Driver-Guide Report – Family Christmas Safari

Greetings from Arusha, Tanzania. Follows is our driver guide report at the conclusion of our safari with the Hektor Family (December 24th to December 29th, 2013). This was an extended family group of 20 persons with three generations together. It was a wonderful experience to have such a diverse group from young children (ages 4, 6 and 9) to teenagers and all the way up to the parents and grandparents. The group had four vehicles and guides on this fantastic safari of six days. We had a lot of fun on their Christmas holiday.

We started from Ndutu on the southern end of the Serengeti National Park on December 24th, 2013 and drove northward through the Seronera valley (Central Serengeti) and overnighted at Serengeti Serena lodge. We had amazing sightings on this first day in the bush especially of a mother cheetah with her two cubs and a yearling wildebeest kill. Not only that but also a pride of 14 lions and countless groups of the migratory wildebeest herds.

We had another night at Kirawira Serena Lodge in the western corridor of the Serengeti National Park. On this side the main attraction was the gigantic Nile crocodiles in the Grumeti River and groups of Hippos with dominant males advertising their territories.

On the third day, the group flew on private charter planes from the Grumeti Airstrip to Ndutu Airstrip and from there they drove to Nasera Rock, an untouchable private area for a Maasai Cultural Tour and walking safari before spending the night at the Crater Serena Lodge. On the fourth day we had a full day game drive down into one of the eighth natural wonders of the world, the Ngorongoro Crater, to see the rare Black Rhino and to top the list of our Big Five.

On our last day we visited Lake Manyara National Park, a small but unique park as we drove in for a short period of time. We covered 4 different types of habitats including the underground natural water forest, acacia woodland, open grass plain, and the rift valley escarpment while viewing in Lake Manyara National Park, which was covered with pink flamingoes. On our list of animals we added a new species, which was the Blue Monkey.

Below are some of the pictures we managed to take during the safari.

- On our way to the Central Serengeti via the beautiful Maasai kopjes we came across this mother cheetah on her evening hunt. She seemed very hungry and was very busy scanning the area for prey to hunt.

- At the Grumeti River in the Western Serengeti, this was our highlight of the day as the clients were excited to see this massive reptile, the Nile crocodile. This big reptile was basking on the bank of the Grumeti River with her mouth open as a way of lowering its body temperature.

- This beautiful leopard cub was one of two cubs we were able to get close to around the Seronera valley of the Central Serengeti. She jumped down from the tree where all three of them were sleeping and walked close to us and posed for this nice picture.

- At Musabi plains heading to Kirawira in the West Serengeti, we saw these two male lion brothers and two females. It seemed like they were on their honeymoon but they were very skittish and they didn’t like our presence around them. We discovered these lions in this area are not used to vehicles and people around them.

-In the Ndutu area of the South Serengeti we came across a big pride of 12 lions, with this massive male, together with a few cubs. This was during the mid-day when everybody was hiding under the shade.

-A male agama lizard displaying his colorful body to attract the females around. This was at the beautiful Gol Kopjes in the East Serengeti. The clients loved how the lizard was doing a push up and looking in different ways for any females around.

- At Ngoitoktok Picnic Site in the Ngorongoro Crater, the group is having a breakfast picnic after an early morning game drive in the crater.

- At the view point in Ngorongoro crater, we stopped for an orientation and briefing of the crater formation. It was a successful trip for everyone.

- A mother cheetah with a wildebeest kill – Central Serengeti.

- Hippos in Retima Hippo Pool, Central Serengeti.

- Africa’s largest lizard, the Nile Monitor.

- A mother warthog wallowing.

- African elephant in Lerai Forest – Ngorongoro Crater.

- Olive baboon troop in Lake Manyara National Park.

Thanks again and Karibuni Sana.

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