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Tanzania 2013 - A Photographic Trip Report


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#1 BonitaApplebum

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:42 AM

February, 2013. Travelled to Tanzania for the migration, calving, and everything else along the way. Trip was more or less evenly split between Ndutu and the Serengeti, with a stop at the Crater to split up the drive back to Arusha. 4 nights in Ndutu and 3 nights in the Serengeti, both at Exclusive Camps & Lodges Wilderness Camps. The one night at the Crater was at the Sopa lodge, a most drastic change of accommodation from the week prior.

As with the last trip report I did here (my trip to Kenya), I'll let the photos do most of the talking!

The Ndutu camp on my first evening.
 

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Not a lot of great sunsets as rain clouds were typically rolling in.  We had some incredible thunderstorms at night which I really enjoyed.  The sunrises however, were brilliant.

 

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We were fortunate to catch the migration in full force.  i had witnessed it in the Mara a few years back but seeing them walk at the lake's edge as far as the eye could see was a different, more powerful experience for me.

 

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A wing'd predator.

 

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Lots and lots of babies alongside lots of anxious moms.  

 

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Not a lot of elephants on this trip.  Certainly nothing like my last trip to Tanzania which included a few nights in Tarangire.  But a few beautiful examples were still present.

 

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Came across two cheetahs lounging under a tree and spent some time with them.  Then, without so much as a look, they both popped up and decided to go looking for food.

 

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They headed directly towards a herd of wildebeest, making no effort to conceal themselves.  I didn't see any obvious targets (babies), and perhaps they didn't either as they just seemed content to harass the herd.

 

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With no success, they continued towards the Serengeti and another herd of wildebeest.  We couldn't follow any further.

 

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#2 twaffle

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:23 AM

Brilliant, love the cheetah chasing through the herd.  The sunset/sunrises have a beautiful delicate feel to them.  Looking forward to more.


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#3 Game Warden

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:28 AM

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I really like this picture, it really portrays the sense of a journey...


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#4 pault

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:51 PM

Yes, please carry on. Great start. I've only seen this on the iPhone at the moment but I can tell it's going to be good. Any trip featuring a cheetah at speed is a good trip!
August is coming.... that waiting nearly over

#5 Atravelynn

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:08 PM

Your tree theme was a great start.  Trees don't get the photographic respect they deserve.  You've captured their elegance.  Along with the 4 legged inhabitants of the Serengeti.


When you think of a rhino, think of a tree (African proverb)

#6 BonitaApplebum

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:11 PM

Atravelynn, I agree that trees in Africa are too often overlooked.  I truly love the flat top acacia trees that surrounded us in Ndutu and the yellow barked acacia trees throughout the Serengeti.  Great photo subjects.  I was also struck by the sheer number of stars that were visible in camp at night.  Living in the city, I simply never have the opportunity to take in such a sight.  Here is the milky way shining above an acacia.

 

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We were also  very fortunate with leopards in Ndutu.  Two different viewings in two days with leopards, both of which were in trees and later moved to the ground.  The first was a young female.

 

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Being high season, there were often a lot of trucks at most of the good sightings.  I try to focus on the wildlife, but it can often be a distraction. Most mornings we would try out a route less travelled, risking not seeing anything but also hoping we might catch a sighting in relative peace.  Often we went with little to no wildlife, but there was one significant exception.

 

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Mating lions was something I hadn't even considered witnessing.  This was truly a great surprise and we spent a couple hours with the couple, most of it all by ourselves.  Really an awesome opportunity.

 

Our second leopard in Ndutu was another stunning cat.  I don't know if any other animal can look as comfortable in a tree as a leopard.

 

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This one came down the tree in dramatic fashion, curling her body as she descended.  

 

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And with that, on to the Serengeti.



#7 Jochen

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:38 PM

Some great pictures here.

Fantastic start!



#8 kittykat23uk

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:12 PM

Fabulous images!
If an experience is amazing enough to be "once in a lifetime," I want to do it every year.
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#9 Tusker

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:32 PM

Great photos!!! Love the cheetah pics.



