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Serengeti National Park, TanzaniaSerengeti National Park is famous for the annual migration of over one-million animals that mostly takes place within the parks boundaries. Our primary reason for visiting the park was to witness this epic spectacle, as it is AbsoluteVisit #4. However, Serengeti NP is a wonder on its own, even without the great migration passing through it. In this post we are going to show you all of our favorite memories from our visit to the park, not including the migration. That will come in a separate post soon
Our visit here was really a continuation of our journey through Masai Mara in Kenya the previous week. The two parks are connected and their dual existence is only because of the political border between Kenya and Tanzania.
The landscapes were certainly different between the two parks, Masai Mara being hilly and the Serengeti being flat, endless plains. Masai Mara felt manageable in size, while the Serengeti seemed to go on forever.
The Serengeti was certainly more crowded and seemingly more developed as a park than Masai Mara (the crowds are possibly related to the migration being south in the Serengeti when we visited).
Masai Mara held the unique advantage that the fine in the park for drivers leaving the official roads was much less than in the Serengeti. This turned out to be a big deal and something everyone should consider when booking a safari. In Masai Mara when we spotted a cheetah 100 meters from the road, our drivers would go off the official road and take us within 10 meters of the cheetah. In the Serengeti, if the formal roads don’t take you closer to the animal, you don’t get closer. This of course impacts your ability to see the animals up close. You probably will notice that we don’t have as many closeup photos in the Serengeti as we do in Masai Mara.
The one similarity between the two parks is the unthinkable concentration of incredible animals. While on safari there aren’t any guarantees of what you are going to specifically see, but you are absolutely guaranteed in both of these parks to see loads of animals living naturally in the wild, impressing you deeply with every trivial movement they make.
We’ve compiled our favorite scenes from our time in the Serengeti below. We hope the images help you see just how real the Africa Safari Dream is. It might seem hard to believe, but we promise it will get even better when we share our experience sitting in the middle of the Serengeti Migration with you. Stay tuned!
Serengeti Hippo PondOur favorite spot in the park besides watching the migration was this incredible hippo pond we stopped at for an hour. There were more hippos in this small pond than you could count. They were sleeping, farting, yawning, walking, pooping and just flat out living right before our eyes. We didn’t think any hippo spotting would top what we saw in Chobe National Park, but this absolutely did.
Pride of 25+ LionsWe were nearing the end of our ~40 days in Africa. By this time we had seen lions numerous times in the wild, but never quite like this. Driving out of camp early in the morning we ran into a pride of 25+ lions. Never before in a park had we seen a group of animals that appeared so in charge of their destiny. What animal on the planet could possibly get in the way of this strong pride?
Lion ClubhouseAfter seeing 25+ lions gathered together, the sight of a single lion really didn’t do it for us anymore. Lucky for us, just as our sensitivity to these great predators was waning, we spotted a group of lions hanging out up in an acacia tree. We’d seen plenty of leopards up in the trees, but seeing lions in the familiar leopard-like poses seemed very odd. We’re not even sure that the lions were comfortable with it. They all really took their time looking down at the ground before ultimately making the leap back down to the Serengeti grass. It felt like watching at 10 year old standing on the diving board at the pool for the first time, displaying very little confidence in his ability to make it back down to earth safely.
Leopard Kindergarten RecessWe saw a couple of leopard cubs playing on a dead tree. Unfortunately we never spotted their parents, but at least we got to watch the two play around without a care in the world for a good hour or so.
Finally a Hyena SpottingThe one animal that we struggled to see up close in Africa until this point was the hyena. Hyenas are nocturnal, making them very difficult to spot during our daylight game drives.
Leopard RelaxationTowards the end of our time in the Serengeti we spotted a single leopard relaxing in a big tree. These guys are certainly one of our favorites to photograph. They display such deep emotion in their eyes.