Going on a safari is kinda like going on a road trip. Fortunately today’s road trip was to the Serengeti. I didn’t realize how exciting this was until we were standing outside of a giant gate welcoming us into the park. The Serengeti is just one of those places, much like Angkor Wat and the Taj Mahal and the Old City in Jerusalem where I never really pictured myself standing in front of. This Round-the-World adventure can be a bit of a head-trip at times.
En route to The Serengeti, we had to drive around Ngorongoro Crater, we stopped to take in the view, and then I continued to love the scenery in between the crater and the Serengeti. Masai homes dotted the landscape. Warriors stood out against the landscape. It was quite beautiful, especially when one would be out with their cattle or lounging in the grass with their friends. I’m in love with the Masai shukas (the colorful shawls they wear around their shoulders) especially against the backdrop of greens and browns in the fields.
Day 182 also happened to be Andrew and my six month trip-aversary! We’ve made it a whole six months of traveling around the world together! Before we left, we wondered how long we would make it… We would not only wonder if our friends were placing bets on whether or not we would make it, and for how long, but we would also make the same kinds of bets ourselves. It seems like forever since we left Korea, yet unbelievable we’ve been on the road for as long as we have been. I’m glad we’re still kicking and this was a wonderful way to celebrate!
Other safari-goers were posing in front of the gate and we readily climbed out of the jeep to take a few pictures of our own. Only, we had to wait for a group of French girls to finish their shots that were no doubt going into their modeling portfolios back home. Leanne and I giggled at their perfectly planned poses and agreed we had to do a similar shoot of our own. The boys played along. Not exactly by choice…
The ride itself was at times, slightly traumatizing. Headache inducing. Cloudy with dust. Bumpy. A small price to pay for the animals on either side of the road. Wildebeest were everywhere. A pregnant hyena gave pause only a few feet from where we stopped. We were mesmerized and we knew we were just getting started.
We stopped for lunch at the bottom of a rocky hill and climbed up the hill for the view after we sifted through our packed lunches for what we each deemed edible. Arnold, our guide, told us that the Serengeti means “endless” and with a view like this, you can see why the park is named so… I was equally impressed with the cloud shadows over the plains.
After we dropped off our tents and bags at the campsite to make more room in the jeep for our afternoon drive, we spotted several jeeps stopped in the middle of the road. We joined them, and sure enough a lioness was sleeping in the tall grass. Only minutes later, a male lion stood up- surprising us all and climbed on top of the lioness. Lit’rally. (I couldn’t bring myself to photograph the lions doin’ it. Sorry, if that’s your thing, but it felt a little too intrusive and I put my camera down during you know, the business…)
“They have separated themselves from the pride to mate.” Arnold told us, and further explained that a male and female will leave the pride for a week. A whole week, to mate every fifteen minutes. The lioness didn’t seem to pleased about this situation and the mating didn’t last for long before they were laying back in the grass again. We waited to see if they would have another go at it, but eventually got bored, and told Arnold we could go.
We saw more elephants, more lions lounging in the grass, and a couple more hyenas until we spotted another group of jeeps in the distance. Arnold sped up and we were bouncing around the back of the jeep all the way to join them.
Everyone was looking towards the ‘sausage trees’ in the distance. There were leopards in them. Can you see the one in the middle of the tree trunk above? Another is standing on the lower branch/stump on the smaller tree below.
We traded binoculars and directions for where to look and we sat for at least a half hour watching one drag a kill up into the tree and a couple of others go from one tree to the next. Leopards. In trees. Andrew was satisfied. He’s been wanting to see a cat in a tree since Uganda like I wanted to see a zebra.
By dusk, we were back at the campsite setting up our tents and standing in line for showers before the sun went down completely. Dinner was again a fun exchange of stories until we realized we should probably head to our tents like everyone else. Only, we stood outside of our tents for awhile longer giggling like schoolchildren over stories and the appropriate accents to go with them. Stopping only to catch our breath from laughing so hard and repeated glances up at the absolutely magnificent starry sky above. Best. Sky. Ever. Hands down. Of not only this trip, but of life. The Serengeti is where it’s at!