Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My first day on a Serengeti safari!

Early up and out, this time we went with Henry and Gene, with Godfrey as our driver.  Again, the images will tell the story, but one of the first excitements was a leopard!  I don't know how Godfrey spotted it, sleeping, in a tree, with his naked eye, while driving, but he did and it was a pretty cool sight!  We saw three leopards that day; the second one walked from one tree to another for a vantage point to watch passing zebras, and the third one was napping in a tree after having hauled a Thomson's gazelle up into the tree! 
We did a lot of birding with Henry and Gene, crested rollers and bee eaters were some of the most colorful ones and while we were meandering we heard that the other group saw three cheetahs up on a mound!  Henry and Gene are both really nice guys and so easy to be fact, the whole group was easy to be with, which is pretty remarkable given all of our diverse backgrounds and personalities.  Gene is quite taken by his grand kids, whom he talks about often while taking pictures, "oh, my granddaughter is going to love this one!"...which makes him one of my favorite people, ever!  And Henry is sweet, very considerate about everyone getting the shot they want before moving on to something else.  I've never taken a workshop from Henry, but I am sure that he is a great instructor.
At one point we came across a pack of lions, napping under a tree, 5 of them, with a bigger male across the road under a different tree.  We spent a lot of time taking close-ups there, while the other group watched a crocodile across the road from us trying to snatch zebras as they came up to a watering hole (to no avail)! 
Lots of other animals, of course, but we ended the day about 25 feet from a small elephant herd, including a couple of really tiny babies!  We were so close and they were so packed together, stripping bark from a tree, that it was hard to get a good image (for me, I am kind of a minimalist photographer...I like things uncluttered!), but it was so fun to watch them all together at such close range.
Once again, we had overstayed our welcome in the park (those parks are not made for photographers...the best light is early morning and late in the day, but you aren't allowed to be wandering around in the park then...!) and this time the rangers ticketed us!  So, we had to head out on a direct path to camp!  Gene and I stood most of the drive back to witness an amazing sunset scene unfold...sun dogs above big thunderheads...and lots of color, 360 degrees of color in the sky.  It was a beautiful, warm evening...and a memorable drive.
Too late for "bush TV", we got our bucket showers and met for another nice dinner at Dunia, packed our bags for our next move and slept under an impressively loud thunder and rain storm!  It was an awesome day!

And now, the images...

Black-faced curious as we were!  There was a whole group of them playing in this huge looked like the tree was alive!

I love it when animals resemble humans...this monkey and I would get along well, as I see myself doing this...!


Did I mention that I loved all the zebras?!

Crested roller.


This is one of my favorites...again, a personification, comfort and love.

Beautiful face.

Big-eared baby!

Showing off for us!

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