In the morning, we breakfasted and were on our way. We had acquired a cook, who sat by the driver, and an enormous amount of gear that was to be handed off to support a large party of Koreans who were going directly to the Serengeti camp site. This day involved a lot of driving; Serengeti park is huge and the road to it goes through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Ngorongoro is a truly spectacular spot - in a crater formed by the collapse of a megavolcano millions of years ago. On our way to Serengeti, we drove past the crater and were able to look down into it; two days later we planned to visit the crater floor.
To our delight, as we drove past Ngorongoro into Serengeti, we witnessed streams of wildebeest headed north with us on their annual migration. Actually, as far as I can tell, they are constantly on the move, spending most of our winter months in the southern reaches of the park, including Ngorongoro, then heading north to the northern part of the park and into Kenya for a while, then back again, and so forth. We estimated (unscientifically) that we saw tens of thousands of wildebeest that day. It was hard to memorialize it with a photograph - I did try to take some video, but it did not turn out very well.
The word Serengeti is taken from the Masai language, meaning endless plain - and so it seems. It is mostly flat as far as the eye can see. Imagine the lawn of your irresponsible neighbor who has not mowed it for several years. Now multiply by one million, and you have the Serengeti. While the scope is breathtaking, we actually saw fewer animals per mile traveled than in the other parks, presumably because it provided less cover for predators and their prey.
|Entering the Ngorongoro Conservation Area||Louise with our cook||Looking down into the crater||Masai herders|
|Masai huts||Wildebeest headed north||Thomson's gazelle|
|Lioness resting up||Stork patrolling the lunch stop||Superb Starling||Eagle|
|Young eagle||More eagle||Warthog||Hippos|
|Cheetah||Another cheetah||Two cheetah||Umbrella acacia|
We spent the night at a camp in the Serengeti. This time, the site was very crowded - the Korean party of around 20 were there, plus quite a few others. There was no electricity for me to recharge my camera batteries, which made me nervous, but ultimately was not a problem. (I carried two batteries - each one lasted me for a bit over a day. I also had three 64GB memory chips, which was way overkill unless I decided to shoot a movie.) There were bathrooms that were working OK when we arrived, but completely inoperable by the time we left the next morning.
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