Monday, 15 November 2010

Home again

So we made it to the end of the workshop and celebrated with a nice long game drive taking in a new mammal for me: Roan Antelope

Very nice - shame they seem to be in decline just about everywhere. Another highlight was finding this rock sticking up, beautifully smoothed at the tip. Just how many rhino must have used this as their rubbing rock over the centuries - and when did it last get used in this way?

Then it was time for the long drive home. Different company on the way back, J. a birder who's been in Rwanda for the last year or so, but not so familiar with the dry country species. So we had lots of fun finding the various Serengeti endemics as we came through, and at one time sat enjoying views of a huge tom leopard in a fever tree, only to turn around and see a family of lion straight ahead! The seronera valley is certainly cat paradise (and we found a distant cheetah a bit further along too). We tried hard not to share lunch with various smaller creatures -
and found the vanguard of the migration just hitting the plains south of Seronera - great to see them doing what they're supposed to do - they'll be on the short grass before long again now, so optimal time to experience this wonder of the world!

And we were still making good time when a car speeding the other way flicked a rock straight through the windscreen. Ooops. Still, the modifications were useful for birding

From this point on we took things a bit slower - especially when following cars in front, or with cars passing the other way. By the time we got to the top of the Crater I was nothing but dust and there was no way to get back to Arusha before night, so we decided on an unscheduled stop in Karatu. And then on Sunday since we were going very slowly anyway (especially in the rain!), we decided to pass along the top of Manyara Ranch and stop in on a dam there as we went by. With some great birds there once again (lesser jacanas still in residence, but joined by African too, and an African Water Rail - a very rarely seen bird, etc., etc.) by the time we were passing the camp it was lunch time and we got dragged in there for lunch whilst another couple of showers passed. And then eventually we got back to Arusha safe and sound (if well rinsed) in time for Welcome Home Daddy cake!

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