|Is he sleeping?|
After three glorious days in Zanzibar (aka the Spice Island), Josh and I hopped two charter flights to the Serengeti. I say “two” rather loosely, because our second plane made about 4 alternate stops before landing at our final destination. Of course we managed to take off during a rare rainstorm, which made it feel more like we were flying in a giant yo-yo than a Cessna. Needless to say, I kept an eye on the very calm blonde kid sitting next to me. I figured, if he wasn’t worried I shouldn’t be either. And yes, the little blonde kid, with his eight years of experience, was correct in his composure, because in the end we landed safe and sound.
Our stay in the Serengeti consisted of two days on safari, which included a private guide that toted us around in some kind of Explorer (I don't remember the make, but I suppose it's not essential to the story). While en route to spot game and observe the wildlife, we got the most impressive lessons on nature, trees, animals and, most notably, natural selection.
|Hiding from the boys, no doubt!|
It seemed that no matter where we went, we saw a variety of antelope from Gazelles to Hartebeests to Impalas. On one side of the road we’d discover a bachelorette herd (a group of female antelope) and on the other side we’d inevitably spot a bachelor herd (a gawking group of male antelope). The set-up was not too unlike an eighth-grade dance. Boys and girls on opposite sides of the room, please. Within in each bachelorette herd was a dominant alpha male. However, if a random bachelor got the urge, he could fight the alpha male for dominance over his ladies. This is how nature ensures only the strongest genes are passed on—and as in all species, it gives men a reason to fight.
In addition to seeing antelope aplenty, we observed an array of exotic birds, from the beautiful lilac-breasted rollers to scavenger birds like vultures, as well as giraffes, zebras, baboons and cheetahs. But of course, nothing compares to the sight of the “Big 5 Game”. They are amongst the most sought after (and often the most rare to find). These animals include lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and rhinos. Fortunately, we saw them all because our guide was the MacGyver of the Serengeti—helping other safari mobiles out of the mud, testing wet ground for stability and locating game nearly invisible to the naked eye.
|Rollin' around in the grass|
When it comes to animals, I don’t like to play favorites, but I have to say the lions were the most intriguing to watch. (Out of 1,000 pictures, about 500 are of lions!) The first pride we spotted was situated high up on a rock formation. It was once again a scene from The Lion King brought to life. At the top of the food chain, the lions were the most composed, confident, suave animals in the Serengeti. I could write a blog on them alone.
I actually thought about how I might be able to board the plane with a cub in my suitcase. Would our landlord approve of a pet lion? Well, we didn’t leave with any animals, but we did leave with newfound knowledge, stunning photos and unforgettable memories from the trip of a lifetime.