In the winter of 2019, Henderson Productions took a small group to Tanzania for a 14-day adventure. This blog series tells the story of the trip and our fellow travelers. Using our network around the world, we curated a tour to give us local connections and experiences beyond the normal tourist choices. For more information about our upcoming trips, subscribe to our newsletter.
We had finished breakfast and departed Acacia at 9 AM so by the time we entered Serengeti NP at 1 PM we were all ready for lunch. It would be another 1.5 hours, so it was time to pull out the snacks and chocolates. We shared cookies, nibbled chocolates from pockets and ate the last of the biltong jerky while scanning the horizon for anything and everything.
The lunch stop was nondescript except it showcased the large number of safaris happening at the same time since we shared picnic tables with at least 20 other vehicles. We virtually devoured lunch amazed at the combos we had put together and shared stories of the road as if we weren’t in a 3-truck caravan who could hand items to each other if we wanted every time we stopped.
Johnson popped the top up on the truck for our afternoon drive now that we were officially inside the park and we literally got a breath of fresh airflow just as the sun came out and our terrain went flatter and less dusty.
All oars were in the water as we scanned the horizon including a grey rock (L), a stick on a rock (D), a rock (S), etc. With each of us mistaking some 200 yards-away blob with something else, we were constantly and equitably laughing.
We did see a huge amount for the first day and D and I had a running front seat conversation about how to up the ante with each new find. “Oh, just a zebra. We only want to stop if they’re running in a pack.” “Hmmm, another Kori bustard – do they DO anything else except strut, Johnson?” “I think we need a herd of wildebeest running directly into a pack of gazelles bouncing the opposite direction like a battle reenactment.”
Late in the afternoon I restated my goal was to see a baby elephant and within 10 minutes it happened. So, D challenged me to tell Johnson what else I wanted to see. “Hey Johnson. I want to see hungry lions. We need that. Maybe yawning.” “Gimme 5 minutes. I will see what I can do.” And without getting on the radio, in less than 5 minutes he delivered us to four lionesses sleeping in a tree! Amazing. He might have set the bar too high as our combined joy and imagination has L cooking up kangaroo and panthers, tigers and lord KNOWS what else.
In short order and just as it began to sprinkle, we got baby monkeys, hippos, flamingoes taking off over a small lake and just as we were racing for camp – a water buffalo. Wow!
The Big Five are lion – check, cheetah – check, elephant – check, water buffalo – check and leopard – pending, but according to Johnson, good possibility. SUWEET. (Learned later I should replace elephant with rhino which would not be seen in the Serengeti but likely in Ngorongoro.)