Serengeti Plains and Ngorongoro Crater

Posted by on Mar 14, 2013 in Africa, Play-by-plays, Tanzania | 0 comments

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I expected the Serengeti to be pretty much identical to the Masai Mara, but to my surprise, the vegetation and terrain were very different and we spotted more animals doing way cooler things so I’m very glad we got to go. Having been to both parks, I’d even recommend the Serengeti over the Masai Mara based on my experience–the land is more varied so if nothing else, the photos turn out more amazing.

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We managed to spot all 5 out of the “big 5” of the animal world: elephant, leopard, buffalo, lion, and black rhino. The big 5 is named so because they are considered the toughest five animals to hunt on foot. Now of course there are conservation efforts to save all these animals, particularly the rhinos, a favorite of the poachers. Not sure how much each horn goes for, but our guide claims it is $40mln due to the demand from the Chinese. The poaching is worse in Kruger in South Africa; apparently 650 rhinos were killed there last year.

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Our first night we were stargazing at the campsite, when someone asked us if we were watching the giraffe. We thought the guy was joking, but lo and behold, there was a giraffe chewing on some bushes right there, his silhouette clearly highlighted by the moon. That’s the best part of camping instead of staying at lodges–you are literally in the middle of nowhere with the animals.

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Most of the animals we got to see up close which was amazing. We saw two giraffes fight, which frankly looked like flirting, a pack of lions devouring a carcass, a zebra breastfeeding, two hippos grunt open-jawed at one another, a monkey playing with itself, several animals going to the toilet, an elephant’s ummm… 5th leg, and much much more. So is post is again more of a collection of the most representative photos. And thanks to some of my tripmates some of whose photos I borrowed.

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The account of the Serengeti would also not be complete without learning more about the Maasai people who inhabit the area here an near the Mara in Kenya. We visited a village in Tanzania and learned about them from our guides. One of the most salient points we remembered was that the men take many wives, as many as their cow possessions can afford. The richest man has allegedly 200. Yus took these words to heart, checked his bank account, mentally converted dollars into cattle and realized the best he can do is us: we can be persuaded with beer and it is far cheaper than cows. Family portrait of Yus + wives below.

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