Day 3: Serengeti National Park
At the crack of dawn, we woke up and had some coffee and biscuits. Loaded into the car, we went for the morning safari. We saw herds and herds of elephants, vultures, a hippo running from the tourists into the wild, foxes, deer, giraffes and zebras.
We were taken to a site, halfway through the game drive, for a toilet break. The site had a food truck too and Neel enjoyed a Serengeti beer in the middle of Serengeti!
After this, was the much thrilling episode.
A lioness waiting to prey on a group of wart hogs. We arrived just in time to see the lioness on one side and the wart hogs on the other side. It was hunting time and our driver said the wait was worth a while. Tourist vehicles started arriving at the location and in a blink of an eye, there must have been around 20 tourist vehicles waiting for action. Our vehicle had a prime viewing advantage in all of this.
We saw the group of wart hogs, mother and three tiny ones and their trepidation to cross the vehicles in order to reach the water spot at the other side of the road. The group contemplated for 10-15 mins. They would try to cross, then hear a vehicle sound and go away. Finally, they had enough courage to cross the road.
We looked at the lioness. She did not notice the wart hogs at first. But then, she raised her head. And smart as she is, she took the help of the vehicles! She moved in the shadow of the tourist vehicles! And passed right next to ours too! And then, she leapt towards the wart hogs. After a quick chase, she managed to pounce on a young wart hog. I confess it is a bit difficult to watch; a guilty pleasure. But it is the law of the jungle; the mighty wins.
To witness a hunt is such an over-the-top expectation in Serengeti that we actually didn’t expect to see one.
After this, we were taken back to the camp site for lunch. The Swedes complained about the lack of protein and the rest of us gratefully ate the crepes, fries, chicken pie, chicken pieces and fruit platter that was served.
After lunch, while exiting the National Park, George, our driver, took us for another small game drive through another core area until we reached the gate. This was a surprise because we weren’t expecting a game drive. And it was a pleasant surprise because we saw two extremely awesome sights.
A herd of elephants huddled under a tree and on the tree branch, a lion lazily rested.
And further along, we saw the King of the Road… a loner Lion, full head of hair and in all its majesty, walking dramatically in the mid-day sun on the middle of the road. It was a picture perfect scene. A perfect setting. It walked passed our vehicle in all its masculinity and grace, not giving a damn to us mere humans. A sigh slipped by as he passed. No wonder he is called the King of the Jungle.
Tonight, we halted at the Ngorongoro Public Camping Site. This is a very pretty grassland and seems to be a tourist favourite too. The Swedes had started openly complaining about the food. And so, the Cook tried to make something better tonight. But first, Leek Soup (this is the fourth leek soup in the past 3days). Then comes crepes, chicken curry, chicken pieces, popcorn and pasta. Tonight, there are fruits too.
Before calling it a night, the driver tips us that the grassland is quite popular with grazing animals and that we shouldn’t get scared if they come to eat grass. Right on time, at around 1am, we heard munching right next to our tent.
I wasn’t scared just because I knew there were other people in other tents who were awake too. I could hear them whisper. And I was hoping it’s a zebra and not a horned buffalo. After 15 mins or so, both Neel and I were snoring to glory amongst the grazing animals.
Next morning, George told us that zebras, buffaloes and elephants had come for the midnight visit. Whoa. Ignorance is bliss sometimes. I would have definitely lost my nuts knowing there is a wild, African elephant infront of my tent.
4th Day: Ngorongoro Crater Game Drive, a most beautiful sanctuary. Read more about it.