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  • Day32

    Day 32: Off to Ngorongoro and Serengeti

    March 5, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    A day of driving. But unlike the days before, today’s drive was about getting to one of the major highlights of my entire trip: The Ngorongoro crater and the famous Serengeti 🐘🦛🦏🐆🦒🦁.

    If you know me, you know how much I love animals and nature, so you can probably imagine how excited I am about this excursion 💛

    I have attached a few pics I have taken along the way ... isn’t it gorgeous? I hope you enjoy the colors as much as I do 💛
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  • Day88

    Seronera, Serengeti

    August 2, 2017 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Because of the terrible, corrugated roads, we barely made it out of the conservation area on time - despite leaving at the crack of dawn. We arrived at the Serengeti gate and waited a few hours to enter so we would have time to exit the park (again on a 24 hour fee system) the morning of our departure.
    Serengeti is iconic and exactly what most of us picture when we think of Africa…endless grassy plains, acacia trees, abundant wildlife and beautiful rock formations. The wildlife here has not disappointed. We’ve had 4 separate cheetah sightings – one of a mother and 3 cubs (the cubs may just be the cutest animals we’ve ever seen?), 2 leopard sightings, lots of lions (including young cubs!), hyena, elephant and other grazers.
    We camped one night and then splurged for four nights in celebration of John’s birthday (we needed an excuse not to feel guilty) so we could experience staying in a tented camp. Yes, we’re paying several hundred dollars per night to sleep in a different tent. But, this one has a bathroom, a comfy bed, and includes all of our meals. We’ve also enjoyed a few lunches and a dinner outside. Christy was skeptical given all of our meals while camping are already outside, but it was a great experience with tablecloths, multi-course meals and no dishes afterwards.
    On John’s birthday, we were enjoying dinner outside when a male lion was seen lurking around in the shadows - which was quite surprising given there was a big fire, lanterns and ~12 other diners nearby. Fearless! For John’s birthday the staff made a cake and showered him and the other guests with lots of drumming, singing and dancing. We weren’t quite sure of the tradition, but enjoyed how they sang “happy birthday to Johnny” and invited everyone to come and shake his hand.
    The best thing about staying at the tented camp has been it’s outside of the busy area of Seronera, so we have had very good game drives where we only see half a dozen, instead of uncountable, safari vehicles. We’ve only come across one other self-driver since entering Tanzania and while we’d heard the safari drivers may not be friendly to our kind, we’ve found them to be fantastic and willing to share information about great sightings (they’re all connected by radio so they’re able to basically guarantee their clients see everything in a day or two). On our last day at the tented camp it absolutely poured with rain for hours and hours. We were so happy to be comfortably warm and dry inside a large tent versus in our small rooftop tent.
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  • Day33

    Day 33 & 34: Serengeti national park

    March 6, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Time for game drive at the world famous Serengeti national park (🎼 “da gibt’s alles was ich mag“; do you also have the radio jingle in your head when you think of Serengeti?) 🦒🐆🦏🐘🦛

    Anyways. If you ever want to do a safari, I recommend you come to this national park. It is so unique and so much more wildlife than any other park I have seen before.

    First of all, we sleep in a camp that is not fenced. So when you go to the bathroom at night, it’s quite likely that you meet someone. In my case, a hyena 😂 I LOVED IT!!! (while everyone else was scared). It gets better: On day 34 I came from the washroom and bumped into an elephant 🐘; just to afterwards realize that my tent was surrounded by buffalos 🐃 Let me say this again: I LOVED IT 💛💛💛

    Second, I have never seen such masses of animals in one place (have a look at the zebra video). It was breathtaking - millions of animals in one spot 👌

    And finally, it is so wild and free. All you see is the savanna, an amazing blue sky and nature at its best. That’s why next time, I really want to fly across this place with a balloon 🎈

    I hope the pictures capture a bit of it’s beauty. But really I recommend you come here and see for yourself. I’m making multiple posts on this as I want to show you pics and videos.
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  • Day16

    Road from Mwanza to Musoma

    December 10, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

    Left just after 9am to set out for our next campsite in Musoma, a town 225km away. We're moving north towards Kenya and will pass the gates of the Serengeti. Even the name sends a shiver of excitement through me. Ofter, our Kenyan driver, said we might see an elephant or two although this was unlikely.

