Posts Tagged ‘zebra’

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? — it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”- Jack Kerouac, On the Road.

Sharing the road -- Photo by Kim Perrin

Maggie and I are on the road today, traveling from Ogden, Utah, back to Lake Walcott State Park. I’ll try to write a post later today about our first night-time safari drive. 

In the meantime I thought you might enjoy these photos of  a couple of our drives with Bilal in Tanzania. Then if I don’t get back to blogging again as promised, I won’t feel so guilty.

I must say I liked sharing the road with these travelers much better than 18-wheelers.

Zebra crossing -- Photo by Pat Bean


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 “A journey is best measured in friends than in miles.” Tim Cahill

Morning pickup at the large Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge was somewhat of a traffic jam. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

African Safari

Our morning started early, supposedly with a packed breakfast. We thought Bilal would provide it, and he thought we were supposed to pick it up at the lodge before we left, which is the most likely.

Anyway, it was a day without breakfast, although thanks to another guide whom we met up with during a wildlife watching stop we did get coffee. He had brought some along for his two safari clients and was kind enough to share.

Zebras enjoying a patch of green grass in the crater. -- Photo by Pat Bean

His passengers were a delightful Irish couple, Des and Karen. Des had bought an African spear souvenir, and joked that he wanted to be able to protect his own woman and not have to depend on the guide.

The remark jogged my memory about Bilal’s comment about women guides, and so I asked his fellow guide what he thought about the idea.

Mom and young wildebeest. We would see a lot more in Kenya where most of the wildebeest had already migrated for the season. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Oh they would be too scared,” he replied, echoing Bilal’s comment.

Karen, meanwhile, commented that Des actually bought the spear “to protect his beer from me.”

After we parted from our friendly interlude with the other safari team, Bilal began seriously searching for the rhinos that supposedly make their home in the Ngorongoro crater. I say supposedly because we never saw any.

Sacred ibis -- Photo by Steve Garvie

The crater is one of the very few places left in Africa where one can see black rhino, and the fact that we couldn’t find any brought home the fact that this species has been dwindling significantly in recent years.

Bilal, who kept muttering “no rhino” all morning seemed more disappointed than we were. He was on the radio frequently quizzing fellow guides in the area, but everyone it seemed no one was seeing any rhino .

One of the black rhinos in the Ngorongoro Crater that we didn't see. -- Wikipedia photo

But what we did see this morning included wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, elephants, hyenas, lions, buffalo and jackals. The latter always came in pairs with one leading and one following. Bilal said the female is always in front.

“She leads the male.”

The morning’s drive also turned up another nine life birds for me, as well as a lot of those I had already seen. Some of my new birds were now becoming old friends that I recognized on sight without the help of my bird field guide. That make me feel good.

Ruppell's griffin vulture -- Photo by Rob Schoenmaker

Bilal, however, was still bemoaning the lack of any rhino sighting when he dropped us off for lunch back at the lodge. I don’t remember what we had, except that it was good and Kim and I ate enough to make up for our skipped breakfast.

Bird Log of New Lifers: Rufous-tailed weaver, grey-crowned crane, black-bellied bustard, chestnut-bellied sandgrouse, Ruppel’s griffin vulture, sacred ibis, black-headed heron, wattled starling, and common stonechat. Aug. 26, 2007, Ngorongoro Crater.

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 “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value ..” – Maya Angelou

One of Lake Manyara National Park's famed tree-climbing lions. -- Wikipedia photo

African Safari:Where the Wild Things Are

At the entrance to Lake Manyara National Park is a sign that reads: “Take nothing from the park but nourishment for the soul, consolation for the heart and inspiration for the mind.”

The next few hours would provide Kim and I with plenty of all three.

As a normal rule, lions don’t climb trees. But if we were lucky, we were told, we would see some tree-climbing lions in Lake Manyara National Park.

Southern ground hornbill.

We were lucky.

And along with lions sprawled out on tree limbs, we saw oxpecker birds gleaning insects from the backs of giraffes, watched the comical antics of baboon families, including one small one that would taunt his bigger cousins then rush back to his big male papa for protection.

We saw a few lingering flamingos of the millions that feed on the lake before migrating elsewhere, and dozens of colorful birds. And we came across zebra and gazelles dining together, with a few keeping watch for lions and cheetahs that wanted them for dinner.

Zebras and gazelles dining together in a grassy plain area of the park. -- Photo by Pat Bean

In fact, I don’t think there was even a single moment during our afternoon game drive when we were out of sight of wildlife going about their business. So accustomed to Land Rovers were they, that we were totally ignored, which would not be the case, Bilal warned us, if we were on foot

Lake Manyara, named after the Masaai word manyara for a plant that is used to grow stockades for livestock., has a quite diverse habitat, which accounts for its broad range of species. The landscapes go from lake to jungle, and includes an acacia woodland forest, open grassland, and a swamp.

Lesser flamingoes at Lake Manyara -- Kuru Travel photo

At one of our stops, we had southern ground hornbills strutting around on one side of us, giraffes on the other side of us and both elephants and water buffalo nearby.

I didn’t know which way to look, but I think the hornbills got the majority of my attention. These large black and red birds have voices that some say sound human.

And according to a Masaai  folk tale, their conversation is as a man speaking to a woman. He says: I want more cows, and she replies: You’ll die before you get them.

Next: A wild race to the park gate

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