After lunch at the Serena we set off for the Serengeti. A bucket list destination for all of us, we were beyond excited to get there. The drive started out pleasant enough, driving on paved roads through towns and villages followed by a stop at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) welcome center. NCA is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We had a quick bathroom break, walk through the small museum, and were entertained by a troop of baboons before getting back into the car. At the top of the caldera we stopped at a lookout to see the crater floor. It was hard to believe there were so many animals in that area, none of them visible to us.
The next 6+ hours was a very, very rough ride over washboard-riddled dirt roads at breakneck speeds with copious amounts of dust and joint rattling. The monotony was broken by dozens of Maasai manyattas and shepherds tending to their livestock herds as well as the occasional ostrich or antelope.
Dusk was falling as we finally entered the Serengeti, but we were still far from the lodge. At least we had the promise of seeing animals as a motivator for the last ninety minutes or so of driving. Sadly, the first park experiences were more washboards and dust and very few animals. By the time we reached the lodge we were all rattled (mentally and physically) and wondering where the animals were. Thankfully tomorrow would show us!
We did enjoy a stunning sunset amidst the acacia trees on the savannah, convincing our driver guide to stop at a few points along the way to let us take photos. We finally arrived at the Serena well after sunset and hurriedly checked in before grabbing dinner (and a few well-deserved drinks for those of us imbibing) and trying to reset our bodies and expectations. I think that was the night that I started having unexplained itching on my hands and arms and realized I didn't have any Benadryl. My mom saved the day with Advil PM, and so I got a great night's sleep. Tomorrow would be a new, exciting day!
|Little tiny baby baboon|
|Looking down at the Ngorongoro Crater|
|So many animals, none of them visible from here|
|Cox' Hartebeest (I think; I need to brush up on my antelopes!)|
|Sunset through the clouds|
|How much more quintessential African safari can you get?|