On the 2nd day, we stopped at Ngorongoro crater (which you have to pass through to get to Serengeti) to eat our lunch that Jimmy had packed so nicely for each of us. At the picnic location, several storks taller than myself and some overly aggressive kites greeted us. One of them stole Matt’s chicken leg straight from his hand. Damn thing scared the crap out of both of us. Then Matt thought he could reenact the situation and get it on video, but the crazy storks outsmarted him (and the kite wasn’t hungry anymore)!
The drive to Serengeti from Tarangire took us through Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which once you enter NCA there were plenty of things to see. The total drive was around 5 hours. We spent about 1 hour on the main roads and 3 hours inside NCA. We had to tack on an additional hour on the main road to stop and get a mechanical issue fixed. Once we arrived in Serengeti, we experienced our favorite sunset probably ever. We came upon a leopard climbing up and down a tree, and with the sun setting behind him it created such a dramatic scene. Our timing could not have been more perfect, and we owed it all to a mechanical issue earlier in the day.
The Serengeti campsite was packed. The previous night there were maybe five tents total at Tarangire, and now there were well over 50 tents pitched. It was crazy how much busier it was in Serengeti compared to Tarangire, and not only at the campsite, everything we did involved loads more people. The bathrooms did have hot water and both sit and squat toilets. The only animals we saw around the camp were a group of the banded mongoose that showed up to dig through the garbage and beg for scraps. They were hilarious and troublesome.
Serengeti National Park lived up to its reputation. We saw so many animals we couldn’t keep track of them all. The terrain compared to Tarangire was vastly different. Yellows, browns, and flatlands were as far as we could see. We encountered lots of lounging lions, and a pregnant lion that was so close to our truck we could have touched it (no way would we have, though). We even came across a few lions eating a water buffalo. This was when we wished smell-a-vision was a thing because the area stank of death and to top it off one of the lions took a dump right next to the carcass that didn’t help the olfactory situation. We saw jackals & hyenas galore, a leopard in a tree with its kill and three cheetahs relaxing by the roadside. The Serengeti was an endless plain full of beauty. We were headed back to Ngorongoro and excited to see what surprise lay in wait for us.
Serengeti National Park: is 14,763 sq km (5,700 sq miles) and located 335km (208 miles) from Arusha, Tanzania; stretching north to Kenya and bordering Lake Victoria to the west.
When to Go: Year-round; July and August for wildebeest migration across Mara River; February for wildebeest calving; June-October to see predators.
Why Go: Tanzania’s oldest and most popular national park, also a world heritage site, the Serengeti is famed for its annual migration. When some six million hooves pound the open plains, as more than 200,000 zebras and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle join the over 1.5 million wildebeest’s trek for fresh grazing. The Park is also renowned for its predators, especially its lions. Hunting alongside the lions are cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, jackals and more.
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* Thank you to Materuni Tours for providing us with a discounted safari. As always, our opinions are ours – honest, not biased and as we experienced.