Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ndutu - photo and video heavy

Our safari began when we drove from Arusha to Ndutu. Ndutu is in the Ngorongoro conservation area, which is a mixed use area. Masai can live there and herd their sheep, goats and cattle there and coexist with the wildlife. Traditionally the Masai don't kill game and have coexisted with these animals for centuries. Hunting game is prohibited.

 A village along the way with a termite mound in front of the buildings. We found these mounds everywhere.
 Lake Manyara in the horizon. Taken from a view point along the road.
 Another view showing the scenery as we head up to the conservation area.
 Entrance to the conservation area.
These are the vehicles we practically lived in for the safari. Toyota Land Cruisers with 4WD and very good shocks. Outfitted with a cooler in between the last 2 seats that held our supply of bottled water.
 There is a Masai herder with his flock. The herders are always male. The women don't usually leave the village except to get water.
 Acacia trees are everywhere. They are thorny with BiG thorns. But they were in bloom later and the baboons like the flowers. The giraffes and elephants eat the branches, thorns and all.
 Our first view of zebras. We saw hundreds, maybe even thousands more. But our first sight was exciting and we were jumping up and down in our seats.
 You can see the dust being created by the zebras running away. It was very dusty. There is normally a short rainy season in Dec-Feb but it had not rained so everything was very dry. On our trip we had a few small showers and then, on the day we left, it rained hard and was cloudy so we are hoping that the rains finally came.

These photos also show the Serengeti - a vast treeless plain. It is a Masai word that means exactly that - a flat, endless, plain.
 An early view of wildebeest. They are always walking in straight line unless they are not walking. Zebras and wildebeest hang out together because the zebras see well and the wildebeest hear well so together they can sense predators better than alone.
 A Masai herd. We learned early that the black and white dots in the distance were Masai sheep and goats, not game.
 These are Thomson's gazelles. We also learned to identify various types of gazelles and antelope along the way. The Thomson's are quite small. There are millions of them, or so it seems.
 Zebra babies are born year-round so we saw many young ones of various sizes. Wildebeest on the other hand, calve all at the same time within a 2 week period that shifts between Feb and March. We saw the earliest babies born towards the end of our trip.
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A short video showing how close the giraffe is to one of our vehicles. In the Ndutu area, there are no roads or tracks. Vehicles can go anywhere because it is flat and pretty tree less.

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 We wandered by this family of cheetahs. A mother with 4 cubs who are pretty big. That is the mother with her legs towards us and the cubs. You can see that one cub is bored and gets up and bothers his brother.
 Here you can see all their faces. They are lazing around in the heat of the day, with full bellies. We will see them again the next morning, when they are more active.
 Another cat lying around in the heat of the day with a full belly.
 This lioness is at a kill. You can see how close we are again - that is the tail end of another of our vehicles.

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 The next morning we spent a lot of time watching the cheetah family hunt and eat. This video shows how well they blend into the landscape and how the 4 cubs stay close to their mother.
 A jackal was hanging around because he/she sensed that there might be a kill. We had to go for breakfast at this time so we missed the actual kill. However, as you can see, the mother isn't eating very much in this video. That is because she is looking for something to supplement the gazelle. It wasn't enough for her and the 4 cubs.
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 Here she heads off looking for prey and finds a baby gazelle. At first she stuns it and brings it back to help teach the cubs to hunt. But the baby escaped and in re-catching it, the mother cheetah kills it. After she brings it back, she also sits down to eat. I have many more photos and videos of this as we watched them for a long time. But I am not sure how many of you want to see "nature red in tooth and claw" so I am posting only a few that aren't too bad.
More lionesses.
 Here's a shot of wildebeest hanging out.

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 The king of the jungle.
 A lioness in close up.
 They were under this tree in the shade. Lionesses and a lion hang out in a pride. There are young males but only one leader.
 A change from the mammals. Two vultures on a tree.

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Giraffes also hang out in the shade but they move from tree to tree.

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 Lions chilling.

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 You aren't sick of lions yet, are you? Because there are going to be more photos and videos.
 Close-ups.L
 Late in the day we ran into these two cheetah brothers. Generally cheetahs are solitary, except for mothers with cubs. But sometimes brothers hang out together and hunt after they are adult.
See how the two cheetahs are practically invisible in the grass?

 More lionesses. "What big teeth you have!"


 Remember the mother with the 4 cubs? Here they are again in the evening. We actually ran into them during the day also.
And I'm going to end here. With a shot of a black-backed or silver-backed jackal with the setting sun in the distance.

I want to add a couple of scenic shots to set the mood of the blue skies and then clouds and then blue skies again. With sunsets and sunrises.


All this was over the course of a day and a half. The vehicles were set up so the roofs pop open for game drives and can be closed for road driving. There are roll bars all around. We can stand in the vehicles to see what is going on. But if you are like me and short, the roof line hits you at eye level and you can't see anything. So I stood on the seats and sometimes hung on while we moved but mostly tried to sit down as it was hard hanging on due to the bumpy terrain. I managed to get bruised and scraped the first day and shortly after learned to slide down the back of the seat and end up quickly in a squatting position from which I could get my feet back on the floor!

And now on knitting. I finished up this shawl which has been giving me a lot of problems with tangles, edge treatments not being neat, having the wrong type of needles for the slippery silk, etc. In fact I had a needle crisis this weekend when I started on the sleeves. I had a long circular and was trying to do magic loop. But the transitions between the two sides was stretching and I wasn't sure how the silk would handle that. So I switched to two circulars but it was slow going.

I texted my wonderful yarn store owner who had the correct size of double points in stock in wood. And she dropped them off at home on her way home. Is that service, or is that service? I want to shout out to Out of the Loop Yarn Store for helping me out in my time of need! :-)
 Unblocked with ends hanging out.
Blocked. Waiting to unpin and try it on. I am glad to see the end of this. I think I started it 3 times and then had to untangle giant amounts of yarn. Then, when I was doing the lace edging, my needle came apart and tens of sts fell off. I had to rip to the beginning of the lace edging and start over. That was a lot of sts to unravel and pick up and count.

Now I can move on to new projects. 

1 comment:

geetha radha said...

Superlative to say the least knitting et all
Loved it