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Diary of a Safari - Day 3. The Predators.

Death in the afternoon.

rain 23 °C

As with so many things in life – timing is all, and we have often been fortunate to witness scenes and events that most others have missed. Today was no exception. In fact, we witnessed a scene that our guide, Charles, has only seen once before in his entire seven year career. More of that later, but first - one of the most elusive creatures on our safari bucket list – the leopard. Leopards are solitary hunters and their success lies in their camouflage and their ability to move stealthily through the undergrowth. They are very rarely seen by man or prey. However, this male had just made a kill and was being suitably rewarded by a passionate female...
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The pair of them were naturally shy but thanks to the sharp eyes of our guide we
had a grandstand, though distant, view.
With such an abundance of prey it's not surprising that there are many predators here – both on land and in the air. This is a spotted hyena...
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And this African fish eagle was happy to let us watch as he enjoyed a fish lunch on an island in Lake Manyara...
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These white pelicans at Lake Manyara had had their fill for the morning and were drying off in the warm breeze...
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Vultures are really scavengers, not predators, but they certainly make short work of any leftover meat. However they are dwarfed by the equally voracious maribu storks. We saw these two heavyweight storks muscling in on the remains of a baby wildebeest....
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Baboons and other primates also like a bit of meat with their fruit and veg and this troupe leader was taking his pack on a the hunt as he slipped across the road ahead of us...
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However, it is the lions who are the kings of the beasts in this neck of the woods and we had already followed a couple of lionesses as they unsuccessfully stalked herds of zebras. Only the lionesses hunt and then the much bigger males barge in and take their fill. The dominant males also get the pick of the harem when it comes to mating and we caught this big guy in the act on the Serengeti plain...
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Lions are the biggest and heaviest of the African cats and, unlike most other felines, do not usually climb trees. However, we read that around Lake Manyara, in The Great Rift Valley of Northern Tanzania, a few lions had mastered the ability and on very rare occasions could be seen in the trees. Charles had only once seen a lion in a tree in more than 7 years so we weren't hopeful as we set out for our morning drive. After a morning filled with hippos, giraffes and elephants we were running a little late for lunch and the sky was beginning to darken when Charles decided that we should visit the hot springs some 30 kilometres away. We almost said, “No,” but he seemed so keen and, just as we approached the springs this is what we saw....
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Not just one – but two lions resting in one tree.. An incredibly rare sight.
And then the heavens opened with a spectacular tropical storm and we fled back to our lodge for lunch.

Posted by Hawkson 07:25 Archived in Tanzania

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Comments

Oh so exciting. What a wonder world for you. Thanks for sharing. Everyone else was lunching, you must have been ravenous. Gulp, or not.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Wow! An adventure to be sure. Do I need new glasses or do others see two leopards in the first photo?

by Joyce

Looks like you were a safer distance from the wild life in these photos. Take care. Looking forward to more of these spectacular encounters.

by R and B

Lions in a tree! Amazing! Happy to see them from this distance 😈

by Abigail Gossage

What a fabulous few days worth of photos. Who knew there would be so many animals so near. Thought it would be a bit like whale watching - long periods scanning horizons for sightings. But no. Animals literally hanging from trees!

by Tom

I'm enjoying this so much - what a thrill to see these animals and what a thrill for you to have such rare sightings.

by Ginny

Fabulous photos. How lucky you are to have seen the lions

by Bronwyn

Well, this rivals with the best of National Geographic ( actually your commentaries are better ) and the pix are amazingly good, congratulations, we are all lucky to come along for the ride..
looking forward to all
G

by Gottfried Mitteregger

Amazing pictures. Love the animals.

by Janet

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