Close Encounters of the Animal Kind
I thought it would be interesting to share a collection of safari photos mainly from the Serengeti National Park showing just how close one can get to the big game (lion, cheetah, leopard, elephant and giraffe) in Tanzania. Sometimes a large zoom or telephoto lens is not at all necessary and a small pocket size camera is actually more advantageous.
Note that the last picture is the hand of yours truly! This shot was taken in the Ngorongoro Crater. Due to the small size of the Crater and the frequent safari guests, many of the animals are quite habituated to vehicles. This is especially true of the lions who since birth have grown up in the presence of vehicles and are very at ease and sometimes even curious about the occupants inside.
Check out this thrilling video submitted from Gina Cross, one of our returning safari guests, who has the courage to ‘pop up’ and capture the ending of this amazing video. It’s quite extraordinary how habituated several cheetahs in the Serengeti have become to safari vehicles over the years. This trait is passed down from mother to offspring as young cheetah grow up in the presence of vehicles just as soon as they are old enough to their den. We have been seeing this behavior for at least ten years though it has become more pronounced over the last couple of green seasons.
There are a handful of cheetahs in the Serengeti that our guides know by sight that will exhibit this behavior of jumping on vehicles quite regularly. Our guide Anglebert, featured in the video, is especially adept at getting several cheetahs that he knows quite well to jump on the bonnet of his vehicle. It probably doesn’t hurt that his favorite animal also happens to be the cheetah!
Make sure to watch at about 2 minutes and 53 seconds into the video when the cheetah starts calling to the rest of its family. A cheetah’s vocalization is quite different then other big cats in that it chirps with a bird like call to communicate. It’s really extraordinary to catch this chirping on video in this fashion. Also, watch at about 3 minutes as the cheetah jumps down from the vehicle to reunite with the rest of her family. Awesome!