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Big Cats in the Serengeti

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I stare out the window at the endless plains.

 

Big Cats in the Serengeti

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

Cheetah

 

Cheetah

 

cheetah

 

 

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.

 

lion

 

lions

 

 

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!

 

lioness with cubs

 

 

We continue on when it starts to rain.

 

Tanzania plain

 

rain, Tanzania

 

Rain, Tanzania

 

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.

 

Safari sunrise

 

Safari sunrise

 

Safari sunrise

 

Safari sunrise

 

 

 

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.

 

cheetah with cubs

 

 

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?

 

Safari, Tanzania

 

 

Better. A leopard. Sleeping.

 

leopard

 

 

I take pictures through the binoculars.

 

Tanzania safari

 

 

The leopard suddenly looks up, and stares at a car that just started its engine…

 

Leopard, Tanzania

 

 

And watches it drive away.

 

Leopard, Tanzania

 

 

After a while, we leave to eat breakfast.

 

Tanzania safari

 

 

We drive through some bumpy terrain, and I see a pile of rocks jutting oddly out of the plains.

 

Serengeti safari

 

Serengeti safari

 

 

After breakfast back at the campsite, we decide to check on the leopard again. But first I have to get my hat.

 

Serengeti safari

 

 

And then Papa has to get the sunscreen.

 

Serengeti safari

 

 

And then, well, we get to the parking lot.

 

Serengeti safari

 

 

There are fewer cars, looking at a way cooler thing.

 

Serengeti safari

 

Serengeti safari

 

 

Makes sense, huh? Anyway, we stop and stare up at the leopard. Something rare doing something rarer. A leopard eating its kill. Cool.

 

Leopard

 

 

Do you see the gazelle’s head in the bottom right corner of the picture below?

 

Leopard

 

 

After eating his fill, the leopard goes back to his normal roost and washes its paws first,

 

leopard

 

 

and then his face.

 

leopard

 

 

Leopards look so cute when they are about to…

 

leopard

 

 

ROAR!

 

leopard

 

 

It lies down and we get some amazing pictures before a car starts up.

 

leopard

 

leopard

 

 

But still, the silhouette is cool.

 

leopard

 

 

And then, it falls asleep.

 

sleeping leopard

 

 

But it is watching you!

 

leopard

 

 

Can you see it?

 

Leopard

 

 

We leave after a bit, and see a hyena walking across the road.

 

hyena

 

 

Close by.

 

hyena

 

 

Going back, I see another leopard. We pull in behind it as it starts running from…

 

baboon chasing leopard

 

 

a baboon. Yep.

 

We take pictures of our shadow in the grass.

 

Serengeti shadows

 

 

And see more lions.

 

Lions

 

 

A bunch of them.

 

lions

 

 

On the way back, we are driving fast, so I decide to be superman for a bit.

 

Serengeti safari

 

 

We see a crowd of cars around two lionesses on the road.

 

lions

 

lions

 

lions 

 

 

At the entrance to the park, I barely see in the distance the two lions.

 

lions

 

 

We continue on the journey back to Arusha.

 

Arusha

 

 

In the distance, I see Mt. Meru.

 

Mt. Meru

 

 

The sunset comes just as we get back home.

 

Tanzania sunset

 

 

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

 

 

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