SERENGETI CENTRAL - MBUZI MAWE
This was a stop off point on the journey back to the Ngorongoro Crater but we had time for a morning game drive after an early breakfast. Luckily for us we had the time.
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Taking the gear and luggage to the vehicle I saw an Auger Buzzard in a tree behind the lodge, one of the porters said Klipspringer and there was a family of three on rocks 25 yards away.
I was trying to handhold my 300-800mm lens with my camera bag hanging off my arm but it didn't work. by the time I had put it down they had moved and I got just the one picture.
One animal in particular that I was hoping for a good picture of was a Leopard and I had mentioned it to Frank at the beginning of our safari in general conversation.
Part way through our drive he received a message from another guide on his mobile phone about a Leopard. Not that he told us, he just put his foot on the accelerator. Whilst hanging on to the gear I asked him what the hurry was and he just grinned. After about 15 miles on roads more like the moon surface he stopped and started scanning the nearby trees. He then confessed he was hoping to see a Leopard for us to photograph. Another, stationary, safari truck flashed his lights at us and off we went. Well I cannot say I enjoyed the journey but it was worth every bounce and bump when we set eyes on this sleeping Leopard. What a beauty and so close at about 20 yards.
Although we could have driven even closer we did not wish to disturb this superb cat.
It was a long drive to the Crater and a picnic lunch stop was planned for the ticket office car park which was about 50 kilometres south, down a rough road. We were glad to reach the picnic area and have our packed lunches. Frank had to got to the ticket office, I think all drivers have to give their passes in when they leave the area, so I took my camera and had a walk round. I spotted this Agama Lizard, about a foot long, sunning itself on a rock. It obliged by posing for me. Gordon got some pictures of it as well. A Red Billed Buffalo Weaver, juvenile hopped onto the wall near to me and the Collared Dove (I know we have millions here but I just had to) was sat on an adjacent Acacia bush.
As we came away from the offices I saw this Tawny Eagle and later the Sand Grouse which appeared to only have one eye.
The second surprise of the day came as we drove down this dusty road with flat savannah for miles either side of the road. I spotted something moving along the edge of the road some 300 yards in front of the car. I pointed it out to Frank and when he saw it he was surprised it was an African Wild Cat. He says he only sees, on average, one a year. It climbed onto the grass bank at the side of the road and was eying up this Jackal. Eventually the Jackal backed off and the cat turned its head towards us as though to say 'that put him in his place' and then strolled off through the grass. The back light showing his pink ears just make the picture even better.
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