Atravelynn

Wishing and Waiting for Rain. Ndutu & Kusini, Feb 7-18

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With over 40 years of cattle ranching it still amazes me the miracle of how quickly a calf is born, gets to it's feet to nurse, is playing and ready to travel. Often, all of this in less than an hour..

Good documentation of the birthing cycle of the Wildebeests.

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It is astonishing seeing how quickly the calf is on its feet. A great idea putting the photo times.

A really enjoyable report.

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9 hours ago, mapumbo said:

 

That will be dry season.  We are staying 2 nights at Sanctuary Kusini on the way to Northern Serengeti to hopefully view the migration.  There will probably not be many people in Ndutu at that time but hopefully we will have good sightings of predators.

Right, I recall that trip. @madaboutcheetah just stated a Sanctuary guide told me that July-Aug was prime time for cheetah in Kusini.

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Lynn

What a fantastic trip report. Cats galore, Gnu birthing and to cap it all a start to finish Leopard kill. 

 

Your pictures and detailed commentary in your unique style truly enliven this report. 

 

Thanks for sharing. 

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4 hours ago, TonyQ said:

It is astonishing seeing how quickly the calf is on its feet. A great idea putting the photo times.  Thanks!  It conveys how swiftly the whole process goes.

A really enjoyable report.

 

9 hours ago, mapumbo said:

With over 40 years of cattle ranching it still amazes me the miracle of how quickly a calf is born, gets to it's feet to nurse, is playing and ready to travel. Often, all of this in less than an hour.. The shortest time I have seen was 9 minutes from the time the hooves were sticking out of the standing cow to the calf running with the mother.  Blink and you miss it.

Good documentation of the birthing cycle of the Wildebeests.

 

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, AKR1 said:

Lynn

What a fantastic trip report. Cats galore, Gnu birthing and to cap it all a start to finish Leopard kill. 

 

Your pictures and detailed commentary in your unique style truly enliven this report.  I am glad you tolerated the comic relief.  It's so dry...

 

Thanks for sharing.  While not half the fun of a trip, it is about 15% of the fun!

 

Time for some more cheetahs.  To make up for the lone female we sat with for hours in Kusini that never decided to hunt, we watched a lone male for just 10 minutes before he made a kill. Bush justice!

 

The bush meted out even more justice because just before he started stalking, some yahoos took a really long selfie stick photo of the cheetah and promptly drove off.  The yahoos missed the hunt and kill!

medium.59a18d2cc03ac_IMG_0590selfiestick

The selfie stick was sticking out the window TWICE as far as what is shown here, before I had the presence of

mind to snap the photo as they were withdrawing it.  I sent this photo to Deo, at his request, for evidence of the offense.

 

The cheetah ignored the stick completely, fortunately.  Then soon his attention was directed toward lunch.

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Lone male makes a kill between Kusini Road and Matiti, Ndutu

 

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The mother wildebeest that lost her calf has approached more closely from the small herd. 

Between Kusini Road and Matiti, Ndutu

 

A mother cheetah and two near adult cubs were quite active near marsh woodland.

medium.599bad6e0ef11_IMG_1462motherand2c     medium.599bad66781d3_IMG_1447motherand2c

 

medium.599bad5fd94c2_IMG_1438motherand2a     medium.599bad57524cf_IMG_1435motherand2s

 

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Mother and 2 near adult cubs near marsh woodland, Ndutu

 

This cheetah trio even chased away a lion, in a reversal of roles.

large.599baddc2c028_motherand2adultcubsc

 

In the late afternoon, a serval took a stroll and then relaxed, within sight of the litter of tiny lion cubs.  There was even a python in a tree (too obscured for photos) all in that same little neighborhood. 

medium.59a1a384906e6_IMG_0426(2)servalnd

 

medium.59a1a37b1beaf_IMG_0393servalndutu

 

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An expression familiar to cat lovers.  Serval in Ndutu.

 

 

large.59a820c00c9bf_IMG_1012Grantsjousti

Sparring Grants, Ndutu

 

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Hare.  If I stay still no one can see me.  Ndutu.

