Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

Oversized Gerbils

Posted from Lobo Wildlife Lodge, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania at 8:37 pm, August 4th, 2014

I was trying to estimate the number of mammals we saw today, and no one in my jeep could even venture a guess – 100,000 seemed to be a number that everyone felt was neither too high nor too low. It was unbelievable how many animals were grazing the green grasses as we moved north, and supposedly the numbers will continue to increase tomorrow as we make our way up to the Mara River at the border with Kenya. I know that Yellowstone is “America’s Serengeti”, and other places similarly claim the “Serengeti” label, but there is no where that could possibly compete with this part of Africa for numbers of animals.

Not to make this journal a list of species, but in addition to the massive numbers of animals, today was a good one for variety of species as well. We saw at least a dozen lions, another cheetah, at least fifty hippos, a leopard that had dragged a gazelle up into a tree in order to escape from prowling lions, cape buffalo, and the zebras and wildebeests that are part of the great migration.

After standing up in the pop-top jeep scanning the horizons for hours today, arrival at the lodge was with very tired legs, but I still climbed up on top of the rocks here for an unbelievable view of the Serengeti plains. Further hiking is limited by the small matter that there are numerous animals around that will eat people. The lodge grounds included a troop of baboons and an infestation of hyrax, which clamber all over the rocks within a foot or two of the guests and look at bit like massive gerbils – in speculating which ecological niche they fill, consensus seemed to be “appetizer”.

Lions at Ndutu

A pride of lions was casually strolling along early in the morning, including these two (among others) who passed within a few feet of our vehicle. Just another day in Africa.

Lilac-breasted roller

A lilac-breasted roller, to add some variety to what has otherwise been an onslaught of cheetah and lion pictures.

Hippotamus in Serengeti National Park

Hippos are badass because they fight and are huge and mean and everything gets out of their way. Also, when they poop their tails spin around like a helicopter (really).

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