Tanzania - African Wildlife in the Serengeti
Travel pictures from Tanzania
by Günther Eichhorn
The Serengeti is the quintessential park for African Wildlife, probably even more than Kruger National Park in South Africa. It came to the worlds attention when Bernhard Grzimek and his son Michael made their epic film "Serengeti darf nicht sterben" (Serengeti shall not die). I remember seeing this film as a child, and ever since wanted to see the Serengeti. Finally I was there in 2009. It was spectacular!!
The Serengeti is mostly open grassland with some acacias. Around the water courses is more vegetation, with brushes and palm trees. Some areas are a little more wooded.
The wildlife is extraordinary. I saw all the larger animals that you can expect, except rhinos. I was especially happy that I saw Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). I ended up seeing seven cheetahs, including a mother with four young cheetahs, who were dining on a Mountain Reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula).
The Leopard (Panthera pardus) that I saw had killed a Reedbuck and hauled it up into a tree. He was sitting in the tree with his meal.
I saw quite a few Lions (Panthera Leo). A couple of them were walking around a caravan of observation cars, completely ignoring them. I saw one lioness with a radio collar.
There are a lot of African Bush Elephants (Loxodonta africana) in the Serengeti. At one time I saw an aggregation of something like 100 elephants.
The Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) move around a lot, making their epic Wildebeest Migration. They were currently at Lake Ndutu, where I saw some of the herds. I even witnessed a Wildebeest stampede, they were spooked by some Spotted Hyenas (Crocuta crocuta).
Grant's Zebras (Equus quagga boehmi) usually move in the same areas as the Wildebeests. I saw a migrating herd of Zebras in the same area as the Wildebeests.
The Grant's Zebra does not require (but still prefers) short grass to graze on. It eats a wide range of different grasses, preferring young, fresh growth where available, and also browses on leaves and shoots from time to time. A zebra's digestive system works quickly and can extract more protein from the fibrous and poorest plant parts. Thus zebra are less picky in foraging but they do spend much time eating. Only after animals like zebras have cropped and trampled the long top grasses, which are low in protein, do the other grazers like Blue Wildebeests and Thompson's gazelles move in to eat the newly exposed and more nutritional short grasses.
A saw the various gazelles and antelopes (Thomson's Gazelles (Gazella thomsonii), Grant's Gazelles (Gazella granti), Impala (Aepyceros melampus), and others). I even saw Eland Antelopes (Taurotragus oryx), the largest antelopes. The Eland are very shy and don't let you get close. My guide told me that the reason for that is the fact that they don't have much running endurance, they can't run away from predators for too long. They therefore avoid anything that they don't like and don't let anything come close.
And then of course there are the birds. The number of bird species was astounding. I saw a lot of raptors, there is a large number of eagle species in the park for instance. My favourite was the pygmy falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus), the smallest raptor in Africa.
|Springhare (Pedetes capensis). This is a strange looking animal, it looks like a cross between a hare and a kangaroo. Unfortunately I didn't get a sharp picture at night with the Springhare running. (381k)||Yellow-spotted Rock Hyrax (Heterohyrax brucei). (619k)||Yellow-spotted Rock Hyrax. (529k)||Banded Mongoose (Mungos mungo). (680k)||Banded Mongoose. (778k)|
|Günther's Dik-dik (Madoqua guentheri). (757k)||Grant's Gazelle males (Gazella granti). Note the white tail. This distinguishes them from Thomson's Gazelles. (595k)||Grant's Gazelle males (Gazella granti). (494k)||Thomson's Gazelles (Gazella thomsonii), note the dark tail. In the middle is a Grant's Gazelle with the white tail. (613k)||Thomson's Gazelle male. (738k)|
|Bohor Reed Buck (Redunca redunca). (547k)||Bohor Reed Buck. (675k)||Bohor Reed Buck. (657k)||Impala harem (Aepyceros melampus). The male is on the right. (890k)||Impala harem. (871k)|
|Impala male. (608k)||Impala male. (638k)||Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus). (834k)||Closer view of the Waterbuck. (656k)||Herd of Hartebeests (Alcelaphus buselaphus). (595k)|
