I had been to the Serengeti before, but I was amazed by how much difference good planning makes. Being in the right places at the right time allowed me to see so much more wildlife that I didn’t even know I was missing on my previous trip.
While in the Northern Serengeti in Tanzania we were fortunate enough to see a massive herd of wildebeest cross the Mara River. A young wildebeest, too young to have been around for the previous year’s crossing was the first to leap into the water and thousands followed him. The crossing lasted for nearly an hour with many of the wildebeest not making it across safely and being washed away downstream to a circle of hundreds of vultures. It was difficult to watch but an incredibly powerful moment.
This was my second time to the Ngorongoro Crater, and it’s still one of my favorite spots in the world. On this visit we watched a male ostrich perform a mating dance in hopes of attracting a female. The dance is one of the most bizarre things I have seen on safari and very entertaining to watch.
I was able to spend hours tracking a troop of chimpanzees throughout the Kibale Forest in Uganda. When we first found them, they were high off the ground eating fruit in the trees and then dropping the remnants all around us. Once they came down to make a move we followed close behind. Some points were nerve wrecking when different groups of chimps would cross each other’s paths and scream at the top of their lungs. I was ready to run away until my guide explained they were showing respect to the current troop leader.
I also went to Bwindi National Park in Uganda to track gorillas, and more than anything I wanted to see a baby gorilla. I was told that the family I would be able to spend an hour with had five babies, but unfortunately the older gorillas were keeping them well hidden from view. Right before it was time to leave a mother gorilla stepped out of the bushes with a tiny baby clenched to her back. The mother didn’t pay any attention to us, but the baby locked eyes directly on us and stared at us just as much as we were staring at her.