April in the Serengeti

April 2007

[2007/200704_masek_crossing_2.jpg] Last April I raved about the Serengeti plains experience, it was wet and the grass very green indeed. This April the dust created by huge herds of wildlife heading into the Ndutu area could be seen for miles. Not a normal April but then is the weather normal anywhere? Massive movements like this usually happen in May-June as the rain finally stops and the herds head south and westwards toward Moru Kopjes and Seronera. There is plenty of grass around-that is not what drives the migration, it’s the quality of drinking water available, and that is the driving factor. We watched as tens of thousands of wildebeest came to these lakes – almost every few hours-try the water, reject it as it is too high in minerals to drink, and then some seemingly commit suicide by trying to cross the lake. Some walk around while others head back the way they came.

[2007/200704_masek_crossing.jpg] Two of my four guests had been with me on safari three years ago and as they are all busy people they could only get away for 6 nights in total.

Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge either side of four nights at Ndutu Lodge was the plan - go to the best place - and stay there!

With dry conditions being forced upon us and that wonderful ingredient for a safari, namely “English Norfolk humour”, we couldn’t fail.

We enjoyed leopards, lions, cheetahs with cubs, a caracal, and lots of elephants, also massive lake crossings of both Masek and Ndutu by the wildebeest herds with their calves. The hyena clans as they wait to pick off a wildebeest calf were everywhere, many groups 20+ strong. No small wonder that only 1 in 5 of these calves will return to the plains next April.

[2007/200704_hunting_lionesser.jpg] [2007/200704_water_lion.jpg]

[2007/200704_cape_teal_with_young_and_a_curlew_sandpiper.jpg] These scenes of massive migration usually happen in May or early June as the Serengeti plains dry out fast. Please don’t believe web sites that tell you when these scenes will happen. It is different every year. No one can predict. Will they turn about and head back to Piaya? Will it rain again? ……..Will Manchester United win The Champions League? Will these Cape Teal raise all their ducklings?

[2007/200704_tusk_flowers_1.jpg] I enjoyed some of the most awe inspiring wildlife scenes of my 24 years visiting the Serengeti. April? Best kept secret of the Serengeti year, whatever the weather!

Oh before I forget-please vote/lobby against any proposals to reinstate the trade in ivory! Some African Countries including Tanzania are lobbying to downgrade the African Elephant from appendix 1 to 2 under the CITIES Convention. I will write more on this soon.