|Hartebeest. (374k)||Eland Antelopes (Taurotragus oryx), the largest antelopes, among a herd of Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus). They are very shy, they don't let you get close. (405k)||Heat reflections of a herd of migrating Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus). (365k)||Migrating Blue Wildebeest. (622k)||Migrating Blue Wildebeest. (607k)|
|Migrating Blue Wildebeest. These were walking through Ndutu Lake. It is a soda lake, so the water is not drinkable. (494k)||These got spooked by our car. (471k)||Blue Wildebeest coming out of the lake to continue their migration. (493k)||Moving from the lake up the hill. (636k)||Migrating out of the Ndutu Lake valley. (738k)|
|Migrating out of the Ndutu Lake valley. There are frequently Grant's Zebras (Equus quagga boehmi) with the Wildebeest. (636k)||Blue Wildebeest with babies, mixed with Zebras. (715k)||Wildebeest walk in single file most of the time. (624k)||Blue Wildebeest Stampede. They got spooked by some Spotted Hyenas (Crocuta crocuta), and just kept running. There were hundreds of them running past us. (736k)||Migrating Blue Wildebeest with babies. (539k)|
|Resting Blue Wildebeest. (690k)||Blue Wildebeest with baby. (598k)||They looked at the water, but the soda lake has no drinkable water. (511k)||Closer view of Blue Wildebeest. (634k)||Migrating herd of Grant's Zebras (Equus quagga boehmi). (454k)|
|Mixed herd with Grant's Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, and Eland Antelopes. (466k)||Grant's Zebras, with a female Impala and Warthogs in the background. (765k)||Grant's Zebras. (751k)||Grant's Zebra with baby. (854k)||Close-up of a Grant's Zebra. (604k)|
|Fleeing Warthogs (Phacochoerus africanus). (467k)||Warthog mother with baby. (634k)||Three baby Warthogs. (611k)||When Warthogs run, they point up their tail. (738k)||Their tusks are formidable weapons. Even Hyenas make respectfully way for a Warthog. (731k)|
|These tusks are even bigger. (683k)||Vervet Monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus). (574k)||Vervet Monkey. (658k)||Vervet Monkey. (479k)||Vervet Monkey climbing in a tree. (454k)|
|Troop of Olive Baboons (Papio anubis) in a tree. (876k)||Olive Baboon. (645k)||Grooming Olive Baboons. (495k)||Olive Baboon in a tree. (434k)||Baby baboon. (504k)|
|Nursing baby Baboon. (441k)||African Crocodiles (or Nile Crocodile) (Crocodylus niloticus). (633k)||African Crocodile, showing its teeth. (725k)||African Crocodile in the water. (531k)||African Crocodile in the water. (486k)|
|Maasai Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi). (882k)||Maasai Giraffes. (810k)||Running Maasai Giraffe. They look awkward, but can run pretty fast. (499k)||Feeding Maasai Giraffe. (703k)||Close-up of a Maasai Giraffe. (461k)|
|Close-up of two Maasai Giraffes. (557k)||They can look over the tree. (521k)||Giraffe with baby. (588k)||Herd of African Buffaloes (Syncerus caffer). They come sometimes in large herds, but more often there were just a few together. (475k)||African Buffalo with Warthogs in the back. Both have Yellow-billed Oxpeckers (Buphagus africanus) sitting on them. (927k)|
|African Buffalo in a wallow with two Yellow-billed Oxpeckers. (746k)||African Buffalo just out of a wallow with three Yellow-billed Oxpeckers. (834k)||He was staring at us again. Buffaloes frequently stared at us, which was a bit disconcerting, since they are pretty aggressive animals. (777k)||Close-up of an African Buffalo. (603k)||A group of Hippopotamuses (Hippopotamus amphibius), with Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis) standing on their backs. (549k)|
|Closer view of the Hippos. (514k)||Another Hippo pool. There is a dead Hippo in the background. (691k)||Close-up of a partially submerged Hippo. (468k)||Hippo on land, playing host to a bunch of Yellow-billed Oxpeckers. Hippos are said to be the animals that kill most humans in Africa. They are very aggressive and territorial. (575k)||Hippo showing its teeth. (535k)|
|Fighting Hippos. (512k)||Dead Hippo. There is an African Crocodile behind it, presumably trying to feed on the Hippo. (616k)||African Elephant Herd (Loxodonta africana). There were about 100 Elephants in that area. They sometimes migrate together. Individual families are much smaller, usually only on the order of 10-20 Elephants. (785k)||African Elephant family walking, with several babies. (623k)||African Elephant family, finding shade under a tree. (786k)|
|African Elephants. (592k)||African Elephant mother with baby. (671k)||Elephant baby. (723k)||Adult Elephant. (716k)||Feeding Elephant. (725k)|
|Feeding Elephant. (685k)||Close-up of an African Elephant. (631k)||Elephant flapping his ears. (516k)||Close-up of feeding Elephant. (749k)||Close-up of feeding Elephant. (911k)|
