Only the strong in the Serengeti
The Serengeti. If there is one place you know about before coming to Africa it's probably this one, right? Me personally I watched it on TV countless times - watching African documentaries was my favourite activity when I would lie sick at home. The great migration, big cats, lurking crocs and deep, red sunsets framed by solitary acacia trees. And now we were finally here - we had two days and one night (camping) in the national park. Needless to say the exitement was high.
We arrived at the start of June, which is quite a bit off season - the Serengeti is dry at this time of year and the great migration has already left towards the greener pastures of the Maasai Mara. But this doesn't mean the Serenti is empty, a lot of animals stay here all year and you will still have a very good chance of spotting game, especially if you're looking for cats. What is does mean however is that you will be covered in dust, from head to toe, all day, every day. If you ask me, being covered in dirt for a couple of days is part of the experience. Now if you ask Nikki, I'm pretty sure she would tell you something else...
Camping in the National park is a great experience and I highly recommend it. Hyenas and jackals usually run around your tent at night, while every now and then you can hear a lion roar in the distance (although "in the distance" often feels a bit to close for comfort). The only issue here are the Tse Tse flies - those guys don't react to insect repellent and are active day and night. Although they are as big as a fly, you won't feel them land. What you will feel however is the bite, it's like a hot needle entering your skin. Avoid blue and black colours, they are attracted to those. Also keep in my mind that the Tse Tse fly can give you the sleeping sickness, which is potentially deadly (but that would require a substantial amount of bites).
Now, if you think that there is absolutely no luxury when camping in the Serengeti, you're wrong. A truck appeared in the middle of the night, how they found us in the dark is a bit of a mistery to me. On the side it said "Zebra Refreshments". Those guys seek out campers and sell cold drinks for reasonable money (it might seem like a normal thing, but the Serenti is huge - 5,700 square kilometers). Having a cold beer at the end of the day made everything so much better.
The National park didn't dissapoint in terms of game sightings - we saw all three cats in one day. Lions are everywhere around here, and with a bit of luck you might even witness a hunt. The other two cats are a bit harder to spot, but we were lucky enough to come across two cheetah brothers. I wanted to see those since I came to Africa, they are by far my favourite cats. The leopard seemed to elude us like always, until the very end. We were on our way out when our guide Violet stopped the truck. "I don't want to get you to exited guys, but I think there might be something in the tree back there".
It took me good 5 minutes to see it, and that with using binoculars. How was she able to spot that guy from a driving vehicle? I proud myself to have good eyesight, but there is no way I could ever have spotted him. This was more mysterious to me than the elusive cat itself.
What can you spot in this tree? (this image is already at full optical zoom)