Big cats and other inhabitants
We were in Tarangire, a renowned Ellie Park. We sighted Ellies again all over the park the next day, as well. This post is for the relatively smaller animals, as well as birds. One of our early sightings was a family of four Cheetahs behind and perched up an anthill, surveying the surroundings.
They decided to clamber down soon, cross the road and head to another anthill a greater distance away on the other side.
The sighting of a Lioness that appeared snug up a tree was likely a rare sight. We were there a long time, and the Lioness appeared most content to stay up there. An interesting drama was being played out below. A Baby Ellie got scent of the Lioness and kept frantically running around in circles, trumpeting away, unable to figure out where the Lion scent was coming from.
Another Lion sighting was that of a pride of about four adults and two cubs who were busy devouring two Warthog carcasses. The sounds they were making were clearly audible, loud snorts and groans. The grass was slightly tall, so we could not get a clear view. I have a video that I will snip and upload soon in a separate post for videos.
Our big cat sighting in Tarangire can be summarized as follows:
Three Lion sightings, all different. First, a solitary Lioness perched up in a tree with the baby Ellie going crazy running around in circles, trumpeting, right under the tree. Second, a pride of about six adults and cubs busy devouring two Warthog carcasses, making horrific snorting and cracking noises. Very loud noises, emanating from the grass. Our third Lion sighting was a glorious sight in the slanting warm rays of the sun, a Lion basking in a sea of green grass in a royal pose, slightly far away.
Tarangire also showed us one Cheetah sighting split across the road with a total of about six cats.
One Leopard sighting, it was all over in a flash. Amos sighted a Leopard up a tree, but as we approached, the cat jumped down, hid in the grass with the head visible, then quietly bounded away gracefully in a flash. What an impressive sight that was, too quick for us to aim and shoot!
Yellow Necked Spurfowl.
White Browed Coucal.
Bataleur by the river.
Southern Ground Hornbill.
Lilac Breasted Roller.
Barefaced Go-Away Bird (a Turaco).
Von der Decken's Hornbill.
A green-coloured Chameloen crosses the track, belonging to the Flap-necked species. Not much chance of a camouflage here!
Favourite position during Game drives, useful to absorb the sights, catch the little creatures along the way, and grab a few shaky pictures and videos. Can't ask the driver to stop at each corner, can you?
Sights like the grand old Baobab trees.
We took a trip far down South to the Silale Swamp area. It was quiet, ours was the only vehicle for kilometres around.
White-headed Buffalo Weaver.
Lunch time at Silale Swamp. Moses packed picnic boxes for us everyday since we would typically be out from dawn to dusk.
Hundreds of Buffalo in the distance.
A large herd stops for a minute to take a closer look at us.
Elephants walk by in single file along the swampy areas.
The Silale Swamp area was wonderfully remote, wild and quiet. It was just us. Well, that's what we thought.
A bunch of Open Billed Stork (African Openbill) looked on. But they were not the only creatures around. We would find out shortly. In a slightly painful manner!
Hordes of Tse-Tse Flies took a liking to us, in a small way to Amos and me, but in a significantly larger way to Junior. Poor fellow, he got pestered and bitten for over an hour as we sped back to safer havens towards the northern part of the park. A short spell of rain helped ease the situation. The hordes of Flies stopped chasing us. The photo of a Fly in the 4x4 is in memory of our Tse-Tse Fly encounter.
Junior is relaxed once again, and resumes his usual photography business, with the Park bathed in the warm light of the afternoon sun.
It's time to head back to camp once again as the sun prepares to retire.
Common Ostrich seem quite relaxed. The last Lion sighting we had encountered was about half an hour ago, quite far to photograph.
The rays of the setting sun catch a large group of Common Ostrich as the birds strut around.
A troop of Baboons appear to be on their way home, as well.
Acacia trees lit up golden during sunset.
Early morning black coffee in the small public campsite was a wonderful feeling, with the cool air and skies gently lighting up.
A Verreaux's Eagle Owl keeps watch as we head out for our 6 AM game drive, while it is still semi-dark. Also known as the GIant Eagle Owl or Milky Eagle Owl, it is Africa's largest and the world's third heaviest owl.
The small public campsite we stayed in was right inside Tarangire Park. The first camp, Roika Tented Camp, was situated outside the Park, separated by the Tarangire River with ankle deep water. So, we could have strolled across the river into the Park! We had in fact seen Ellies, Impalas and Gazelles in the area surrounding the Camp the previous evening. Good reason to have a team of Maasai people escort us as we walked from our cooking and eating area back to the room. More on this in another post....
Maasai villages dot the areas near the park. Adults and children escort their cattle as they graze around the Park. Little children often stand and wave, perhaps hoping for small goodies from visitors passing by.
Life goes on in the Maasai villages just outside the Park. We noticed a School and a Church.
Several typical homes. Only a road separates the Park from the Villages in the area.
Over the duration of our travel in Tanzania, I would realize with a sense of shock and awe about the relationship between the Maasai people, the wildlife and the environment. They form a strong ecosystem. The Maasais and the wildlife respect each other. There appears to be a magical bond and understanding between them. The Maasai people and wildlife live very close to each other, understand each each, respect each other and coexist. I guess this has been the way of life for generations. Learning this was one of the greatest 'A-ha' moments of my Tanzania experience..!!
Please click below for posts in this series:
Namanga Border Crossing
The Gentle Giants of Tarangire
Endless Serengeti Plains
Migrating herds, Crocodiles and Vultures at Kirawira
Big Cats of Central Serengeti
Camping under African skies
Flamingos at Empakai Crater Lake
Ngorongoro Crater - Wildlife, Maasais and Flowers
Campsite food and Nyama Choma in Mto Wa Mbu
From green to gray, the stark beauty of Lake Natron
Videos - Tarangire, Central Serengeti
Videos - Central Serengeti, Western Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Lake Natron
Two nights in Arusha