I can’t lie – when I read the itinerary, the Serengeti was one of the main highlights for me on this first part of the trip, along with the Maasai Mara, Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Nakuru.
After breakfast next to the beach at Lake Victoria, our group walked to the bank in town with our guide. It’s the slowest bank I’ve been in in my entire life – they are most definitely on African time!
We headed to the Serengeti National Park two hours away, and had lunch just outside the gate, baboons hanging around seemingly playing games with us.
The Serengeti means ‘endless plains’ and we were told it is four times the size of the Mara. Bumping along through the western corridor, I was once again glad I had worn a sports bra!
The first animal we saw was a beautiful Maasai giraffe – giraffes are the quietest animal on the planet producing no sound. We also spotted Antelope for the first time on our trip.
We saw a lot more of the Great Migration; wildebeests running to close the gap between them and the hundreds ahead and slow moving zebra crossing the Serengeti towards the Maasai Mara. If seen from above it would resemble a dark swarm moving across the plains – it just needs to be seen to be believed.
Then we had our first experience of tsetse fly! We tried shutting the windows as we entered the tsetse zone but it was just too hot with no AC! As the tsetse flew in the truck, people were flapping, swatting and killing them with shoes and books to avoid their painful bite. We should have kept a scoreboard! I’m sure that for this part of the trip I spotted more tsetse fly in the truck than animals on the plains of the Serengeti. To make matters worse the seats of our truck are blue – which along with black, these blood-sucking little flies are attracted to. Oh fun.
Then – success! We saw the last one of the Big 5, a lion. He was dozing on his side in the grass, only lifting his head twice and flicking his tail and although we waited he just wanted to sleep.
We camped in the middle of the Serengeti, surrounded by blue and black flags to keep the tsetse fly away. By nightfall, our tents were set up and a campfire was glowing. Our chef had brought along some marshmallows to toast on the fire!
Have I told you about the stars? They are amazing here, and at every bush camp. They are so bright and piercingly clear against the pitch black sky, and there are so many of them sparkling away like little diamonds! My Night Sky constellation app worked a treat for a little star gazing.
In our tent we could hear zebras only a few yards away, crackling through the undergrowth. I was just grateful I didn’t come face to face with something scarier!