After a flurry of flight cancellations at the beginning of summer that left many disappointed travelers postponing safaris to next year, we finally have a few guests successfully venturing from the U.S. to Tanzania for late summer trips. We thought it would be helpful to show what it’s like travelling internationally along with the current conditions in Tanzania and, of course, some wildlife updates from the bush!
The northward wildebeest migration is currently well underway in the Wogakuria and Lamai areas of the North Serengeti culminating in several spectacular Mara River crossings near the Kogatende Ranger Station and the Mara River Camp. Enjoy this recent video taken on August 30, 2020 by our guests currently on safari with us in the Serengeti. With tourist numbers down substantially in what normally would be the peak summer season, a few lucky guests are getting the most famous national park in Africa all to themselves!
Wildebeest: 50,000 / Tourists: 2
Video August 30, 2020
Usually leopards are very elusive when nursing cubs but that’s not the case with this mother leopard shown here in this extraordinary video clip from the North Serengeti on August 29, 2020. Note one of the Wogakuria Kopjes (i.e. granite outcropping) in the background, which is one of the most consistent spots for leopard sightings in the North Serengeti.
Leopards: 2 / Tourists: 2
Video August 29, 2020
The areas in the North Serengeti have been offering up some of the top game viewing highlights this summer especially for the migratory species but the Central Serengeti continues to produce for the resident species including lion, leopard, buffalo, giraffe and several species of gazelle.
Lioness with cubs in the Seronera Valley of the Central Serengeti
In the larger ‘super prides’ that have claimed the prime territories in the Seronera Valley of the Central Serengeti, multiple female lions in the same pride often give birth within a few months of each other. The cubs are raised together in a creche (nursery group) and the female lions of the pride unite in rearing the cubs together. The cooperation of females in rearing cubs is unique among big cat species and is one of the reasons lions have flourished in protected areas such as the Serengeti.
Despite the formidable presence of the male lion and especially the dark maned lions that inhabit the Central Serengeti, lion society is matriarchal and the pride’s territory belongs to the females who pass it on from mother to daughter for generations.
Craig Packard, the former Serengeti Lion Project director, summed it up best: “The males come into the pride as a group. They father the cubs and defend the pride against marauding bands of wandering males. Every few years the resident coalition is replaced by yet another group of males. Husbands come and husbands go, but the matriarchy carries on forever.”
Here’s a photo taken on August 31st in the Seronera Valley of the Central Serengeti of a leopard doing what leopards do best…napping high up in an acacia tree! Leopards are nocturnal meaning they are active mostly at night but thanks to the Serengeti’s high elevation and cool temperatures you can sometimes see them hunting in the daytime.
According to field biologists from the Serengeti Lion Project, the warthog is the favorite food for lions (a delicacy if you will) and any warthog kill can trigger intense aggression among pride members to commandeer their share.
The infamous Sametu Lion Pride with Warthog kill on September 2, 2020 (very near the Sametu Kopje Complex in the East Serengeti)
More updates to come as we continue to receive photos and video clips from the Serengeti.
For the latest information on travel restrictions to Tanzania – please see our most recent post: Tanzania Travel Restrictions and International Flights
For the latest information on the current operating conditions in Tanzania – please our most recent post: Operating Conditions in Tanzania