Day 7 SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK, KOPJES AND CHEETAH BABIES

As we say good bye to Ndutu we realize these days been jam packed!  We’ll miss this place.

10_ndutu

Along with the amazing animals we’ve seen on the game drives, we have the Fisher’s Lovebirds that filled the waterhole outside the lodge’s dining area.

10_fishers_lovebirds

Our our own private chameleon living in the euphorbia at the main entrance,

10_chameleon

And leaf bats kind enought to hide under a roof eve each day so we can watch them sleep…..

10_leaf_wing_bats

We are leaving the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and moving to the Serengeti National Park—the original Big Sky country and a whole lot of open range.  

11_serengeti

We head to our next camp at Lobo Wildlife Lodge, near the Maasai Mara in northern Tanzania.  This is near the Kenya border. We hope to catch up with the migration there.  

Dotting the open plains, we come upon kopjes (coppies).  These are ancient lumps of volcanic rock—granite or another outcroppings substantially harder than the rocks around it—pushed up from the earth’s core millions of years ago.  As the land eroded, they became exposed and began to split and erode to form beautiful “stacks” of rock in the middle of the open range.  Their name is derived from the Dutch word for “little head.”

11_kopje

We circle a beautiful kopje and find a mother with two baby cheetahs barely visible in the grass.

11_serengeti_cheetas__mom

Cheetah cubs are gorgeous!

11_serengeti_cheeta_baby

A bit farther we find a lovely lioness in the grassland as she stalks a herd of Cape Buffalo.  By herself, this will not be easy pickings.

11_serengeti_lion_stalking_buffalo

As we enter an area with some streams, we find two lion cubss perched in a tree.  One posed and one slept, oblivious to us.

12_cubs_in_tree_1

In the same area, one of our guides spots a tell-tale sign in a tree: a sleeping leopard.  They are almost impossible to see.  He saw the long straight tail hanging down as it slept.  Pretty cool!

13_leopard_in_sausage_tree

All this before our lunch on the road.

14_lunch_on_the_trail

Toward the end of the day we take a short detour to a hippo pool with 50-60 hippos.  One male submerges a female during mating.  (Most activities take place in the water.  Although they can run very fast, they are a semi-aquatic animal.  Their closest living relatives are cetaceans–whales and porpoises.)  

15_mating_hippo

However, another male decides to object and a fight erupts. 

15_hippo_fight

Their mouths, and teeth, are huge.  Hippos are known as the most dangerous animal in Africa and we can see why.  One big fellow backed away and the ruckus ended quickly.

12_hippo_mouth

We arrive at Lobo very late in the afternoon. What a place. 

16_lobo

Built into one of the most beautiful kopjes in the Serengeti, it was designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright to merge with the surroundings.  The setting is magnificent.  

17_lobo_under_lights

They had all sorts of interesting artifacts.  I had some fun with a giraffe skull in the bar.

16_giraffe_skull

Hydax are all over the rocks.  These are small, shy herbivores.  They are not rodents. They are closely related to elephants.  These are the same creatures we called dassies in South Africa.

17_hydrax

Tomorrow we hope to find the herds of wildebeest and zebra migrating across the Serengeti.

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