Posts Tagged ‘serengeti’

The Tree-Climbing Lions of Lake Manyara…

August 21, 2007

For three days, we had been going on both morning and evening safaris in Lake Manyara; we had seen lot of other interesting things, but of course, every tourist wishes to sight that unusual phenomenon, the tree-climbing lions of Lake Manyara.

Our guide, Huruma, told us that only 10% of visitors ever get to see these animals which have learnt to climb trees; so I thought that my usual Murphy’s record (which stands unbroken in the spotting of tigers in the south Indian jungles) would hold good here, too. But since we had seen so many lions in the Serengeti, and actually been able to sight a leopard the very first evening, I did not entirely lose hope.

The second evening, we had sighted a leopard in the dusk, though not all of us were able to see it, but after three days, KM’s brothers and their families had to leave.

The next morning safari for the two of us was extremely productive in terms of all sorts of fascinating birds and mammals, and we decided that in the evening, we would go to the Hot Springs, which is 25 km away from the only entrance to the park:

signpost..with an ex-buffalo

(note…every signpost in the park seemed to have a buffalo skull set upon it!)

for the pics of the lions, click here

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Lions walking down the Serengeti track…

August 21, 2007

Here is my short clip of the two adorable lion cubs and the two lioness walking past our safari van, in the Ngorongoro Crater area:

You can hear Huruma, our guide, telling us that one was “hitted by a porcupine”!

For the rest of the videos that I have uploaded (well, with a lot of help from anushsh) to YouTube,at

http://youtube.com/deponti

There’s an olive baboon grooming her mate while the babies run around, there’s a mother shrike feeding her little one, a hornbill struggling to swallow the large grasshopper it caught…they are all short clips, and since they are my first attempts at video, that shows, too!

I will be posting a few more soon.

The last two days on the Serengeti….looong post with LOTS of pics….

August 16, 2007

It’s been really hectic, but I have finally found the time…it’s going to be a long post,compressing two days at the Serengeti, with lots of photos (there will be one lot more with pics from Lake Manyara, with the TREE-CLIMBING LIONS)

Here’s a sunrise over the Serengeti plains…

sunrise on the Serengeti

anushsh has made this his screensaver….so this is dedicated to him!

Our safari started on a high note, with this sighting of a CHEETAH, which had just killed a gazelle and was dragging it to a good place for the feast….

Cheetah with gazelle kill

(Remember, I said that none of my cheetah shots are close-up or good!)

Another “typical” shot that I got was the Masai, walking for miles in the vast landscape, amongst the eternal grasses of the Serengeti…

Masai in the NCA savannah

lots of pictures under the cut; you must have a lot of interest in wildlife, and lots of time..othwrwise, skip!

Ostrich Mating Dance…with an Audience…

August 12, 2007

We watched the male and female Masai ostriches shivering their plumes in their ritual mating dance. They were pretty far away…but then, from the grass, two most unexpected heads popped up. Two cheetahs, taking their ease, languidly watched the ras-leela entertainment provided for them!

Once again, apologies for the graininess…its a camera video, the subjrcts were really far ooff (Nearly a mile away) and this was the first time I was shooting something like this…but it was riveting and I wanted to share it with everyone, too!

Wildebeest Migration Video

August 11, 2007

Yes, yes, I know this is grainy, non-professional..and I was jostled about by KM and his brothers, all trying to take their images too…but still..when you see the line of animals stretching from one horizon to the other…it’s amazing.

By the way…that panning is only from left to right, it is NOT all around me. It is an entire length (kilometres of it) of wildebeest, as far I could see and capture…

Will be posting more videos…beware!

Perky, clever bird!

August 11, 2007

At the Ngoitokitoki Picnic Site in the Serengeti, I found this STREAKY WEAVER BIRD drinking by using the drip from the tap..and then some competition arrives,too!

Next loonng post will come up shortly…

Out of Ngorongoro and into the Serengeti

August 10, 2007

We left early the next morning (recording yet another superb sunrise that was invisible directly but only reflected in the lake in the crater bed)…

one more caldera lake sunrise

(The oval outline is the lake at the bottom of the crater; the vegetation is actually on an incline that slopes down to the bottom of the caldera. The mauve area is the area of the crater rim across from where I am…it’s lost in mist. I *still* cannot understand how, when the sunrise was not visible it was so brightly reflected in the lake. I am googling about this but have got no results.)

As we left the crater rim, we drove down into the grasslands, and passed a Masai village (the Masai cannot live in the Serengeti where no “human activity” apart from wildlifing is allowed; they live in the NCA.)

Masai Village in the area coming down from the crater rim towards Serengeti

ok, for those of you who are not wildlifers, this is the time to go to the next friend’s entry. Those who are interested…lots of pictures including some with really amazing contents if you click. But make sure you have some time!

NCA, the Serengeti, and Lake Manyara…

August 1, 2007

Starting with crows that seem to be wearing white vests (Pied Crow) and the colourful local mynahs (the Superb Starling) in Kilimanjaro, the days in the Ngorongoro Conservation area, where the extinct volcanic crater is like a Noah’s ark of animals, the days in the vast plains of the acacia-studded Serengeti, where the abundance of game just takes the breath away, and finally, the four extremely expensive days that we decided on in Lake Manyara were also astounding….only 10% of people who go to Lake Manyara are able to see the famous tree-climbing lions that the Lake Manyara National Park is famous for…and of course the leopard is a nocturnal, secretive animal…but guess what…my non-sighting jinx (which applies still, to the south Indian tiger) is now well and truly broken….on our way to the Hot Springs, we were the only people on the scene when a lioness and a very young male lion (his mane was just about beginning to grow)climbed up into an acacia tree and settled themselves down, JUST above our Toyota Land Cruiser, and let us take pictures for quite 40 minutes before we had to tear ourselves away….

