This post shows some of the scenes we were fortunate enough to witness while wandering around the Western Corridor of the Serengeti. We were based at the Grumeti Tented Camp and were privileged to be able to shoot from a CNP/&Beyond 4×4 vehicle specially adapted for five photographers.
“Whatever we are waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance – it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.”
~ Sarah Ban Breathnach
The grandeur and space together with an abundance of wildlife make the scenes in the Serengeti breathtaking. One of the unanticipated benefits were the building rain clouds. The rains start in the Western Corridor in late March and April. The migratory herd follows the rains so they were making their way north from the southern part of the Serengeti toward the Western Corridor in early March. The great migration should reach the Western corridor around May on its way further north towards the Mara. Much of the wildlife synchronises with the rhythm of the region. Lions though breed all year round. This pair of mating Lions are likely to produce the next generation of cubs just after the migration has passed through this area, as the gestation period of a Lioness is around 100 days.
A small herd of Zebra was moving north through the red oat grass with a darkening afternoon sky as a backdrop. The atmosphere prickles with excitement when the African sky darkens like this, heralding an impending storm.
Generally, Zebra are peaceful but every now and then males decide that they have to sort out their differences and establish the hierarchy. This fight started with a little pushing and kicking but surprisingly developed into a full on battle where each fighter was trying to bite the other and not on the flanks or legs but each other’s neck and throat. The fight eventually broke up but it was one of the longest fights I have ever seen between two Zebras.
Family treehouse! This pride of Lion seemed to be very comfortable up in an expansive Balanite tree. The Serengeti is known for this kind of Lion behaviour. Higher up, these Lions catch any passing breeze. The Tsetse flies are less troublesome and the Lionesses adults can get away from their demanding small cubs. The trees also provide good lookouts. The Serengeti is flat so that a little elevation combined with excellent eyesight is an advantage.
Morning lounge! This pride had finished feeding on three Zebra which the adults had killed the night before. All of the pride members were just relaxing after what must have been a busy night of dining. There are not many waterholes around in this part of the Serengeti but there is the Grumeti river, and just to add to the excitement it is full of massive crocodiles.
“Not what we have but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.”
An afternoon view while looking for Lions. March is the month before the rains begin in earnest in this part of the Serengeti. The clouds built up every afternoon creating a wonderful dramatic blue background to the red oat grass.
Dawn on the Serengeti. I am not sure why but the dawn and dusk phases are characterised by a yellow-orange which looks yellower than we are used to in South Africa. There was a reasonable amount of moisture in the air so there was also mist in the low-lying areas at dawn. As the sun rose , the heat quickly removed the mist.
“To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one’s own in the midst of abundance.”
One of the attractions in the Serengeti is the abundance of Lions. On this occasion, we found two Lionesses with their new-born cubs. It was the last light of the day and the grass was lush and long. The cubs could only see above the long grass by climbing up on their mothers. Great maternal patience was exercised when these needle sharp teeth and claws dug into their necks.
This was not the main migratory herd but an advance column of Zebra and Topi. There is something very spiritual about seeing such abundance!
“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.”
~ Wayne Dyer
It had rained the night before. Now it was breathless, cool, quiet and fresh at dawn on the Serengeti plain.
Predator gaze! A lioness peers over the long grass in search of prey.
Late one afternoon gazing across the golden grass at the storm brewing in the distance, we treated to an incredible display of light and colour.
“I’ve always been one to love a good storm
The warmth of the air when a storm is brewing
The look of the clouds when they come rolling in
The rushing of the wind passed my ears
The feeling of rain falling on my skin
The sound of thunder and the flash of lightning
The warmth you feel when the sun finally comes out and life is calm again
How fast it can come and go …….”
A “tower of Giraffe” making their way down the hill towards a broad valley with many trees to browse on. You often see family groups but this was an unusually large herd of Giraffe at around 07h00.
Another afternoon storm where the cumulonimbus were releasing their bounty. Somewhat surprisingly, we heard little thunder and did not see much lightning. This was unusual given the size of those cumulonimbus clouds.
One afternoon, while we were watching the Lionesses with their very small cubs, we looked behind us and there was a build up of massive cumulonimbus formations which were pouring down on a section of the Serengeti way off to the west of us.
“Wind’s in the east, a mist coming in
Like something is brewing and about to begin
Can’t put my finger on what lies in store
but I feel what’s to happen has happened before.”
~ Bert in Mary Poppins
Another golden dawn across the Serengeti. It was a gloriously colourful start to the day. You have to pinch yourself because it is hard to believe you are bathed in this wonderful light.
A “wade of Zebras”.
A “tower of giraffe” wandering off at dawn.
Yet another afternoon looking off to the west. The colours were soft with diffused light after a rain storm a long way off to the west of us.
A herd of Zebra and Topi making their way slowly northward. There were plenty of Hyaena around but there were also many eyes.
We often got back to camp at last light. This was the view from my tent at dusk – paradise!
Given that the migratory Zebra have to contend with crocodiles in almost every river they have to cross, I would have thought this group would have been conditioned to be very wary of wading into the water. Somehow they knew there were no crocodiles in this waterhole.
The Grumeti river was wide at this point and bubbling with Hippo and crocodiles.
I saw more Eland (together) on this trip than I have ever seen before. On a few occasions we saw herds of over a thousand. Normally we would see small groups of up to 20 in South Africa. Like all Eland, these were very skittish so they did not allow us to get close.
Red dawn with the sun just starting to peek above the horizon heralding a new day on the Serengeti.
“Gratitude is the open door to abundance .”
An air-borne Impala ram racing between the towering Giraffe.
All girls! This was a large “waddle” of Ostriches and there was not a male to be seen. Nature invariably offers more questions than answers.
A large group of Topi and Zebra mingling together on their migration north following the rains.
A gorgeous start to yet another amazing day in the Serengeti where you are able to feast your eyes on such natural abundance.
This is a small selection of the scenes we were privileged to photograph. I wish more people could experience this incredible beauty, wonder and abundance because perhaps then there would be more appreciation for what we already exists and more readiness to preserve and cherish it.
“The universe operates through dynamic exchange… giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. and in our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.”
Explore, seek to understand, marvel at its interconnectedness and let it be.
Mike I never tire of your collections of photographs which always make me so thankful to live in Africa where it is still possible to see such sights. We are off to Eagles Nest at the end of the month so hope I shall be able to take some good shots. Kind regards Sue
Thanks Sue, we have a lot to be grateful for living in such a fascinating part of the world filled with huge wildlife diversity and wonderful scenery. I wish you a great trip to Eagle’s Nest and hope you get some special sightings and photographic opportunities. Have fun, Mike