|Close-up of an Elephant. (536k)||This Elephant lost part of its trunk. I was wondering how he was feeding, but he seemed to be in good shape. (532k)||Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta). (691k)||Running Spotted Hyena. (675k)||Cheetah mother with four cubs (Acinonyx jubatus). They had just finished feeding on a Reedbuck. Cheetah don't keep an animal that they have killed (like Leopards do). They eat their fill and then they move on. (690k)|
|Feeding Cheetah. You can see the carcass. (729k)||Cheetah cub. The cubs were about nine months old. (543k)||Cheetah mother. (738k)||Cheetah mother watching. (688k)||Cheetah cub affectionately greeting the mother. (595k)|
|Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). (836k)||Yawning Cheetah. (803k)||Close-up of a Cheetah. (671k)||Leopard (Panthera pardus) in a tree. (713k)||Leopard in a tree. (666k)|
|Leopard in a tree. (536k)||Leopard. (672k)||Leopard. (719k)||Leopard. (766k)||Lion couple (Panthera leo) greeting. (596k)|
|Two male bachelor Lions. (680k)||Young male Lion. (584k)||Female Lion. (603k)||Male Lion. (653k)||Close-up of young male Lion. (764k)|
|Close-up of young female Lion. (654k)||Female Lion drinking on the road. (768k)||The Lions walked right past all the cars, completely ignoring them. They just don't realize that there is food on top of those cars (528k)||Female Lion, right next to the cars. (705k)||This Lion was up in a tree. That really must tick of the Leopards, since normally Leopards are safe from Lions in a tree. (759k)|
|Collared female Lion. (553k)|
|Weaver bird nest. (790k)||Hamerkop nest (Scopus umbretta). I saw a similar nest in South Africa. I finally saw the bird itself in Benin. (714k)||Bird. (518k)||Chinspot Batis (Batis molitor). (493k)||Black Coucal (Centropus grillii). (589k)|
|Silverbird (Empidornis semipartitus). (444k)||Eurasian Roller (Coracias garrulus). (451k)||Beautiful Sunbird (Nectarinia pulchella). (677k)||Magpie Shrike (Corvinella melanoleuca). (394k)||Juvenile Northern White-crowned Shrike (Eurocephalus rueppelli). (632k)|
|Northern White-crowned Shrike (Eurocephalus rueppelli). (434k)||Ring Necked Dove (Streptopelia capicola). (649k)||Lilac breasted roller (Coracias caudatus). (462k)||Diderick Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx caprius). (482k)||White-headed Buffalo Weaverbird (Dinemellia dinemelli). (520k)|
|Flock of Superb Starlings (Lamprotornis superbus). (546k)||Superb Starling. (552k)||Superb Starling. (357k)||Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles exustus). (675k)||Two-banded Courser (Rhinoptilus africanus). (652k)|
|Golden-tailed Woodpecker (Campethera abingoni). (552k)||Little Stint (Calidris minuta). (506k)||Chestnut-banded Plover (Charadrius pallidus). (471k)||Blacksmith Plover (Vanellus armatus). (681k)||Black Crake (Amaurornis flavirostra). (625k)|
|Juvenile and adult Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus). (461k)||Ruff Sandpiper (Philomachus pugnax). (373k)||Fisher's Lovebird (Agapornis fischeri). (796k)||Brown Parrot (??). (542k)||Coqui Francolin (Francolinus coqui). (695k)|
|Grey-breasted Spur Fowl (Francolinus rufopictus). (585k)||Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca). (731k)||Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris). (987k)||Helmeted Guineafowl in a tree. (852k)||Close-up of a Helmeted Guineafowl. (583k)|
|Red-billed Hornbill (Tockus erythrorhynchus). (818k)||African Grey Hornbill (Tockus nasutus). (598k)||Van der Decken's Hornbill (Tockus deckeni). (430k)||Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis). (432k)||African Spoonbill (Platalea alba). (499k)|
|Black Headed Heron (Ardea melanocephala). (624k)||Goliath Heron (Ardea goliath). (730k)||Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis). (579k)||Yellow-billed Stork. (649k)||Yellow-billed Stork in flight. (214k)|
|Grey Crowned Cranes (Balearica regulorum). (674k)||Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum). (453k)||Marabou Storks (Leptoptilos crumeniferus). (801k)||Marabou Stork. (505k)||Marabou Stork. (679k)|
|Marabou Stork. (542k)||Marabou Stork. (590k)||Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) and Lesser Flamingos (Phoenicopterus minor). The Lesser Flamingos are a bit smaller than the Greater Flamingos. (482k)||Greater Flamingos. (552k)||Greater Flamingo. (540k)|
|Greater Flamingos. (638k)||Greater Flamingo. (494k)||Greater Flamingo. (441k)||Greater Flamingo in flight. (468k)||Greater Flamingos in flight. (743k)|
|Greater Flamingo in flight. (435k)||White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus). (562k)||White-backed Vulture. (701k)||White-backed Vulture in flight. (325k)||Lappet-faced Vultures or Nubian Vultures (Torgos tracheliotus). (664k)|
