Just returned from two weeks in Northern Tanzania
Its been an extremely dry year in Northern Serengeti in Tanzania Safari and the Mara River is at its lowest in recent history. The mega herds were located north of the Mara River while I was there but small groups of wildebeest were crossing (ie. walking) back and forth across the not-so-mighty Mara.
The river was so low in fact even the giraffes were attempting to cross the Mara this year.
The dry weather didnt seem to hinder ostrich romance, the males booming calls could be heard from miles away and we were an audience to one showy wing waving, head shaking dance performance which impressed a female.
We experienced a great leopard sighting around Lobo, a large male had recently killed a young zebra and was quietly feeding in the trees. In the Western Corridor rains had recently fallen enough to attract sizable wildebeest herds along the Grumeti to Kirawira. Around the Kirawira ranger post, we came upon three lions peacefully resting under a tree after a large wildebeest meal only to be rudely awakened and chased away by a group of trumpeting elephants.
Central Serengeti did not disappoint for large cats. The dry conditions around Seronera Valley only enhanced sightings of the large cats hunting during the day at predictable watering holes. Lions, cheetahs and leopards were seen daily.
Ngorongoro Crater floor was extremely hot, dusty and windy the day that we were there. Despite the temperature, we were able to spot a black rhino snoozing in the tall grass. A couple of other exciting sightings were a cheetah giving chase to a hare and a pair of falcons hunting birds at the hippo pool.
Tarangire also did not disappoint for large cats. Lions, cheetah and leopards were all seen in one day. Kudus were also spotted around Swala Camp. My personal highlight at Tarangire was witnessing a juvenile martial eagle hunt a baby impala. A herd of impalas were spread out grazing in the open when all of a sudden a martial eagle swooped down and grabbed a baby impala, lifted it 10 feet up into the air, lost its grip and dropped it. The impalas immediately grouped together, snorting and stomping and looking up into the sky for further danger, then as a group moved towards the brush for cover. The baby impala survived. It all unfolded so quickly and unexpectedly, we werent able to take any photographs. It was heart pounding to watch.
Each day we were on safari, dark clouds were slowly gathering in the east showing promise of rains to come, perhaps by now the much needed life-giving short rains have started heralding the southward migration.