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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

Central Serengeti National Park, Tanzania: July 5-7, 2021

Arriving at the gate to Central Serengeti National Park we stopped to make a group photo under the arching sign over the road. While we were doing that, a group of young Maasai women approached us to sell their handmade jewelry. Before a sale could be consummated, they all took off running as fast as they could over the grassland because they thought a park service vehicle was headed their way. The park doesn't allow vendors inside the park. All this to give an example the flatness the Serengeti savannah. But the grassland is also doted with kopje. Kopje are outcrops of granite that stick out like rocky islands in a sea of grass. They were formed when the soft volcanic rock and ash (from the volcanic explosion that created the Ngorongoro Crater) that covers Serengeti were eroded away to expose the extremely old metamorphic rock below.

Maasai women running in the Serengeti Grassland
A Male Ostrich and his Harem of Many
We usually found lions hanging out in or on the kopje, but also spotted were Nubian Vultures and a Springbok.

There were a total of 16 lions crowded onto and behind this kopje. It was an amazing scene and the reason why kopje are called Simba Kopje. Altogether, on this day we saw 23 lions.

Before we came across the lions on a kopje, we found a lion and a lioness enjoying the sun and solitude and socially distanced from each other. After a bit, the male lion bored and maybe a little annoyed with our presence, gave a big yawn, got up, sauntered to the rear of the first vehicle, and marked his territory on the back tire. Statement made he continued over to a nearby mud hole to join some of the other napping lions.

Experiencing his disdain, I had the feeling that humans in safari vehicles are just another pest like the flies, fleas, and ticks that constantly worry the animals in the Serengeti.

Leaving the lions behind our drivers spotted a cheetah. When she was first seen, she was standing on a mound and may have just stashed a kill. She has blood around her mouth. She strolled away; we followed. She didn't pay us any attention, but kept stopping to search the horizon in a worried way. 

Eventually, we saw lions in the distance. The driver said she was probably worried that the lions would steal her hard won kill.

The next day we were again scouring the Serengeti for animals. We found more cats. The first was a leopard family--a female and two cubs. They crossed the road in front of us plunging into the brush and disappeared. Seeing a distant tree with just a spot of white we headed that way. The tree was draped with leopard kills and the white spot was formerly a Thompson's Gazelle. Leopards put their kills in trees to keep them safe from hyenas, lions, and other carrion eaters.

Scanning the distance, the leopards were spotted on a kopje. 

One of the leopard cubs
From the kopje they disappeared back into the tall grass. 

We thought they would end up back at the kill tree, and for quite a while we waited by the tree with other safari vehicles. Eventually, we moved back so as not to discourage the leopard. Two unrelated vehicles stayed by the tree.

She wasn't at all dissuaded by the two vehicles parked next to the tree. She showed up and we quickly rushed to the tree. She grabbed one of the kills (a Thompson's Gazelle), jumped down, and returned to the tall grass presumably to share lunch with her cubs.

Zebra and Wildebeest
Flat tire #1
Each vehicle had two spare tires fortunately because there is no place in the park to get a tire fixed.

Just as the light was beginning to fade, we spotted a male leopard. He led us on a slow chase through the tall grass that skirted the grassland where a large group of Thompson's Gazelle happened to be grazing. He never looked at either us or the gazelles. He walked, marked territory, walked, marked territory ... We followed. As it became dark we gave up. 

Male Leopard
Grazing, but alert Gazelle

We had two nights at the Kubu Kubu Luxury Tented Lodge. This property is related to the Ngorongoro Farm House Valley Lodge and it is equally wonderful. The showers were on the outside of the room open to the sky within a circular wall of stone. Showering outside with the warmth of the shower and the coolness of a slight breeze on ones's skin is simply delicious.

Each room has a large deck facing the open savannah. From there we could watch the progress of the wildebeest migration as it passed through on their way north. The migrating wildebeest walking in long lines looked like a line of ants moving across the landscape.
And, then we said goodbye to the lovely staff at Kubu Kubu. The Maasai were the security guards. When it was dark, they escorted us to and from our luxury tents. They all had flashlights and iron spears. One evening our Maasai shined his light to an area just beyond one of the tents. There were so many eyes looking at us. In the mornings, there was always scat evidence of which animals had walked along the walkways of Kubu Kubu. 

Kubu Kubu Luxury Tented Lodge - pleasant, hospitable staff, luxurious rooms, and wonderful food. There is a swimming pool as well but we didn't have time to use it.