Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

It means “no worries”, for the rest of your days...

Our current home

So let’s start with a language lesson. I’ve always pronounced Tanzania as a four syllable word: TANzanEah (roughly). However, our guide pronounces it as a three syllabled TanZANya. Now given that he’s A - native Tanzanian, B - university educated, and C - speaks 4 languages, I’m going to go ahead and say his pronunciation is probably the correct one ;). Otoh, if I come home and tell someone I went to Tanzanya, they’re going to have no idea what I’m talking about *g*. Lol I have no solution to this, was just moderately amused. Maybe it’s an a-lu-min-um vs a-lu-min-e-um kinda thing ;)

And also while on the topic of language, it makes me smile every time someone says hakuna matata to me :). It’s actually a thing, and not a tourist thing (the tourist thing here is “you’re welcome” meaning you are welcome here/to help yourself to whatever/etc but very disconcerting when you’ve never heard that phrase used literally, only as a response to ‘thank you’. Here ‘thank you’ is the response to ‘you’re welcome’ lol). So yeah, teenage me was pretty happy to discover that Disney didn’t lie to me. Otherwise all I’ve learned is Jambo = hello, Asante = thank you, and Karibu = you’re welcome. 3 syllable words put the stress in the middle syllable. Other than that, I’m sticking to Spanish!

So on to today’s adventures. Those of you following the story may recall that yesterday we were lucky enough to see a leopard, but wished we’d gotten slightly better photos... Well not only did we start today with seeing another leopard, which Chris got an amazing shot of!, but the leopard had cubs!!! So I now have pics of leopard cubs :). Coming soon to a Facebook album near you *g*. They were actually just the cutest fluff balls - our guide thinks a month or two old. And of course being nocturnal, it’s not a particularly common sight; our guide said he hadn’t seen cubs in years. So yeah - awesome.

You may also remember that yesterday we chose not to wait for the wildebeest to cross the river. Today we decided we had time to spare. Lots of it. We waited just shy of 3h (I have to admit, I was happy I accidentally had my kindle along for the ride - watching wildebeest hang out at the top of a cliff doing nothing for hours on end is only so captivating). But our patience was rewarded, and it was incredible. Tbh, I’d kinda thought “what’s the big deal about some animals going through the river?” Well I’ll tell ya, it has to do with speed, quantity, noise, and carefully controlled chaos. NatGeo documentaries don’t come close. And as they ran back up our side, they looped around our vehicle so we were pretty well surrounded by thousands of galloping wildebeests. Shot the video after all kinds of still shots — had actually thought they were done and was disappointed I hadn’t thought to video when a new wave started up! Completely surreal.


Blah - can't embed video from the app. Here's hoping this link will work. If not - will fix when I get home.

After that you’d think we’d be done, but no - this place (and our guide!) is way too awesome for that. Next up was two cheetahs lounging by a tree. Apparently they’re brothers - females are entirely solitary, but if two male cubs survive together they’ll live together as adults.


There was a substantial storm, and we had to head back “before the river flooded” lol not something I’m used to having to consider!

Was fascinated by the play of light and dark here and the absolute break between flat planes and endless sky — 

But not in such a rush that we couldn’t still take time to see another lion pride with a ton of cubs! 


These were super cute and thoroughly aggravating their mothers much as human toddlers do. This one cub in particular was poking at and climbing all over his mum.  

 — I took this pic on my good camera and then took an awful pic of the view screen so I could show it cause it amused me that much ;) —

And following that on the way back we saw two more lions - mating. Yup, whole ritual from lying half asleep and oblivious through circling each other, performing for the audience, and done and ready for a cigarette - all in about 90 seconds ;). Did make for some good pics though.

The rain started up again on the way back - but the camp staff met us with umbrellas at the car. Customer service throughout this whole experience has been amazing. Apparently we’re right on the edge of rainy season - which I knew when I booked the trip, but a risk worth taking to see all the babies and the migration. Credit also to my awesome travel advisor (Wayne at Gamewatchers Safaris if anyone is interested) as everything he’s suggested has so far worked out exactly as or even better than we’d dreamed.

Since it was raining we hung out in the main tent and chatted with random other vacationers before dinner. There was another wildebeest crossing we didn’t see, but very few others saw the leopard babies or the cheetahs. So we win ;)

Tomorrow is our last full day game drive. I think the plan is to see if there’s any wildebeest left to cross...   

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