We sit on our low balcony at the Olduvai Lodge looking out over the Serengeti and it is peaceful and beautiful. Two Thompson Gazelles wander within binocular range, they are a joy to watch. Petite, light on their feet and playful.We leave the Olduvai Lodge reluctantly but excited to go further into the Serengeti.
The Serengeti is dry and dusty. Whenever we cross paths with another vehicle, I call out “Truck!” and we all close our windows. The dust gets everywhere regardless.
After passing through the official gate, Pascal takes us to a known watering hole and we find five lionesses lolling by the water trying to sleep and stay cool. They are aware of each vehicle that arrives, but are not too bothered by them. We watch one and how heavily she is panting in order to stay cool. Lions sometimes go 7 days between killing and eating, the time spent mostly just laying around.
We spot two cheetahs in the low brush. Brothers. Male cheetahs are usually solitary, but two brothers will choose to stay together after they become adults. The wildebeests nearby are nervous and eventually move away.
It is a day for cats as we come across a tree that contains a leopard and the two gazelles that she has recently killed. Leopards will kill 2, 3 or maybe even 4 animals and only eat 1. They kill to kill, a hunter’s instinct. The leopard is hard to see high up in the tree but with binoculars we all find her and watch and wait. She stays in the tree and we eventually move on.
Soon after watching the leopard R realizes that one of the tires, the same one that went flat the other day, is flat again. Pascal hops out to check and confirms that it is flat, the tire fix he got apparently is not a very good one. We drive to a level spot slightly off the road and Pascal starts to change the tire. We are told to stay in the truck. Unfortunately, the jack will not lift the vehicle up with all of us and our luggage in it, so we climb out with strict instructions to stay right beside the vehicle. I think to myself, here we are standing in the Serengeti with a leopard not that far away looking down upon us! We should try not to look too tasty. Pascal gets the tire changed, we hop back in and are on our way.
We see more than just cats and are still enamored with mongoose, warthogs and all living beings on the Serengeti.
We end the day at the Kati Kati tented camp. More rustic than last night but charming in its own way with metal bed frames, wooden furniture, a campfire and delicious food.