HELLO + WELCOME. It is, as always a great pleasure to have you here.
It’s Gareth tapping away at the keyboard today and this post is of our time spent in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
We made our way north in preparation for our time in the Serengeti and headed straight to a port town on the shores of Lake Victoria called Mwanza. We camped for a few nights at a place called Tunza Lodge. Owned by a local Tanzanian called Babu. His Manager George looked after us really well and we were able to use one of the rooms for showering etc.
We arrived to see our Dutch mates Jeroen and Sonja who are also driving a Troopy through Africa. We last saw them on Christmas day in Cape Town. Parked on the beach in the middle of the lodge, it made a real spectacle on the weekend when all the locals ascended on the place. At one stage minding my own business sitting by the car a local dude in his undies and a rash shirt approached me. In an American / Jamaican gangster style of voice he asked “Hello mun. Can I av me foto taken. Yoo look like ay gud photographer mun.” Ten minutes, and an additional friend later with numerous poses displayed, the Tanzanian gangster kid in his undies and his mate racked off. It was quite amusing how vain these guys were but they were both really nice.
It was now time to go. Off to the Serengeti.
:: Loved sharing the beach with another Troopy
:: Sunset over Lake Victoria
:: Blue Steel
:: Not too sure if the bloke on my right was pretending to shoot me?
Kirst and I have both been lucky enough to have visited this famous park before, but never in our own vehicle. We knew that the Serengeti roads were notoriously terrible and the entry costs high for foreign visitors, but that was not going to deter us from taking our own rig into the park.
We had intentionally timed our visit for the beginning of The Great Migration! As we drove into the park we were both emotional, it felt like a real achievement to have reached the Serengeti all by ourselves.
Of the three days we spent in the Serengeti, we were the ONLY private vehicle around. It was fantastic! We passed one safari vehicle with a wealthy looking, pressed linen shirt, pearl necklace wearing lady gawking down at us in amazement. I couldn’t help but think that she wanted what we had. Her husband in the pressed polo shirt sat close to her on the seat but didn’t look twice or smile at our enthusiastic wave. Our clothes had not been washed in weeks, my hair was knotted and dirty, the last warm shower was a distant memory but we were alive. I was glad we were in our own rig and I was glad I had Kirst by my side.
:: Trusty Bradt Guide Book in hand
:: On the way to camp with a cheeky out of vehicle pic with thousands of wildebeest in the background
:: I think this is a Brown Snake Eagle?
:: We scared him off his perch
We made the right decision taking our own rig into the park although after a long first day I was not too sure it was the right thing to do. We didn’t see that many big cats and the roads REALLY were shocking. BUT we were able to choose where we camped. We were able to go at our own pace. We were able to take the lesser travelled paths. Those are some of the advantages of driving your own car.
The main camp that night was full of safari vehicles and tents so we ducked out into the next camp called Dik Dik. We were all alone in the wilderness overlooking the Serengeti plains. It was magical. The only light that night was coming from our camp fire and the stars. The only noise from lions roaring off in the distance and hyenas calling to each other close by.
:: Kirst went to bed early feeling the most sick she has for the whole trip, so I played with the night sky
:: Dik Dik camp by night
The next morning we were up early and raring to go. It was going to be our lucky day I thought. The ruby red sun rose above the horizon and I started up the rig. As a puff of black smoke billowed out from the exhaust Kirst said to me “What’s that cute smile for?”, “I still can’t believe we are in the Serengeti in our own car AND we have driven here from South Africa.” She kissed my cheek and said lets go see us some animals.
The day went something like this :
:: We saw a cheetah stalk some nervy bucks
:: Hello there!
:: I hate flies too
:: Spent an hour with two lion cubs shoo and snarl at the flies landing on their faces while their mother sat proudly
We didnt want to battle the roads again for the afternoon so sussed out one of the ‘special camps’ near the Grumeti River. This ‘special camp was 20 bucks more per person per night that we hadn’t paid for. It was now too late to get back to the main camp at Seronera so it was going to be home for the night. I think for the privilege of paying 20 smacka roonies more a night you get a pure bush experience. No one around, no facitities. Nothing but the wilds of Africa. It was beautiful. It may have been the time of year – but we had to drive across overgrown tracks to get in there.
:: Grumeti Special Camp
:: Storm brewing in the Serengeti
:: Kirst cooking up a vege pasta even though she was sick with tonsillitis. What a trooper.
We woke the next day and drove out of camp only to be surrounded by tens of thousands of Wildebeest and Zebra all heading North. The noise of the wildebeest herd was deafening. It was sort of like a cross between a donkey and a horse. We drove less than 2kms from our camp and for the next few hours we parked off on a bridge over the Grumeti River and just watched. The pictures below are what we saw.
:: Driving out of Grumeti special camp. That’s the ‘track’ in and out of camp.
:: The morning migration with a pink sunrise
:: Two lioness’ appeared from the bushes and began drinking from the Grumeti before crossing to the other side in search of a feed
:: A different kind of river crossing than we were expecting!
:: Cats really don’t like water
:: Three cubs in tow, turned up an hour later!
:: The wildebeest gathering on the banks of the Grumeti
:: The great migration crossing the Grumeti. We were SO lucky to see this. Spot the croc?
:: Will I make it?
:: Giant Nile Croc basking in the morning sun
:: Marabou stork
:: Zebra heading north in convoy
:: A Topi. The fastest Antelope.
:: Saddle-billed stork
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Serengeti and hope you guys have enjoyed sharing the ride with us.
Please share this post with any of your friends who you think might be dreaming of Africa.