    We passed through Mwanza morning rush hour traffic. What exhuberent vibrent life everywhere. Once we got past that, we were out in open country. The landscape looked quite different and was less farmed than before. There were long views to the disrant Lake Victoria. The air quality seemed good and the horizon was crystal clear.

    The road surface was pretty okay too and was not too bumpy. As we were travelling along at a fair rate of knots, every tiny bump was magnified. I'm sitting in the back and there is far more movement there than in the front as the engine and a few hundred litres of diesel weighs it down. So, I bounced around a bit but I'm starting to get used to it now. I hold my body in a certain position and that helps ride out the worst of the bumps.

    At one village, about an hour outside of Mwanze there were three successive lamp posts and perched on top of each lamppost was a Marabou stork. There are the strangest looking creatures ever and are huge, about 1.25m in height. They have huge beaks and look like they could devour a small child. One of the guys here said that they should be gatekeepers to hell. I think he's right.

    We stopped for a wee break at the entrance to the Serengeti game reserve. For the next hour or so, after our break, there were lots of wildebeest, some antelope and zebras visible in the distant, too far to see clearly, even with my zoom lens. It gave us a sense of things to come when we spend two days in the Masai Mara in a few days time. There we'll see lions and other predators up close, though hopefully not too close.

    There seemed to a lot of flooding on certain sections of our journey. In one area, farmers were working up to their waist in floodwater. I wasn't sure if this flooding was accidentsl or managed. Some of the flooded fields looked like padifields and maybe they were planting rice.

    Further on, just before the end of our journey, the heaven's opened in a real downpour. There was extensive flooding everywhere. If it continues, I might upgrade to a firm tonight for a few €uro extra.
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  • Day16

    Lunch at Bunda Village

    December 10, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Stopped for lunch at Bunda Village, a relatively prosperous place but not exactly chocolate box pretty. It looked from the outside like a typical African village with lots of delapitated wooden shacks or stalls selling who knows what. There were lots of people around and people pushing huge loads on bicycles,

    We went into what looked like a roadside stall with a few chairs but this was just the front of a large cool restaurant selling types of local foods. There were several pots on a hotplate and the person serving explained what was each pot. They all look tasty. I ordered beans in a sauce, a spinach looking vegetable and plain rice. It was tasty and filling and only cost 2€ or 5000 shillings.

    Back on truck for final leg to campsite.
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  • Day17

    Road from Musoma to Kenyan Border

    December 11, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    Up at 6:15am for breakfast and 7am departure for Kenya border. Weather and Lake couldn't be more different to last night. Sunrise was very beautiful and the surface of the lake is tranquil.

    15mins into the trip and there's a hazy fog from the lake with pearlescent sky.

    I went to bed last night early and slept like a log for almost 8hrs but still woke up feeling tired, really tired. I wasn't the only one. Most of the others said similar. This trip seems tougher than my Central Asian one last year. I'm feeling the strain now but resilient enough to adapt. I think the relentless pace is the cause but oddly enough, I enjoy having my life metaphorically turned upside down. I actually welcome and embrace change. We have 2 days soon in the Masai Mara in jeeps so that's exciting. We also have a week in Zanzibar chilling over the chrimbo. I'll be grand.

    The scenery on this leg of the journey is stunning with many varied landscapes and wide open spaces to the mountains beyond. The sun is shining brilliantly and you would think the weather gods didn't know what rain is. But they do and they'll soon remember again.

    The journey to the border is a short one so we'll soon be there.
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  • Day182

