.I have to admit that a large portion of the drive from Ngorongoro to Serengeti is a bit of a bone-jarring, dust-laden beating but it all fades away once you reach Naabi Hill Gate and climb the rock kopje for a first view over the vast plains of the Serengeti.
After entering the park we headed east towards Namiri Plains in search of cheetah and were rewarded with many sightings including an impeccably handsome male walking alongside the vehicle before posing in the grass for his photo-shoot. An unsuccessful chase gave us a glimpse of a younger male’s speed. Then heading back towards our camp in central Serengeti we passed through large herds of elephant.
Our overnight stay at Kati-Kati, a simple budget camp gave us an up close and personal hyena experience with several lolloping through camp during dinner and the sound of them whooping and cackling all around throughout the night broken only by the sudden shrill warning trumpet of an elephant followed closely by a snarling lion roar. Not my best night’s sleep but the boys slept deeply through the whole party.
A dawn game drive rewarded us with a huge male lion lying on the road who gazed at us scornfully with his golden eyes and yet another leopard sleeping in a tree. Later in the day we watched around thirty elephant drinking and spraying water to then suddenly be surrounded by the herd who froze unmoving for what seemed like eternity (but was in reality about 7 or 8 minutes). The one tusked matriarch facing us just 10 feet away while even the members of the herd grazing further away stood like statues. Our hearts raced as we breathed shallowly and tried not to move, even the birds seem to fall silent, waiting.
Finally the matriarch swung her trunk and stepped forward to cross the road in front of us and the whole herd started to move away. Who knows what unheard messages they were hearing but we felt we witnessed something deep and ancient.
Another night in Central Serengeti at the very comfortable Kiota Camp rounded out our stay in this best known area of the park.