The Crater and two Serengeti locations

July 2010

As our peak safari season got well underway in early July, Arusha was a bustle of activity. The preparation of tents, Safari vehicles and camp supplies fills the streets and minds of everyone it seems.

The World cup was over and as the hunting season also starts then it was chaos everywhere. I’m content these days not to be involved with the panic that ensues! Organizing my own safaris and not having to supply camps and organize staff never felt so good. It is busy here these days, Arusha is a boom town!

I had organized a few safaris that I would not be leading so when I met my guests from Florida that I would be joining for the safari, it was with a certain air of coolness compared to many operators!

The main roads in and out of Arusha, the airports and main routes to the Serengeti were full of traffic. By organizing my travel times to avoid most of these build ups I managed to convince my guests that it wasn’t that busy here! We headed out to Lemala Camp on the Crater rim after a pleasant first night at Ngare Sero Lodge, spending two nights of comfort where we could get down into the Crater early - by 6: 15 am and enjoy it without the crowds. It was beautiful at dawn and we enjoyed the peace there that only an early start can give in July or August.

The Baboons in the Crater area love to pose.

And the elephants there eat thorns and climb steep hills

We moved on to the western edge of the Serengeti plains to stay at Asilia’s new camp Dunia which is, I believe, to be sighted here overlooking Moru kopjes for 10 months of the year. Great news as the location is a winner being away from the main tracks as it is. These modern camp are extremely comfortable and with only 8 tents , they are mostly very intimate as well.

The staff spoiled us and after exiting my guide tent which had been invaded by ants I was more comfortable in the guests tents! We were the only people in camp that night. Some of the staff here had worked at Oliver’s Camp so we all knew each other. And that’s always fun, more relaxing for the staff and more fun for the guests as the banter flows at meal times of course.

We spent a long afternoon with a group of giraffe and they became very curious

We then moved North to find the wildebeest migration which had travelled there earlier this season. Conditions were dry and this forces these herds to seek out the permanent Rivers in the north.

Olakira camp was enjoying its first season up in the North. This camp is normally sited near Seronera for the July- November period and I’m pleased that the planners at Asilia had decided on this new location at the confluence of two main rivers, The Mara and Bolagonja Rivers.

This lioness went on to kill three more in a frantic 45 minutes of killing

These two lappet faced vultures seemed almost in love- which these fighting martial eagles most certainly were not.

The Sand River area is stunningly beautiful and we enjoyed time with this wonderful cheetah one afternoon.

The camp couldn’t have been better placed and this also meant that we could explore areas were very few visitors would go. A third river – the so called Sand River-was also close by and here is where we spent a great deal of our time and were rewarded with good river crossings, one lioness killing 4 wildebeest in an hour, a black Rhino sighting and so much more – this all added up to a wonderful experience indeed. Olakira is a wonderful camp and certainly one of my favorites whether at Ndutu or this new and exciting location.

Paul