Wednesday, 13 November 2013

#478 In the field: Africa . . . con't

Please start this series of posts with post #477.

Before meeting the artist group in Arusha and traveling to Tarangire, Trish and I arrived in Africa early and spent a week in Ngorogoro Crater and the Serengeti.  The name Serengeti means 'endless plains' and is derived from the Maasai language.

Below, a cheetah finds shade under an acacia tree in the beautiful Serengeti.

We had an excellent guide - named Bariki - who, like our guides in Tarangire, was extremely knowledgable about animals, plants, ecosystem, history, and every aspect of the African experience.   To my delight, he was an avid birder and could spot, identify, and discuss the many species we encountered.  Simply put:  He was a walking encyclopedia and we learned much from him.

Shown below is our guide, Bariki with Trish.  His tribe is located southeast of the Ngorogoro Crater . . . he spoke excellent English and traveling with him as a private guide was a profound learning experience.

Also pictured, is his favorite bird:  The Lilac-breasted Roller.  More than 500 species of birds have been recorded in the Serengeti . . . some of them Eurasian migrants which are present from October to April.

While in the Serengeti, we stayed in the bush in a tented camp.  The spacious, comfortable tent had a floor, bathroom, shower and exceeded all our safari expectations.  Shown below, is our tent, the interior, and a view of the dining tent from our porch.

We had lion and hyena in camp after dark and the Maasai kept a fire going and patrolled throughout the night.  
I'll never forget the sounds the animals made . . . they will remain with me for the rest of my life. 
A full moon added to the drama, and after the first restless night, 
an unfamiliar peace came over me and I accepted the situation in dreamy, sound sleep.

Below, the evening glow of kerosene lanterns added to the charm and ambiance in camp.

Our routine in the Serengeti began with an early breakfast and a game drive to nearby waterholes to experience the spectacular concentration of plains animals.  We returned to camp every day at noon for lunch as both we and the animals sought shade in the intense heat.  We stayed in camp for about 4 hours before returning to the field until sunset.  Below, a picture of zebras at a water hole and lunch with a welcome cold refreshment at camp.

Africa produces great beer; we enjoyed Safari, Tusker, and Kilimanjaro.

I used the 4-hour downtime during the heat of the day to work with my field guides, and, thanks to the immediacy of digital photography, draw in my sketchbook.  Trish and I each took over 10,000 pictures during our 3 weeks in Africa. The daily game drives were full of action and I did not spend my time sketching in the field with so much activity. 

Below, photographing from the open top of the Land Rover.  


We saw lots of different quadruped and bird species but when I think of the Serengeti, I think of the cats:  we saw many lion, leopard, and cheetah.  Although we saw elephants and we were ever mindful of our anti poaching purpose for being in Tanzania, Bariki reminded me that the upcoming trip to Tarangari was the best place to experience elephants.

Below, one of many lion photographs.

More about Africa in next Wednesday's post.

Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish Smith


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