October 27, 2014 (14 lions + cheetah and cub + 1 cheetah + 4 lions) Stayed at Buffalo Luxury Camp
- We got up and saw a nice sunrise at 6:15 AM with coffee and biscuits brought to us with our wake-up call. Mark took a photo of the sky as it was beautiful. After breakfast, we headed out. We were heading back to the place we had been last night, near the Maasai Kopjes. We saw a black-bellied bustard and a pair of cinnamon chested bee-eater birds. We saw herds of wildebeest and elephants. Then, we went back to the drainage and saw a coalition of 14 lions. They were probably the same pride we saw last night. They were scratching the tree, grooming each other, and sleeping. We moved on and saw Egyptian geese, and then we headed over to the tree where we saw the male cheetah last night. He wasn’t there, but we saw a female and a cub running away. The cub started playing on a tree stump. We also saw a saddle-billed stork. The wildebeest calf that the cheetah had been eating last night was now just ribs – only 17 hours later – truly amazing. (Check out the before and after photos in the album!) Two lappet-faced vultures were feasting on the leftovers. We saw a red billed teal, blacksmith plover lapwings, a black-winged stilt, Egyptian geese, yellow-billed storks, grey heron, and common sandpipers. We took photos of elephants, and a secretarybird crossing the road. As we drove back, we stopped and took a couple of more photos of sleeping lions and elephants in the water. There was a crocodile hiding in the grass. Farther down the road, we saw a cheetah hiding in the grass. There was a herd of wildebeest with a few zebras. I took a short video and a few photos. We also saw a couple of herds of wildebeest. Then we came upon three young lions and a lioness by a tree. Beautiful. We saw guinefowl, wildebeest, Grant’s gazelles, and giraffes. Back at Chaka, we had a nice lunch of Shepherd’s pie. We could see a giraffe, not too far away. We packed and said our good-byes and were on our way. We head north on B144 out of Serengeti National Park to Klein’s Gate. On the way, we saw Thomson’s gazelles, warthogs, vultures, Topi, giraffes, grey-breasted spurfowl francolin, marabou stork, and warthogs nursing piglets. The piglets will nurse from different sows, as they share mothering responsibilities. They are so cute. There’s a neat tree called candelabra euphorbia. We also saw a brown snake eagle sitting in a tree, olive baboons, and a crocodile on the Barage River. We saw a red-bill hornbill, male black-faced vervet monkey, ground hornbill, giraffe, coqui francolin, an oxpecker on a cape buffalo, and kori bustard. We stopped to take a photo of a bull elephant and he came at us. Luckily, Michael, recognized the aggressive stance and drove away, fast. Then, we came across a cheetah with two cubs, eating a wildebeest. There were a lot of white-backed vultures and Ruppell’s vultures, and a couple of tawny eagles. We spent quite a while taking photos, then realized that Michael was anxious to get on the way, as he hadn’t been to the place would be staying. The animals jumped away from the road as we drove past. They seem to have a better sense of self-preservation here than at home. Then we saw common eland antelope; they are the largest of the antelope. The word eland is the Dutch word for elk. We also saw lots of banded mongoose, zebra, and black-backed jackals. We drove by many Maasai bomas, some round, some square. Some were made of bricks, but many were made of sticks and mud. Some had herds of 50-75 cattle or goats tended by boys or men, all in their bright Maasai fabric. Some of the cattle had bells. The terrain had shifted from desert and dusty to lush, green shrubs and trees. It is the short rainy season so there is a lot of green everywhere. We made it to Buffalo Luxury Camp and the three of us were greeted by the staff with a cool wash cloth and glass of champagne. It was Michael’s first time here too. The manager is a white woman named Jana (Yana). Her parents are German but she was raised in Botswana. Janna discussed the camp rules, for our safety, and showed us to our tent. Oh my. It’s a bi-level tent with living room and a loft with a very nice bathroom with two sinks, tub, separate shower, and toilet. This place is beautifully decorated. Apparently, Michael has nice accommodations too, including TV and pool table. This makes us happy knowing that he is well taken care of. We are the only guests here! I guess we should feel like celebrities that have rented out the entire place for ourselves. The entire staff is there for us and us alone. There are twenty tents here. We set up our night camera, to see if we can see what walks by at night. We had dinner on the terrace by a wood fire pit under a star lit sky with a waning moon. It was delicious. We set up our night camera and were walked to and from our tent by guards with big guns. While we dining we heard an elephant trumpeting close by. Once again, we had hot water bottles in our bed to keep us warm. We’re at 6,000 ft. and it is breezy and chilly, but no rain. We’re so happy. Sweet dreams. ~ Mary & Mark
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