Serengeti Surprise

 

Serengeti National Park is a 14,763 square kilometre park famous for the annual migration of wildebeest and zebra. Our entry into the park saw us travel through the end of the great migration, and it was here that we saw our first leopard and our first pride of lions.
Have you ever been in a position where you can see nothing but wildebeest and zebra as far as the eye can see, in all directions? I now have. I’m not sure how to put it into words, none of them quite fit right. The photos don’t portray the experience nearly as well as I remember and even the videos don’t get it right. There’s so many of them.

The zebras are as elegant as the wildebeest are, well, not. Zebras glide. The wildebeest run with their heads pointed in one direction and their legs going in the other. They somehow manage to complete a 360 degree turn while travelling. Zebras lead. Wildebeest follow, until they lose the zebra they’re following. Then they follow another one, until they lose it. Sometimes they follow each other, until they realise there is no zebra in site. Zebras eat only the good grass. Wildebeest eat, well, pretty much anything. And they are, of course, best friends through thick and thin.

A pride of lions is a wholly different experience. If you don’t think about it too much, they’re just like your kitty at home. Sleep all day, hunt at night. Cubs are cute, they’re fluffy and they play fight and they try out their claws. Awww, so adorable right? Lions hunt buffalo and wildebeest and zebra, not small birds and mice. Sure lions are fluffy but you really don’t want them to try out their claws on you. And nothing, I mean nothing, is quite like watching a pride of lions watching a herd of buffalo tiptoe past hoping that they are not today’s dinner. Or two lions on honeymoon 🙂

And leopards, well they were lazy buggers really. We sat and watched two cubs. One climbed down the tree and back up, once. The other shifted positions, from one cosy place to another. The mother did not move. For hours. Or what seemed like hours. Apparently they hunt and drag their kill up trees – we saw the leftovers of leopard breakfast in Chobe – but they also just sleep. And sleep some more.

Most of the savannah in Serengeti was just that, savannah. Grass with some more grass. We saw something in here, could’ve been a cheetah or a leopard or just a wild cat. But something.
And most of the two days were like that. But the migration and the leopard (our first) and the lion pride made up for it. We’d now seen the big five. And a bucketload of zebras and wildebeest.