 

Near Hidden Valley, we found a coalition of two male cheetahs and spent the morning with them.

medium.599bad10f3e3a_IMG_08982nearadultc    medium.59a1f117d3b35_IMG_08501of2nearadu

Near Hidden Valley, Ndutu

It did not take these guys long to hunt a young Tommy.

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Near Hidden Valley, Ndutu

 

Visit #8 to 18-day old lion cubs

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4 lion cubs under 3 weeks old. Near marsh woodland in Ndutu.

coming up--2 public service announcements, 1 commercial, and the thrilling conclusion

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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Posted (edited)

We interrupt this trip report for two public service announcements and a commercial.

gallery_108_1525_594323.jpg

 

This (slightly blurry) adapter shot is the same as in last year’s green season report.  Same outlets, same photo.  This adapter is what I used in Feb 2017 in Tanzania.   Public Service Announcement #1.

 

 

Public Service Announcement #2:

On one Tanzania visit I was issued a one-year tourist visa when I arrived. I did not ask for it, they just issued the one-year, and the cost was the same $100 as a 90-day.  I was able to use that 1-year visa for a visit about 10 months later.  Saved $100.

 

In March of 2016 I got a Tanzania tourist visa that expired in 90 days.  This year in Feb of 2017, I showed the customs official that visa and asked if it could extend to a year.  To my surprise he said yes and then did the appropriate stamps to make me legal. So, I saved $100 again.  If you do back to back Tanzania visits with under 12 months between, maybe you could save $100 too.

 

Commercial:  I used The Wild Source for the third time and am looking at a fourth with them.  So obviously I am pleased with all aspects of their services.  Maybe you would be too.

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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Posted (edited)

 

Back to the regularly scheduled trip report.

 

Visit #10 to 19-day old lion cubs  (no photos from visit #9)

 

medium.599c6b1735893_IMG_1255lioncubs10(

Visit #11 to 20-day old lion cubs--it never gets old

 

large.599c6b3075e0d_IMG_1690lioncubs11.j

 Finally, a shot of all 4 cubs and the mother. Not great, but everybody’s there.  Between the thick foliage swaying in strong wind, the busy cubs, and the obstructing branches, I thought this shot would never happen.

large.599fa587a2fa5_lionmostlycubcollage

Lion cub collage, primarily cubs combining 12 visits to the litter and other lion photos.

 

I encountered one young Tanzanian who said, “An elder told me that if it does not rain by the 17th of February, it will not rain until after the 27th.”  He held the opinion of his elders in high regard.

medium.59a0d34517137_meinnewdressIMG_361

This skirt is made of material that George had given me as a gift the previous year. 

The sky behind me, at Njozi Camp, was dark and looked like rain.  But I had seen that every afternoon.  It was Feb 17.

The evening of Feb 17 it rained buckets!  

The calving season had been delayed, but it was saved!

The wait was over.  Wishes fulfilled.

medium.59a0d33feaa72_heavyrain.jpg.62283

It was not only the downpour that caused flooding but now that Lake Manyara has been reduced to a shallow pond, the water cannot pool there as it used to.  Therefore, it runs off onto the roads, farms, into homes, etc.

 

large.599bb1a7316c1_IMG_1852Craterhighla

Giraffes in the crater highlands.  There is a herd (or a journey) of over 60 Giraffe in the highlands.

 

Helpful safety hint:  Don’t tell the guide to stop for photos while driving to/from the crater in the highlands.  The roads are windy with no shoulder making stopped vehicles a danger to others.  Instead ask the guide to find a safe spot to pull over for a photo, which may mean some animal shots are missed.  Clients who are entering the area for the first time, and of course are excited to see new animals, are the biggest culprits of these unexpected and treacherous photo stops.

 

 

 

medium.59a1f6648f4a4_IMG_1866droopybinoc

 

Taken at the Lodvari Gate, entrance to the crater.  This photo focused my attention on some definite sagging and drooping.  

I’ve taken care of the matter posthaste by purchasing a new binocular harness.

 

The End

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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Thanks for sharing @Atravelynn, February and March around Ndutu seems to always be productive.  We spent a few hours in February 2016 driving around with just us and Deo's vehicle, it's definitely a small world.  Your report makes me really want to go back, hopefully soon.

