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Tanzania Safari Newsletter
Published August, 2009

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In This Issue
Serengeti National Park
Ngorongoro Crater
Lake Manyara
Tarangire National Park
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Uzbekistan: Central Asia and the Silk Road
Woman serving watermelon in Chemgan, Uzbekistan
Join me on an exciting journey to Uzbekistan.  To inaugurate the first installment of this tour, we are offering a special limited edition tour with only 6 participants.  I will be personally guiding the tour, and there are only a few spaces left, so call now to reserve your spot (800-458-9590).
Dear Reader,

I would like to share with your some stories from Tanzania.

Serengeti National Park and Loliondo Game Controlled Area

Elephant reflection in the Seronera River

The pattern of the migration in the Serengeti this year has been quite interesting.  The migration is solely guided by the search for food and water, which in turn is determined by the weather patterns.  The process is dynamic and is constantly changing.  Earlier this year, during the green season, the rains were not normal.  So, the herd was very much on the move; first to try to find safe birthing areas, then to find water and food.  The Serengeti is currently very dry and the dust is abundant. 


Early morning game drive
One of the benefits of a dry season is that the cats are more visible during the daytime.  Lions, cheetahs and even leopards have to look harder for prey and remain more active during the day.  The prey that is available tends to be smaller animals (such as gazelle), requiring lions to hunt even more frequently.  In the past few months, wonderful cat sightings have been reported and successful hunts have been observed with greater ease than usual.
Ngorongoro Crater

Flamingo in the craterThe Crater has been magical lately.  Although the mornings have been chilly in the Tanzanian, animals have been active and interesting.  We often talk about the old bull elephants that inhabit the Crater, as it is the best location for seeing some of the longest tusks in Tanzania.  There are no cow/calf herds on the Crater floor for a number of reasons.  Not only is there not enough food to support the larger number of individuals in the female herds, but there is also not enough shade for the babies.  The very young often need to rest and cool off and without abundant shade, the habitat of the Crater is not conducive for the young.  So, what do the old bulls eat?  This is another reason why you will find them preferring the Crater floor to the forest above.  As elephants age, they lose teeth and the older bulls need to eat a softer diet.  The grasses in the marshes on the Crater floor are excellent for their aging dentition and you will often find the big bulls walking and grazing through the marshes and lowland. 

We also talk about the high density of hyena found in the Crater and this is one of the best locations for observing hyenas hunting and interacting with lions.

Lake Manyara
Lake Manyara is currently pink with flamingos on the soda lake, which always makes for a beautiful sight.  Hippos have been abundant at the pools and with some determination you can count all 42 hippos in a day.  Lake Manyara is a good park for watching primates, whether they are baboon, vervet monkey or the Sykes (blue) monkey.  
Tarangire National Park
Cheetas kill, Tanzania
Tarangire is often referred to as the "baobab capital of the world" and these old, huge trees make the scenery of Tarangire very special.  This is peak season here and the park is bursting with elephants and ungulates, as well as large prides of lions, leopards and cheetahs all taking advantage of the dry season migration into the park for water in the Tarangire River.  Many of the elephants have congregated in the Silali Swamp and it is not unusual to see herds of 300-500 individuals feeding on the grasses in the swamp.  During this time, the large rock pythons leave the swamp and live in the nearby trees, to avoid being stepped on.
There is actually a migration in Tarangire National Park, but on a smaller scale than in the Serengeti and in opposite times of the year.  During the green season, there is abundant food and water for herd animals in the surrounding Conservation Land and the Great Rift Valley.  As dry season approaches, herds begin to enter Tarangire in greater numbers.  Often, herd animals (wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, eland, buffalo, giraffe, kudu, and elephant) begin to migrate into the southern part of the park, near the Silali Swamp.  As time progresses and the park becomes drier, the smaller herd animals migrate to the northern area of the park and search for water in the Tarangire River.  Then, the lion prides in the southern part of the park have a harder time hunting because they are left with some of the larger and more difficult prey to hunt, such as buffalo, elephants, giraffe and hartebeests.

Our next tour to Tanzania starts on December 1st.  For more information, see our Tanzania Safari Trip Overview Page.

 

Sincerely,
 
Dr. Slavik Dushenkov
Director, IBEX

 


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