Here's a sunrise over the Serengeti plains...
anushsh has made this his screensaver....so this is dedicated to him!
Our safari started on a high note, with this sighting of a CHEETAH, which had just killed a gazelle and was dragging it to a good place for the feast....
(Remember, I said that none of my cheetah shots are close-up or good!)
Another "typical" shot that I got was the Masai, walking for miles in the vast landscape, amongst the eternal grasses of the Serengeti...
Another "typical Africa" picture is of the GIRAFFE amongst the FLAT-TOP ACACIAS....
and just for fun, I got these "giraffe front-and-back" pics:
We saw several more (hundreds!) of the SOCIABLE WEAVER BIRDS:
Here's the DIK-DIK, talk about doe-eyed beauty!
Some more of the TOPI (mother and child, who is a young adult) came into sight:
Here's the WHITE-BROWED COUCAL;
And another of my favourite mother-and-child shots, this time of the OLIVE BABOON:
some IMPALA were grazing nearby:
Soon a large herd of ELEPHANTS crossed the track:
And here's one of them having a snack on the go....
Here's a young one having a dust-bath:
At one point, we saw a kill that the main predators and the hyenas had finished with, and the VULTURES had moved in:
A MARABOU STORK is on the left-hand side, hoping for some pickings.
It was not an amicable distribution of the spoils, lots of bickering went on:
If you look carefully, you can see, in the photo above, both the WHITE-BACKED and the LAPPET-FACED VULTURES. We never got to see the critically endangered LAMMERGEIER VULTURE.
We saw several LAPPET-FACED VULTURES homing in on the kill:
And many MARABOU STORKS in the acacias around, waiting to come in, too:
There were some RUPPELL'S GRIFFON VULTURES around, too:
Other birds that we saw included the GROUND HORNBILL
the HELMETED GUINEA FOWL
the AFRICAN LOVEBIRDS, making lovely dots of colour against the sky(they were pretty far off, though!)
I was able to get a better shot of the AFRICAN FISHING EAGLE:
and one of the LONG-TAILED FISCAL SHRIKE:
Here's the AUGUR BUZZARD...
the AFRICAN GREY HORNBILL:
Some WHITE-HEADED BUFFALO WEAVERS, which accompany the AFRICAN BUFFALOES everywhere, picking ticks off their backs and feasting on the seeds and insects the animals' hoooves churn up:
The BATELEUR EAGLE, however, kept such a distance that only such silhouetter shots were possible:
Here's a RED-BILLED STORK in flight:
And a GREAT WHITE PELICAN:
And there was another BARE-FACED GO-AWAY BIRD posing for us; for all that their name said, they never went away, and we kept sighting them!
We stopped for lunch at the Serengeti Visitor's Centre, which also has a small hillock giving a view of the endless space that the word "Serengeti" actually means.
There we found a TREE HYRAX in the middle of a bush:
There were colourful Masai shawls on sale:
Later, we were lucky enough to see another CHEETAH, taking its ease in the shade...also somewhat far off, though...
As if to remind us that the savannah is not always a haven of co-existence, we would see sights such as this HIPPO SKULL (though Huruma told us it might have died of natural causes, too.)
Another amazing thing was the very heavy, unseasonal rainstorm which prevented us from leaving on time for the evening safari on the second day; but the plus was that several animals came out on to the road because of the rain. We had an excellent sighting of the BLACK MAMBA (will try and get a pic from my brother in law!) and we saw these PYGMY MONGOOSE:
and this BLACK-BACKED JACKAL:
We went to various parts of the GRUMETI RIVER; and each scene was a special sight. We started with the BLACKSMITH LAPWING, which we call the PLOVER in India:
There was another of my favourite mother-and-child images, this time a EUROPEAN GOOSE and her gosling:
Then, of course, our eyes were drawn by the HIPPOPOTAMUS:
Here are three of them:
But hippos were not the only animals in the water...we soon realized some of the patterns in the water were pretty deadly...
Here are some more shots of the CROCODILES...the water had eyes, and teeth:
Near the water, we saw many SWALLOW-TAILED BEE-EATERS, too..
I took a snap of this un-id' fruit on a creeper:
And took a quick macro shot of thie BUTTERFLY on an ALOE VERA flower:
We then proceeded to see several tocky outcrops in the savannah, which, Huruma told us, are called "Simba Kopje" (Lion Rock) as very often lions sit on them to sun themselves as they scan for prey....and promptly, as if to oblige us, we saw one beautiful lioness taking her ease, sunning herself on a rock!
And, at the end of the day, we found this LION well-feed and sleepy, barely wanting to lift his head to register our presence...he promptly rolled over and went to sleep..and was still there after half an hour when we passed back that way!
I will wind up the Serengeti pictures with this delta image of the vulture in flight: