East Africa, Part 10: Serengeti.

This is still part of my first day in the Serengeti. Let’s start by remembering that roads are tragic, truly the worst.

The guide and I stopped a lunch area and we were greeted by hyraxes. Hyraxes are distant relatives to the elephant, though you wouldn’t know it to look at them.

The outdoor seating area had a colony of dwarf mongeese hoping someone would drop a chunk of sandwich.

Look at these guys and their intense beady eyeballs and pretty coloring.

Out back there was a leaking water pipe and a bunch of birds were hanging out near it. I am going to assume this is the male and female of the same bird.

Then they went down to a puddle and the male took a wee bath.

All while a hyrax watched, unimpressed.

As I walked back to to the open seating area there was a young hyrax in a tree. Now, this is an important moment. I got very close to take this picture. Could I have gotten closer? Sure, but this is where dumb tourists end up in the hospital because the nature in Africa doesn’t have a fence. You need to use your own good sense to know when to stop doing something and most people aren’t smart.

Euphorbia candelabrum or Candelabra Tree. You’ve seen the houseplant version a million times. They sell them at Home Depot. This is the great honkin’ big version.

That flag means this area has been treated for mosquitos to prevent the spread of disease. I saw a ton of these trees all over the place and every one of them elicited an “Ooooo” because they’re imposing.

Look at that rock. I swore it was fake and put there to make the outside eating area festive. However, there are odd rock formations all over the Serengeti and I hadn’t been paying attention.

As soon as we went back out into the bush I made a point to look for those rocks and they are everywhere, haphazardly placed everywhere. Here is someone’s house with a hartebeest loitering in the front yard and a guinea fowl in the lower left corner. Note the rocks.

Group of houses with rocks.

A warthog.

A harem of impala mommas and babies guarded by their male. When the male gets worn out constantly tending to his harem, another bachelor impala will come in and fight him. If new male impala wins, he takes over the harem. BUT old tired male impala can join a bachelor group, regain his strength, then come back and fight new tired male impala, win and take his ladies back. It’s an exciting cycle full of twists and turns.

Home of Judgmental Twins.

“I’m going to be late to work. Yeah, yeah, it’s the zebra again.”

A male and female ostrich. See how red the male is? He is HORNAY and ready for love.

Tall old male giraffe. Maybe 18 feet.

Whistling thorn acacia. It grows those round hollow orbs with a hole in it so when the wind blows by there’s a whistling sound. Biting ants live in them and protect the acacia from animals that want to eat the soft tender leaves. It’s possible the acacia grew those empty pod things to encourage the ants to protect the leaves.

Elephant standing behind a single acacia. I don’t feel like I need to say it again. Amazing.

When he swats his ears it sounds like someone flapping a large bedsheet. Loved that.

Another one emerged from behind a bit of shrubbery and got super-close to the vehicle so I got to listen to him munch the crunchy plants which I also love. Elephants are my ASMR.

Waterbuck! They are famous for having sit on a freshly painted toilet seat. Here’s a pic off the internet to explain.

Here are my pics. Stellar, as per yuge.

Momma baboons with bebbeh baboons. They were far enough away to be non-threatening. And the babies were cute as hell.

And finally, on our drive back there was a black mamba sunning itself on the road. Luckily our guide screeched to a halt. It was loooong fella.

I find black mambas absolutely terrifying. As we moved forward, the mamba turned around and looked me dead in the face before slithering away quickly. My blood got real chilly and I neglected to photograph it. I got a brief picture as it headed off into the underbrush.

These are the houses we stayed in at this particular lodge. Look at that sky.

Next post: Olduvai Gorge.

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