Monday, July 28, 2014

"Oh great," I thought, "they're already here."  Sure enough, the Serengeti paparazzi had arrived.

I didn't even know they had paparazzi out here!  Was Tom Cruise jumping on couches out in the grass?  Were Brad and Angelina adopting local children?  Did somebody find Jimmy Hoffa's body?

No, they were all good guesses but the reality was that I was actually part of the paparazzi and the target of all the cameras and attention in this case was a leopard hanging out in a tree.

Leopards are part of the "Big Five" when you go on a safari in either Kenya or Tanzania.  In this case I was well into a week long safari on the Serengeti in Tanzania.  I personally find that Tanzania has more wilderness to offer than Kenya.  They take their natural resources pretty serious and only allow the vehicles on designated roads rather than like in Kenya where you could drive anywhere.  Driving anywhere turns the land into vast dust bowls where designated roads preserve the delicate grazing lands of the Serengeti.

Anyway, back to the leopard.  Once a guide spots any of the big five word gets out on the radios to all the other guides and it's a sprint to gather around for camera position.  Just like the paparazzi you see in the Entertainment industry.  Well, not quite.  You don't usually see a leopard get tired of it and punch said camera holder like you would if you were hanging around the likes of Sean Penn or somebody.

That's shooting picture of people shooting pictures...
Still, I have to wonder if they get tired of all the publicity anytime they want to hang out.  It's a bit easier for lions.  All they have to do is hunker down in the tall grass and you can't see them unless you happen to be overhead in something that flies.  

It's as if he were posing for his fans...
It's a bit scary to realize that if you were out walking about the area there might be a hungry lion a couple feet from you and you wouldn't even know it.  This is why you NEVER walk around in the Serengeti.  If you do, just remember that you are on the food chain.  Think of yourself as a "Chef's special" for the day.  It's not every day that tourists are on the carnivore menu out there, you know.  And that's a good thing!

Feeling vulnerable outside the jeep on the Serengeti

Oh yes, if they are hungry...stay in the jeep!
Still, when you are the average tourist out there to see as many different kinds of animals in the wild, it's nice that you can get information on where some of the more elusive cats might be at.  It's not like they have a set schedule.  They follow the migration and pick off dinner when they are hungry.

Too many damn jeeps to get around for a shot without the entire sun in it...
Personally, I'm only good for about a week or two of safari.  After that it gets a bit repetitive driving around in the jeeps looking for animals to watch and take pictures of.  If you are as hopelessly ADD as I am, I'd suggest a nice turf and surf excursion.  Do a week or so on the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Park and then head to the Indian Ocean around Zanzibar and hang out at the beach there.  It's a great way to dust off the plains and chill for a bit.  More about that one in a separate post.

The Indian Ocean from the Coast of Tanzania


  1. Ah, nice leopards! I'm with you on the week in the Serengeti and then that beach!

  2. reforminggeek - Turf and's the best way to go!

  3. Great Photos Ed! And it's spot on with the paparazzi - we got up at sunrise while on African safari to try and beat the hoards of other trucks. Not even that worked!!

    Meg @ Mapping Megan

  4. Megan - Yeah, it can get pretty bad. Had a lot more luck in Ngorongoro Crater. The sunrise part is tough but that's kind of the time you need to be out there so everyone else is too because the night predators are just wrapping up their "shift"

  5. On my bucket list!! I'm so jealous of your experience sweetie! Encountering wild animals has been always something I wanted to do!

  6. Agness - And I am jealous of your experiences in China. I've only been to the outskirt cities and never inland and I know there are some amazing places to see there. Someday! It's on my list. As for animals, I do love doing the safaris. I've been twice on them in South Africa and then also in Kenya and Tanzania. I liked Tanzania the best because there are multiple parks you can see relatively close together and if you time the migration right, there's nothing like it on the actual Serengeti. Also, if you have the time you can hike up Kilimanjaro but that adds a full week to any itinerary. I didn't have the window of time on my trip and opted to stay in Zanzibar on the Indian was spectacular.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. when the times are brief and the evenings are lengthy than curled up at the front side of a flame viewing a good film. We may not be able to offer the flame, but we can certainly offer outstanding films during the six-part "Best of the Worldwide Wild animals Movie Festival" at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Middle in Excellent Drops. Serengeti gathering place