This is the eighth of twelve posts on our safari in Tanzania. Check out our other posts here:
- One Week of Glorious Safari-ing in Tanzania
- 15 Tips for Better Safari-ing in Tanzania
- Moving in to the Maramboi Tented Camp
- The Elephants at Tarangire National Park
- The Start of the Great Migration: Lake Manyara
- 2 Nights at the Kitela Lodge
- A Close Encounter with a Lion at the Ngorongoro Crater
- Safari-ing in the Ngorongo Park: Day 1
- Glamping at Ndutu Under Canvas in the Serengeti
- Simba and the Rest of the Pride in the Serengeti
- Giraffe for Breakfast? Day 2 at the Ngorongo Park
- Hippo Serenade: Sleeping at the Lake Masek Tented Camp
Mrs. Selfish and I bid the Kitela Lodge a fond farewell, and boarded our Landrover for our tents in the Sergenti. To get there, we passed through the Ngorongo National Park.
Bordering the Serengeti, the Ngorongo Park is 3,202 square miles. While it is not well known outside of Tanzania (except for the Ngorongo Crater, which is stunning), the Ngorongo National Park is well worth a visit.
The roads in the Ngorongo National Park are limited, and pass many Maasai villages. The Maasai are one of the few tribes in Africa that still keep to the old ways. They are famous for their bright red garb, which are used to scare away lions.
The Maasai are known for their exceptionally high jumping skills, bravery (they are legally allowed to kill lions with their spears), and their many, many wives.
We saw a number of Maasai on cell phones, which seemed a little odd since the huts didn’t exactly look like they were bursting with electrical outlets. Apparently the government provides them with solar panels, which they use to charge their phones.
And who do they call? Other Maasai of course!
On the way, we spotted tons of zebra herds near the Maasai’s cows.
Eventually the road died, and before we knew it our guide was taking us on an off-road shortcut. Though bumpy and dusty it was pretty awesome as we passed herd after herd of zebras, wandering giraffes, and running ostriches.
We also passed our fair share of vultures and hyenas. Clear proof that we were heading toward the Great Migration!
A gruesome part of the circle of life – hakuna matata!
Ugly and scary.
Eventually our guide received word that we were close to a female cheetah. Zounds!
Not a “true” cat because of their non-retractable claws, the cheetah is a quick, if cravenly predator, favoring small game like gazelles or baby animals. While not the bravest of predators, they are beautiful creatures.
We quietly followed the cheetah (well, quietly for a Landrover) as she stalked her prey. She must have been upwind of the zeebra/wildebeest herd, as they eyed her nervously.
Contrary to popular belief, it is very, very rare to see an actual kill on safari. In our case, there happened to be a hyena nearby, which was making the cheetah nervous. Hyenas will often muscle out larger predators since they travel in large packs – they’ve even been known to force lions away from a fresh kill! I guess Disney got that one right after all – even if that Scar song was horrible.
In any case, our female cheetah wasn’t having any of it, so she laid down for a nap.
Soon after, we arrived at the Serengeti National Park entrance. Check in was brief – good thing too, because it was hot!
From there, we headed to our base camp for the next two nights, the Ndutu Under Canvas Safari Camp, located in the Serengeti! It was race against time, as the sun was setting and our guide wasn’t entirely sure where the camp was located (since the location changes every year).
Join us tomorrow, when we’ll discuss what it’s like showering under buckets of solar-panel-warmed water (hint: pretty friggin’ cool).