Many recent travel articles report that animal sightings are greater since the pandemic kept many tourists from African travel. We’re here to confirm that is true in a significant way at our first stop after the overnight in Arusha (see previous post).
Whether it’s lack of human presence or the area in general or the season, the hubby and I were the grateful beneficiaries of remarkable and immediate sightings after arriving at Seronera airstrip. Penuel met us and was our guide/driver from start to finish. We went for some six hours in the open-air vehicle before even setting eyes on Namiri Plains, one of the Asilia brand’s amazing camps. Not even a “loo with a view” (potty) break during that time. What an extraordinary way to begin our stay.
He was very careful not to promise anything in general. The best philosophy is “under promise and over deliver.” We generally do not have trip expectations which mitigates any disappointment. But seasoned and experienced guides know their audiences. We just said we’re happy with whatever you think is the best experience. He proved a remarkably talented and knowledgeable leader.
Above, as we leave for our morning drive at 6:30 which early departure is crucial for the best viewing. Coffee and wake-up “call” come at 5:45. That “tent” behind us conceals a permanent structure housing a wonderful bed and bath with indoor shower and outdoor soaking tub. The back is completely enclosed in glass for viewing. Breakfast (below) is enjoyed a couple of hours into the drive.
The traditional “Big 5” (lion, leopard, rhinos, elephant and Cape buffalo) are what most visitors understandably want to see. While we did not see any rhinos, we got extremely lucky with the others. Sightings included cheetahs plus giraffes, zebras migrating with wildebeest, gazelles, hyenas, crocodile, tortoise, ostrich, baboons, hippos, silver-back jackal, serval cat, eagles and likely some I’m forgetting.
A big benefit of this particular time is the lack of other safari vehicles jockeying into position to view the animals. The most we saw at any point was four others and one was from the Cheetah Conservation program. The proliferation of animals coupled with sparse guests made for a most remarkable time. But, without the expert operations at Namiri Plains — and the initial guidance of Africa Travel Resource — one could arguably visit and come away with a lesser experience. Ours exceeded any ideas we might have had.
I’ll let the photos tell you the best stories. Next post: All the “Cool Cats” in the Serengeti.