Serengeti National Park is the ideal place to spot the big five: elephants, lions, leopards, Cape buffalo, and rhinos. You can take a road trip from Arusha to the Ngorongoro Crater, a grassy crater outside the park that’s home to a huge concentration of game.
This appeared in the November/December 2014 issue.
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Is that a leopard!?!?
We luckily spotted this leopard up in a tree as we were driving back from an all-day game drive. As we stopped and were watching, we actually noticed that the leopard dragged its kill up into the tree with it. Our guide said that we were so lucky....he had never seen that before.
It was getting dark and we were on our way back to our camp, trundling along in an open Range Rover when we spotted these lions. We slowed some and I managed to frame the shot just as they all turned to look. It's one of my favorite photos.
On safari, my group almost didn't realize how many lions were shading under the tree. From a distance, it looked like a cub or two and a couple lionesses. But as we drove closer off the assigned road (which is kinda not allowed!), we realized a decent sized pride was lounging under the trees; the lionesses were relaxing and the cubs were being playful as usual. Definitely worth the investigation.
Of all the large mammals in the Serengeti, including the big cats, hippos are actually the most dangerous to humans in this environment, and this guy looks it. The reason is that hippos come out of the water at night to forage in the bush for food, and early in the morning, before the heat sets in, they make their way back in. The water is their home, and they are very territorial about it, so if you happen to find yourself somewhere between a hippo and his pool, you might be in trouble!
Having a beer and watching the sunset in the Serengeti
I'm not a big fan of sunsets. I think they are overrated and a big anticlimax. But watching the sunset in the Serengeti after a day of game viewing was a mesmerizing experience. There's nothing quite like an African sunset in the bush.