Last night I had the brilliant idea of sleeping with my headphones in and music playing so that even if something was outside the tent, I wouldn’t know. It worked a treat and I managed to sleep all night.
We got up very early and left camp just before 6 a.m. We drove out into the flat plains of the Serengeti and watched the sun come up as we stood looking through the roof of our vehicle. It was absolutely stunning (now we’re home I’m really pleased with the photos. Although they’ll capture the magic of that morning, they’re pretty close).
Getting up early meant that we were able to see loads of animals. Firstly, we saw a giraffe crossing the road – it looked so awkward trying to climb down the grass bank, I actually thought it was just going to fall over at one point! We were lucky enough to see some baby hippos out of the water which apparently is something you can only see early in the day before it’s too hot for them.
The order that we saw the other animals is all a bit of a jumble in my mind but I guess that doesn’t matter. We went back to the same spot that we had seen the hyena and the leopards yesterday and the leopards were still there. Somehow Fitael spotted a carcass in the tree from miles away so knew that they were still around. I got some fantastic pictures of the female climbing down out of the tree. She looked gorgeous in the warm, early morning light.
Not long after, we saw a huge herd of elephants. There were around 25-30 elephants walking across an open grassy area – there were even a few calves in the herd too which were adorable. We watched them peacefully move along from the roof for quite a while as Fitael told us all about them – I’m still in complete awe of his knowledge, not to mention his navigation skills: I have no idea how he doesn’t just get lost out here! We then stopped for a breakfast picnic of tea, coffee, hot chocolate and biscuits. It was quite scary being out in the open but Fitael assured us that we would be safe.
After our picnic we started a slow, winding drive back to camp. We saw a massive herd of wildebeest and Fitael told us all about their migration cycle and said that, as the rain was here slightly earlier this year, so were the wildebeest. We were really lucky to see so many of them at this time of year. They were literally as far as the eye (and binoculars) could see.
Closer to camp we came across a giraffe standing right next to the road eating and I got some really cool photos. It’s strange how such a tall, colourful animal looks so at home in the green grass land of the Serengeti.
When we got back to camp around mid morning, we packed our bags and took the tents down. Juma had made us yet another fantastic meal. We had brunch which consisted of pancakes, a rice salad, chips, chicken, a sausage and veg stir fry kind of dish and some fresh fruit. It was absolutely delicious and, after being up so early without breakfast, was a welcome meal. We soaked up a few rays of sun – well, I did. Sean sat in the shade and still got burnt!
We headed off back towards the Ngorongoro National Park. It was a really hot day which meant that the skies were clearer and the views from the viewing point on the Serengeti Gate which had been so hazy a few days ago were spectacular. On our way I finally found out what the Mystery Switch in the Land Rover does – it turns the plug sockets on and off. (Having read this back since I’ve got home, I’ve realised that I never actually wrote about the switch before today so I now sound like an absolute nutter! But for the first few days of the safari, I was really frustrated that there was a switch in the back of the Land Rover that didn’t seem to do anything!)
We’ve now arrived at Simba Camp on the ridge of the Ngorongoro crater. It is much more basic than the last camp but the views are amazing and the showers have hot water!!! I’ve just had a wonderful shower but probably kept other people waiting slightly longer than I should have done. The downside is that there aren’t any “proper” toilets, just the hole in the ground, or “squatty potty” style toilets but at least that’s getting us ready for Kili.
The camp site is home to three or four enormous stork-type birds which I am absolutely petrified of. Sean thinks it’s hilarious but he has no idea – these birds are almost the same height as me! They seem to be quite used to people too and clearly know where the food comes from as they keep trying to get close to the kitchen area.
We don’t have any plans for this evening so we’re sitting outside our tent on a blanket having tea and biscuits like a regular old British couple, just taking in the views. We’ve been told that we need to rest tonight as tomorrow is going to be a long day with a very early start.