Friday, October 15, 2021

Safari in Tanzania


Mara River crossing. The number of animals was mind-boggling

As I was going through the pictures for this post, it occurred me that it will be more like a boring vacation slideshow than most of our posts (which are already pretty close). Not only are there a lot of pictures--because I had a hard time choosing, but who hasn't seen almost the same stuff in the zoo or when watching a nature documentary?

Two male lions in the Northern Serengeti (there were three males in this group)

So, I'm sorry if all these pictures seem a touch familiar. But much like the Grand Canyon, Eluru, and any full moon, some things are just much more impressive in person (and in blog posts, obviously). And nature and wildlife is our favorite.

African blood lilies

Here's a shot of our safari car in the Northern Serengeti. Note the low sides and lack of windows. If anything wanted to eat us, we would be easy pickings. Fortunately, the lions and other animals don't seem to see the people inside the vehicles as separate. Our guide said that they do sometimes jump on the hood or roof to get a better view of their prey.

Matt and I were in Tanzania in 2004, so we had been on safari here before. But this trip offered lots of new experiences: several river crossings with hordes of wildebeest and zebra, many more babies of every type, leopards galore, and kills. On our last trip (and this one too), we pretty much wouldn't shut up about wanting to see a kill. If you believe every guide we have ever talked to, it is very rare to see a hunt that results in a kill. So we felt very lucky this trip to see four (3 croc v wildebeest and one cheetah v. gazelle*).

The first set of lions we saw eating in Ngorongoro Crater. We missed this kill by a few hours but got a great view of the big pride eating their fill.

The jackals got their share.

The hyena also got his.

We saw three wildebeest babies taken by crocodiles during one of the river crossings. As one of our guides said, 'Wildebeest are not clever.' They took forever to work up the herd mentality to actually start crossing the river. But once they started, they kept crossing, even as their young were being taken out.
It was fascinating, but after getting to know the wildebeest we felt kind of bad for them. When you've seen them nursing, playing and even chasing a butterfly around a field, it's hard not to become fond of the strange-looking creatures.

Wildebeest speeding across the river

Their nemesis: the crocodile

A crocodile surveying the all-you-can-eat buffet

Lots of splashing but no blood as the crocodile drowns its prey and shoves it underneath a rock

Just so you don't think we were just out for blood the whole time, here are a few other pictures of the wildlife. Tanzania does an incredible job of protecting its wildlife and the result is an unrivaled number of animals.

This is big excitement in lion watching. 2 of them actually have their heads up and AREN'T sleeping.

Baby water buck

Warthogs actually have warts (OK, not really--it's just mud)


Baby leopards


Lion love

Baby cheetah and mom

Love the hippos

Hungry, hungry hippo

There were just so many animals

The fourth and final kill may need an asterisk, because a local bus pulled in front of us just as the kill happened. It was all the more annoying because half the bus's occupants were looking at us tourists and not the cheetah killing the gazelle, probably wondering what we were so annoyed about.

Locked and loaded

The kill (happening behind this *&%#! bus)

Gotcha--the gazelle was still wriggling

By the time of our visit, towards the end of the safari season, the predators were pretty well-fed. The lions and crocodiles were living the life but still didn't really make a dent in the huge prey populations. We were very fortunate to be able to see everything we saw. It was worth the 9-hour bus ride from Tanga to Arusha (and back) and do the kids really need to go to college anyway?


  1. Stunning shots every single one. Can’t believe the diversity of what you saw, truly amazing. Thank you, thank you

    1. Thanks for the positive reinforcement, Burl!

  2. Your pictures are really really great, all of them. It’s amazing how lazy the lions are most of the time.

    1. Thanks--glad Matt could use the big camera lens he bought for our first trip!

  3. I never get tired of safari photos!
    Africa is so incredible and you certainly had a wonderful experience. Makes me want to return to Arusha!

  4. Thanks, Marlene! You all had a pretty great trip too...

  5. Just catching up on all your posts. There may be lots of pictures that we've seen before but not by someone I KNOW! You really got to see so many animals in their native surroundings! So beautiful and awesome to witness! I am in awe of all you've seen and done!! Keep those "boring" pics and posts coming!!


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