Written By Susan Chenaux-Repond
Photography by Stuart Danks & Ashleigh Garden
This September my husband, Stuart Danks, and I visited the famous Serengeti. It was my first trip and I was eager to see the great migration – the topic of so many wildlife documentaries. We travelled in by road a trusty Land Cruiser, driven by guide Kelvin, with comfortable bucket seats, a welcome fridge, large sliding windows to view the game and shut out the dust, and a pop-up roof.
We entered via the Southern Naabi Gate and, for the first hour, drove on a dusty corrugated road over seemingly largely deserted flat, dry grass plains dotted with small granite kopjes and a few gazelles. We imagined what it must be like in the rains – December to May – when this vast area is lush with green nutritious grasses and the breeding ground for 2.5 million antelope – 1.7 million wildebeest, 260000 zebra and 470000 gazelles. As we got closer to Seronera (central Serengeti) the vegetation became more bountiful and the land more hilly, with the flat-topped Acacias I had expected to see.
I had not realised how much permanent water there is – tree-lined rivers provide permanent water as well as hiding places for lions who lie in wait for their prey. One of our first sightings was a serval who lay in the shade of our vehicle, snarling at us as we peered down at her in astonishment. Next, a leopard draped elegantly in a tree and, not long after, a pride of lions. As we headed for camp for the night we passed a hyena den. Youngsters looked at us curiously whilst the adults cooled off in a roadside puddle.
Lemala Ewanjan, tucked away in a quiet valley, was just what we like -tented, small and intimate, furnished with large wooden chests, richly coloured rugs, squashy, comfortable chairs, giving an authentic safari feel.
Please purchase Issue 4 for more on the wonders of the Serengeti!