#10 Simba

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:52 PM

Brilliant photos of short tail leopard. She lives near small marsh and has two cubs. Cheetah hunting, Masak lions mating, migration along lakeshore and fantastic night sky. Ndutu is very special. Many thanks for superb photographs.

#11 Simba

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:22 PM

P.S. Male lion mating is Mr. C. Look at scar on end of nose. Great. Very pleased to see him still so vigorous. Many thanks.

#12 AKR1

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:50 AM

Beautiful photographs. Thanks.

#13 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:39 AM

Lovely, and I look forward to more as the serengeti trip is round the corner for me!!!


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#14 Sangeeta

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 04:08 AM

Very beautiful images. Would love to see more star shots if you took more.

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#15 graceland

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:26 PM

I always love leopards in trees, going up and down and finally peacefully lying down. Very good images of all. Love the stars with the tree; and the cheetah amongst the wildies. Waiting for more! Thanks.....

 



#16 BonitaApplebum

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:01 PM

Thank you all for the kind words!

 

The Serengeti was full of surprises.  You never know what to expect but I certainly wasn't anticipating tree climbing lions and lots of baby cats!

 

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All told, there were 5 lions up in this tree.  I watched the one at the bottom here climb up in a manner that was anything but graceful.

 

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To be honest, I'm not much of a birder.  Tanzania, however, is just filled with beautiful birds and it wasn't until too late that I started to take more than a passing notice.  Next time I'll definitely take more time to enjoy them.

 

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Spent a couple hours laughing with these baboons.  Just complete goofs.

 

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Being in the Serengeti, you're often at the mercy of animals and their willingness to move close to the roads.  This girl was kind enough to head right towards us.

 

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It wasn't until she was very close that we noticed the little tails bobbing in the air behind her.

 

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They paused just long enough for a few photos, and then continued on their way.

 

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Very young lion cubs was a big treat for me and I was already content with my time in the Serengeti.  Leopard cubs?  Well, that's just too much to ask for!

 

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Leopard cubs doing what leopard cubs do.

 

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Spent one night at the Sopa lodge on the Crater rim.  I loved being in the bush for the last 8 days, but I won't lie, a lodge was a comfortable break at this point.

 

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Had some beautiful morning light in the Crater.

 

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Enough with all the telephoto shots.  How about a wide angle?

 

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Overall I was really happy with this trip.  The only significant hiccups had to do with coming and going, mostly due to the interesting management of Ethiopian Airlines.  In the end, I got everywhere I needed to be along with my luggage so I can't complain too much.  My first time to Ndutu, I think I'll have to make it a staple of any future visit to Tanzania's northern circuit.  

 

Thanks for looking!



#17 Game Warden

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:37 PM

You've got some great sightings in this post: love the leopard cubs. You'd have expected to see the tree climbing lions in Lake Manyara. Some great use of different perspectives and focal lengths with the images :)


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#18 kittykat23uk

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:54 PM

Leopard cubs! How lucky were you?!
If an experience is amazing enough to be "once in a lifetime," I want to do it every year.
Alex: "Whoa! Hold up there a second, fuzzbucket. You mean like, uh, the live in a mud hut wipe yourself with a leaf type wild?"
King Julian: “Who wipes?”

#19 Anita

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:57 PM

Love the images. Excellent sightings. The leopard cubs were a treat.  By the way apart from these 2 cubs around Seronera in Serengeti, there are really tiny 2 cubs reported by Ndutu Lodge. Maybe not more than 2-3 weeks and found in their timber room! I have been in Mombo and Chitabe while they had leopard cubs and in Mara while there were leopard cubs and never seen any, so KK is right - you were so amazingly lucky!



#20 whorty1970

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 04:25 PM

Some stunning images. Lions in trees is always nice, especially when there are so many of them. A young cats .... money shot for sure!


:D 

 

 

 






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