East Africa, Part 9: Serengeti.

The Moomins was feeling under the weather which is totally justified because she’s an 85yo woman trekking across the worst roads in the world after flying 20 hours, she’s entitled to feel unwell. She took the day off and I headed into the bush.

We started our day with some zebra.

And then we caught a momma vervet with her day-old baby!

You can hear me in this pic saying “No, don’t go!”

Luckily, she didn’t go far and I could still squee in the vehicle at the cuteness for a little white longer before they split.

Secretary bird! This is what, number four? And there were five in total? One more to go.

Egyptian geese. They always hang out in pairs.

I didn’t take this picture for them. I took it for the palm trees. Palm trees are as out of place in the Serengeti as a big ole oak would be. According to our guide, they washed down during intense rains from the upper part of Africa and found the occasional watering hole and that’s where they hang out.

I believe these are reedbuck.

Look at this tree’s bark! It’s so amazing.

That’s called a fever tree and it’s because it’s always around stagnant pools of water where malaria mosquitos prosper. People drew a correlation between the tree and the disease versus the stagnant water / mosquitos. Hence, fever tree.

Baboon being a guard so the rest of the troop can forage in peace.

A small group of lions making afternoon nappies! Normally I would have been delighted by this sighting but I had seen The Awesomeness a few days back so this was just regular terrific.

There were two types of weaverbirds’ nests in one thorn acacia tree.

A watering hole with the palms and a large quantity of hippos. This was the closest I got to hippos on my trip.

There was one with a janky canine tooth and if you know anything about me, I wanted that tooth. Like, I WANTED that tooth.

Another angle of tooth ‘n’ group.

They have cute widdle pink ears.

After watching their societal workings for a while (alpha males extremely slowly intimidating other males away from the ladies) we drove to another watering hole where we saw all the herons. Like, all the herons. Here were herons in a tree.

Those herons were in tree because there was no more room on the ground. Here’s the watering hole.

And here’s all the herons I circled before I got tired and moved on with my life.

This is kind of awesome. There is an enormous field of thompson’s gazelles. And under the tree on the left there is a hyena. Why aren’t the gazelle running away? Well, the gazelle are very small and very fast so they’re a terrible prey for hyenas. Hyenas can’t run fast and one gazelle doesn’t have the amount of calories that the hyena needs. So the hyena doesn’t chase them, ever.

Okay, this was a big deal. There was an adult and a teenage leopard sleeping a tree. A rare find. Only problem – it was really far away. This far.

So my pictures looked like this.

We hung out there for a while, then declared it a lost cause and drove on.

A male thompson’s gazelle came right up next to the vehicle so I could take some pics of him, he was a cutie.

I took this picture because I grew up watching Nature on PBS and that’s the kind of tree in their logo. It was like seeing a celebrity at the supermarket.

Old male giraffe. You can tell because he’s so dark.

Ugh, this was another thing. I guess if I hadn’t seen the cheetah brothers on my first two days in Kenya I would have been super-psyched to see these five cheetahs. But you know where they were? In another zip code. I mean, what am I supposed to do with this?

Here is my photo of them. Try to contain yourself.

*sniff* So beautiful.

Dik-dik near the vehik-hik! This is a male and I wanted you to see his teeny hornlets.

We circled around back to the tree with the leopards and I decided to hold the guide’s binoculars to the lens of my iPhone and try to get a shot.

This was vastly more difficult than the first time I tried the binoc technique. These were crappy binoculars so I had to balance them on my leg, point them at the tree, hold my iPhone lens near the ocular part but not touching, make sure they were the correct distance from each other and the binocular was focused, then click it as I caught the leopards on the branch. It took about fifteen solid minutes and I got a violent cramp in my arm but dammit, I got it.

Next post: More Serengeti.

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