Saturday, August 26

We finally saw a large male lion up close. Boy was he beautiful. 

We'd seen lots of great wildlife including all of the four common wild cats, but we still hadn't seen a male lion (at least up close) or any young cubs when we set out on this morning. Since we had seen so many lions the day before, we had high hopes of finding an older male. And it didn't take long. The sun was still fairly low and we got some great photos of the male with back lighting.

Shortly after seeing the male lion, our guide heard on the radio that another leopard had been spotted. We headed over to take a look. As was the case the previous day, this one was high up in a tree cleaning herself.

The previous evening, we had heard from some other guests about baby crocodiles. Our guide found out where they were and we headed there after watching the leopard for a while. There were a few dozen babies in the water, in the mud, and basking on the rocks. The adult male croc was high up on the bank on the other side of the river.
Not far from the crocodiles, we found a pair of lionesses eyeing a herd of Thomson's Gazelle near the river. The gazelle would sneak down to the water one and two at a time, but were extremely skittish. I don't think they could see the lionesses, but they certainly could tell there was danger. They would often scurry back up the hill before even getting a drink, then slowly make their way back.
After about ten minutes, the lioness in the back finally jumped forward. But the gazelle's were too quick and were quickly up the hill before the lioness got ten feet. The gazelle's made a very interested chattering noise, warning others of the danger. The lionesses didn't seem to be very hungry so they weren't willing to put much energy into trying to get the gazelles.
On the way back to the lodge for lunch, we stopped at the new Serengeti visitor's center and walked up the nature trail there. The visitor's center is built next to a kopjes and there are a number of rock hyraxes that live here.

After lunch, we decided to head back out to the kopjes where we had seen the cheetahs the previous day to see if we could find some lion cubs. The big cats often have their cubs in the kopjes since there are many hiding places for dens in the rocks.

On the way out, we had to fill the vehicle with gas, so we headed for the gas pumps in the park. These are at the ranger station which has a large antennae tower. When we got their, there were several baboons and vervet monkeys that were climbing the tower and sliding down the guy wires. They looked like they were having loads of fun. Scott got out of the car to photograph them while I worked on organizing the camera case and taking a few photos of him.

We didn't have any luck at the kopjes. Another driver had said they had spotted a cheetah sitting on top of a termite mound, but we couldn't find it. We headed back toward the lodge and saw yet another leopard in a tree before it started to get too dark to photograph.

Next Day

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