|Pygmy Falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus). (431k)||Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni). This species nests in southern Europe and central Asia and winters over in Africa. (510k)||Lesser Kestrel. (473k)||Lesser Kestrel in flight. (353k)||Lesser Kestrel in flight. (527k)|
|Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus). (402k)||Dark Chanting Goshawk (Melierax metabates). (533k)||Montague's Harrier (Circus pygargus). (603k)||Montague's Harrier in flight. (359k)||Montague's Harrier and Lesser Kestrel in flight. (376k)|
|My guide said this is an Augur Buzzard (Buteo rufofuscus), but it doesn't look like one. (352k)||Juvenile Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax). (317k)||Wahlberg's Eagle (Aquila wahlbergi). (512k)||Long-crested Eagle (Lophaetus occipitalis). (418k)||Martial Eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus). (499k)|
|African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer). (554k)||Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori). The Kori Bustard is the heaviest bird that can fly. Adult males can weigh up to 20 kg (44 lb). (780k)||Secretary Bird (Sagittarius serpentarius). (676k)||Secretary Bird taking off. (600k)||Secretary Bird in flight. (289k)|
|Ostriches (Struthio camelus). (423k)|
|Chamu Rio, the tallest mountain in the area, northwest of the Serengeti. (348k)||On the way from Kenya to the Serengeti. (471k)||Local village. (555k)||Pedestrian. (431k)||Local pastoralists. (374k)|
|Permanent tent in the Ikoma Tented Camp. (532k)||Interior of the comfortable "tent". (445k)||Bathroom in the tent has solid walls and hot and cold water. The hot water took half a day to fix, but it eventually worked. (408k)||Unit in the Serengeti Serena Lodge. The rooms were very nice. (960k)||These cloths were hanging everywhere. They are there to get rid of tsetse flies. They are impregnated with insecticide. The blue color and movement attract tsetse flies and the insecticide kills them. (701k)|
|Tourist vehicles at the Serengeti Headquarters. (618k)||This was my vehicle. (446k)||Traffic jam at the leopard. When something interesting is to see, all the vehicles congregate. It gets pretty difficult to move the cars. (570k)||Not all tour operators operate the Toyota Landcruisers. I am glad I didn't end up in one of these buses. (433k)||In a hurry to get to the next site. (393k)|
|There is a dirt strip in the Serengeti. (447k)||View of a part of the Serengeti National Park that is a bit more wooded. (512k)||Typical view of the Serengeti. (467k)||Some parts have even less trees. (442k)||The road in the Serengeti towards Ngorongoro Crater. (602k)|
|Sunrise in the Serengeti. (469k)||An Umbrella Acacia (Acacia tortilis) and a Flat Top Acacia (Acacia abyssinica). You have to guess which one is which (586k)||Small "Kopje" in the Serengeti. The name Kopje comes from the Dutch word for head. These outcrops are basal;t intrusions into the sediment layer. When the sediment layers erode, the basalt formations remain. (588k)||A large "Kopje". (737k)||Aloe (Aloe vera). (986k)|
|Flowering Agave. (542k)||Whistling Acacia (Acacia drepanolobium). (866k)||Thorns and galls of the Whistling Acacia. The galls about 2.5 cm (1") in diameter. Stinging ants live in these galls. The ants seem to protect the acacia, which doesn't have toxic chemicals to ward off insect pests. When the wind blows over old, abandoned galls, they can act like flutes and produce a whistling sound. (546k)||Flowering Acacia (Acacia mellifera). (899k)||Flowers of an Acacia (Acacia mellifera). (415k)|
|An African Elephant and a Yellow fever trees (Acacia xanthophloea). (771k)||Palm trees along a little brook in the Serengeti. (792k)||Rainbow over the Serengeti. (399k)||A rainbow behind a Euphorbia (Euphorbia candelabrum). (586k)||Sausage tree (Kigelia africana). (753k)|
|Flower. (350k)||Flower. (415k)||Flower. (575k)||Flower. (479k)||Bones of a Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius). (601k)|
|Mud wallow. These wallows are used by buffalo, warthogs, and hyenas. (778k)||Termite mounds. (521k)||Marching Safari ants (Dorylus sp.). (990k)||Close-up of the Safari ants. (1001k)||Spider. (506k)|
|Blister beetle. (346k)||Spider web of a Golden silk orb-weaver (Nephila sp.). (737k)||Golden silk orb-weaver. (406k)||Close-up of a Golden silk orb-weaver. (371k)||Morning dew on a spider web. (498k)|
|Gecko. (683k)||Agama Lizard (Agama sp.). (512k)||Chameleon. (842k)||Chameleon. (501k)||Close-up of the chameleon with the eye pointing forward. (537k)|
|Close-up of the chameleon with the eye pointing back. (498k)|
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