Easy to fall in love with the lions here
The Serengeti ecosystem is a 12,000-square-mile region in Tanzania (plus a small part in Kenya) that boasts 70 species of large mammals and 500 species of birds. It is especially known for its huge population of lions.
In our previous stop, at the Ngorongoro Crater, we had seen 4 of the “Big 5” game animals. I’m not a huge fan of these largely arbitrary tourist obsessions, but you can’t help but get a little caught up in it.
We had seen elephants nice and close up. We’d seen a couple rhinos, albeit from quite a distance (plus Jim and I had just seen white rhinos very close up in Zimbabwe). We saw plenty of Cape buffalo. And we did technically see a couple lions, though they were at a distance and were largely buried in grass. The fifth, who still eludes us, is the leopard. Those guys are largely nocturnal and do an awfully good job of hiding in the grass.
Our guide asked what we wanted to see, so we told him we needed a leopard, and that we really did need to get a better look at the lions. He assured us we’d see so many lions we’d get sick of them. And we did see a LOT of lions. At some points our car would be surrounded by them — lions of all sizes, old lions, baby lions, mother lions, adolescents. They would gather in big groups, playing, rolling around, cuddling, licking each other. Impossibly cute!
But still no leopard 🙁
There’s a reason they call him King of the Jungle
We’ve also really upped our game in the elephant area, coming across huge herds with dozens and dozens of elephants
These are the Cape buffalo. We often see them in very large herds too. They really like to stare at us.
Lots of giraffes to look at, too
Plenty of zebras
The landscape is really stunning, too
And I’m seeing it all with nice people — that’s me with Angus, Ruby, Dan, and Lorraine
Some hippos just barely peeking out
Amazing bird life here, too. These beauties are lilac-breasted rollers.
Lions chilling on the edge of the road
Giraffes sometimes look at us with curiosity
This is a secretary bird. They are cool looking birds that eat snakes. When they kill the snakes they jump up and down in some way that makes it look like they are typing, and hence the name.
Hyenas have kind of a bad reputation, but I find them quite cute. I think they need better marketing.
After the long game drives we relax in our sprawling four-bedroom house with a pool overlooking a vast stretch of the Serengeti. Our house was part of a spectacular lodge, called Singita Sasakwa, which was also home to Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi for two of our four nights.
Another lovely sunset
Here is an elephant showing the baby how to rip apart a tree with her trunk, stomp the branches apart with her feet, then chew up the good parts and spit out the stems
And did I mention the lions?