As mentioned previously, we set out this morning to see hippos and crocs. The section of the Grumeti river where the hippos and crocs were located is a two hour drive from our camp, so we left the lodge early. On the way there, we came across three cheetah, a mother and her two one year old sons. We found them in a tree, and followed them for half an hour as they stalked some Thomson’s Gazelle. The gazelle caught wind of them (literally, the cheetah were upwind of them), and so the hunt was soon over, and we continued on our drive.
The rest of the drive was uneventful and we eventually came upon the crocs and hippos. This next photo is of a large pod of hippo that we watched for awhile. Hippo apparently taste pretty good (my go to question to our driver Lee when seeing any particular species of animal was “So, how do they taste?”), and so I have decided that hippos should be referred to from now on as ‘river pigs’. That’s a lot of bacon! Fun fact: apparently one cup of Hippo fat can feed 8 people.
We thought tonight’s drive was to be our final drive before our flight to Dar es Salaam tomorrow morning. It was fairly uneventful with the exception of seeing a large herd of elephant by another section of the Grumeti. We were hoping that we’d get some pictures of elephants frolicking in the river, but they did not cooperate.
Things really kicked into gear today. Our wakeup call was at 5:15am for our 6am drive to the balloon. The balloon flight was outstanding, lasting a little more than an hour. We then had an extended game drive until around 12:30pm, and another game drive in the evening. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Here’s a view from the balloon of some of the wildebeest. They look almost like ant trails when viewed from a few hundred feet AGL.
After the balloon ride, we spent most of the morning with the wildebeest. These next two photos are of a few of them stampeding, as they are prone to do on a regular basis. It is rather impressive when you’re in the middle of it.
Everybody just wants their picture taken.
We ended the morning with 4 lions, sleeping under trees. The afternoon drive started with a cheetah. She had eaten recently and was just lounging the day away. Kind of like us, really. This was the first time in our safaris that we had been close to a cheetah. Pretty neat.
The rest of the afternoon game drive, in handy bullet point form:
- Elephants fighting under a tree with a lioness hanging out in the tree
- Storm clouds approaching, trying to outrun the storm
- A pride of 12 lions feasting on a recent wildebeest kill
- Making it back to the lodge without getting drenched
- Leveraging synergies and shifting paradigms
As referenced by bullet point #2, here’s a lion in a tree, trying to stay away from an angry Elephant. The photo’s not great, but by the time we got into position, the lion had moved further into the tree and you couldn’t see her at all.
Once again we had to outrun the evening rain showers. It did make for some great light, however.
Tomorrow: crocodiles and hippos!