Monday, 6/2. Serengeti National Forest.


Topi, an antelope found in the African savannah and floodplain.

We’re on the road by 6:30 a.m., a necessity for animal watching. (They rest at mid-day, then reappear in the late afternoon.) Highlight: A herd of zebras crosses the road to drink from a watering hole, and their endeavor seems fraught with a fear of crocodiles. A small alpha group leads, slowly approaching the water. As soon as danger is sensed, they rush out again. The same approach-and-flight is repeated three or four times in the 20 minutes we observe.

Safari jeeps are everywhere. Godwin stops to speak to the drivers and share information. In a sausage tree (Kigalea Africana) we see the carcass of an animal in the upper branches. Per Godwin, it’s probably a Thomson gazelle that was dragged up the tree by a leopard so lions can’t reach the kill. A baboon family climbs the same tree. Hyenas approach the pond beside it, making a wide arc around us.

With each sighting, the cameras come out and we five stick out heads through the roof of the jeep. Three lions wrapped around an acacia. A dozen hippos lounging in a pond. My favorite is an inseparable pair of giraffes, nuzzling and scratching each other’s necks. At one point they seem a single body with two long, articulate necks.


Zebras at watering hole. Each zebra’s stripe pattern is unique, like human fingerprints.

I like this description from Isak Dinesen: “I had time after time to watch the progression across the plains of the giraffe … as if it were not a herd of animals but a family of rare, long-stemmed, speckled gigantic flowers slowly advancing.”

Tse-tse flies torment us all day: they can bite you through your clothes and their bite hurts. A warthog runs. His tail stands straight up and the fluff at the end of it reminds me of a cheerleader’s pom-pom.

From Godwin’s School of Facts:

  • Hippos weight three to four tons and eat 30 to 40 kilos daily. Their rear legs are webbed like a duck’s.
  • Elephants weigh five to seven tons and eat 150 to 300 kilos daily.
  • 125 different languages are spoken in Tanzania. Swahili is the lingua franca.



A grazing giraffe. Isak Dinesen said they resemble “a family of rare, long-stemmed, speckled gigantic flowers slowing advancing.

Zebra scratching his belly.


Zebras with wildebeest.




Acacia tree at sundown.

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  2 Responses to “Monday, 6/2. Serengeti National Forest.”

  1. Hi Ed! A beautiful journal. Thank you for the vicarious trip and spectacular scenes. Out of all the gorgeous photos, I love best the zebras in the water.

  2. Hello, my name is Rahmar and I would like permission to use a picture of yours of a Zebra rubbing his tummy on the dirt bank if possible. I am using it to help describe a new horse product for belly scratching for horses. Your pictures are very nice, I complement you! Please let me know.
    Best regards.
    Rahmar Oberholtzer

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