Here there be dragons...

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

The Grande Finale 

-- Us in the vehicle we've been all but living in this week ;)  The pop-up roof really makes all the difference! --

Last night I feel asleep listening to elephants talking across my tent. This was after the noisy hyenas and the lion in the distance. Absolutely incredible. The other night something (I think zebra or wildebeest) bumped into the tent - that was slightly nerve wracking, but just hearing them all when they seem content to leave you alone is awe inspiring.

Our guide did tell us though of one woman from a previous trip that the elephants kept kicking in her tent. Turns out she’d taken an apple back from dinner and elephants love apples. Who knew? Lol makes me think that “no food in the tent” might’ve been a good thing to mention in the briefing. I know it logically from camping at home, but somehow the thought of an elephant breaking in to steal an apple had never crossed my mind. Chris lost part of a protein bar to some critter - but we have no idea what or when.

So this morning we went to see if we could watch more wildebeests cross the river. And we did, with a much shorter wait this time! SO many - way more than yesterday. To put in perspective, I shot just shy of 3 min of video and still had time for still shots and to just stand and absorb in stunned amazement. I will share this at some point but have no free wifi left so it’ll have to wait a bit ;)

Unfortunately we were on the other side of the river today so not quite as impressive as they’re running away from us instead of toward, but still wow.

Interesting to me was that the safari vehicles all park kms away while they wait for the wildebeest to start crossing - barely in sight, hidden behind trees, because the wildebeest are hesitant to cross and won’t if anything seems out of order. But the second they start, everyone races up till we’re only a few meters away and the wildebeest couldn’t care less. Today was crazy with vehicles :(. Yesterday there were only a handful, today dozens. But we still got to experience it and it was incredible! Also, being on the leaving side, we got to see a few times when the herd would change their mind, do an abrupt 180, and run back the direction they came from! Very cool.

Next we traveled around and Chris spotted a leopard in the distance! Eagle eyes. The guide was super impressed. Sadly, I couldn’t see it even with explicit directions *sigh*. I am disappointingly bad at this game. However, once I saw it, I got the money shot of it jumping up the hill :). Pretty pleased at that, although it was far enough away to be severely stretching the limits of my camera, so we shall see how it looks in big later :).

-- Even napping, the cub is super cute --

The remaining wildebeests also saw the leopard and disappeared, so we changed track from following them and instead revisited yesterday’s lions; there was nothing exciting going on there so we ventured into Kenya for a while. Tanzania has a sign marking the border, but Kenya didn’t seem to.

-- With our amazing guide --

Oh and as far as signs go - there are none! No street names, nothing. Yet somehow everybody seems to know where they’re going and can describe to one another how to find things ;). The only sign we saw in Serengeti was one that said “do not cross if river is flooded” lol. Now you would think this was obvious, but these vehicles can go through water half way up the windshield - we certainly forded various streams and such that no vehicle I’ve ever owned would’ve made it through. But this bridge was only as wide as the vehicle itself, and it’s not hard to imagine crossing w it under water and landing w a tire in the river, resulting in a quick flip of the vehicle.

Anyways - we made it safely into Kenya, but didn’t see a ton interesting there, some more racing gazelles (otherwise known as Thompson gazelles, but I prefer ‘racing’ :), a bunch of the usuals: water bucks, elephants, zebras, a giraffe or two... There was a large tortoise who was kinda fascinating in a slow and ponderous way.

-- PC: Chris.  Mine is still on my camera --

On our return we got to see the leopard with her cubs again. This was amazing! She had a kill up in the tree; we got some shots of her climbing up and also of one of the three (not two as previously thought) cubs feasting, while the other two wrestled on the ground. Some amazing photos and also just so happy to watch them play.

-- PC: Chris. Mine is still on my camera --

And on that high note, we wrap the safari portion of our adventure; tomorrow we’re off to Zanzibar :)


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