Still excited from last nights activities, JJ shows up at our tent for our wake-up call at 5:15. Told him all about the night but I’m pretty sure he didn’t believe us. He flashed his light back in that area and there were lots of Impalas which he said would not be there if there had been lions. I’m not sure how far away it actually was but I am 110% sure of what we heard so I’m sticking with it.
Ally brought along picnic breakfast and lunch boxes for our full day in the bush. We started at 6:00, before the sun even rose. As we drove standing out the top of the jeep with the sun coming up, seemed almost surreal! I had waited most of my lifetime for this very moment. Shortly down the road Ally spotted a Cheetah. Let me just tell you, this guy has the best eye-sight I have ever seen. He spots things just like that. We were able to pull right up beside her. It’s amazing how uninterested they seem to be with us. To see her sitting up tall checking out her surroundings was a sight to see. She stretched showing her sleek body – what an awesome creature. We had a later spotting today of a Cheetah and her cubs but they were pretty hidden in the grass so it was harder to see them. A short drive later we are in front of a marsh area with tall grass, sort of looked like a resort area for animals. In the grass we saw the heads of two magnificent male lions. It was almost erie how well they were hidden. Behind them on the rocks along the water laid the rest of the pride. Hard to say how many there were because they were laying very close to each other…amazing spot so we decided to have breakfast there with the lions
After breakfast we went in a different direction and within maybe 30 minutes we were in front of yet another pride of lions. This time they were laying right along the side of the road. Two males just resting trying to stay cool and several lionesses. There were also several juvenile cubs just hanging out. They all kept smelling something in the air and it wasn’t long before they were all up, moving across the road towards something, but what? We never did figure out what they were moving towards and just eventually disappeared.
Next stop was the Serengeti National Park information center. There we had lunch with 100’s of Hyrax. The cutest little animals that look like a cross between a ginny pig and a ground hog. I could sooo have one of these in my home. If you have ever see Born Free (shame on you if you haven’t) Patty was a Hyrax. While I was busy taking pictures of these little cuties, we missed a Green Mamba that was strolling through the landscaped. Sort of glad we missed it. We went through a quick tour by a student going to school for employment in the safari field. Very informative info and a nice touch to the day.
Next we traveled to the Hippo pool! Ally told us we couldn’t leave until we had a photo of one of them yawning. Now close your eyes, image a huge pool of water that does not flow so it gets stagnant anyway, add 100’s of hippos laying in it and you can only imagine the smell, but they were so much fun to watch. Got the picture we needed with no problems. Drove to a second Hippo viewing site in hopes to find a crocodile, but no such luck. On the way however found the cutest spider monkeys. I could watch them for hours.
Throughout the day we have seen all sorts of birds that are amazing to watch and each have their own sort of beauty. On our way back to camp we spotted a leopard in a tree. She was a good ways back from the road, but through the lens and binoculars she was a beauty.
Arrived back at camp at 5:00, lets see, that makes for an 11 hour drive. Loved it but it was also an exhausting day. Both Rich and I got a bit too much sun the first day so it was long sleeves all day today. With the heat and the dust, showers would be a welcomed thing. Again greeted with a wet cloth as we got out the jeep. Same schedule as last night, showers at 6, dinner at 7.
JJ is quite the entertainer. Has has described each meal for us as though it is being prepared from items in the bush (watch for my video). Wish we could take him to the next camp with us but would not want anyone to miss this experience. Ally again joined us for dinner. Meal was good and the conversation even better. We talked a lot about the culture differences between the western countries and theirs. He asked why so many marriages end in our country. Here in Tanzania, a bride is still picked for a man. He told us how his sister-in-law found his wife for him at a wedding. He said ok, without even seeing her and went to visit her family. She was a bit more hesitant, but went on a date with him and another woman and she then agreed. Now they have been married 3 years and have a 1 year old son. Maybe there is something to be said for “finding love” in your spouse instead of marrying for love that then doesn’t last. That’s my insight – I’m not speaking for Rich on that one. He talked about the “bush TV” which was entertaining. In rural parts of Tanzania, there is still no electricity so no TV. Their TV is sitting around the outside fire at night listening to and telling stories. Love the thought of that as we love to sit around our fire pit. Learned he went to college to be a guide but for three years was unable to get a job in that industry. Much like in the US, no one would hire him without experience. So he took a teaching job at the college and learned he was a pretty good teacher – but his heart was still with the animals. 9 years as a guide and his dream is to one day have his own school to restore values to other Tanzanians. It was refreshing to hear of his passion for his country and his culture.
Off to be zipped in for the night. We were both exhausted so you think we would sleep. 9-3 was the best sleep we have gotten since we left. Heard lions in the distance for what must have been every hour on the hour so dosed off and on until our alarm went off for day 3.