Duniart – Photography and Blog by Toine IJsseldijk

Serengeti National Park

Tanzania, July 2015

Day 9 – 21-Jul: Central Serengeti – Serengeti Mara

We arrived at the Serengeti National Park gate just after noon. There were at least 2 dozen jeeps parked at the gate; we were not alone anymore… But we didn’t mind. We were so ready for this park..! At 1 pm sharp we were on our way, in almost a small convoy of jeeps… A bit a bummer. Or not… We were probably less than a kilometre into the park when Chris decided to turn right, onto a little sand trail away from the main gravel road. Within 10 minutes we couldn’t see another car anymore, and it remained like that for the next 4 hours…. The Serengeti is popular, but it’s also very, very large… We were already extremely happy with Chris as our driver-guide; he was a great guy, and an absolute fantastic guide and animal tracker. He knew the Serengeti and its wildlife as few others… And we would soon find out!
And just when the sun was setting we arrived at our camp, at about 6 pm… We had spend 5 hours in the park, and had seen 2 lion prides, a mother cheetah with young and 2 leopards…! And not only that, they were actually fairly active, as you have seen! And the best part of all…? We didn’t see any other car until after the second leopard; we had every single sighting completely for ourselves! It made me wonder if this was “normal”, in the Serengeti… I have no idea. But wow, were we in the moon! Absolutely spectacular.

Ronjo Camp

Ronjo Camp was a small intimate camp a little bit away from the more crowded area of Seronera. It only had half a dozen tents, and was completely unfenced; upon arrival this was made very clear, and you always had to be on the look-out for possible wildlife. Hyenas, but also leopard and lions were known to cross through the camp, although mostly at night. Footprints around the camp were proof this was no scare-tactics..! There were also clear instructions that after sunset you were not allowed to walk outside without being escorted by one of the Maasai staff, and you had to keep all zippers and windows completely closed… And so we did.

Day 8 – 20-Jul: Central Serengeti: Seronera

Today we spend a full day in the Seronera area, one of the most visited areas of the park, as it’s most accessible and has quite a few large (public) camping grounds as well. We indeed saw quite a few jeeps in the area, but the network of roads is vast, and Chris did not only know exactly where to go, but also how and when, to avoid the crowds… He was perfect, and knew we rather skipped a sighting, then getting caught in between other jeeps.
All together an excellent second day with a lot of variety in wildlife as well as scenery and none of the crowds that we were a bit worried about before our trip. Satisfied we enjoyed our second evening around the campfire in the camp, mentally preparing for the next day, a step closer to hopefully the Great Migration…

Day 9 – 21 Jul: Central Serengeti – Serengeti Mara

The big day had arrived…! Today we were going to drive up north, to the famous Mara River, which forms the border with Kenya. It’s here where the Great Migration of wildebeests and zebras cross the river to the plains of the Maasai Mara in Kenya, with monstrous crocodiles waiting in the river for an easy meal… The problem was that the timing of the first crossings varies from year to year, and usually starts a bit later in the year. Even the camp we would stay is, like many camps in the area, a seasonal camp set-up only for the river crossing season and we were literally the first guests of the new season…!
We left the lions behind and drove to our final destination, the Serengeti Mara and a small camp near the famous Mara River. We didn’t see any other cars anymore, as the season simply hadn’t started yet, up north…! Would we be too early…..?
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