Serengiti NP, Tanzania

Having listed as the UNESCO world heritage site, Serengiti National park is located in Tanzania. The most famous phenomenon of Serengiti National park is the Great Serengiti migration, where millions and millions of herbivorous animals followed by their predators migrate towards Kenya looking for the water source.

After have climbed Kilimanjaro and have rested for a day at Moshi, we took a safari ride to Serengiti national park. It was a long drive of 7 hours from Moshi to Serengiti NP on a 4×4 safari vehicle. We were accompanied by a driver and a chef.

After we crossed Arusha town the entire landscapes changed to vast plains and some coffee estates in between. It was overwhelmingly beautiful to sit inside an open Jeep and travel on empty roads in the middle of nowhere. We stopped at Manyara lake view-point from top of a hill. It’s a vast lake which is mostly famous for the Flamingos. After having clicked few photos we moved on till we stopped at Ngorongoro National park entry. As our plan was only to visit Serengiti NP, we did not take license to go on a safari in Ngorongoro region. On the way, we stopped at the rim of Huge Ngorongoro crater where we could barely notice anything from our eyes, but when looked through a binocular, we can see many animals gazing around in the plains.

We continued our journey through Masai tribal villages where people live in harmony with animals. Zebras and Giraffes are commonly seen along the way. As we continued, we could see vast plains which almost looked Alien yet so spectacular. We gradually descanted from the Ngorongoro conservation area towards the plains with nothing other than Acacia trees. Sighting a herd of Antelopes, gazelles and bushbucks is very common. They gaze near to vehicle roads as it keeps them more secured from the hunters and predators.

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We entered the Serengiti National Park area and stopped near the office to take our license. We were briefed about Dos and Dont’s. We started the final leg of our journey to a camp in the jungle. We had our jeep’s roof opened so we could stand and look out for the animals. And there it was, The Great Savannas of Africa, the place which I dreamed to visit since my childhood. It was just grass, about the height of 5 feet, not a single tree was seen till the far corners. It was already dusk and shades of sky combined with the smoke of forest fire along with the color of grass made the entire place look so Alien.

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I must say, it wasn’t a good idea to stand and look out of the Jeep, for one heck of a ride it was. It was an off roading drive and we were already late to reach our camp by 6.30. Leave alone looking for wild animals, we could not even spot a human anywhere. To add up to our things, our Jeep’s tyre went flat and we were stuck in middle of nowhere. I did not really mind waiting until the tyre was fixed, I like it when something out of the box happens. Once the new tyre was fitted, we drove on and on and on. Was it ever gonna end !! we must have drove for about 2 hours and then I saw a bunch of trees, and it really made us Happy. The drive wasn’t enjoyable anymore. We were craving to reach our camp. Suddenly, the jeep stopped, our driver hushed and there was a herd of wild Elephants, some 30 in number. Now we were back in our senses, elephants did not give a damn about our vehicle, it looked like they were used to these vehicles. And then things started getting better, we saw wildebeests, Zebras, Hippos and we reached our camp.

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Things weren’t good at camp either. We had our dinner and were just relaxing by our tent, thats when we heard a strange laugh, often followed by Howl. There was definitely something close to our tents. Our driver asked us to throw some torch-light towards the bushes, we did, there was a reflection of light from the eyes of Hyena. Our driver started telling us about Hyenas and their behaviors. It sounded so funny. The laughs that we heard, that was when the Hyena smells food and get excited. The howl that follows the laugh was the disappointing sound that Hyena makes when it realizes that the food wasn’t easily accessible. This continued for rest of the night and we had no other option but to curse Hyenas and have little naps the entire night.

We left early the next day from the camp for the Game Drive. With lots of hope to see Lions, Cheetahs and the Serengiti Migration, we again stood on our jeep with the roof open. We indeed see a lot of animals, Ostrichs, Elephants, baboons, Giraffes, antelopes, Gazelles, Zebras, warthogs, Hippos, wildebeests, buffaloes etc., but we did not see a single Lion. That was very disappointing, but we did not lose hope, we were still looking out for the Lions, we passed a lake out of which a stream of water emerged. There was a small bridge to cross the stream. As we got close, we could see a huge herd of Zebras reluctant to cross the stream, we went close to the herd, and by the time we realized all the Zebras started to run crazy. We did not understand it at first until we saw a Lion running behind the herd. As we moved further, we could see an Entire Pride of some 15 Lions waiting for the Zebras to run towards them. Unfortunately, our interference had disturbed their hunting plan. The Lion which had run behind the herd had to return to the pride, so disappointed. We moved closer to take photos. Now we were as close as few meters from Lions. They were so majestic, I couldn’t blink my eyes. There were cubs, females and male lions, all sitting together. They posed well for photos and they do recognize humans and they hardly care.

After seeing Lions and their failed attempt to hunt, we moved on to our next search of Serengiti Migration. On the way we stopped near the old abandoned Masai village. Although Serengiti Migration happens in Millions of number, the vastness of Serengiti NP makes it difficult to spot the point of migration. We hurled for almost 3 hours in the savanna searching the migration.

We came across a herd of wildebeests, at first we did not notice but as we moved further the herd got bigger. And there we were, right in the Middle of The Great Serengiti Migration. My eyes couldn’t believe whats in front of us. Phew, we looked as far as we can and we only saw animals.

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As we moved on along with the migrating herds, I looked behind and there was a wildebeest calf, probably a week old running behind our jeep. We did not understand it at first but we soon realized that the calf thought that our jeep was its mother. We stopped the jeep and the calf went directly beneath the jeep looking to sip some milk !! We started the jeep and the calf just wouldn’t go, it followed the jeep and it came so close to the tyre. We had to stop the jeep before the calf was killed. The tensed man was our driver, if accidentally the calf was killed, he would lose his License. Carefully, he got down from the jeep and pushed the baby as far as he can and we soon started the jeep and drove fast. It was one crazy calf, it followed, even at the speeds of 80 kmph. Finally we managed to lose it, and we had truly witnessed the Migration.

The things that I only saw on TV, the migration that I always wanted to witness since my childhood, I really Lived that moment. I was so Awestruck.

That was still not the end, once we moved further, we saw many Lions resting on top of trees. We saw a couple of Ostrich on the road, fight between 2 herds of Elephants and herd of Zebra being chased by Lions at far distance.

I couldn’t have asked for anything more !!

We set out our journey back to Moshi as we had our return flight next day.

With loads of memories to cherish, we ended our Wonderful trip only hoping to come back again to see things we missed.

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