Sunday, August 21, 2016
Norongoro is a caldera (19km wide, 260 sq. miles) with stunning views from the crater rim and a super abundance of wildlife on the crater floor because of the the presence of water. The caldera was formed two/three million years ago when a volcano exploded and collapsed on itself.
Saturday, August 20, 2016
The Serengeti is an enormous savannah with wetlands and ancient volcanic rock formations stretching as far as the eye can see. We encountered cheetahs and lions close by, as well as elephants, giraffes, hartebeests, monkeys, hippos, topi and many birds.
Tarangire reportedly has the second largest concentration of wildlife in the world next to the Serengeti. It also presents spectacular scenery, including large stands of Baobob trees. The Tarangire river flows even in the dry season, providing attraction to wildlife of all sorts. Spectacular birds were in abundance. We also came across the Anaconda digesting his meal(see reptile post)
Thursday, August 18, 2016
The Maasai heritage is famous for the view that God gave them all of the cattle in the world so they have a right to take any cattle they come across. The rustling tendency apparently has now disappeared. The Maasai maintain their herding way of life, with cattle, goats, and sheep in flocks over a large expanse of land near the safari areas. The flocks are taken out for grazing and water during the day and then returned to the village and kept in protective pens (against predators). It seems many of the herds were tended by children. During our visit to a Maasai village all of the live stock was absent as were most of the older children. The Maasai are known for their colorful dress, their dancing and high jumping(for men).
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Leaving very early from our hotel we traveled by dirt/rock roads and then by dried up river bed to reach the site of a Hadzabe tribe camp. The tribesmen were gathered around their campfire talking among themselves, having cooked their breakfast earlier. The tribeswomen and their children were gathered around their own fire: the children were eating a porridge like cereal. After some time the men started another fire (to light their marijuana pipes) demonstrating a skilled fire by friction technique. The Hadzabe is an aboriginal tribe, essentially hunter/gatherers, that have not changed their ways since pre-historic times it seems. They total approximately 1000 members scattered over a wide area in Northeaster Tanzania. We went on a small hunt with them and they later performed a tribal dance, joined by the women and children. We also tried out their bows for target practice.
Saturday, August 6, 2016
The Datoga tribe remains one of the tribes tenaciously holding to their tribal ways. We visited a family compound to see their home, how they grind corn for polenta, how they work primitive metallurgy and their corral for their cattle/goat herds. The cattle herd was just returning after a day of grazing and watering outside the compound.
Friday, August 5, 2016
A python was curled in the tall grass digesting a recent meal, apparent from it's very enlarged body. The snake was not fully visible but obviously formidable. A puff adder was seen crossing the road, rather small but reportedly very dangerous. An alligator was seen in a river in the Serengeti. And then we marveled at the Pink and Blue Agama seen at the Serengeti entrance.
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
There are a large (very, very large) number of weird and wonderful birds in the savannah. This album presents the "snap shots" made during our safari. A trip specifically looking for birds is warranted to capture the true grandeur and variety.
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Ostriches were pretty much everywhere, Tarangire, Serengeti and Ngorongoro. They were visible from a distance, particularly the males as they stood out as a black mass on the horizon. The males also have a striking pink neck and legs in contrast to the females subdued grays. The females feathers were none the less striking
Friday, July 29, 2016
A waterbuck was seen just after entering Tarangire and several the next day, a mature adult male and a young male. Their horns are spectacular, their shaggy coat and white markings quite handsome. We also saw a very young waterbuck in Ngorongoro, perhaps a female as there was no sign of horns.
A tribe of baboons were seen in Ngorogoro spread over the savannah. They were near some fruit trees that most likely served their food needs. Along the road outside the conservation areas we saw a tribe of baboons nicely located near the road edge waiting for handouts. There was also a tribe resident at the entrance gate to the Ngorogoro Conservation area. Here they have a habit of entering the safari vehicle through open widows to check out any available food. We watched as a mother with her young riding on her back enter a vehicle and emerge with a banana and box of crackers. The banana was gone immediately (no peeling) and the crackers were consumed up in a tree. We watched the cracker packaging material float down from above.
