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The Solo Scooterist

Documenting my travels on a Vespa

Date: June 23, 2014

Quintessential Africa

I had been feeling a little flu like , with a slight temprature on the way to the airport  and while we drove up the escarpment my left arm had lost alot of motion and felt limp with no power , so while waiting for the plane I got google up and my malaria test kit out  to try and figure out what was going on .

 

First test negative , good next test to be done 8 hours time.

First test negative , good next test to be done 8 hours time.

The test proved negative and after much prodding and poking , I figured that I might have pinched a nerve , so the anti inflammatory’s would be the answer while on safari  . The caravan touched down  spot on  target and time and within minutes I found  myself and fellow passenger’s  been dragged through the air by this single prop plane .

 

The airstrip

The airstrip

 

Two pilots one prop

Two pilots one prop

The flight is only around 40 minuets and takes you over the Ngorongoro crater and the wide open plains of the Serengeti to land at the Seronera airstrip to start what was to be an experience beyond all expectation.

 

Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Crater

 

One prop

One prop

I was collected by Zephania my safari guide in the national car of Tanzania , the land cruiser and off we set straight into the rain for our game drive before we set course for  camp.

 

Zephania navigating the storm.

Zephania navigating the storm.

Zeph was very excited by the rain as this is what brings the migration . All that is required by the Wildebeest and Zebra to pick up and move are the rains and the promise of fresh , crisp new grass  , so Zeph was hoping we would get the big herds into the central Serengeti by morning or the day after , I could not believe my luck , the only person in the camp and the possibility of witnessing a wonder of the wildlife world .

 

Picture perfect , the Serengeti

Picture perfect , the Serengeti

We drove in the rain for a short while and then  the sun returned , I settled in , to enjoy the drive along the river  and what a drive it was , the Serengeti leaves you speechless from the get go and keeps you that way for your entire stay.

 

Over a 100 Hippo enjoying no personal space.

Over a 100 Hippo enjoying no personal space.

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Spot the croc

Spot the croc

The game came thick and fast Giraffe , gazelle , elephants , impala , hippo’s and all looking so healthy , coats gleaming , belly’s bulging , we were driving through the land of plenty , every turn of the head found something wild .

 

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The sun was setting and so we decided to make our way back to camp , we travelled for a short distance and about 15 kilometres from camp we started seeing the herds of Wildebeest scatterd over the plains and the closer to home we got the deeper we drove into the herd , until all around us the sight and sounds of Wildebeest as far as the eye could see , I was totally amazed , the sheer number , the noise of the males herding their females and trying desperately to steal females from other males when they roamed a little way out of the circle of love. So we sat in wonder , Zeph informing me that this was just the beginging . I could not believe my eyes.

 

Just the begining

Just the begining

 

We drove into camp where I was welcomed by Cliff , Husein , Peter and Julias , a hot shower was prepared for me so that I could be fresh and settled to enjoy the sunset before dinner.

 

My new home , in the middle of the Serengeti , wild and wonderful.

My new home , in the middle of the Serengeti , wild and wonderful.

 

My first ever sunset over the magical Serengeti

My first ever sunset over the magical Serengeti

From the second one lands on those plains you feel the magic of the Serengeti , You feel you have entered the birthplace of the wild , it took my African soul and my eyes and filled them both with a sense of wonder and serenity . Surprisingly it is not the game that does this , it is  the landscape , the sheer beauty and power of the land gets you first , the game just a additional spectacle to marvel. The rain came and went so Husein set up dinner in a tent mess and so I sat down to a meal with Cliff surrounded by only darkness and natures surround sound my music , I took a deep breath to settle my excitement , enjoyed dinner and waited for Zeph to pop down so we could plan our first full day out.

We had finished dinner , Zeph and I in agreement about  our next days activities , so off to bed it was , Cliff offered to walk me to the tent , we stood up , I was about to say don’t worry , and in an instant the tourch light found a lion and lioness in the grass not 30 m away , all I recall was the roar of the male , my dive into the tent and Zeph in unison with Cliff shouting Michael don’t run , just like that it was over the lions moved off , my heart returned to its rightful place in my chest , and I gladly accepted the protective detail back to the tent.

Cliff was instructing me  as we walked , Michael don’t leave your tent at night and various other warnings and bush survival techniques , all I held in my mind was the sound that male made and those huge shiny golden eyes . Cliff was safe in the fact that I would not leave the tent even in a veld fire or any other major catastrophe . Further discussion revealed that two males , brothers and a female had taken up residence in the camp and on most nights slept but a few meters from Cliff’s tent , they seemed to have a reciprocal relationship , one of Cliff does not bother them and they don’t bother Cliff.

