February 2011 - A classic Northern Tanzania safari

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Each year in early February I host a group from The East Coast of USA. We know each other well and we celebrate together the beauty of Northern Tanzania at a time when Tarangire, The Ngorongoro Crater and The Serengeti Plains are green and lush, bursting with new life. Usually just a few of the group are on their first safari and we all enjoy their open eyed first experiences.

Jo Anderson joined me on this Year’s adventure and as Jo and I love working together my guests have a fascinating time. And a lot of fun! We started at Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge, went on to Tarangire and the Ngorongoro Highlands and ended with over a week in the grassland plains near Ndutu and Piaya.

We lost count of the number of cheetahs we watched, just how many times will this young cheetah kill a gazelle only to have these aggressive hyena take it away? A trio of males had more success. Bird, butterfly and moth life was abundant as well. Everyone was pleased. We enjoyed a just past full moon rise on one of our last evenings, way out on the plains, cold drinks in hand and a night drive back to our Piaya wilderness camp - it just doesn’t get much better.

Tarangire in the green season Camping in the Ngorongoro highlands Tarangire elephants and our camp in the Ngorongoro Highlands

Jo explains Is it an aqulia Juv Cape Robin Chat Jo explaining a highland grasslands principle and has he spotted an Aquila?  A Cape Robin-chat.

A Red Necked falcon takes flight A Red Necked Falcon takes flight near Piaya

A Barn Owl shelters A young male near Piaya GGC head

Vultures and Cheetahs battle it out

Wildlife young and breeding birds were everywhere we went but a chance encounter with one of Oldivai Gorge’s curators led to a once in a lifetime viewing of the Laetoli Footprints. This 3.6 million year old hominid track way was partially uncovered for two days and by sheer luck we were driving past the area on the second day, the only day that visitors were allow to view them. And by all accounts we were the only group of outsiders to see them that day! After a full hour there rain had started to fall and literally as we drive out of the site we heard the excavation team shout- ‘Quickly, let’s get them re-covered, this rain could damage them!’ How lucky we were to see them!

Trackway partially uncovered Trackway tools Trackway. Comparing the cast to the originals

Trackway prints Track way covered Trackway detail Only a few meters of trackway were uncovered, the rest remains undisturbed as in the central photo.

More info and images at

Next I was off to the Southern highlands- And a whole new world.