Tag Archives: Serengeti

Weekly Photo Challenge: (Crater’s) Edge

A submission to the latest Weekly Photo Challenge :Edge

Taken on our trip to Ngorogoro Crater in October 2014.

Weekly Photo Challenge:Weightless

A response to the Weekly Photo Challenge on the theme of Weight(less)

Just before Christmas I had the chance to fulfill one of my lifelong ambitions and take a balloon flight over the Serengeti and thus I was also able to tick off one of my bucket list items.

You can read more about it here.

What an exhilarating experience to hang weightless above the plains.

Up Up and Away

For many years this has been my desire.

A balloon flight, over the Serengeti!

On Saturday I realised my desires, in celebration of my upcoming 50th birthday.

We were already in the Serengeti for a safari with our visiting mums. Staying on a campsite in the middle of the Serenera. 

 We were up early before dawn, for the drive from our campsite to the balloon launch site. As we travelled we were able to witness life in the dark of the Serengeti. 

  A white mongoose  A pride of lions.

We arrived just before sunrise. 

 Our balloon was still to be inflated as we received our briefing. 

 We clambered onboard and hooked up while the basket lay horizontally, then as the balloon filled it suddenly righted.
The hats were a vital part of the kit to prevent hair being singed. 

Then suddenly we were rising up into the dawn skies. 

 Sadly the effects of El Niño have meant that the teeming herds of Zebra and Wildebeest had already moved south, and so were not where they were supposed to be, but you can’t have wild animals on cue. 

From above the plains of the Serengeti were different, revealing the tracks of beasts which had wandered through. 

Below we found scattered herds of topi and hartebeest, elephants and impala; hyena, jackets, even a pride of lions. 




All too soon we were back on the ground and off on a mini-safari to see a cheetah we had viewed from above.

The cheetah turned out to be a leopard and what an encounter we had.    


The leopard suddenly sprung from its hiding place and rushed our vehicles …..



…. before turning and running away


We left the great beast alone and returned for a Champagne toast – a long way from the leopard.  

Then a cooked breakfast under the open skies of the Serengeti.    

All in all a fabulous start to the day.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serengeti Gatherings

A second reponse to this weeks WPC :Gathering

We have just returned from the Serengeti from safari. There are many gatherings of animals there for different reasons.   Baboons gather on a branch.    A mixed gathering of Zebra and Impala on the plains.  Vultures gathering for the kill.  Elephants gathering at the water hole.  Oxpeckers gather on the backs of giraffe.   Masked weavers gather in certain trees to nest.    Wildebeest gathering on the plains for their annual migration.


Jetting Off!

Mwanza has changed in the last few days. The Christmas Holidays are upon us and with international schools having broken up last week the ex-pat exodus has begun.

Not all ‘Wazungu’ have gone of course, but many have jetted off to their homelands or else to explore foreign parts within and beyond Tanzania’s borders. Some local Tanzanians will travel too in the coming days as they visit family across Tanzania. 

A few like us are staying put and like us are having visitors to stay. Soon we will welcome family to our Tanzanian home, two Mums Jetting Off from their homes to foreign parts (Mwanza). We’e looking forward to receiving our first house guests, though in actual fact we have secured accommodation in a vacant house next door. 

Before they arrive here in Mwanza they will meet us in Moshi – we’re holding out for a view of Kilimanjaro- though this may be a vain hope beyond a glimpse from the aircraft flying in. So we too will be jetting off from a wet and rainy Mwanza, in hope of a dryer Moshi and a more leisurely return through the Serengeti in the days ahead. We are looking forward to visiting the animal park again and introducing it to our visitors, as we will Mwanza. Mostly we’re looking forward to the relaxing time and conversations you just don’t get with Skype.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Impala in Motion

Here is a submission to this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion.

Taken from our Safari in the Serengeti – these jumping Impala showed some impressive motion as they leapt across the countryside.

Six Months in Tanzania

Six months have come and in our new Tanzanian home. We landed in Mwanza on 22nd August and so our first full day here was the 23rd. Half a year on I share some of the pictures which have been part of our time here. For those on Facebook I have shared something similar but some different pics here.


Getting our bearings and making new friends.

September – Start of term, Nature, Malaika Beach

October – Travelling beyond Mwanza (Camping and Serengeti)

November – Birthdays, Fairs, Wag Hill and The Rains

December – Zanzibar and Christmas

January – More birthdays

February- Rubondo

Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale (in the Serengeti)

A submission to this week’s photo challenge: scale shows giraffe and zebra on our Autumn safari in the Serengeti – it’s a favorite picture of mine and is used as the default header for this blog.