So began my first night in the Serengeti , sleep not immediate but once my mind settled and the lions roars wondered off into the distance my eyes closed only to be stirred now and again by animals grazing outside my tent or the odd hippo whispering by.

After breakfast our lunches packed we set off for a day filled with sighting after sighting that just got better with every hour , six lion sightings in total , elephant , buffalo , hyena and more and more plains game arriving to graze on the crisp fresh grass . A  total gluttony of game on the Serengeti a never ending feast for all both human , predator and prey .

 

And so they came

And so they came

 

And so they waited

And so they waited

 

And so they watched

And so they watched

 

And so hard they worked

And so hard they worked

 

And so they followed

And so they followed

 

And so they fought

And so they fought

 

And so they roamed

And so they roamed

And so they lived

And so they lived

 

And so they relaxed

And so they relaxed

 

And relaxed

And relaxed

 

And relaxed

And relaxed

 

And slept

And slept

 

And kept watch

And kept watch

 

And grazed oblivious to death napping under a tree

And grazed oblivious to death napping under a tree

 

And they group to survive

And they group to survive

It wold take the pen of Shakespeare to do justice to the magnitude and magnificence of this place , some sights so beautiful you don’t pick up the camera because the distraction is just to much , your mind is capable of  only processing the assurance that reminds  your eyes that what you see is real and true . Just speechless.

 

And so I sat , tried to absorb the essence of this place , because it is  just to much for your eyes alone.

And so I sat , tried to absorb the essence of this place , because it is just to much for your eyes alone.

 

Sunset slipped in and I sat trying to put to pen what I had experienced , felt and had seen that day , after much thought the keyboard untouched I sat and waited for the darkness and the stars to arrive , could they help ? Did it take the moon , the night and  the stars to find the words.

 

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So Zeph and I had dinner , waited for Cliff’s lions to make their presence known  and just as the previous night , as we finished dinner they roared into camp.  I hope to find the words while I dream.

Until we meet again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Coffee , Cats and eggs.

I woke to Husein preparing my hot shower before breakfast , today was to be another full day out , so fresh and frisky I bounced down to my breakfast table on the edge of camp ,made my plunger and sat down to my fruit , ordered my eggs and was basking in the morning light . Between mouthfuls of mango and sips of coffee I thought I heard something , something that I thought could be a lion , the  sound coming  from behind the bush but it was brief and to close. My eggs arrived , I asked Husein if he had heard the lions , he said yes but far away I should not be concerned , I ate a little faster than usual and moved the table and chair a little closer to the mess tent , rather safe than sorry I thought to myself . Breakfast done , alive and well  Zeph pulled up to collect me , I jumped into the national car , greeted Zeph as the lion spotter , all smiles and we pulled off , we had not even got out of first gear and just around the bushes we came across these love birds .

 

Love me tender , love me true , keep your fangs close to you.

Love me tender , love me true , keep your fangs close to you.

I could not believe we shared such close proximity over eggs and bacon ,  I hate to think what would have happened if I had seen these two romantics stroll around the bush , while I tried not to run and keep my food down . I looked at Zeph , Zeph at me , no words passed our lips initially , then he calmly he said , you are a very lucky man , My murmur a meek yes. Once I had gathered my composure , we spent over a hour and a half with this couple , with a brief interruption from the brother looking for some companionship a hippo enjoying a morning walk an a failed baboon hunt initiated by the lady in question . It does not get better than this , or so I thought.

 

Look how playful

Look how playful

 

Look how attentive

Look how attentive

 

Look how protective

Look how protective

 

Look at the fangs

Look at the fangs

 

Playing with the Hippo or was it the other way around.

Playing with the Hippo or was it the other way around.

The rest of the day was even better if you can believe that ,  with the migration arriving in full force , my battery going flat while  filming zebra and wildebeest crossing the road , there were so many , observing plains of game , watching one failed lion hunt another aborted charge , and so the day went beyond reality.

 

The great outdoors

The great outdoors

 

Zephania and I on our morning coffee break .

Zephania and I on our morning coffee break .

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I was so overwhelmed by the day that I asked Zeph to take us home earlier than usual , I wanted to keep the day as pure in mind as it was just then , so we pointed the 4X4 home passing massive herds of zebra , wildebeest , towers of giraffe , buffalo , elephant , more lion and animals to many to mention. I stood looking out over this wildlife wonder while Zeph drove us home , thinking to myself how will I ever explain this place , I only wish from my heart that all who read this end up in the Serengeti  just once in their lives so they to can stand silenced by the wonder and depth of this magical place right here on earth.

 

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