Saturday, January 21, 2012

Camping Under Serengeti Stars

If Ngorongoro was a bowl filled to the brim with wildlife, the Serengeti is an immense pantry with the greatest assortment of flavors, but only for those who know where to look.

The grasses in the Great Plains stand five feet tall in some places, providing the perfect shelter for grazing animals to hide from view. Compared to the other parks of Northern Tanzania, this made viewing the animals relatively difficult, resulting in only a few sightings per day rather than the near constant stimulation elsewhere.

Though animals are harder to spot, the sights to be seen in the Serengeti are not replicated anywhere else in the world. Sizable prides of lions rest effortlessly within the grasses, stomachs full from their plentiful selection of prey. A glance up at an Acacia may satisfy the onlooker with branches swaying from the weight of leopards. In one tree, I saw three, including a young cub. While books claim Lake Manyara National Park is the only place in the world for spotting tree-climbing lions, I had the fortune of witnessing this rare site in a lone tree of the vast Serengeti plain.

I’ve never been so excited to sleep as I was at the prospect of camping in the Serengeti. Using a new tent with entirely translucent walls, I was prepared for exciting nights of stargazing and animal watching. At one campsite, dusk brought a herd of running giraffes through the camp. At another, elephants drank from the waterspout at dawn.

I imagined the night like a childhood slumber party: giddy with anticipation for what surprises my sleep-mates might share. I went to rest beneath the brilliant starry sky, and drifted off to the lullaby of buzzing insects and the faint sound of nocturnal animals in the distance. After long days of game driving, I have never slept so well, at peace in the middle of the wild Serengeti.

No comments:

Post a Comment