Maps are deceiving in Africa. A drive that would appear to take 3 or 4 hours… is 7! Today we drove a bone-rattling 7 hours from Lake Eyasi to Serengeti National Park.
The Serengeti is enormous. At 5700-square miles (14,763-square kilometers), it’s about the size of Connecticut. Even though it’s the dry season, there’s no shortage of animals. Just on the drive from the front gate to our campground (granted, that drive was 1.5 hours!), we saw the following:
- African Elephant
- Grant’s Gazelle
- Maasi Giraffe
- Red-headed Agama
- Savanna Baboon
- Superb Sparling
- Thomson’s Gazelle
Travel Tip 16: Do not drive yourself!
You’d be pretty foolish to drive yourself in the Serengeti, but we did see some foreigners doing just that. The roads are extremely rough; you will likely breakdown at some point. It’s very difficult to navigate the area with few signs. Every Acacia tree looks like the every other Acacia tree. Hire a safari company with an experienced driver/guide.
Travel Tip 17: Safaris aren’t for young children.
There’s a tremendous amount of driving involved in an African safari. If you fly to Arusha – the jumping off point for most safaris in Northern Tanzania – it’s 11 hours to the Serengeti. In addition, the game drives – usually one in the morning and one in the late afternoon – typically last 3 hours each. It’s hard on young children. I wouldn’t take a child younger than 9 or 10 years old.
Travel Tip 18: If your budget allows, fly to the Serengeti directly.
There’s a landing strip in the Serengeti. It isn’t cheap to fly into the park, but it does save you a lot of time in a Land Cruiser or Rover.
Ngorongoro Valley on the way to the Serengeti
Maasi village in the Ngorongoro Valley
Zebras and wildbeests outside the Serengeti
Zebras and wildebeests are often found together.
Maasi giraffe outside of the Serengeti
This is a female giraffe. You can tell because her neck hair is long. A male has short neck hair that stands up.
Giraffes have eyelashes. Who knew!
Great pattern on the Maasi giraffe
Entering the Serengeti
Ostriches are bigger than you’d think.
Giant feather duster
Gideon fixes our first flat tire. Fortunately we were at a rest stop.
Aidan, Shellie, and Nathan arrive in the Serengeti.
Look at the colors on the Superb Starling!
Grant’s gazelles have a tan stripe on their sides.
Profile of a Grant’s gazelle
Thomson’s gazelles have a black stripe on their sides.
Thomson’s gazelles in the grass.
Check out the eyes on this Thomson’s gazelle.
Our first of many African elephants
The elephants photograph best with their ears out.
Zebras on the move
Zebras cluster like this when they feel threatened. It’s suppose to confuse the enemy.
Zebras on the savannah
Warthogs kneel to reach their food. They have very short necks.
Elephant at the watering hole
Yes, this baby elephant is taking a leak in the watering hole!
If elephants are so smart, why do they pee where they drink?
We first met this baboon sitting outside the campground bathrooms. Note: don’t mess with baboons!
This is a small sampling of the 24 baboons that crossed in front of our campsite shortly after we arrived.