    Masai Mara National Reserve II/II

    September 13, 2018 in Tanzania

    Maggi fluchte zwar noch öfter über die Situation und den unzurechenbaren Ranger. Trotzdem liessen wir uns den Tag nicht vermiesen. Unsere Tickets waren 24 Stunden lang gültig, d.h. bis 10 Uhr morgens des nächsten Tages. Wir cruisten lässig durch den Park, denn hier brauchte man keine Sorge zu haben, keine Tiere zu Gesicht zu bekommen. Die „große Wanderung“ der Tiere fand vor Kurzem von Tansanias trockener Serengeti in Richtung Kenias üppigerer Masai Mara statt. Das bedeutete hier aktuell Tiere aller Art soweit das Auge reichte. Unsere Ausbeute in der Mara war der Knüller: furchteinflößende und sich so unheimlich leise anschleichende Löwen (nicht nur die, die uns in Schwierigkeiten brachten) und Löwinnen in Gruppen beim Fressen ihrer Beuten (wobei man sich nochmal besonders glücklich schätzen darf, wenn man Wildtiere auf ihren Raubzügen zu sehen bekommt), majestätische Geparden (die ebenfalls immer im Fresskoma unter schattigen Bäumen wie für uns auf dem Präsentierteller lagen), immer wieder Familien von Elefanten mit ihren verspielten Babyelefanten (Big Five #4 ✅), ständig mampfende Giraffen, tollpatschige Pumbas, in Wasserpools „röhrende“ und neckisch kämpfende Nilpferde, lustige Erdmännchen, schüchterne Hyänen, listige Affen, unzählige Vogelarten wie u.a. Strausse, Adler und Geier, sowie hunderte von Gnus, Topis, Gazellen und Antilopen in riesigen Scharen. Stundenlang beobachteten wir eine Gruppe hunderter tapferer Zebras wie sie sich zu überwinden versuchten einen Fluss zu überqueren, in dem zig harmlose Nilpferde badeten. Doch an den Ufern lauerten immer mehr Krokodile, die geduldig auf einen dummen Schachzug der Zebras warteten. Immer wieder traute sich ein Zebra ans Ufer, checkte die Lage, schaute einem Krokodil tief in die Augen und drehte wieder um. Und so ging es über Stunden zu. Wir fühlten uns wie im Autokino.

    Gegen Dämmerung steuerten wir den Seiteneingang von heute Morgen an, um in unser Camp zurückzukehren. Doch der Ausgang blieb uns verwehrt. Ein netter Wächter an der Schranke gab uns zu verstehen, dass hier etwas faul sei. Schnell kam der „Hiwi Wachhund“ von Davis angefahren, der uns in unsere Unterkunft begleiteten solle (nur einen Steinwurf entfernt), weil man befürchtete wir könnten den Park ohne Begleichung unserer Strafe verlassen. Nun setzte man noch den Manager unserer Unterkunft unter Druck, er solle uns das Bargeld aus der Kasse zahlen, was wir via Kreditkarte begleichen würden. Doch er weigerte sich, weil auch ihm das Verhalten der Ranger dubios schien. Der „Anstandswauwau“ rief ratlos den Bad Cop Davis an. Er kam mit folgendem Deal um die Ecke: Wir haben bis 10h morgens Zeit (Ablauffrist unseres Tagestickets) uns an einem ca. 3-Sunden entfernten Stützpunkt am südlichsten Punkt des NP zu melden (unser Camp war im Nordwesten). Dort würde man uns einen Freifahrtschein erteilen, um den Nationalpark auf direktem Wege (d.h. ohne Game Drive) zu einem wiederum 2 Std. entfernten Ausgang am nordöstlichsten Punkt des Parks zu kreuzen. Dort, im Dorf namens Talek, gäbe es den einzigen Geldautomaten weit und breit. So könnten wir unsere Schulden endlich begleichen und wären die Ranger los. Die Wächter an allen Stützpunkten seien über unseren Fall instruiert und würden kooperieren.

    Mit diesem Deal verabschiedeten wir uns, und gingen mit einem guten Bauchgefühl ins Bett. Was für eine Gefühlsachterbahn dieser Tag doch war! Doch der Thriller sollte sich am nächsten Tag verschärfen. Bonnie & Clyde on the run.. to be continued...! 😎👸🏼
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  • Day186

    Serengeti Game Drive (1/2)

    September 17, 2018 in Tanzania

    Lange haben wir mit uns gerungen, ob wir noch einen „Abstecher“ in die Serengeti machen sollen. Wir vermuteten, dass wir dort nicht mehr zu sehen kriegen würden als in der Masai Mara, wo sich ja aktuell die meisten Tiere nach ihrer „grossen Migration“ aufhielten. Der Grenzübergang kostete uns ja ein wenig Zeit. Für die Nutzung unseres Jeeps im benachbarten Feindesland zahlten wir auch einen nicht unerheblichen Aufpreis, da hier u.a. auch die Strassenverhältnisse deutlich schlimmer waren und dem Wagen einiges mehr abverlangten als in Kenia. Doch wir hatten uns entschieden auch einen Eindruck von Tanzania mitnehmen zu wollen, bevor wir dies evtl. später bereuen könnten. Und rückblickend betrachtet, schenkte uns Tanzania tatsächlich viele der emotionalsten Momente auf der ganzen Reise!

