Friday, April 23, 2010

Safari visitors April 2010

Halifa Suleman

Ndutu : this is the south west of the Serengeti ecosystem. It is the favourite area, at this time of year, for the migration and by that I mean the great wildebeest migration and their fellow travellers who wander the plain looking for the green and nutritious pasture that grows in this volcanic ash from the Crater Highlands.

It is a quiet and very cold night. The owl, with its deep voice, makes this night seem very lonely with its mournful hoot. Far away, the hyena woops and lion roars, protecting their territory. I am half-asleep; half-awake and the moon is shining this great night. I see the shadow of an animal approaching the door of my small tent. It is a lioness, looking for shelter because it is raining. This little tent has a canopy fly-sheet which provides good shade for this poor lioness and she has no idea that a few centimetres away, Halifa is there!

It is amazing to experience: this lioness inspects the area by sniffing the site yet never turns her head towards the place where I was: with open eyes but as immobile as a dead man. This lioness spent some time cleaning and licking herself and shaking to clear the water. I am so pleased to be so close to the lioness and not inside a vehicle. Another lion came and greeted and played with my lioness and then they both left! The night was very long for me but such an enjoyable, easy night watching this beast.

The next day was another beautiful morning and I saw some tracks outside my tent.
We drive to Ndutu air strip where I am going to meet nine guests. Our first night, we saw a lioness with ten cubs along with giraffe, zebra, impala and some flowers and birds.

The second day we wandered off across the plain and we stopped at a water hole where we enjoyed looking at the animals coming and going: some of them drinking while others socialised, some lions tried several times to hunt but the day was not on their side - they missed! During our day’s adventure, we had a picnic breakfast with a perfect African view: to the West - Gol kopjes and Naabi hill; to the North, the short grass plains; to the East, Ngorongoro Highlands. What a site!
The rest of the day was a slow amble by Lemuta Hill stopping at one of the kopjes to stretch and look at the life around: the tracks and trails, dung and dung beetles, flowers, agama lizards catching flies, the vulture soaring ready to clean up the plain. Lunch at Nasera rock followed by a climb for the fit. It was a long day but very enjoyable. A hot shower got rid of the dust and then a refreshing, lovely cold drink and watching bush TV. Let’s call it a day

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