Have you heard of the bare-faced Go-Away bird? The red-cheeked Cordon Bleu? The blue-naped mousebird? The tree hyrax? The rock hyrax? The Dik-dik (No you dirty-minded lot, that’s dik not dick.) The Purple Grenadier?

We sighted a Crested Eagle (which feeds on snakes, so that would make it the African equivalent of the Crested Serpent Eagle)….saw flamingoes feeding in synchrony…watched hippos in large groups….saw a landscape studded here and there with giraffes….baboons….shrews…four varieties of vultures…not just saw them, but stayed quietly and watched their behaviour.

It was so very difficult tearing ourselves away and coming back to “civilization”….

The sad part about it is that this abundance of game in Tanzania is because conservation efforts were started from the early 1900’s…..what fate awaits OUR wildlife, with our pathetic efforts starting now, and with the kind of heavy poaching we face?

There are exactly 25 (yes) rhinos in the Ngorongoro Crater area, and each is constantly guarded (no, we did not see one, but I am sure that if we had asked the right authorities we would have been shown one as each of them has a radio tracking device set in its horn).

The Tanzanians are a peacable people, and are so clean…the villages are very clean, and there is NONE of the horrendous plague of plastic in evidence except perhaps in Dar es Salaam, which, too, appears to be a clean city… Tanzania, however, is a poor country, with no manufacturing industry to speak of, and primarily agro-based industry. The wildlife fees are kept extremely high and that seems to have paid off in terms of limiting the number of visitors and ensuring that only serious wildlifers visit….

I am most impressed by the simplicity of the lifestyle of the Maasai people, who seem to be able to walk for miles across the barren landscape of the African arid lands….now, some of them seem to have cycles. They still reckon their wealth in terms of cattle.

I thoroughly enjoyed the company of our guide/driver, Huruma (which means, sympathy and compassion in Swahili), who took up this job after working as a Ranger for several years. He was extremely knowledgeable about the mammals, the birds, the reptiles (we saw a black mamba!), the insects, the plants, the rocks…..I really got an education from him, and he let us borrow three excellent reference books (Audubon, and Veronica Roodt’s books on the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and on the Serengeti) as well. A remarkable education for me…and I was able to show him the trees and animals/birds that are common (eg the Painted Stork is called the Red-Billed Stork in Africa, and the Drongo is the African Drongo…and the African Tulip, the Tamarind, the Mango,the Euphorbia and the Magnolia trees are the same!) The age of the Baobab trees is just staggering….he also told me a lot of mythology and fables surrounding the wildlife, such as the Hyena being a stupid animal, and when he got the Baobab tree, he was angry and threw it into the ground upside down, which is why the tree looks like that…

The Rhino is Faru, the Giraffe is Twiga, the Lion is Simba, the Cheetah is Pandu…

We are in Dar es Salaam staying with some friends, and I am giving a one-hour concert tomorrow. Will try and visit Zanzibar, too…

The internet connection in my friends’ home (dialup) is very slow, and she uses it for stocks and shares in the mornings, so I got my hands on it only now…we are off to see the seashore soon, so I will next be on the net only after I return home.

Tanzania, the Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti, the famous wildebeest migration (we did manage to get the major part of the tail end), the tree-climbing lions and incredible fauna and flora of Lake Manyara….We have spent a fortune in the past two weeks and it has been worth every penny of it all!

AMAZING..INCREDIBLE…I’m running out of exclamation words

July 27, 2007

It’s been a phenonmenal time here in Tanzania…first at the Ngorongoro Crater, and then in the Serengeti since yesterday. We started with a superb time birding in Kilimanjaro airport while we were waiting for KM’s brothers to fly in…and then as we drove into the Ngorongoro Conservation area, we started with a night sighting of a leopard so close by…and except for the rhino, I think we have sighted all the animals,birds, reptiles and other stuff one could think of…and then some….

Two things which are fantastic…the total lack of plastic in the wilderness, and the immense discipline of the wildlife trips, which means that the animals are not afraid, and do not melt away immediately (though of course some do)…we have got some phenomenal shots and videos…the highlight being a pride of lions, including two cubs, walking down the road amongst the safari vehicles, another of two Thomson’s gazelle fighting in dead earnest, four types of vultures feasting on a carcass, two lionesses circling around a kill which they cannot eat because a band of baboons are trying to chase them off, a couple of ostriches doing a mating dance…with a couple of cheetahs as audience, the incredible line of migrating wildebeest stretching kilometers across the Serengeti plain….some of these are very far away, though….and the really colourful, splendiferous birds…the crocodiles and the hippos, the baboons and the vervet monkeys, the hyenas and the different kinds of jackals….

We have had hardly any sleep, because the power went down at night almost every day, and we had to recharge the camera batteries, and download the photos and videos….when we could.

At Kirawira camp, where we are now, the internet connection costs 10 USD for 15 minutes, so my next post is only going to be when I reach Dar es Salaam after the trip….

All my friends, I can do a lovely presentation on the Ngorogoro Crater, the Serengeti, and Lake Manyara (which we are going to day after tomorrow)…when I return…

Oh, Tanzania….words are just NOT adequate, will have to say it with the pictures. How happy I am that I took up photography!

Pics will follow…

July 22, 2007

Heh, heh, my last few posts have been musings, with no pictures…because some (hopefully) lovely pics of the Serengeti and Mt Kilimanjaro are going to come along soon…wish us a good trip and great sightings please!

But let me include this wonderful misty view of the hill ranges from Nandi Hills…

View from Nandi Hills

My friends on LJ…I am sure, that if I don’t access it for even a day, you will make the most interesting and amazing posts…oh, well, I will catch up sooner or later.