It shows the true scale of the landscape against which even the tallest animals in the world seem tiny.

Giraffe and Zebra on the plain

Giraffe and Zebra on the Serengeti plain


What A Year! 2014 (Part 2)

As the New Year begins  I continue to reflect on 2014 a year in which I (and my family) made the dramatic move to Tanzania, month by month. Part 1 is here.


As September we settled into our new house and I began so did my new teaching career. Lessons began on the 1st and it was time to get to know new students, new systems and a new environment. Teaching ICT in a land where power cuts can happen at short notice was never going to be easy but actually things weren’t too bad. A new projector was a helpful addition and within a week or two it felt like we had always been there. The kids settled in to the school too and Anita began to explore Mwanza and quickly signed up to language classes to improve her already impressive Swahili. I too got to know my new home town and having decided not to buy a car (yet!) we did a lot of walking which was no bad thing. Running was more of an issue with the heat and the hills!

Purple Grenadier

Purple Grenadier

We adapted to new routines and got to know the folk on the compound and flats both old an new colleagues. In all there had been six families who had moved out, along with four singles. This included two new heads of primary and secondary both settling into their new roles. Weekly events like Boy’s night and Bridge were part of the routine, possible because the smaller classes at school meant less marking and so a little more social time.

We began to look into churches and settled on two possibilities MIC and NCLC, based in different towns in the city. We also got to know some of the expat NGOs working in the community. The compound grounds were full of strange and exotic bird life and the odd familiar bird too (sparrows are common here!). The school also had it’s fair share of exotic visitors with monkeys jumping through the trees and raiding the bins.


The rains weren’t due until mid-November but we had had some heavy downpours throughout September and October was no exception with some immensely heavy downpours in the mornings turning roads into rivers and bringing down trees. The rain never lasted too long and soon it turned hot and humid.

One of the first things we did this month was to join the Borders on their Weekend Camping Trip up the coast. We had a great weekend by the lake and got to know some of our colleagues even better. The lake was stunning but sadly you could not swim in it as it was infested by Bilharzia, small snails which harbour disease.

Late in the month we also travelled a little bit further up the coast to Papa’s a restaurant on the lake recommended by many as a good place to visit. It was nice to leave the confines of Mwanza on both trips but we had seen very little of Tanzania.

The school week continued to rush on at a pace and before long it was nearly half term and our first Safari in the Serengeti and Ngorogoro Crater. This was an  amazing three days of wildlife including all the big 5, but sadly no Cheetah. Even so our sighting of a Leopard on the last day was a definite highlight.


The month began with birthday celebrations galore. Not only Anita and Bex, but many of the staff and their children had birthdays – so much celebrating to be done.Birthdays (1)

With so many celebrations at once a number of us booked a weekend at a secluded resort complex called Wag Hill, The place was close to Mwanza but a world away from the city, secluded and quiet, a group of  15 of us booked the cottage out and had a fab weekend, wallowing in the pool, wandering the hills and seeing new creatures Hyraxes and a Gennet, along with different bird life.

As November wore on the rains really began and we realised exactly how heavy and prolonged rain can be here. The roads were turning to mush and wearing away fast.

The school ran its annual Charity Fair in aid of Saturday school and it was a great chance to work together with my tutor group to run a stall. Anita and Bex both got ill which was less pleasant – they missed the Fair!

I paid my first visit to Saturday school as part of a hectic Saturday which saw me at a number of events and parties. Social life does get busy here and it is one of the great things about ex-pat living. Even so it was great to see what the school are doing to help the poor and underprivileged in Mwanza.

My tutor group produced what I think was the best assembly – a play they had written on the plight of girls in education – I am biased but it was good!

November was full of Parents Evenings one or two per week at times, along with report writing this was taking up a lot of time but it had to be done.

The term was running out fast and before long it was the end of November.


The term here finishes earlier than in the UK so we only had a fortnight in school. Both kids had lead roles in the School Production – The Importance of Being Ernest. Rehearsals were taking their time but it was worth it in the end as they both did outstandingly.IMG_9735

IMG_9738The last week of term came and went with parties and gatherings of various sorts and then it was time for Zanzibar.

Our long-planned 8 day visit to the island was well worth it. Glorious white sand beaches, warm turquoise seas and amazing wildlife on land and in the water it was a fabulous time.


All too soon we were back in Mwanza for Christmas.

