Serengeti Trip 2011 | “L” is for Lobo, Leopards and Lions

Welcome to the Serengeti Trip series of blog posts! This series of posts covers the planning, packing and progress of a massive 70-day trip through 6 African countries early in 2011. The trip started on 20 January 2011 in Pretoria, South Africa, and is heading north through Botswana, Zambia and Tanzania to the legendary Serengeti National Park! From there the guys will head back south through Malawi, another part of Zambia and Zimbabwe… These blog posts are syndicated from the Official Trip Website.

Hi! I hope you all had a fantastic Sunday and that you enjoyed catching up on our weekend posts. We’ve had the most incredible day in the most incredible part of the Serengeti – Lobo, but before I tell you about our sightings, let me tell you about our campsite! We’re camping at Lobo public campsite and we’re the only people here. It’s located in a breathtakingly beautiful section of the park, which is really hilly and rocky, but not without open plains and tons of game. If you look carefully you’ll spot our campsite in the top right of the photo below, along with the Lobo lodge top left.

 

The area around Lobo with a herd of topi in the foreground

The campsite feels the wildest we’ve stayed in yet, probably because we’re alone, but also because we saw so many animals close by today! Right now there’s a group of buffalo and a spotted hyena right outside the little thatched shed we’ve retreated into.

 

Okay, you must be dying to know what we saw today!? Well, the morning started off relatively slow, but as always we saw massive herds of zebra along the streams. Then Ji (who’s becoming the master spotter!) noticed a figure on the bank of a small river. No, there were two! It was a couple of lionesses who had taken interest in the strings of zebra that were now walking past them in the background. We must have sat with them for nearly 90 minutes, but the zebras never came close enough for them to give it a go… On the way back to camp Ji spotted another leopard – this time a young female resting on a rock not more than 5 minutes from camp.

 

Two lionesses stalking zebra

Back at Lobo public campsite we used the opportunity to wash our clothes and take a 3-hour nap!

 

After our exciting morning drive we set out for an afternoon safari full of expectation! Again it started slow, but then we found a large herd of 200 buffalo. Whilst we were caught in a battle with what seemed like a million tsetse flies I spotted two silhouetted figures on a fallen branch ahead of us. Lion cubs! We passed the two playing youngsters to get golden sunlight on their bodies when two more cubs appeared from the left. The four siblings played in front of us for a while before we noticed an adult female no more than 30 metres behind them. And then another one. And then another one! But this lioness was way over on our left, busy stalking more zebra!! And then a male arrived!! It was lion-madness!

 

Two of the four lion cubs playing on a fallen tree trunk
One of the massive, healthy lionesses
The lion family

To make a very exciting, but long, story short – the huntress waited patiently and flat on the ground for nearly an hour without any success. The zebra just wouldn’t come close enough. The rest of the lion family watched her lying in the grass the whole time, until she finally gave up just before sunset. At this stage they all came together, except for the male, who stayed next to our car. He looked like he would be good in a bar fight! He watched us intently and almost didn’t let us pass on our way back to camp. Speaking of which – just before we reached the campsite we found yet another leopard in the road! This time an adult female. She was extremely relaxed and on the move. Watching her walk past our car (without any other vehicles around) and into the last bit of light on the horizon was pure magic… I’m so glad we decided to stay an extra day…at Lobo!

 

The perfect ending to the day!!!

 

I hope you enjoyed today’s post! Have a wonderful week!!

 

Villiers

 

Highlight of the day:

Villiers: The second leopard sighting

Ji: All the lions

 

Lowlight of the day:

Villiers: The climb up the stairs at Serengeti Migration Camp at 06:00 – with ALL my gear, and more, over my shoulders.

Ji: That the zebras didn’t come closer to the lions!


 

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