Tanzania – A Cat Lover’s Dream

I just returned from 10 days in Tanzania visiting several National Parks and Conservation areas to photograph wildlife with Mark and friends. We had our iPhones, plus two cameras with wide angle and zoom lenses. We took thousands of photos and are still sorting through them. I’m also still synthesizing the experiences of my first trip to Africa, making blogging a challenge. However, I am eager to share some of what we saw in Serengeti National Park where we spent several days. When all else fails in blogging, I fall back on my love of art and photography. Here goes! Caution; not all images are cute and cuddly.

Female lion leaving her resting spot to drink water from a nearby creek.

The lions were everywhere, far away, up close and seemingly indifferent to our presence. We spent hours observing them. One day we came across 5 young males taking turns feeding on and guarding this buffalo (sorry, circle of life and all.) When we first arrived, we noticed a tree serving as a napping spot for the lions as well as a perch for awaiting buzzards. Other scavengers started coming up through the tall grass. We counted several black back jackals and about a dozen hyenas. One hyena was particularly persistent, risking a nibble as the lion munched on the other end. Mark captured his admonishment.

A young male takes his turn. Shot with my iPhone.
This hyena finally got the message.

On another day we came across a pride of lions along the roadside. There were two cubs running around, hiding in the grass but I was able to catch one of them “copping some attitude” with his older brother before taking off.

I was here first! Shot with my iPhone.

In the heat of mid day, lions were almost exclusively found napping. Our guides showed us several rock formations where lions liked to rest. We were told one of the formations was famously called “Pride Rock” from “The Lion King.” Lions seemed to enjoy napping under trees, but appear to find sleep most blissful on the rocks.

Lion Queen taking a nap.

Cheetahs and leopards were harder to find. We knew they were out there, but usually up in the trees during the heat of the day. We only got a few photographs. Here’s one of a leopard in a “sausage tree” (Kigelia pinnata.) Can you spot her?

Leopard in a sausage tree

As if to make up for the lack of visible leopards, I spotted this one immediately upon entering the Cultural Heritage center in Arusha, Tanzania (http://www.culturalheritage.co.tz/index.php?route=common/home). I wish I could say I took this photograph, but its not even a photograph. Its an oil on canvas painting by the masterful John Mahove (https://www.facebook.com/amafishart).

“Leopard 5” Oil on Canvas by John Mahove. Shot with my iPhone.

Finally, through safari guide networking, we were able to find this mother cheetah and her three cubs. This is the best we could do, as she patiently laid inward protecting her cubs while also feeding them bits of the Thompson Gazelle. She never looked directly at us, but she knew we were there.

Cheetah and cubs

That’s it for my first down-load of this amazing trip. Photos were shot with my iPhone or, watermarked accordingly, taken by Mark Winslet. I’d also like to credit our wonderfully experienced and patient safari guides from Duma Explorer; Ebaneezer Emanuel, Wilson Shange and Kawaga Mohamed who helped us spot the very elusive cheetah and leopards (http://www.dumaexplorer.com/about-us/meet-the-team/safari-staff.) By the way, “Duma” means “Cheetah’ in Swahili.

 

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12 thoughts on “Tanzania – A Cat Lover’s Dream

    • Awww thanks! I’m actually going to update the photos this week because we learned, while working on the “ungulate” blog, that the resolution of photos is better when down-loaded directly onto a laptop from a thumb drive (as opposed to emailing or using Airdrop.)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s been 10 years since my own excursion to Tanzania and this post has triggered some wonderful memories.

    I love cats both big and small so my heart just melted at your photos (and Mark’s). My favourite photo is the lion napping on a rock. Absolutely adorable!!

    Like

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