Thursday, March 27, 2014

Southern Serengeti Calving Season

A Scene out of Disney's Lion King! A pride on a Granite Koppie!
Contrary to what many believe, the great migration never really starts nor stops ever. It is a perpetual movement of the mega herd of herbivores comprising wildebeest, zebra, and some species of gazelle. One of the main events on our safari schedule is the annual calving season during the months of February and March in the southern Serengeti. Here we caught up with the herd in a beautiful location in the southern woodland.  Africa’s quintessential plains meet with the woodland and create a feature-full landscape of flat topped Acacia woodland interspersed with scenic Granite outcrops. These Granite kopje’s adds additional flavor and on them we often encountered prides of Lions, scenes reminiscent of Disney’s the Lion King.

Quintessential East African Sunrise.
A chorus of Cape Turtle dove calls welcomed the day each morning as we travelled through the woodlands and we were treated to some of Africas most quintessential sunsets.

Our first afternoon had us photographing a pride of lionesses with no fewer than eight cubs all playing in the last rays of the setting sun. 
All the large predators were present in numbers and we even witnessed a pair of newly independent Cheetah siblings taking down a wildebeest calf. Lions with cubs playing in golden light, a large male leopard and animals beyond count all contributed to a very memorable trip.

One of the Serengeti Special endemics, a Grey Breasted Spurfowl greeting calling at the end of day.
A big highlight was upon our return to camp one evening our chats were interrupted by a lioness walking nonchalantly through camp. And being a group of photographer one would imagine at least one good image between the lot of us. But alas...nothing to prove the sighting. 

A Tawny Eagle taking off in early morning light. 
Something I personally take real pleasure from is the fact that birds of prey were present in both species diversity as well as numbers. And although it is difficult to do proper birding during a safari in one of the worlds predator hotspots I did manage to tick off more than 120 species.

The smaller predators such as this pair of Bat Eared Foxes also added to the remarkable diversity of wildlife.

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