April 4, 2011
4/4/11 - 4/5/11 85 °F
Today is Tony’s 37th B-day and we got up at 5:30am to celebrate! If you know anything about Ruby you’ll know that to get up this early is true love! We had booked a morning game drive just to watch the animals wake up and the sun rise over the Serengeti. We watched it light up the flat topped acacia trees in hues of orange and red. You can see that Tony still has sleep in his eyes! As we drove slowly on a dirt road we spotted two male lions just waking up, hippos out of the water, crocodiles lounging around a pond, and lots of birds. Just a few of our favorite birds were the African fish eagle, lilac breasted roller, and the red cheeked cordon bleu. We arrived back at the lodge just in time for breakfast. Walking around the lodge is like being in a zoo; there are no fences so animals can come in and out as they please. Most are small animals and as we walked around we saw gorgeous Agama lizards which are purple and pink, tons of rock hyraxes, and even a few pygmy mongooses hanging around by the pool. On our way we stopped to take a tour of the game reserve training center. We got really lucky and watched a weaver bird weaving his nest using his beak to push blades of grass into a ring shape.
It wasn’t too long after that Abdul spotted a leopard in a tree. We don’t know how he sees these things because there aren’t that many of them and the trees are so thick. We watched the leopard climb down the tree and walk across a field . . . we almost lost him because he blended so well with the tall grass but the white tip of his tail gave him away! After a little driving to the other side of the field we watched him climb into another tree. I don’t know how Abdul always knows where to park the truck for the best view but he always does? We then stopped to watch a large pride of lions next to the road.... there were at least 17 lions! They were everywhere including under the cars! The funniest saying of the day was “excuse me sir but there are five lions under your car” We watched the lions in the grass and even a few in the trees with their cubs. It’s truly amazing that we could get so close to so many large cats! On the drive back though the Serengeti to Ngorongoro we stopped and watched baby zebras running around. Ruby thought they had been rolling around in the dirt but Abdul told us that their fur is brown during the first year of life. Speaking of rolling around in the dirt . . . we saw some ostriches doing just that. On the drive we saw lots of traditional Masai around their villages made of elephant dung and sticks. We arrived at Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge around 5:30pm and felt like we had the entire hotel to ourselves! The panoramic views of the crater floor were amazing . . . especially from our room while enjoying sundowners! We cleaned up and had dinner watching the sun go down over the crater. Today has been an amazing day and a birthday Tony will never forget!
PS: There’s always way more pictures in the photo gallery than we post on our actual blog