On my 4th day in the Serengeti, it was time to move to Namiri Plains Camp in central Serengeti. But that does not mean that this day was a bust for animal sightings. Au contraire!
After taking a last scenic shot of the view from Olakira camp, being joined at breakfast by a lesser striped swallow, and being sent off by the staff with another song and dance, we drove back to the Kogatende airstrip to catch a flight to Seronera airstrip in central Serengeti. Along the way we spotted a grey backed shrike and a couple of giraffes.
Upon arrival in Seronera, I was met by my new guide, Keko. Since it was a 2 hour drive to the camp from the airstrip, the plan was to make it a game drive and take some extra time and get to Namiri Plains Camp in time for a late lunch. I have to say this is where the trip started getting really really exciting with virtually non-stop amazing sightings.
Our drive started with some nice bird sightings, including The black chested snake eagle, lilac breasted roller, grey heron, black headed heron, white bellied bustard, tawny eagle (juvenile), superb starling, and ostrich.
As far as wildebeest go, thus far I had only spotted an isolated wildebeest or a small herd as they are still moving north and are mainly now between where I was in northern Serengeti and where I am now in central Sernegeti. I knew before I went that my timing was not right for the famous wildebeest river crossings, which happen near Olakira camp in northern Serengeti (where I was the previous 3 days), but I still got to see some big herds, and in this case for a road crossing. I’ll settle for that! You know when you get stuck waiting for one of those long super trains to go by? This was kind of like that, but with wildebeest. You will notice that once the herd gathers on the other side of the road, they are led on by a zebra. Apparently the wildebeest are too stupid to know which way to go, so the zebras lead them, but the zebras do have an ulterior motive: lions and other predators are going to go for the wildebeest before the zebras as the wildebeest are easier to kill and there are way more of them.
There were also a couple of Coke’s hartebeest in the area.
And if that was not exciting enough, we then came across a Thompson’s gazelle that had just given birth! In the first photo below, you can make out the baby at the mother’s feet. The guide said the babies usually start walking, clumsily, within 10 – 20 minutes, so we stuck around and sure enough, we watched that baby stumble and then take its first legitimate steps. I thought I was filming the whole thing, but I, being as dumb as a wildebeest, missed the record button. Stay tuned, though, because as luck would have it I get another opportunity in a couple of days, but with a Grant’s gazelle. Stay tuned. In the meantime, feast your eyes on some serious cuteness.
So wow, just wow.
The remainder of the drive to camp was uneventful, with just a sighting of a couple of secretary birds and an almost completely consumed wildebeest carcass.
I need to split this day into two posts, since after lunch we went on another short game drive but its brevity does not mean it was any less exciting than the above, and deserves as much space, as I got to see one of the animals I was most hoping to see on this trip… and then some.