    Zwei Tage erkundeten wir den Serengeti NP. Hauptsächlich auf der Suche nach dem letzten Tier der Big Five, das sich bisher noch nicht vor unsere Kameralinse verirrt hatte: dem Leoparden. 🐆 Doch stattdessen liefen uns erstmalig z.B. Dingo- und Wüstenfuchs-artige Streuner vor‘s Objektiv sowie dicke Nilpferde, die ausserhalb ihrer Komfortzone, dem Wasser, an Land an uns vorbei spazierten. Ein recht seltener Anblick zur Mittagshitze. Doch noch mehr Glück hatten wir als wir eine Baumkatze/ -löwen entdeckten, der auf Samtpfoten von Ast zu Ast sprang und ungeniert in den unterschiedlichsten Positionen Rast fand und für uns posierte.

    Das ultimative Highlight war jedoch ein ganzes Löwenrudel inkl. 3 noch sehr junger und verspielter Babies. 🦁 Papa Löwe beobachtete immer alles aus sicherer Entfernung zu den Jeeps, um den Überblick zu bewahren und einspringen zu können, falls ein dummer Touri zu nah kommen sollte. Die Löwinnen begleiteten ihre Kleinen - wohin auch immer sie gerade ausbüchsten - beschützend, wie Muttertiere halt so sind. Von den Babies konnten wir unsere Augen kaum lassen. Sie spielten mit allem, was ihnen in die Quere kam - ob Bäume, Äste, Wasserlöcher, sogar ein Affe musste dran glauben als sie ihn neckten. Der traute sich aber unter den Augen der Raubtiereltern nicht zurück zu „hauen“. Man hätte noch stundenlang beobachten können wie die Kleinen miteinander spielten und konnte sich beim Anblick dieser Wollknolle kaum vorstellen, dass sie mal so gefährlich und angsteinflößend werden würden, wie ihre ausgewachsenen Rudelkollegen.

    Ein kleines „Bambi“, das mit gebrochenem Beinchen an uns vorbei humpelte, brach Maggi das Herz. Es würde sicher nicht schaffen sich vor den Raubkatzen in Sicherheit zu bringen. An den Kreislauf des Lebens wollte man gar nicht denken. 🦌😪
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  • Day187

    Serengeti Game Drive (2/2)

    September 18, 2018 in Tanzania

    Die einzige Nacht, die wir gestern im Park verbracht hatten, war kurz doch angenehm. Anders als das Abendessen. 🙈 Leider hatte ja durch das gestrige Gerüttel auf den Serengeti Schotterwegen unser Feuerzeugadapter im Auto seinen Geist aufgegeben, wodurch wir weder Strom für‘s Aufladen unserer Handys hatten, noch - und viel wichtiger - um den Kühlschrank zu betreiben. 😱 Somit gab‘s zum Abendessen Resteverwertung der verderblichen, angebrochenen Lebensmittel. Maggi versuchte aus diesem wirren Allerlei etwas Leckeres zu zaubern, doch letztlich schmeckte es eher wie Hexenbräu. 🥴🤢

    Nun, auf unseren Leoparden trafen wir dennoch nicht. Séb macht dies nun wohl zu seiner Lebensaufgabe. Er verließ heute den NP nur schweren Herzens ohne diese Katze mal live gesehen zu haben. Aber wir kommen ja eh mal wieder in diese Ecke der Erde zurück, so Gott will, und dann kann die Big Five Sammlung hoffentlich komplettiert werden. 🦁🐘🐃🦏❓✅

    Die Serengeti war landschaftlich jedenfalls ganz anders als die Masai Mara, viiiel weitläufiger. Und die wenigen Tiere (auch wenn man immer noch von grossen Herden spricht), die hier verblieben waren und nicht die grosse Wanderung ins angrenzende Kenia auf sich genommen hatten, bewunderten wir bei ihrem Anblick irgendwie immer, wie sie es bei dieser Dürre und folglich nahrungskargen Landschaft hier aushielten.

