Serengeti’s spring rhythms

This is the last post from my Serengeti trip in September with CNP Safaris travelling around the western corridor in their wonderful specialised photographic vehicle. The Grumeti Tented Camp was absolutely superb and the staff were friendly and very attentive. Rather than give you too many words, I thought I would rather show you some of the rhythm, scenes and beauty we were immersed in for nine days in spring in the Serengeti.

“We go far to fill our senses with the unknown. The Serengeti strikes a primal chord with its rhythm and drama. Up before first light, excited about what the day will bring. Oh, and it is never the same. The story reveals itself through the colour, light and movement. You get immersed in a far bigger story being played out and you are privileged to witness a few scenes.”

~Mike Haworth

A king watching out for his hidden queen.

Early morning, cool, overcast and quiet, watching a herd of elephants unhurriedly making their way across the Nyasiriro plain towards the Grumeti river.

“Your vision, rather than just your seeing, displays a thousand or more possible paintings in the simplest things.”

~Andrew Baker

A Cheetah family below Masira hill. The mother and son resting, while the daughter kept vigil. 

Mother and daughter moving in the late afternoon. The male cub walked in the same direction but some distance away.

“Vision is not enough – it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.”

~Vaclav Havel

A dramatic sunrise penetrates the hazy early morning atmosphere.

High morning sun in an overcast and hazy sky.

A female Southern Ground Hornbill, not a raptor but a voracious avian hunter gliding over the plains.

Late afternoon and this troop of Olive Baboons was making its way back to the river where it was going to sleep in the trees for the night.

A pride of lions, “flat cats”, close to water and waiting for night when they can enact their deadly play. (double click on the panorama to enlarge it).

“The eye is the notebook of the poet.”

~James Russell Lowell

We got back to camp early one evening. This was the scene from the front of my tent. The evening chorus had begun with crickets chirping, nightjars trilling, Fish Eagles calling and lions roaring. There was also the occasional screech from a young baboon being disciplined as they settled down for the night.

Another pride of “flat cats”, sleeping in the afternoon shade after a hearty meal of zebra.

Open plains with plenty of room for a young giraffe to cavort.

A “gathering ” of giraffe assembled to intimidate two young cheetah – and it worked.

One lucky Black-backed Jackal which had managed to catch a scrub hare and was taking it back to his family.

While waiting for “flat cats” to get active, this was the scene from the back of the vehicle looking out towards Chamulio mountain.

Rested and now alert in the fading afternoon light. This lioness was scanning the landscape for her next meal.

Painted skies colour our imagination. New beginnings and a new day. A new story to tell and to treasure.”

~Mike Haworth

Early morning, out on the plains watching the new day dawn.

The Grumeti river in spate. This was September so not the rainy season but a good shower flushed the system.

Late afternoon with plenty of cloud around. The sky was illuminated as the last rays of light burst through cloud bank before the day gave way to night.

“Big skies to stretch your vision. The space to breathe deeply. Room for your senses to swim and your imagination to play.”

~Mike Haworth

Oh, that sense of space.

Unusual to see a pride on the move out in the open in mid-morning. Something must have disturbed them.

A panorama looking up the rise towards a herd of wildebeest and Thomson’s gazelle gazing peacefully (double click to see an enlarged view of any of the panoramas).

The dawn of a new day – pregnant with expectation and filled with promise.

An overcast and somewhat foreboding view of the Grumeti river around mid-morning. 

Later in the day, the Grumeti river in spate, a test for anyone or anything wanting to cross it.

A few of our distant relatives enjoying the spring blossoms in the verdant trees on the banks of the Grumeti river.

“Muddied in the attack. Feline warrior, armed with canines and claws. Independent, resourceful and fearless. Rest for there are more battles to come.”

~ Mike Haworth

A lone and muddy lioness resting after having captured and killed a warthog next to the water.

On the west side of the Grumeti river closer to the Kilawira range of hills.

“A huge other worldly ball rises above the horizon and pushes down the veil of darkness. This ball of blazing of colour will change everything, heralding a massive transformation at the start of each day.  This transformation which takes place in the cool and quiet is called dawn.”

~ Mike Haworth

A humbling view of the sun peering above the horizon and through the Balanites at dawn.

A minute or two after the sun has peered above the horizon. It was cool and quiet creating a sublime sense of being of alive.

A herd of elephants moving away from the Grumeti river. The herd was clustered together possibly because they smelt lions in that area.

Twisted, gnarled but still standing tall, waiting for dawn.

A family group of giraffe in an open space where they could relax and had a good visual of any encroaching threats. 

A young male lion, well sated, walking back to the edge of woodlands to rest in the shade.

A Tawny opportunist in search of meal as the pride of lions moved away from their kill.

There is something other worldly and spellbinding about watching the sun rise above the horizon. That ball of shimmering oranges and yellows rises like a phoenix out of the darkness below. The light heralds the change in shift, the cue for the nocturnes to settle down to rest and the light brigade to take up arms. Still cool and quiet, but warming and brightening.”

~Mike Haworth

An African sunrise with Balanites in the foreground.

It is difficult to explain the feeling, but the Serengeti fills your senses. There are vast open spaces with big skies giving you the feeling of being able to breath deeply.  It is a wild place where the rules of survival have existed for millennia. You are acutely aware that you are a visitor in this wild place and you need to respect its ways. The vistas will make your senses swim. The colours at dawn and dusk are spellbinding. The abundance and diversity of wildlife will refresh your soul. Visit this wild place for a few days and it will give you a window into a world of immense intelligence and structure which has a natural rhythm choreographed by the weather. So far humans have a minor role to play here but it is a critical role to preserve this wonderful spectacle and diversity for future generations to learn from.

“Nothing but breathing the air of Africa, and actually walking through it, can communicate the indescribable sensations.”

~ William Burchell

Explore, seek to understand, marvel at its inter-connectedness and let its be.

Have fun,

Mike

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