In Ngorongoro there were numerous Spotted Hyenas looking and laying around, certainly enough to make a pack or two. When in Serengeti at the tented camp an escort from the kitchen area to the tent was required after dark. Using a flashlight the escort scanned the bush and a retro-reflection from Hyena's eyes were seen although we never saw them in the daytime in the camp. The Jackals in Ngorongoro were very agile, they appeared and then were gone into the bush. The Serval cat was a surprise. We watched him approach along the road and then head into the bush, pouncing on some small prey.
Thursday, July 28, 2016
There were huge herds of wildebeests in Ngorongoro, grazing and heading for the water source in the crater. From the crater rim we looked at a vast plane with lakes and rivers but little evidence of wildlife. As we descended more and more of the wildlife were apparent. The extent of the wildebeest herds became apparent and they made a striking contrast against the mass of flamingos on the lake. There were also a lot of spotted hyenas just laying around (or waiting opportunity) and jackals prowling, and of course wild looking birds among a great host of other animals.
Thompson and Grant Gazelles were numerous in Tarangire, Serengeti and Ngorogoro. Early one morning leaving the tented camp in Serengeti there was a newborn Thompson's Gazelle, still wet, on the ground below her mother. We watched as the baby first stood tentatively and then with a little more confidence. The herd of Grant's Gazelles were gathered under the shade of a tree in Serengeti. Dik-dik's were seen in Tarangire: small, well camouflaged and cute.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
In Tarangire the Impalas could be seen every morning grazing in the savannah across from the tented camp along with Zebras and other animals. The Impalas were prevalent in Tarangire and Serengeti. Often there is one male that oversees a lot of females and the youngsters. The males exhibit beautiful long curved antlers. The females are without antlers.
The Topi's, Elands, and Oryx's did not linger near our safari vehicle. The Oryx was somewhat unusual to observe and we did this from some distance although it's long straight antlers were clearly seen across the savannah. The Topi's antlers are shorter and with beautiful rings along with it's elongated head, large ears. The Elands gathered under the shade of some trees with a very large (presumably) male in attendance.
Monday, July 25, 2016
Late afternoon in Tarnganire we came across a large heard of Cape Buffalo next to the river. The view was spectacular. The buffalo were also plentiful in Serengeti with a young calf taking a hard look across the water. The buffalo often huddle around trees to take advantage of the sparse shade. In Ngorongoro a buffalo had just finished a mud bath.
Sunday, July 24, 2016
Warthogs according to our Guide/Driver Moroso have a face that only a mother could love. We actually found them endearing. The Warthogs were pretty abundant. They sometimes kneel on their front legs to get closer to the ground while foraging. They spend the night time in burrows under the ground for protection and emerge in the morning. They have a lot of burrows in their territory and choose one on a first come first serve basis. The males have much larger tusks than the females.
Friday, July 22, 2016
Zebras were in abundance. They teamed up with the water buffalo as they can see very well and the water buffalo could hear well. The combination resulting in a better defense against predators. In Ngorongoro there were large herds of Zebra in combination with Wildebeests and every now and then one Zebra would go down on the dusty road and roll over, a dust bath. The young Zebras' had brown and white stripes, the brown a result of brown fur that wore off or shed as they grew older.
Elephants were seen in all of the areas we visited. They apparently eat all the time to support their size. There were elephants of all sizes, the young elephants with their mom being compelling. The elephants often topple trees so that can get to the upper branches and we did watch one elephant push over a tree and then started to cow-down on the now accessible branches. Trees knocked over by the elephant were all over.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
In Ngorongoro there were a lot of hippos, 15 plus, hard to count as they keep emerging and submerging in the water. This was at the site we had lunch both days when we were in the crater. The second day there were a number out of the water so had a pretty good look. There were also hippos in Serengeti, although not as concentrated.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Monday, July 18, 2016
Sunday, April 10, 2016
Recent trip to the Peruvian Amazon produced an album of photos and a photo story "Amazonia 2016." Most of the photos in the story were made with my Nikon point and shoot camera. I have also used a number of photos provided by our trip leader, Freddy Avalos, in the story. The trip was spectacular, incredible natural environment, tremendous flow of water in the upper Amazon, exotic (for us) animals, birds and insects, and an insightful look into the lives of the river peoples.
My full album of images can be viewed here here
My full album of images can be viewed here here