    Wir hatten zuvor ja schon mal „benachbartes Feindesland“ erwähnt. Wir erfuhren, dass die Länder Kenia und Tanzania sich gegenseitig das Leben schwer machen aufgrund der benachbarten Nationalparks Masai Mara und Serengeti. Wenn man ein Tier ist, ist es einfach, ja sogar höchst willkommen, die Grenze zu passieren. Doch den Touristen wird dies erschwert. Und um um die Gunst der Parkbesucher zu kämpfen, legen die Länder sogar manchmal Feuer im anderen Gebiet bzw. direkt an der Grenze, damit die Tiere nicht ’rüberwandern können und somit auch die Touris dort bleiben, wo die Tiere feststecken. Die Leidtragenden sind Flora und Fauna. Wir haben solche verbrannten, kargen Landstriche leider auch mit eigenen Augen sehen müssen. Ein Armutszeugnis der beiden beteiligten Staaten!!
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  • Day24

    Serengeti - Second Day

    December 18, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    I heard hyenas wooping close to the tent during the cool of the night and when I got up in the starry pre-dawn sky my head torch caught the eyes and then the form of a hyena on the edge of the brush. The half moon created a nice halo in the mist and we had a cooked breakfast prepared for us. The sun rose brightly into the sky illuminating the thin white clouds. We drove out into the Serengeti which was wet and muddy from the overnight storms. The animals were noticeably less apparent than yesterday, which seems to be the way with morning drives, as the animals retreat to shelter from the hot African sun in the brush. We saw a few hartebeest by the road and a jackal in the long grass. Then we saw a special sight - a hyena mother and her four young cubs, sheltering in a hollow by the road. It was wonderful to see a hyena family with the siblings play fighting and muzzling each other. We then visited a few large rocky outcrops looking for leopards but instead saw the smallest antelope, the dick-dick. We saw a very rare eagle? in a tree by the road. We spent some time trying, and failing, to rescue a stricken vehicle trapped in the mud, its occupants trying to make flight which they inevitably missed. Further down the muddy road, one of our fellow travellers, Grant, who is an excellent wildlife spotter, saw a cheetah in the long grass. We followed it, and then we saw two cheetahs stalking through the grass which then crossed the road in front of us. We drove on and past a beautifully coloured bird, the Lilac Breasted Roller, in a small tree, as it took off, it formed a bursting kaleidoscope of colours. We next found two lions under a tree in long grass. A poor sighted warthog foolishly came within close range of the lions, but fortunately for him the lions were inexperienced and made a fairly pathetic attempt at a chase it which sent the warthog scampering away through the grasses. We then stopped at a tourist centre for refreshments and on the way out we saw several lionesses resting in a tree which is a fairly rare sight in Africa - the Serengeti is one of the few places where it happens. We watched them climb, move between branches, lounge with their tails dangling down and then descend the tree to lie in the grass.. As we drove back towards the park gates we came across a number of hippos in a pool. A bit further on from the pool we saw a large, maned, male lion panting next to a small hippo kill. Two lionesses, who probably made the kill, were sat in the foreground. Just to add to our embarrassment of riches with lion sightings, we then came across a large lioness by the roadside a little further along the road. It was astounding how many lions we saw on this two day safari. After stopping at some park toilets for lunch with impossibly distant views over the endless plains, we careered over dusty, bumpy roads to, and through, the park gates. We passed mile after mile of plains filled with wildebeest, zebra and antelope. It was an awe inspiring sight to see such a mass of life on these seemingly endless plains of the Serengeti. We began to climb the huge rim of the Ngorogoro crater again with views back to the vast Serengeti plains we had just left. We stopped at the spectacular viewpoint over the Ngorogoro crater again, and the sheer beauty of the crater was still difficult to take in even though we had now visited it's natural wonders. We were able to trace out our route around the crater the previous day and see that the small lake with the hippos which we'd visited was right in the centre of the crater. We said our goodbyes to this garden of eden and the cradle of humanity in the Serengeti and returned to the campsite at Arusha on welcome smooth tarmac roads. Returning to the campsite, it felt like I'd been away for a week rather than a couple of days, as we'd experienced snd and witnessed so much in that short space of time.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Mara Region, Mara, Mkoa wa Mara

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