I shielded my eyes from the dust kicked up by a passing safari vehicle as we drove along the rough dirt track. As the dust quickly cleared I stared out of my window at the huge expanse of the Serengeti Plain. The mix of golds, browns and greens of the grass contrasted beautifully against the clear blue sky, and although this was my third day in the national park, I still could not get over how truly vast this place was. There was very little besides the odd tree or rock to break up the huge expanse of the grasslands.
We were now on our final game drive in Serengeti National Park as we made our way back towards Ngorongoro Conservation Area, however the huge size of the park meant that we would get a nice long game drive in before even making it to the border, as our camp had been located in the middle of the park.
So far this morning we had seen very little apart from the usual zebra, gazelle and wildebeest herds, and as we drove further away from the center of the park, even these became far less common.
I had constantly kept my eyes focused for any movement in the grass as we drove along, but it seemed more and more likely that I wasn’t going to spot any more wildlife. Then, after what seemed like hours of nothingness, I was stirred from my sleepy daze by our guide shouting “There! Two lions on the rock!“. All of a sudden we were all alert and scrambling up to try and spot the lions.
Two lionesses lazed under the shade of a tree on a huge granite outcrop ahead, and we crept in for a closer look, driving along next to the outcrop to find the best viewing angle. We were so busy admiring and snapping photos of these beautiful cats that no one even noticed what was up ahead. Again we were alerted by our guide. “Oh there is a male lion up here!”
Past the granite outcrop there was a nice sized waterhole, and lazing in the sun right next to it was the huge male lion of the pride, and we were able to get right up close to him. This was simply a beautiful sight, his golden orange mane waving in the soft breeze as he looked on over to his lionesses, not caring at all about our presence. As I clicked away on my camera he seemed to be almost modeling for me, changing positions and giving his best pose for the camera.
Once again, the excitement of spotting the male lion had taken our attention completely away from our surroundings, and further along the lake was some more of the pride and the true highlight of the day. Two lionesses with four baby lion cubs.
Slowly, we drove along the shoreline of the waterhole for a closer look. The four cubs were relaxing next to a lioness which I presume is their mother as she had a tracking collar on her neck. Another lioness casually walked along the edge of the lake to join them, one of the cute little cubs running up to greet her. Together they laid down to rest in the hot sun while the cubs played next to the water and got up to mischief, the patient lionesses watching on. This truly was a special moment.
After “oohing and ahhing” over the cute little cubs for some time, it was time to start moving on. As we circled back around we could see two more lionesses in the distance, and the male lion had moved up on top of the granite outcrop where he could properly watch out over his pride.
As we drove away from this special place, I felt so lucky to have been able to see these beautiful animals so up close in the wild. They really touched my heart, and this is one of those special moments that I will never forget. Serengeti, Tanzania, is one amazing place.