Africa XV: Nomad Tours Day 3, Game Drives!

I’m very excited to share with you all the details of my Africa (Kenya/Tanzania) trip, and hopefully it helps you plan your own trip, encourages you to visit these places, or at the very least teaches you about another culture in another part of the world. I loved my Africa experience. To catch you up on my trip, check out all my Africa posts:

Africa I: Planning Logistics + Budgets + Immunizations + Clothing/Gear + Getting There
Africa II: Kenya Stop1, Baby Elephants
Africa III: Kenya Giraffes, Karen Blixen and Artcaffe
Africa IV: Arriving in Moshi + The Good Hope School
Africa V: Kilimanjaro Details
Africa VI: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 1
Africa VII: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 2
Africa VIII: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 3
Africa IX: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 4
Africa X: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 5
Africa XI: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 6 and 7
Africa XII: Nomad Tours Day 1, Visit the Snake Park
Africa XIII: Nomad Tours Day 2, Off to the Serengeti
Africa XIV: Nomad Tours, Our First Game Drive

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Last I left off, Erica and I were with our Nomad Tours group for our Serengeti & Zanzibar 10 Day Trek South, where we had our first game drive on the Serengeti! We had finished the night by hanging out with 10 lions, so could today match that awesomeness?

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We took off in the morning to go looking for animals. That’s one of our trucks above. The best game drive times are early in the morning and near sunset. In the high heat of midday, they tend to sleep so there’s just not much to see. We will take a lunch break around 11:30 and then nap and go back out around 3pm.

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Look at these cuties above.

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Looking for hippos and seeing Marabou storks.

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Here’s another very large bird, the Secretary Bird. This one is about the height of a deer.

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After bird watching we stumbled upon a cheetah! How cool!

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We drove a little further down the road and saw ANOTHER cheetah and this one had a little cub (so adorable) above.

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They were walking around and showing off their muscular bodies. These cats have such  long bodies and run really fast.

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We weren’t the only ones watching the cheetahs. It’s funny how you can spot lions, leopard and cheetahs just be looking for where all the trucks are.

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Turn cheetah, please turn! Look at those spots. I can’t stress how fun it is searching for these animals, finding them and then just watching them exist.

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Later in the day we were driving and I spotted far off in the distance, 3 elephants headed our way. We pulled over and let them come to us.

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Look at that adorable baby elephant! So cute!

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We went back to where we saw 1 hippo the night before… do you see any above? Do you see like 100? They are all huddled together, probably for warmth. Check out this video I took of hippos. They are hard to spot since they look like stones in the water, but you can hear them as they make loud noises. Check it out:

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We saw lots of hyenas running around. They are the size of a large dog, but their sharp teeth make them look intimidating plus they have the spots of a cheetah. It’s like a dog and a cheetah mated to make a hyena.

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We stopped by a visitors center mid morning (clean bathrooms!) and took a look at their animal exhibits.

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They did a really nice job making this facility.

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There were a ton of these little guys running around outside the museum. I imagine their predators don’t come near the building since there are so many people walking around, so these guys have the run of the land.

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Not long after leaving the visitors center, we turned down a road and spotted a leopard hanging from the tree! I had no clue that when you look for leopards you’re supposed to look up! This sleepy leopard was hanging from the tree and the closer we looked we noticed….

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On the upper left branches is an animal that the leopard just killed and snacked on. When leopards kill they drag the carcass up to the highest part of the tree to save them for later and keep other animals from eating them. Selfish leopards.

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We looped back to the hippos as it was approaching lunch time and they came out of the water to lay in the heat of the sun.

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Later in the day we came back out and stumbled upon a spot with nonstop elephants coming through.

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One elephant in particular caught our attention. We watched him separate from the group and drink water from the pools in front of our truck.

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While we watched this guy drink, several groups of elephants walked through behind him.

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After drinking water he crossed over and walked right over to us. We were dead silent.

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As he looped to the back of the truck, and we thought he was leaving us, he turned around and looked right at us…

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And snorted! You can see the dust around his head from the snorting. I’m sure in elephant speak he was sizing us up and seeing if we were a friend or predator. We must have passed the test in our complete silence, as he turned back around and continued on his way.

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We drove around and managed to catch up with him again while he snacked.

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We decided to give him a break, as we were around him for a while, and we continued on our way.

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We passed a ton of buffalo, which is one of the Big 5!

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The buffalo were fun to watch since the travel in big herds and often had young little ones with them. They also often had birds on their backs.

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We continued on and saw more sleepy lions hiding in the tall grass. The one on the left rolled onto his back. So cute.

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We started to head back in for the night and passed these two ostriches. The male is the colorful bird on the left and the gray/brown ostrich on the right is a female. I like to think these two are a couple.

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Time for another beautiful Africa Serengeti sunset. Just incredible.

We headed back in for the night at this point. The next morning we spent the first chunk of the day game driving in the Serengeti before we visited a local Maasai tribe and made our way back to the Ngorongoro Crater.

Next up: more game driving on the Serengeti!

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