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What a relaxed serval.

 Another kill!!!!!!

Wouldn't you just love to take that selfie stick and #$%&((*&^%*!!!.

What a great trip and resulting report  Thank you for posting.

We have just made our down payment to The Wild Source and will have the services of George as our guide due to your trip reports and recommendations along with a couple other Safaritalk participants reviews.

Where to next?

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Wow - @Atravelynn - Honey Badger, Leopard kill, Cheetah kill, Serval, the list goes on and on.

 

Super safari you had!   Thanks very much for sharing - the info as much as the photos.

 

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16 hours ago, Zubbie15 said:

Thanks for sharing @Atravelynn, February and March around Ndutu seems to always be productive.  We spent a few hours in February 2016 driving around with just us and Deo's vehicle, it's definitely a small world. I have encountered people a few times that come to Ndutu every green season.  George has pointed out various people to me that he sees year after year.  I'd love to be one of those annual green season regulars.  Maybe some day when I don't go anywhere else, I will be and then I'll look for you!  Your report makes me really want to go back, hopefully soon.

 

15 hours ago, mapumbo said:

What a relaxed serval.

 Another kill!!!!!!  The green season Ndutu kill count is 2013 = 2 cheetah kills.   2014 = 1 leopard kill.   2016 = 1 cheetah kill.   2017 = 4 cheetah kills, 1 leopard kill

Wouldn't you just love to take that selfie stick and #$%&((*&^%*!!!.

What a great trip and resulting report  Thank you for posting.

We have just made our down payment to The Wild Source and will have the services of George as our guide due to your trip reports and recommendations along with a couple other Safaritalk participants reviews.  You'll have a marvelous time.

Where to next? Zambia

 

15 hours ago, offshorebirder said:

Wow - @Atravelynn - Honey Badger, Leopard kill, Cheetah kill, Serval, the list goes on and on. Lots of highlights and it shows that even when the weather goes berserk, a good safari can still be had!

 

Super safari you had!   Thanks very much for sharing - the info as much as the photos.

 

 

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I was with George for a week in June in Seronera and saw many similar pictures that he had taken during your safari that he had downloaded onto his I-pad.  When I got to the leopard kill and the honey badger I said," What!!  Where is my leopard kill and honey badger.'  He just laughed and shook his head and said what he always says "You must be patient"

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6 hours ago, kilopascal said:

I was with George for a week in June in Seronera and saw many similar pictures that he had taken during your safari that he had downloaded onto his I-pad.  When I got to the leopard kill and the honey badger I said," What!!  Where is my leopard kill and honey badger.'  He just laughed and shook his head and said what he always says "You must be patient"

Sounds like George.  Hope your week in June was wonderful.  Conditions should have been back to normal by then and not too dry.

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Thanks for the birthing tutorial. Seriously -- very interesting. You really had some amazing cat sightings -- that serval!  Your report is proof positive about the productivity of Ndutu and the excellent services of The Wild Source. Glad to hear the rains finally arrived -- and on February 17, just in the nick of time. I appreciate your sharing your trip with us. 

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A really enjoyable thread. The cheetahs were outstanding.

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5 hours ago, Marks said:

A really enjoyable thread. The cheetahs were outstanding.

All 39 of them!

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You are obviously a talented photographer as your pictures are stunning.  I had the privilege of spending over an hour with a lioness and her cubs years ago in Ndutu with no other vehicles, but they weren't as young as the little ones you saw.  A very special sighting!

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An outstanding trip @Atravelynn and very detailed as usual. It seems the Serengeti always delivers which is why I am finally going to return. The plan is to go in Jan 2019 after climbing Kili but do you feel I'd be better off skipping Ndutu as Jan is too early or pushing it to Feb.

 

I want to summit Kili on a full moon so I'm looking at the Serengeti around the 3rd week of the month. Jan is preferable because its the coldest month of the year. My priority is cats which are always plentiful but really the migration would be number one and this is attempt number 5 and possibly last.

 

I know the migration is a total crapshoot but I'm willing to bet you're experience can steer me in the right direction!

