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safaribr

Northern Tanzania in February 2012

16 posts in this topic

Just came back home from a 7-night safari in Northern Tanzania, including 4 nights in the Ndutu/Kakesio areas in the south of Serengeti, one night at the rim of the Ngoronogoro Crater and 2 nights at Tarangire National Park.

 

I am still sorting out my photos, but would like to start with a few, which are below. Am not much of a reporter and will leave most to be told my images.

 

A beautiful leopard in Ndutu:

 

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Warthog in Tarangire National Park:

 

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Adult and young bufallos:

 

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An albino baboon in Tarangire:

 

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Great photos, very interested in your itinerary and accommodations.

 

What was going on with the migration?

 

Welcome home.

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Nice leopard siting, can't wait to see more safaribr!

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Very happy for you to let your images talk, but a few more words would be good. We like opinions! :)

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Some more information on our trip.

 

We flew from Sao Paulo to Joburg and from there to Dar. Slept one night at the Southern Sun (nice hotel with a good restaurant) and left next morning by Coastal Air to Arusha and then to the Ndutu Airstrip after a stop at Lake Manyara. Long trip... and after all that flying we found out that we would have 3 more hours by car to reach our camp. It was not a very good surprise, considering that I had been informed that it would be a 15 min drive.

 

Anyway, Asilia's Ubuntu Camp was great. Located in a beautiful spot(more to the South than I had expected, in the Kakesio area of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area), the camp was very comfortable and run by very nice people. We met some very interesting fellow travellers and had a wonderful time with them. Five minutes after we joined everyone for drinks the camp manager, Markus, was stung by a scorpion but bravely remained with us for dinner keeping a lively conversation despite the clear pain. It was overall a great camp.

 

A little after our arrival we were informed that due to the lack of rains the wildebeest herds, which had been there in january, had moved far up north-west. We felt sorry because we were certainly looking forward to see those huge herds. It was not to be this time.

 

Although the huge herds were not there, we could see from camp several large herds on the plains before us. Wildebeest, zebra, gazelles, and eland. There were a few thousands of them not far from the camp. Closer to the camp we could at any and all moments several giraffes (at one point more than 20 in one sight). Very nice. At night we would hear hyenas and other cries.

 

Our drives through the plains were very good and productive. First, it was our first time in that region and we were amazed with the vastness of the plains in southern Serengeti. At some points we could look around 360o. and see not a single tree or bush. At the same time we would see countless animals all around us. Beautiful.

 

Close to the camp and indeed for many miles up north there were no other cars at all. We drove for hours by ourselves.

 

It was up north closer to Ndutu that we saw the leopard, some elefants, several cheetah and hyenas, and a few sleepy lions under a tree. Here we also saw many more cars and lodges.

 

The highlight in that area, though, were the wild dogs. We first saw them one early evening, when we were already at camp preparing for drinks when someone called us to say that they are not far and asked if we wanted to see them. We surely did. It was already dark and we saw them there doing that wild dog stuff: some sleeping, some playing around. It was too dark and after a few minutes we were back at camp.

 

Next day we were told they were still around. We decided to go and see them in the afternoon. We found them at around 3:30 and decided to stay with them to see what they would do next. For 2:30 hours we just watched them playing and sleeping and grooming each other. Then, at one point, when it was starting to get dark, they became more alert and seemed more focused. Four of the males started to walk slowly towards some wildebeest that we could see at a distance. The others followed half-heartedly. Some still running around and playing. This went on for a few minutes until they started to look all more fierce and focused. One of them took the lead and the others formed a tight group following him. The wildebeest were still there, grazing with their youngs. It was exciting to see how then the dogs started to crouch towards the unaware grazers. At one point, then, they started to run towards the herd.

 

Our guide had placed the car in a great spot and we could see, as it was getting dark, the dogs running and the herd splitting in two large groups raising a lot of dust in the process. The dogs, however, didn't care about the dust and also split in smaller groups that followed their own targets. A calf was downed some 30 meters from our car and was dead and eaten in what seemed to be seconds. Another two calves were killed around us. We then saw that the dogs had targeted an adult female that was running by itself followed by a hungry pack. We move our car in their direction and saw the dogs grab her from behind. It was an exciting and gruesome view. We saw more and more dogs circling the wildebeest and effectively eating it alive. After a while we left because no one could stand the sights and sounds any longer. Heavy stuff. Raw life and death.

 

Now the images. As you will see, it was getting dark and I had to increase to ISO to the limit, which affected the level of noise in some of the photos. There was only one more car during the kill, also from Ubuntu Camp.

 

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There is a calf somewhere in there:

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gallery_5808_577_505285.jpg

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What a series of photos!

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Those must be the dogs which had eluded Twaffle....

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Great photos !!

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OMG what a sighting! those dogs are really hungry! Love the baboon and the warthog pics!

 

These are the dogs that possibly could have denned around Ubuntu as they have been seen their very regularly. Since this is the denning season for them in those parts, fingers crossed!

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Wow for your dog shots!

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Superb series of photos!!!

A thrilling (but gruesome) experience!

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Great sighting and photos of the dogs! This pack seems to have more 'gold' colouration, compared to other east Africa packs, that are often so dark. Almost a southern African colour pattern. Interesting.

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Yes, we missed these dogs by hours, but I'm so glad to see the photos of them. A nice big pack too, so let's hope they prosper. Amazing area down there, look forward to seeing and reading more about your trip.

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What a thing to see. Wonderful. Enjoying the words but no words can do justice to the pictures. The other vehicle was very close- if I am honest I am not sure I would want to be that close at that moment.

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I was re-reading Twaffle's childhood report yesterday and there's a line about dogs being vilified and persecuted because of the way they go about things. Yet to day we're in awe of them and their success rate when it comes to hunting.

 

The final pic shows how both opinions come about!

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Fantastic wild dogs sighting ! Thanks for sharing

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