JOURNEY TO SERENGETI.
It is a long rough drive from Lake Manyara to the middle of the Serengeti but there are things to see and photograph on the way. Be careful you don't ask the driver to stop too many times though as it will be a long drive for him anyway.
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Setting off early gave us more time for stopping for photography but as it happened the best of it was when we actually got into the Serengeti via the gateway, although the surrounding countryside didn't look much different. The Serengeti is a massive park and you need at least three days to scratch the surface of what is there.
It was lunchtime when we reached the gate so we had about half an hour to rest after the bone-shaker of a journey. Going along the path I spotted this male Agama Lizard being photographed by another person. It was about a foot long and very bright colours. The Superb Starling was taking advantage of a dripping tap to get a drink as others waited their turn. Juvenile Red Billed Buffalo Weavers were watching lunches being consumed.
A juvenile and adult Superb Starlings were around the parking area but the 3rd picture looks like a rare Shelley's Starling according to the Princeton 'Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania' which is supposed to be an accurate volume. watching from the branch is an adult Red Billed Buffalo Weaver.
Near the path where the tap was dripping, a few plants were producing green shoots and some mice were taking advantage of the greenery. just as i was getting into the car to resume the journey I saw this Variable Sunbird land on these flowers and stayed feeding for a short time before being disturbed. I just managed a couple of quick shots. We passed the Marabou Stork and a Secretary Bird before coming across two Lions at the side of the road. The furthest would be 10 yards away and showed no concerns as we took some photo's. The second one was too near for my lens!!
Reaching the centre of the Serengeti we had time for a short game drive. Frank seems to know this huge area intimately as we weaved along the dusty trails. we stopped at a pair of Lions, the female eyeing up some Impala and set off hunting. The big male just ruined the whole thing. A Lilac Breasted Roller sat on top of an Acacia bush long enough for me to get a photo and then we came across a Lion kill near a water splash. Two lionesses had killed a Zebra and been feeding from it. One was collared and Frank said there was a lot now as they were being studied hard.
The Bee Eater was perched on a branch opposite where the kill had taken place so I took advantage while it was there. Over the radio Frank heard of a Leopard not too far away so we were off again at a great rate of knots. There were several other vehicles with safari parties already watching but it seemed every one was behaving and it looked quite unperturbed, bored in fact. On the trail and we found a Kori Bustard strutting about which I think is Africa's largest flying bird.
A Hooded Vulture sat waiting to feed. Three Hippo's settled down for a snooze on the river bank and a couple of Grants Gazelles fed nervously nearby. A Spoonbill was snoozing but a Goliath Heron was alert.
A Giraffe was feeding on some leaves but I suspected it was possibly hiding a baby in the grass so we left quietly. Frank spotted this Eastern Chanting Goshawk which obligingly stayed for a photo although at a distance and a Common Bulbul put in an appearance whilst this warthog scuttled away into the grass.
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