The Rains continued and brought flooding to Mwanza on Christmas Eve, our compound Christmas dinner relocated into our living room where 18 of us shared a meal and some games into the early evening.IMG_0731

As the year ended we again gathered for a New Year Celebration, 2014 was an amazing year I wonder what 2015 will hold?

Weekly Photo Challenge : Converging Animals

A submission to this Week’s new Photo Challenge – Converge. These images from Serengeti where huge aggregations of animals converge as well as family groups.

Animal Combos

One of the best things about our Serengeti Safari was the ability to see the animals in their natural habitat. Of course this meant that unlike Zoos and Safari Parks in the UK we were able to see different combinations of animal. Here are some of the best.

Safari Birds

The birds page is updated to include the many birds we saw on our Safari adventure in Serengeti and Ngorogoro

Safari Mammals

The mammals page is updated to include the vast number of mammals we saw on our Safari adventure in Serengeti and Ngorogoro

Serengeti and Ngorogoro Retrospective

Three days on and having sorted through the 2300 pictures, deleting, cropping and enhancing where needed the three blog post have been updated and photos added – for those who know us this is a good chance to share our adventure. For others feel free to look at what it is like to go on Safari. Click the links below or just look at the super selected pictures in the slideshow below.

Day 1 – Serengeti

Day 2 – Serengeti to Ngorogoro Crater

Day 3 – Ngorogoro to Serengeti

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Safari – Day 1 :Serengeti (Now with Pictures)

This gallery contains 19 photos.

Originally posted on Tanza-Longs:
Apparently the Serengeti is wrongly named. It should actually be the Siringeti (a Maasai word meaning endless plain). Regardless of this today was our first day on Safari. We left bright and early and took the…

Safari – Day 3: Ngorogoro to Serengeti (Now with Pictures)

We woke up to most on our mountain top campsite. It has been a cold clear night (amazing stars in the pitch black before we turned in), but we had wrapped up warm. After an early breakfast we were off away from
Ngorogoro and back to Serengeti. We had two animals on our shortlist today – Cheetahs and Leopards. During the morning the once exotic now familiar mix of Zebra, Wildebeest, Thompson’s and Grant’s Gazelles, Warthogs, Hyenas, Lions and Giraffe were all their. Hartebeest, Waterbuck, Ostrich, Bustards and Secretary Birds added to the mix.

By early afternoon we were in Serengeti – still only magnificent Lions were representing the big cats – great as they were we wanted more. Just before lunch we saw a tree we thought we might have seen a Leopard – wishful thinking – nothing there! Then at lunch others said a Leopard was there so we returned – all we saw was a dead Impala high in the branches no
Leopard 😒. We drove on disappointed. Two miles or later there was a convoy of parked vehicles (a sure sign of something). We assumed it was Lions or perhaps Elephants – but no it was a Leopard, legs dangling on a branch 😌 but very hard to see. I needed maximum zoom snd a touch of overexposure and a severe zoom in on my screen display, to make it out but yes it was a leopard

Day 3 Serengeti  (323)

A great way to finish off before we headed back. In the end no Cheetah’s – yesterday’s failed encounter foiled by the height of the grass that hid our ‘prey’. However one further treat was a river with Crocodiles and Hippos and a glimpse of a Monitor Lizard at the end!

As I write this we’re still in Serengeti but heading out (just seen the Monitor!).We have had a fabulous three days and many great memories to last long in the mind.

Safari – Day 2 : Serengeti to Ngorogoro (Now with Pictures)

After an early night – just after 8pm! It was up early to make the most of the day. Our morning was spent in Serengeti. No big new animals today although we were within a few metres of a hiding Cheetah at one point – unfortunately no sign. Plenty of birdlife and good sightings of Lions, Giraffe, Zebras, Buffalo, Wildebeest, Hippos, Warthogs, Elephants, Baboons, Monkeys,Ostriches and Hyenas to add to yesterday’s encounters. Still no Leopard though! On the new front Thompson’s Gazelle and Grant’s Gazelle.

The afternoon took us over into Ngorogoro Crater which gave us a spectacular climb (in which we saw Maasai Villages and even some Camels!) and a dramatic descent. Once inside we saw much of the same, though generally much closer quarters . On the new front we saw a Jackal, Crested Cranes, Storks, Hartebeest, Bustards, Flamingos and Pelicans. We were on the search for Rhino. It is true to say we saw two. It’s also true to say that on full magnification they were tiny. None of this took away from the spectacular landscape,
We are now back at our campsite for the night. One more day in the Serengeti tomorrow then home tomorrow night.
We remain in search of Cheetahs and Leopards. hoping.