August 2011. Two safaris in Northern Tanzania

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Specialist safari agents based in the UK, USA or in Australia often ask me to guide their guests here in Tanzania. I enjoy working with these agents as most are long time colleagues that have worked with me since the early Oliver’s Camp days. In short, we really understand each other.  The first of my two August trips stayed in Oliver’s Camp Tarangire, The Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and The Manyara Forest camp.  Hardly roughing it eh? We saw over 40 mammals and 200 bird species in 5 days. These days flew past. Southern Manyara is so very beautiful and quite healthy looking. The centre of this long Park wasn’t, it was unbelievably dry and we saw some very sad looking elephants, were charged by a confused young male lion and all life forms seemed so under stress. My knowledge was put to the test every minute by a 12 year old male guest who asked 100 questions at once, all day long! What a joy to share my time with such an inquiring mind. Every detail was written down and his note book was extremely full by the end of the second day. We discussed today’s mammal distribution Worldwide, the drifting apart of the continents, the demise of the dinosaurs, Island isolation, Darwin, Dawkins, Stephan Jay Gould and Jonathan Kingdon and how evolution works.
Encouraged by his Grandmother, uncle and father he rose to the intellectual challenge.

The Crater Lodge is unique A little bee-eater in great light

Baboons eat a lot of fruit Bushbuck were first called 'harnessed antelope' A blue monkey in Manyara

Zebra patterns A woolly-necked stork in Manyara

A male giant kingfisher in Manyara

The second trip started at Oliver’s camp and Tarangire was bursting with elephants. Next were two wonderful nights at Plantation Lodge with a Crater visit day. Everyone enjoyed the lodge comfort. The average age of my guests was a hardy 75+! Then we drove on to Dunia camp at Moru and surprise, surprise it was green. I was expecting dust and little grass. There must have been 150,000 Thomson gazelles around. Next was one of my favourite areas – The Nyamalumbwa Hills that are north of the Bologonja Springs in North Eastern Serengeti. With 3 rivers close by and altitude gains everywhere behind our private camp we were all entranced by the area’s beauty. Add to that the wildebeest migration moving through below camp and we were in paradise! We finished our safari with 3 nights at Olakira Camp near the Mara River in Northern Serengeti where wildebeest herds were crossing the River as we sat down for lunch that first day there, we felt blessed that Northern Tanzania was showing us all such natural history splendours. 

Young Crater male

This hippo got out of the way Male lion coming into his prime

Impressive teeth This replete male leopard was visited a number of times Crater hyena pups play fight

Dusk on our last night on the plains near Olakira Camp

I was out for over 20 days and enjoyed every single day to the full, August is such a special month. Tarangire had given us huge elephant herds, and Moru Kopjes black rhino with green landscapes covered in gazelle. The Nyamalumbwa Hills had provided private isolation and to finish the Mara and Sand River areas had been absolutely covered in wildebeest herds. The predators enjoyed had been varied, from a side stripped jackal to a wonderful male leopard, to lions and cheetahs almost everywhere we explored. The rain we encountered only made conditions perfect instead of wonderful so if you have never been here in August before, think again.

Manyara acacia sunset