We flew from the Lake manyara airstrip to the Lobo airstrip and then was transported to Klein's Camp, which is located in the Northeastern Serengeti, surrounded by the Kuka Hills. This is a gorgeous spot, with rolling hills and the Grumeti River coming through the propertyt.
Klein's is a private reserve, not a national park. This means that safari vehicles are allowed to go "off road", therefore, coming much closer to the wildlife. You will see from the attached pictures, that we did indeed come very close!!
On teh way in, we encountered a leopard tortoisde and some colorful birds. let me apologize to the birders on this forum, for mis labels!! We did see some LBR, superb starlings, eagles, and some beautiful African flycatchers,. which were too fast for our camera!!
My hubby, Alan, was down with a bad cold, so he missed our beautiful encounter with two adorable lion cubs and their Mother on our first afternoon's drive. The landsacpe was awesome, with grazing impala, buffalo, and hardebeests. This is one of the routes of the great migration, and we even saw some stragglers of wildebeests galloping south!!
Klein's is an older lodge, considered "vintage". It was cozy and comfortable in our individual villas with king size beds, hot water bottles, and a lovely bathroom. Food was excellent, as well as service. The views from every room were breathtaking. I even tried my hand at sketching the scene with the colored chalks provided in each room. I will spare you my elementary attempt at "art".
The following morning, after the night's rain storm, we ventured out into the green pastures and mud. It was quietat first. We saw some ostrich and herds of ungulates. Then we went across a mucky area, and our vehicle was stuck!! Mud was splattering up all over us, and we all got hysterical laughing at this dumb situation. We got out of the vehicle and watched as our tracker, Mo, rocked the rover back and forth, following Maissy's (guide) directions. We hard him swear in 3 languages: Kiswahili, Maasai, and English :)
Finally, we were out. The rover looked like a US commercial for 4X4's, where dirt and mud are sprayed on for effect? but this was the real deal!!! Fun.....except, about 20 minutes later...
Mo saw a few lions coming down the hill, and we drove towards them. (not funny after being out of the vehicle for a short while beforehand) It started with one young male, then another, and more, until we counted EIGHT males and one female. This was a lion coalition that comes in and out of the Klein's area. Maissy told us they are probably cubs from a pride of females in the area...cousins who have hung around, hunting, and pursuing the lone female in their group. We watched them for quite awhile, and then went back for our breakfast.
Later that afternoon, we got Alan out of bed, and went to view the coalition again. This time we saw some wonderful interactions, including the males greeting each other by rubbing cheeks, and one of them trying to mate the female!! The most amazing was being within a few feet of four males who decided to nap together. Wait until you see those pictures!!
On the second morning, our drive showed us one of the males (alone) attempting to bring down a baby hardebeest in the high grass. We watched as the baby zigged and zagged , going directly for the lion's jaws! The mother hardebeest was so distressed...she just kept stamping around and staring. The lion leaped in pursuit, with a short burst of incredible speed, but the baby zigged just right, and got away!!! The poor carnivore had to settle for some leftover ostrich wings from the night before....
Later that day, I was able to go out to some local Maasai villages with Mo and Maissy. I had brought some basic medical supplies, school supplies and soccer ball. First we drove to Ololosokwan, where we briefly visited the "Daktari" in the clinic. He was SO grateful to receive the bandages, antibiotic creams, and Tylenol we brought. He almost came to tears, and so did I. I felt so helpless, watching him attempt to treat about 25 people with nothing...no supplies. Just a gentle touch and brief examination.
Next, we continued to the village further out, passing by many herds of cattle, goats and sheep, all tended by the children, who were on December school break. We reached the village where a new school had just been opened, built by donors and the Africa Foundation. I gave the village elders the ball and supplies. I was priviledged to have my picture taken with them!
We drove back to Klein's, and on the way into the lodge, Mo spotted a leopard in a tree...far away. I could just barely make her out with the binoculars. By the time we drove to the tee, she had gon. Oh well, another reason to return in the future...
More to come soon, from the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater!!