A day in Serengeti
It is 3am. I am not sure why I woke up, but it is quiet, very quiet. I feel comfortable under my duvet in a four-poster bed under canvas. Just when I roll over and try to fall back asleep, a loud roar comes from far. That must have awakened me in first instance. Some laughing follows and another big roar. The lion and hyenas of the Serengeti, make sleeping under canvas on the Savannah the best safari experience you can get. My new day in the Serengeti has begun. The place where I fell in love with this country years ago.
The choir of birds get bigger and bigger. The millions of birds singing swells and swells. I wake up and quickly check the time. The camp manager told us sunrise will be at 6:15. It is now 6:25, so I must have missed it. I open the zips of the canvas and find a stray of light at the horizon, but for the rest it is cloudy. I decide to leave the canvas open and dive back into my bed. Half lying, half sitting, I enjoy the view of the Tanzanian savannah. Here and there an acacia tree, the long grasses waving in the wind and birds flying by every time. Soon, the kids jump on our bed to join me. And then, the stray of light becomes brighter and then the first sickle of the sun suddenly appears at the horizon. The camp manager was not right. We fully enjoy the sunrise and we start singing: “Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaants ingonyama bagithi baba, Sithi uhhmm ingonyama” (funny note: I looked up the translation of this for the first time and it is really about lion). Soon we hear a ‘Hello’ and Bruno the camp manager brings a tray of coffee and hot chocolate with cookies. We set ourselves on the sofa while enjoying the view from the canvas tent.
After a lovely hot shower under canvas, we walk to the dining-tent and find a buffalo grazing just in front of the tent, not even 50 meters away. The sun starts warming the savannah and we enjoy our eggs, toast and fresh tropical fruits while viewing the buffalo. We pack our bags and when we walk to the car, a giraffe suddenly shows up in front of the tents. We go closer through the fireplace of the camp and make some lovely pictures. This is the ultimate experience as yesterday we also saw an elephant passing by the camp upon our arrival. I am busy saying bye to the camp manager and when I come to the car, the kids tell me how close the giraffe came to the car and started ‘pooing’ in front of them. Of we go…
We start driving slowly over the savannah while passing more buffaloes. I have never been to this area and enjoy the quietness mostly. There are no other cars and there is a little breeze blowing over the beautiful endless plains. Soon we pass some kopjes (the famous rocks of the Serengeti) and I see a yellowish hairy head coming out of the grass. When we get closer, we find nine lion, one young male with eight females, one very old. Lucky man, we said. The lion are just relaxing, but after a while they start walking and we follow them a bit. They find a small pool of water on the road and all start drinking. The sound of the water splashing makes this such a real safari experience. When they finish the water, they start walking away one by one and form a line of lion following the winding road through the plains. They are probably on their way to one of the kopjes, so we leave them to enjoy their rest.
The rest of the day
We continue driving over these plains, which are called Utafiti plains where we meet with big herds of zebra and wildebeest. After some time, we arrive in the Seronera area. It is busier there with cars and that is because the concentration of wildlife here is so large and it is the most accessible area. We find many more lion, including three big males, elephants, hippos, wildebeest, hartebeest, ostriches, jackals, baboons, giraffes, warthogs, hawks and other birds. After lunch at the visitor’s centre where we are surrounded by hundreds of mongooses, vervet monkeys and hyraxes, we drive slowly to our lodge. On the way, we pass by a few mega big crocodiles, eagles and again many grazers. The lodge is on the top of a hill overlooking the bush savannah of Ikorongo Game Reserve and Ikoma Wildlife Management Area. The kids jump in the pool while I slowly dream away of Africa.
Some more notes on dreaming away
Sometimes I forget that I am living on the continent that I read so many books about when I was younger including: ‘I dreamed of Africa’. Africa, or let us be more specific, Tanzania is changing. It is not only the dark country with wild animals and agressive tribes anymore. No, it is developing and rather quickly. I can even say that my working place is no less than my working place that I used to have in Netherlands when it comes to infrastructure. Last week, we were on safari to visit some lodges, but also some areas that I had never been such as Northern Serengeti, Waso, Ikoma, Utafiti and also the roads to and from Lake Natron. In addition, we were with my parents and the kids so that we could all enjoy the lovely sights. Sometimes I forget about these sights of Tanzania. The views and moments during such a safari made me live in the moment and realize that I am truly living in a beautiful natural country that is developing but at the same time still has all those ‘National Geographic-images’. When I am eaten by daily life of working, taking care of the kids and other things, just like all of us, I sometimes forget to live in the moment. Safaris are really a fantastic retreat to do this and I am just lucky that I am living close to it and maybe even more lucky that we can sell and shows these fantastic moment to others through Caracal Tours & Safaris Ltd. Karibuni sana!!!