by looking at their rumps. Unlike the “toilet seat” imprints of the common waterbucks, Defassa waterbucks’ rumps are completely white.
The Masai giraffe is not an antelope. It is the national animal of Tanzania.
And one of Angela’s favorite.

Big cats were easier to spot on the Serengeti as well.

I was not at all expecting to see a cheetah on this trip, but here it was.
Joe’s favorite animal.
The leopard proved to be the most elusive cat, and yet Joe witnessed 2 lions chasing the leopard up the tree (while I was busy taking notes on the reedbuck).
Leopard in the tree.
Lions guarding underneath. Lions will kill leopards, not to eat them, but to cut down on the competition.
Even in plain sight, leopards are so well camouflaged.

Where there’s water, there are hippos and crocs.

A hippo can run 45km per hour (30 miles an hour), and can eat 40kg, or 88lbs, of grass per night.
Nile crocs can go without food for 8 months. So they can essentially not eat for the rest of the year after the wildebeests have cleared the area. Yet, they can grow up to 6 meters (3 feet) in length, and 1 ton (2,000 lbs) in weight.

Birds in Africa are so much more beautiful and interesting to observe.

A male ostrich flapping his wing in an attempt to woo the female.
The large secretary bird is believed to be named for the feathers on its neck resembling a quill pen tucked behind a secretary’s ear.
A crowned lapwing loudly protested when we neared its nest.
The Bateleur Eagle so named because of the way it cants from side to side during flight, like a juggler. A “juggler” in French is “bateleur”.

Smaller animals are also easy to spot, thanks to their vibrant colors and patterns.

The dominant male agama lizard is brightly colored, while the females are a dull brown.
The leopard tortoise is one of the Little 5s (as opposed to the Big 5s) of Africa. The others being the ant-lion fly, rhino beetle, buffalo weaver, and elephant shrew. Like crocs, turtles’ gender are temperature dependent. Warmer ambient temperatures result in female turtles and male crocs.

One of the rare finds we came across was the pangolin.

William had only seen a pangolin twice in the 10 years while working as a guide.
The tough keratin scales protect it from all sorts of predators. It lives a solitary life, and only seeks companion when it wants to mate.

This concludes our 2-week trip to Tanzania, but we’ll be back as I have yet to see the sassy honey badger battling a pride of lions, the ultimate on my wish list.

Until next time, Serengeti!

2 thoughts on “Serengeti National Park

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s