Serengeti National Park

Elephant in the SerengetiMonitor lizard in the SerengetiBaboonLeopard resting in the bushesHippos in the SerengetiTwo Secretary birds fuss with their nest in the SerengetiAgama lizard at Seronera Wildlife Lodge
 
On our second full day we traveled from Arusha to the Serengeti. After breakfast we loaded ourselves into the Land Rover and headed for the local airport. Once organized with our tickets and baggage (maximum of 33 pounds per person), we said goodbye to Mohamed, thanking him for a great time in Arusha National Park, and boarded the small plane for the one-hour flight.

When the plane was loaded to capacity with 15 passengers, its twin engines revved smoothly and took us up into the clear morning air for our flight over the plains and the Great Rift Valley. Inside the plane the pilots talked to us from the cockpit about the sights below. There were no microphones; they just spoke loudly over the roar of the engines and propellers.

As we approached our destination ― a long dirt runway surrounded by flat grasslands in every direction ― we immediately noticed two things: a group of zebras lounging lazily on the runway; and a line of Land Rovers waiting to meet us. We quickly found our new guide, Robert, with whom we would spend the rest of our trip.

 

Serengeti National Park is a vast area that is bordered on the southeast by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. These areas are shown in green shading on the map at left. The dark line toward the top represents the border between Tanzania and Kenya, to the north.

Our first destination was the Seronera Wildlife Lodge, where Allen had stayed on a previous trip. It has an open-air design and is built in and around a formation of rocky outcroppings called kopjes (pronounced "copies").

Seronera Lodge is a welcoming shelter with very courteous staff and a charming assortment of agama lizards, hyrax and dwarf mongoose which seem to have the run of the place.

 
After leaving the Seronera area we traveled to the Ndutu area. Ndutu Safari Lodge is located close to the border where the Serengeti National Park meets the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Ndutu is shown with a red circle around it on the map. You can click the circle for a close-up. I think we would both agree that the Ndutu area and the Ndutu Safari Lodge were our favorites.

The Serengeti area is one of the most famous wildlife refuges in the world and it presented us with such a rich assortment of animals and natural beauty. To see a few more pictures from this area, click here.

One of our most cherished memories is of our early morning hot air balloon ride over the plains of the Serengeti. After the one-hour ride, we landed near an Acacia tree where the staff had prepared a full English breakfast ― eggs, sausages, fresh rolls with butter and jam, silver pitchers of tea and coffee, and platters of fresh fruit ― accompanied by bottles of chilled champagne.

Next on our itinerary was the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the famous Ngorongoro Crater. The drive up the side of the crater to our lodge was, at times, hair-raising! The dirt roads were narrow and bumpy and there were no guard rails to keep us from careening over the edge.

 

Early morning balloon ride over the plains of the Serengeti

 
                                                                                                                                           

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