A Safari Record – Four hunts in One Day in the Serengeti
Our amazing trip to Tanzania ended about 2 weeks ago. I have spent the time trying to tell friends and coworkers about the safari, but I have found that it truly is indescribable. One thing is certain. We had a magical time in Tanzania, and we are highly recommending Africa Dream Safaris to anyone who asks.
After reading so many testimonials from past tourists, I knew that our expectations were very high. But the experience was every- thing we dreamed about and more!
Let me just tell you about one extremely special (and probably very lucky) day that we spent in the Serengeti. We left Lake Masek Tented Lodge shortly after 6:00 a.m. and saw several wildebeest and zebra grazing along the roadside. We took a beautiful sunrise picture and soon found a male and female lion mating on the beach of Lake Ndutu.
Next we saw a Black-crested Eagle and several Bat-eared fox before coming upon six hyenas mating and howling on the dry lake bed. Another male and female lion heard the howls and starting chasing the hyenas, believing that the hyenas had made a kill. A cheetah stood on the hillside watching the chase as well.
Everyone lost interest when the lions discovered the hyenas did not have a kill. We drove on to the short grass plains of the Serengeti and began an off-road search. Almost immediately, we spotted a cheetah sprinting across the plains and successfully making a baby wildebeest kill. Soon, we found another cheetah with four babies and saw her hunt and kill a baby gazelle with the four baby cheetahs joining in the sprint and sharing the feast after the kill.
We observed the wildebeest migration herds kicking up a dust storm as they ran in single file and then found another cheetah eating a kill. There was a large flock of ostrich in the distance, and we were surprised to see a few rabbits hopping across the plains. There was another huge herd of wildebeest on the Lake Ndutu dry bed, and we watched two lions stalking their movement.
The young, inexperienced lioness was impatient and went for a kill but somehow missed getting a single wildebeest. The experienced, more patient lioness waited until the wildebeest started moving up the hill next to the lakebed, and we watched her kill a large wildebeest and drag it into the tall grasses. We parked just a few feet away and watched her hold off the younger lioness until she’d eaten her fill.
In the meantime, a male lion was making it’s way up the hill toward the kill, and we anticipated seeing a fight. Instead, the male was apparently exhausted from mating and waited patiently until the lioness was done before settling in for his dinner.
We decided to begin heading back to the lodge but instead ended up watching the “three brother” cheetahs hunt and kill a large wildebeest together (yes, that was our fourth kill of the day!) Again heading back to camp, we came across a pride of 13 lions sleeping under trees, including three cubs. The mischievous cubs were active, and it was great fun watching their antics.
Next we found the mother cheetah with the four babies and watched them eating a second meal. We tried again to head back to the lodge for dinner, but we saw the young, inexperienced lioness from this morning stalking a lone wildebeest. Again, we decided to drive on, but another vehicle radioed Anglebert about the lion & wildebeest, and we couldn’t resist another adventure.
We returned to find the lion and wildebeest in a hilarious stand-off. The two began chasing each other around a large bush. Over and over again, the lion tried to sneak up on the wildebeest for a rear attack only to find the wildebeest turned forward with its horns down. The lion tried taking a detour further up the hill, hoping to make a surprise attack, but the wildebeest was always ready to defend itself.
As darkness came, the lion climbed a tree, and the wildebeest stood guard below. We finally had to leave when we could no longer see what was happening. When we returned the next morning, the lion was still in the tree but the wildebeest was dead and partially eaten below it. Since we had watched the failed escapades of this particular lioness twice, we thought it was probably more likely that she had some help after we left or possibly the wildebeest died of natural causes.
We still can’t believe that we saw all of those events in just one day! And while it was by far the most incredible day of our safari, every single day brought new adventures. Our guide Anglebert was fantastic. Our favorite time was when he would stop the vehicle, stare off into the distance, and then say “Just checking”. We knew we were about to see something good, and we were rarely wrong!
When we saw a new bird or animal, he could find the page in his guidebook with one hand in a matter of seconds so that I could spell it correctly in my journal or read more about it. His knowledge of all the wildlife, including every tree and plant, was just amazing. We were frequently the only vehicle anywhere around, and we felt like we were the only ones getting to see all those incredible sights.
Africa Dream Safaris took care of us from the moment we arrived at Kilimanjaro Airport, leading us around those long lines and straight to our vehicle. We took the advice of our Safari Specialist, Dawn Anderson, and stayed an extra night in Arusha to begin our vacation. After almost 24 hours of traveling, it was so nice to have the whole next day to relax. Dawn even arranged for a ½ -day driver to take us around Arusha that afternoon, and we particularly enjoyed the Cultural Heritage Museum.
We stayed in a variety of tented camps and lodges and loved every single one of them. We met so many delightful staff members—the chef at Lake Masek Tented Lodge (Veronica) who liked to tease us by announcing dinner features like “Secretary Bird” and “Warthog”, the escort at Mbuzi Mawe Tented Lodge (Justin) who was working to improve his English and remembered all of our names, the walking safari guide at Kikoti Tented Lodge (Thomas) who told us colorful stories about Marula trees and drunk elephants and walked us to the top of Kikoti Rock so that we could enjoy the beautiful 360 degree view, and so many more.
We will never forget our magical time in Tanzania. We will be reminiscing about all of our adventures for the rest of our lives! Thank you, Dawn, for planning such a perfect trip and thank you, Anglebert, for being the best guide ever!
Dave and Judy Washburn
Steve and Sandy Dean