Big Cats in the Serengeti
I stare out the window at the endless plains.
My family just came to the Serengeti in Tanzania, and we are amazed by how big it is. Our safari has led us here, and we hope to be lucky enough to see at least some of the legendary big five: Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Leopard, and Cape Buffalo. But even though we have already been lucky enough to see two black rhinoceroses, I have higher goals. I want to see some big cats.
The first cats we see are two cheetahs.
These brothers are in the perfect position for us to take pictures of them. Once I get my turn at the camera, I snap picture after picture after picture.
We leave after a while, congratulating our guide on his great eyesight.
It is not long before we come to the most famous but more common big cat: the lion.
I scan the area, and see a lioness just after our guide, Joseph, comments about where they are. I look closer, and whoa, there are three cute cubs!
We continue on when it starts to rain.
But we are still determined to find the rarest big cat in Africa, the leopard. We are lucky enough already, and we probably won’t find a leopard. Joseph once went on a twenty-two day safari, and his clients saw only one leopard and no cheetahs. And sixty-five lions. Here we are on a five-day safari, seeing two cheetahs. I think that we are a teensy-weensy bit lucky, don’t you?
We return to our campsite. I go to sleep in our tent, happy that I saw some amazing sights.
In the morning we all wake up early, at around five or so. We start driving at sunrise, and I take a few pictures.
I see a bunch of cars crowded on a road, and when we pull up, Anders, my brother, spots a cheetah with cubs in the distance. I zoom in with the camera to 70x the original zoom, and catch a grainy photo.
We move on, and see about twenty cars. Joseph jokes about it being a car parking lot, but we all know that it is better. As we drive towards the group, I strain to see what they are all looking at. A tree?
Better. A leopard. Sleeping.
I take pictures through the binoculars.
The leopard suddenly looks up, and stares at a car that just started its engine…
And watches it drive away.
After a while, we leave to eat breakfast.
We drive through some bumpy terrain, and I see a pile of rocks jutting oddly out of the plains.
After breakfast back at the campsite, we decide to check on the leopard again. But first I have to get my hat.
And then Papa has to get the sunscreen.
And then, well, we get to the parking lot.
There are fewer cars, looking at a way cooler thing.
Makes sense, huh? Anyway, we stop and stare up at the leopard. Something rare doing something rarer. A leopard eating its kill. Cool.
Do you see the gazelle’s head in the bottom right corner of the picture below?
After eating his fill, the leopard goes back to his normal roost and washes its paws first,
and then his face.
Leopards look so cute when they are about to…
It lies down and we get some amazing pictures before a car starts up.
But still, the silhouette is cool.
And then, it falls asleep.
But it is watching you!
Can you see it?
We leave after a bit, and see a hyena walking across the road.
Going back, I see another leopard. We pull in behind it as it starts running from…
a baboon. Yep.
We take pictures of our shadow in the grass.
And see more lions.
A bunch of them.
On the way back, we are driving fast, so I decide to be superman for a bit.
We see a crowd of cars around two lionesses on the road.
At the entrance to the park, I barely see in the distance the two lions.
We continue on the journey back to Arusha.
In the distance, I see Mt. Meru.
The sunset comes just as we get back home.
Once we get to our guest house in Arusha, I download the pictures of our trip. I look through them, and see that there are less pictures, but all of them are good. I learned to be patient and to take only good pictures on this trip.
I tumble into bed, confident that we have had an above-average safari. After all, we’ve seen a wider range of cats than some people did on a twenty-two day safari! I am exhausted, so sleep comes quickly.
Lukas Bruihler is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program.
All photos courtesy and copyright Lukas Bruihler