Tanzania - Round The World Tour 2003 Day 66

Seronera Lodge, Serengeti

Saturday 17th May

Another mammoth day for photography draws to a close now with our second night here in the Serengeti National Park. Of the seven hundred and forty photos that we took between us, just two hundred and forty survived the cutting room floor and our photo library grows ever larger. It will be quite an undertaking to categorise and catalogue all the photos we’ve taken on this trip when we get back to civilisation. We are now up to our seventh photo library. Each library is around four and a half Gigabytes in size with about two thousand or so photos contained within it. We are just two months into the eighteen-month trip and I shudder to think what it will be like after hitting the eighteen-month mark.

We awoke this morning extremely well rested and ready to take on our first full day of game driving in the Serengeti. Surely we could not hope to have as much luck today as we did yesterday? The day started off very well with lots of very exciting birds and even some Lions. With the exception of the odd half an hour of no game being spotted here and there, the day progressed generally very well. I managed to photograph quite a few birds with many of those actually in flight and up close. The highlight of the day was a tree full of Lions as well as a Silver Cat.

All of the roads in the Serengeti are dirt roads and most are quite drivable but many have stretches where we were certainly glad to be in a very sturdy and adept four by four Jeep. In some places, in fact, our driver didn’t trust the four by four and we turned around to follow an alternative path. There were a couple of instances where the rapid forward momentum of the Jeep was necessary to carry us through the slippery mud where the wheels had absolutely no traction at all.

We saw a few herds of Elephant and a couple came very close to us. The last herd that we saw was walking along the road in our direction and they were seemingly unaware of our presence. They got so close, in fact, that our driver got very nervous (the lead female was practically within arm's reach of us) and had to back the Jeep up a hundred yards or so but they still kept coming towards us on the road. With no other choice, the driver pulled off the road and into the long grass to steer a route around them. With all the rainfall that has taken place in recent weeks (we are in the rainy season now), it was a wonder that we didn’t get stuck before circling back onto the main road again around the back of the herd.

Although we never actually got rained on (apart from a few minutes of some very light drizzle), we did see a lot of rainfall a couple of kilometres from where we were a few times during the day. The ground is quite wet and soggy and the rivers and streams are quite full at the moment.

Trying to fend off the very persistent birds at the pick-nick table during our lunch break was a bit of a laugh but we did get some nice close-ups of them as well as a huge Pied Crow and some Lava birds (the ones that look like Budgerigars and coloured like Parrots).

Probably the most annoying aspect of safari game driving through the Serengeti at this time of the year is the constant harassment you get from the billions of flies that are swarming all over the place. Right now, in the wet season, they are at their most prevalent and you simply can’t avoid them. We are constantly wafting our hands in front of our face to shun them away. They are extremely persistent and kept landing on our faces, shoulders, arms, heads and just about anywhere else. There is nothing you can do about it other than try to drive a little bit faster so that the wind keeps them from being able to land but doing this means possibly missing out on spotting game lying in the grass or birds perching in the bushes. It’s a vicious circle and something that we must simply live with.

Since we have not spotted any Cheetahs of Leopards yet (our most primary objective for being here to begin with), our driver is going to take us into another wildlife park sometime tomorrow on the way to the Ngorongoro Crater.

In the meantime, we are going to try to get another good night’s sleep, as there is an early morning game drive tomorrow that starts at six o’clock. Once again it will be an early start for us in the morning – you’d think I’d be used to it by now!