Our international flight from London was to Nairobi where we stayed overnight at Serena Hotel. From there next morning we left for Amboseli which was a 4-hour drive. At Amboseli we stayed at the Serena Safari Lodge which is right inside the park on a higher plateau. The view from the lodge was fabulous and we watched elephants and zebras in the daytime below enjoying the African sun.
Amboseli National Park is in southern Kenya. The highlights of the park were its large elephant herds and views of Mount Kilimanjaro, across the border in Tanzania. We went out for safari twice and could watch wildlife which included elephants, giraffes, zebras and many bird species. Lake Amboseli is also inside Amboseli National Park where thirsty animals come in search of water and is a good place for finding animals.
In the evening we also enjoyed the traditional ‘bush dinner’.
This was adjacent to the lodge in the mid of acacia trees and in the presence of a group of scarlet-clad Maasai Morans (warriors). The lantern-lit dinner began with cocktails around the campfire. A six-course dinner was served which had different stations where food was being cooked on fire and assembled and serve, accompanied by a wide range of salads and vegetables. In the end dessert and coffee was served in midst of entertainment- songs and dances by Maasai. Experience was dine in the wild and safari-life at its best. We saw a hippo outside the boundary in the night. We were told that two days back people had spotted a lion during their bush dinner and they ran inside to take cover. The dining in the wild along with safari was one of the highlights of the trip.
The next day we made our way towards the city of Arusha at the base of Mount Meru. Official Border crossing between Kenya and Tanzania is through Namanga. We had to switch into Tanzanian vehicle and had arranged for a guide to meet us at the border to take us further. Our second safari was at Lake Manyara National Park which is a Tanzanian National Park located both in Arusha Region and Manyara Region, Tanzania. It was a great region for bird watching – pelicans, storks, flamingos and many other varieties. Masai giraffe, zebras, gazelles, dik-dik, blue monkey, hippopotamus were few animals of the animals which we saw there. We stayed at Lake Manyara Serena Lodge overnight.
Next day morning we drove from Arusha to Ngorongoro which was a 3-hour drive. Ngorongoro is the world’s largest volcanic caldera and home to one of the most beautiful places for natural wildlife safari. The crater is mostly open plain area and has a lake and a small forest. Large animals which we could spot included Eland, Lions, Elephants, Cape buffalo, black rhinoceros, Wildebeest and Flamingos. The natural pools there were a good place to spot hippos and in the forest part we could spot elephants.
Stayed for 2 nights at the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge.
Next day began with a 6-hour drive to Serengeti. We stayed there for 3 nights at Serengeti Serena Lodge.
For the next two days, we were up early and after an early breakfast boarded our jeeps for our morning game drive, came back in the afternoon and again back to the safari in late afternoon.
We saw so many lions the first morning – a family of three up in the tree, watching and another place taking naps on trees, pride of lions with their young. As we spot them many other 4×4’s also arrive ready to park, watch and take pictures.
Moving further, we came across a male and a female lying in the grass. Not long after, they both stood up, walked a short distance and began mating. The whole thing lasted no more than a few seconds. The male lion let out a loud roar and moved away. The female rolled on her back. Our guide told us that during the mating season they’ll repeat this every 15-20 mins and as all the safari vehicles waited patiently, it began again in some time.
The afternoon was as eventful as the morning and we could spot cheetahs– 4 of them in a group.
The next day we could watch “The Kill” – a lion killing a baby cape buffalo in front of the jeep. Few other lions joined. We left the spot to return after couple of hours and now found the jackals, hyenas and vultures also at the sight. In the end the whole body was cleaned up as nothing had ever happened there before.
At the beginning of the next day, we were hoping to see a leopard to complete our Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Rhinoceros, Elephant, Cape Buffalo) check list. A couple of hours in, our guide began driving towards some safari vehicles parked up by a tree. We pulled up, and looking up, saw a leopard right on the tree. We sat watching the leopard for a good fifteen minutes or so until it leaped from the tree and ran off.
Wildlife spotted here apart from the Big 5 were Cheetah, Wolf, Hyena, Baboons, Vervet Monkeys, Jackals and many species of birds.
We had seen and experienced everything we’d hoped for. We had booked our stay in all places at Serena Lodges which are right in the National Parks. They arranged the guides along with the safari vehicles for us. They also have evening entertainment which was always a pleasure to listen and watch in the evenings.
After the perfect finale to the African safaris, we were now ready to fly to our next destination – South Africa.