Today is our transfer day to the Serengeti. Again there is a very strict time frame and we have to exit the Conservancy by 12.55pm. We decide to maximize our morning by going on one last drive in the Ndutu area. It turns into an amazing morning , first we come across a lion who clearly has been propagating his gene pool, he looks a bit spent with the lioness lying a few meters away. It takes lions quite a few goes to have a successful mating and there is quite a bit of roaring in the process. A couple may be at it several times a day for up to a week.
It is such an amazing event the migration as we watch a long line of the animals one following the other, all in the same direction. Then somebody gets spooked and they are all galloping in a huge cloud of dust. Just as suddenly they stop and start going in the opposite direction. We truely wonder what is driving them.
As we turn away from the plains literally within 100m we come across a beautiful lone lioness over a fresh kill of wildebeest, probably from the herd we were just watching. The first to go is the liver as it is of the highest nutritional value. She has tucked into that and one hind leg.
As it is mid morning it is time for her to get it out of the way and into some shade for later. As we watch her drag this fully grown wildebeest probably 180kg worth she barely stops to draw breath. Once in the bushes nearby in moments there are eagles and vultures coming in. We approach a little closer and see that the lioness has killed a Mum that was pregnant with twins. An incredibly rare occurrence according to Andrew. I see that one of the unborn twins was substantially larger probably some twin twin stealing occurring during the pregnancy and the little one would not have made it when born.
There is a real hierarchy here and the tawny eagles have first dibs, when done the vultures come in. But this is the time of plenty for all as with these numbers of migrating animals even the vultures don’t clean off the remains.
It is time to get to the ranger station to exit but as we leave the forest, Andrew spots some movement and we approach to see a totally new kill by a cheetah. This is a baby wildebeest, an adult would have been too big for her to tackle. Cheetahs rely on speed to catch their prey, they are solitary hunters and can not afford to get injured.
She has literally only just downed this baby and I am so glad we did not witness the hunt. We see how the hierarchy again takes place. A couple of jackels patiently lie next to her waiting for her to finish as the vultures, eagles and Marabou storks ( a huge stork that looks like an undertaker) start sitting around in the perimeter.
She takes her fill, liver gone and a shoulder and hind leg and she moves off unperturbed by the crowd around her. Once she has gone the two jackels come in and eat their fill before the scavengers come in. What a circle of life.
We are now running late on our departure so be beeline to the rangers station for an exit permit and the next room which gives us an entry into the Serengeti. We have been hoping to take an alternate route out of the park and not the main road.
The ranger tries to convince Andrew not to take the way in Swahili, as Andrew keeps on reverting to English to try and understand the intricacies of the way. The ranger finally agrees to draw us a map, a dot here, a line there, don’t take that branch of the road, make sure you go left there! We feel empowered and off we go. To be continued…