16 February 2017, Day 29, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Our drive starts again at 7 a.m. We head down the hill and through the Ikoma Village. Simon does the paperwork, and both vehicles proceed through the park gates. Our first stop is a lion kill. Only one lioness is left, and as we watch she heads off, limping. As soon as she leaves, the vultures move in, along with a couple of marabou storks.
Simon explains that the storks steal pieces of meat that the vultures cut off with their beaks. Who would have thought!
Next there are five lions relaxing in the shade. Snap, snap go the camera shutters. Moving on, we see vultures gliding, a leopard tortoise slowly moving in the distance, 2 tawny eagles in a tree. Then come the Coke's Hartebeest something new for us.
We spot two dik dik on one side of the road, and quite a few topi on the other. Simon tells us dik dik mate for life. If one is killed, the other will die of a broken heart.
Further on 2 lionesses with cubs are moving in the distance, and wildebeest stampede in a cloud of dust.
We pass a lost baby wildebeest. This one, Witress says, will probably not survive. There are herds of wildebeest all around, but none close. We pass vultures feeding on the wildebeest that we saw dying yesterday. Nature, red in tooth and claw … who am I quoting? Don’t know.
We stop at the rest stop near the air strip for coffee and tea, and a young wanna-be guide named David takes us on walk through the educational nature walk here. David tells us the wildebeest have “zero brain”, and travel with zebras because the zebras are smart. The wildebeest can smell the next water hole and the zebras travel with them as scouts, spotting predators.
On our way again, we see four lions lolling in the shade while a steady file of wildebeest file by in the background. A hyena is lying down under a tree, and zebras and wildebeest are crowding into the shade under an umbrella acacia. Then we find 7 lions in the distance; the zebras are on alert.
We pause for lunch on a windy hilltop.
Then comes a leopard in a tree; another leopard on a limb of a nearby tree; three large groups of elephants, at least 70, with some tiny ones; zebras drinking; zebras bathing while they drink; 4 lions, one quite large.
In the Serengeti, every day is a new day. This one has been quite different from the last, but still the wildlife sightings are prolific. So many animals.