Thursday, February 10, 2011

Safari Highlights

We are back in Ottawa after a series of long, long flights.  I thought I would provide some safari highlights while I am awake.

Son Trevor asked what the coolest animal was.  The epitome of cool for me is the big cats. We were warned that we may not see any as they are hiding these days but we were fortunate enough to see two males sleeping in a ditch about ten feet away and another languishing in the shade under a tree.  He was waiting on Mama Lion to catch something for him to eat.  She was a few hundred feet away under another tree.  I think the safari trucks scared away a gazelle she was tracking and a family of wart hogs that passed virtually right under her nose didn't seem to interest her.  Another female came sauntering over to the safari trucks and curled up against one for some shade. As one truck moved, she just sought shade under another.  Very cool indeed. We also saw a black leopard and a cheetah.  Both are part of the Big 5.

The animals that it is hard to stop staring at though are the ones that weigh more than the truck we were in.  That would include elephants, hippos and rhinos.  Elephants come right to the side of the road so there is a clear view as they tower over everything.  I guess being able to tip over the truck on a moment's notice gives them a certain amount of confidence.  The hippos were all submerged until the last day when we saw some out of the water, including a baby hippo.  The rhinos kept their distance so the pictures are fuzzy at best.  Then there is the elegant giraffe.  They were plentiful and close!  Zebras are plentiful and not too timid.  We saw one that had obviously escaped a lion's clutches and bore the fresh wound to prove it.

We saw a wildebeest migration as thousands of them, always accompanied by a few zebras for some reason, were on the move in search of rain and fresh grass.   Awe inspiring!

There were a number of baby animals and yes, even a baby warthog or hippo is somehow cute.  One baby monkey ventured out on the road in front of us and was running around but couldn't quite figure out where it should be turning.  All of a sudden a blur emerged from the left side and in full flight, Mama Monkey scooped up the little wanderer and raced up a tree on the right hand side of the road.  The baby suffered a tongue lashing and a few slaps for its efforts.  

I am intrigued by the fact that the Serengeti is something like 14,000 square acres, yet the animals still come close to the roads that criss cross the park.  I guess it is their park and they can do what they want!

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