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The Outdoor Athlete Book by Courtenay and Doug Schurman



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About Us > Adventures > Africa           | Kili - Narrative | Days 1-4 | Summit          | Safari - Narrative | Ngorogoro | Serengeti

Safari 9/24-9/28/01 - Narrative

Safari to Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti in Tanzania

Pictured left, 5 lions take a nap under a tree to avoid the heat.

Pictured right, a hippo crosses the road.



Highlights

I could take ten pages to share the various thrills of Safari -- which means, simply, "journey" -- but we'll leave you instead with our six favorite moments and encourage you to experience your own Safari sometime in the future.

6) On our last day of Safari, our guide steered us to a watering hole so we could see crocodiles sunning themselves, mouths open, right next to a group of hippos. I'd never before seen a hippo out of water (see Hippo crosses road, Hippo, crane, Court, Crocodiles, Doug). We were allowed to get out of the truck and wander around a bit, though with large crocodiles not too far away, we didn't venture far into the brush. We also saw a mother hippo nursing, and still another turn completely over so its legs were sticking out.

5) Exploring and experiencing Tanzania with the help of two natives, our guide and driver Sale (pronounced "sa LAY") and cook Bernard. All we had to do was sit back, enjoy the ride, and try to absorb as many facts as possible about the birds and wildlife. Sale and Bernard swiftly took care of the two flat tires (the roads are pitted and quite rough, and we covered hundreds of kilometers over the course of the trip), of collecting coal from the native Masai, of providing us with tasty meals and ever-popular Milo (a hot cocoa beverage we drank instead of coffee or tea) and patiently waited while we shot our fill of photographs. (see Safari driver, cook, Court, Doug in truck)

4) We had the opportunity to see a large herd of elephants in the Serengeti -- we counted 40 -- all heading down from a hill toward the watering hole. At Lake Manyara, we saw the most small groups -- sometimes solitary, but usually they were in groups or families of 3-6. (see Elephant ears flapping, Elephants cross road, 6 elephants, Baby elephant)

3) On our third afternoon, a scorching day, we were fortunate to spot a number of animals taking naps under sparse trees near the road (see 5 lions sleeping). We'd spotted a cheetah in the distance under a tree, and when we returned down that same road, a hyena had ousted the cheetah from its shady resting spot. We stopped the truck and watched as the cheetah got closer to us; it stopped by a tree close to the road, and as we pulled up to it, it sauntered right across the road and into deeper grasses. What beautiful sleek animals. (see Cheetah in road)

2) Camping under the stars in the Serengeti, no fences, and hearing lions mating all night merely .5 km away. We learned from our guide that lions spend a whole week going at it in order to be sure that the female will conceive. (see Lions mating) They mate every 5 minutes at the start , tapering to up to 30 minute rest breaks closer to day 7--no wonder they all looked so tired! We were warned to shine the flashlight around the tent (to look for eyes) before heading out to the latrine. The second night, as I was finishing my business, the lions started up again and, heart pounding, convinced they were directly behind me, I dove back into the tent and hurriedly zipped the tent door firmly closed. (see Baboon scavenger -- our tent is the close green one to the right behind the baboon; also see Camp at sunset)

1) The first night we arrived at the Serengeti, our guide drove right up to an outcrop on which a pride of 14 lions was resting -- 6 cubs and 8 female adults. Some of our best close-up shots were literally of wild lions mere feet from our truck (see 14 lions at sunset and Lions facing front.)

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