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Posted (edited)

How exciting you'll be climbing Kili with the full moon, @dlo.  Those extended full moon calendars are helpful.  The moon is more predicable than the wildes.  Late January is when Ndutu often starts pumping.  You could hedge your bets with some time in Ndutu, some time in Serengeti (maybe around Moru Kopjes) and maybe even some time in the very southern part of Serengeti, Kusini (which means south).  Another approach is to stay put in one area and do some day trips to different regions in search of the herds.  From Ndutu to Central Serengeti is about 3 hours if doing a game drive between.  If you allow at least 4 days, you should be able to find big herds, whether in Central Serengeti, Kusini, Ndutu or moving between these areas. 

 

I have not arrived as early as Jan for migration in the past.  The earliest has been Feb 8.

 

Jan 21 - Arrive Serengeti/Ndutu about Jan 25  -- A bit early but you can find the herds

Feb 19 - Arrive Serengeti/Ndutu about Feb 23  -- PRIME migration time in Ndutu!!

 

Possibly last?  Oh no. 

 

When you mention "attempt no. 5" are you implying you have not seen big herds in attempts 1-4?

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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Thanks for the reply @Atravelynn I never really plan for the migration as it is a bit hit or miss but I've really had some bad luck. Trip 1 was early January and was not planned around anything . Trip 2 and 3 were during the horrible droughts of 2006 and 2011 and everything was scattered everywhere. My kinda pathetic river crossing from my last trip report is the closest I've gotten.

 

It probably won't be my last trip to Tanzania but it certainly will be for a long time. I'm massively increasing my mortgage next year to just get it done and some potentially expensive health issues for the puppy mean 2 or 3 years of no Africa. Then I have a few destinations I need to see before Tanzania.

 

Again thanks for always entertaining and very informative report.

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1 hour ago, dlo said:

Thanks for the reply @Atravelynn I never really plan for the migration as it is a bit hit or miss but I've really had some bad luck. Trip 1 was early January and was not planned around anything . Trip 2 and 3 were during the horrible droughts of 2006 and 2011 and everything was scattered everywhere. My kinda pathetic river crossing from my last trip report is the closest I've gotten.  Right, the camels and cakes and crossing.  Now I remember.  I just checked out those wildes again, they were far more impressive than kinda pathetic.

 

It probably won't be my last trip to Tanzania but it certainly will be for a long time. I'm massively increasing my mortgage next year to just get it done and some potentially expensive health issues for the puppy mean 2 or 3 years of no Africa. Then I have a few destinations I need to see before Tanzania.  What a lucky puppy!

 

Again thanks for always entertaining and very informative report.  Thank you for those kind words.

 

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cats galore! kills galore! births galore! and that beautiful relaxed serval. I have to travel with you more often, not that I have travelled with you, yet. :)

 

you look lovely in that beautiful skirt!

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On 9/25/2017 at 6:30 AM, Kitsafari said:

cats galore! kills galore! births galore! and that beautiful relaxed serval. I have to travel with you more often, not that I have travelled with you, yet. :)  Not quite yet!

 

you look lovely in that beautiful skirt!  I am developing quite a wardrobe thanks to George's gift giving.

 

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@Atravelynn so neat to read your trip report since we overlapped.  We definitely saw the same cheetah kill by the two brothers and the honey badger that was there that morning.   we also definitely were at the lion mom with 4 cubs the same time b/c we have similar pics with almost the same light and have the same pic of them on the kopje.  Maybe @gamewarden needs to get everyone a badge or tie something to our arms so we can identify other safaritalkers out in the field (apologize if this exists!)

We also spent good time with the mother cheetah with the 4 younger cubs one morning and saw the two big male lions and the baby lions as well!  

 

Your leopard kill pics are tremendous and what a treat to see that from start to finish. 

 

So we left kusini, travelled through ndutu on our way to kakessio to stay at the other serian camp.  amazingly about an hour south of ndutu the grass was all lush and the gigantic herds of wildebeest were everywhere giving birth left and right.  its amazing that the rain missed ndutu but hit so close by.  Maybe next trip combine one of the camps in the south to hedge your bets with the migration, especially since its such a different and beautiful area as well? 

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