We were out early this morning (duh), and we headed towards the open plains towards Ndutu. Since we are on the Serengeti side of the border, I suspected we wouldn’t run into many people at all today. Well, I was right, because Kusini is the only camp in the southern Serengeti National Park. There are many many camps and also a few lodges on the Ngorongoro Conservation Area side, but the two management areas really don’t have many people that move back and forth between the two, as the costs and logistics can get more than messy. I find it is easiest to make a decision which side to stay on and then just do it.
Other than our vehicles, there are only 2 others in the entire southern part of the Serengeti right now. You can really feel all of the area has been set aside for just us.
When we entered the open plains, we noticed a few lions who were walking towards a sizable water source. After about 30 seconds, we all noticed there were actually 12 lions in total, with adult females and subadult males and female. They were all running around, jumping all over each other with joy. It was great to have good subjects in the early morning light.
After a while, we noticed there were some hyaenas congregating for a huge standoff with the lions. One by one, the hyaena numbers went from 2 to 3, to 10, to 12 and then ultimately to 17. It was interesting watching their behavior, as they encircled the lions. I could tell there wouldn’t be a fight, but it was clear that the hyaenas weren’t going to let the lions take advantage of them in any way.
We followed the lions for about 2 hours, and left them when they finally settled down underneath the shade of a large acacia tree. We then drove around on the open plains, looking for interesting subjects. I thought it would be fun to try and get ostrich images, so we worked with a small group of them for probably 30 minutes. The problem with them is that they run away when you get close to them. My goal was to get them to run in the same direction our Land Rover was heading, but we didn’t have any luck today. Not a big deal, because watching them is good enough for me.
We went back to camp for a wonderful lunch, and then headed back out around 3:30. Again, we went to the open plains. We did follow a large herd of giraffes for a long time, and eventually they were tired of us and ran away. I decided to try and get them running, while bouncing around in our Land Rover at 40mph off-road. Oh joy!