We had a wonderful, memorable, enjoyable trip to Tanzania this summer with Africa Dream Safaris. We went hoping to devote most of our time to observing and taking photos of animals, and this trip fulfilled all our expectations and more. Here are just a few of the thousands of pictures we took, and comments on some of our favorite experiences.
While we enjoyed the comfort and safety of our Land Cruiser, more than once we parked very close to a pride of lions, and they seemed unconcerned about our presence. What a treat to see them just going on about their normal activities: lion cubs nursing, lions dining on a recent kill, daddy lions allowing cubs to playfully cuff them on the chin, or just napping in the shade or sun.
We came across a herd of 30 or more elephants, ranging from large bull elephants to babies, as they snacked on tree limbs and tall grass, and then we waited quietly as the entire herd passed behind our parked vehicle while we snapped pictures.
We saw thousands of wildebeest and zebra in migration while we enjoyed a picnic lunch under an acacia tree. The wildebeests serenaded us with a rhythmic marching chant as they moved in almost a single file across the plains, with zebras occasionally interjecting their dog-like barking sounds.
We saw giraffes, gazelles, warthogs, and monkeys… Troops of baboons entertained us with their antics, especially the baby baboons.
We sat for quite a while watching a mother cheetah and her five cubs, who eventually paraded across the road right in front of us!
We were amused as we watched a hyena casually strolling through a gathering of wildebeest, zebras, and topi, pretending he was not checking for possible prey.
It was an eye-opening and smelly experience at Retima Pool, which was filled with hippos. Never thought of this before, but when hippos need to “do their business,” they just let it rip right there in the water. Get a hundred or more hippos together in the same little lake, and — well you can imagine the smell.
But it was an impressive sight to see that many hippos lolling side by side in the water, lifting their heads from time to time for a breath of “fresh” air. We often saw hippos elsewhere on the trip, both in and out of the water. Also usually near the water were crocodiles, and a host of different birds such as storks, herons, ducks, and egrets.
The leopard napping in the crotch of a tree caught the attention of our guide, David, otherwise we would never have spotted her. The leopard had pulled several “kills” up into the tree, which were hanging at various places among the limbs, ready for the next meal. Then David directed our attention to a nearby tree, where the leopard’s young cub was sleeping. How he ever picked out that cub among all the leafy branches was incredible.
The adorable little African Dik Dik, the smallest antelope in the Serengeti, captivated us with those big brown eyes and delicate legs.
We were rewarded with an up-close view of a herd of Eland, the largest antelope, who are normally shy enough to run when anyone gets near. We laughed watching a zebra having a do-it-yourself massage against a large rock. Picture backing up to a doorway to scratch your back – zebra was doing this on every part of his neck and back he could get near the rock.
And the birds! So many beautiful, unusual, elegant, colorful, or just interesting – both large (ostrich) and small (Bee Eater Birds, aka Love Birds). The Crowned Cranes often cooperated well by posing for the camera.
All in all, we kept track of and recorded seeing 66 different species of animals, birds, and reptiles, and at least a dozen exotic trees and plants, which you’ll be relieved to know we won’t individually name here.
We highly recommend a photo safari to Tanzania with Africa Dream Safaris to anyone who will listen!
Bob and Mary S.
Safari Dates: July 9, 2015 to July 21, 2015