A tiny roll on / roll off ferry takes a maximum of eight cars plus passengers across to the western banks of the Nile. This is where most of the animals are. Shortly before 07:00 am, all jeeps rush for the first ferry. Who would want to miss the lions? Chances to find them early morning are best, and they did not let us down! On both drives we saw two young males, one munching an antelope! Buffaloes, Antelopes, Jackson’s Hart Beasts, Waterbucks and Giraffes roam the park in abundance.
Having seen an unimaginable wealth of animals in the Serengeti years go, this time we concentrated on their behavior. Our favorites, the gracious Giraffes, gave a glimpse of their naughty side. Males were crushing their necks and heads onto the opponent, upon impact producing a shocking thumping sound. The weirdest combat technique we observed was placing a foot on the others back. What you get is 7 feet moving!
Male hippos are not less competitive: with their mouth wide open they go after each other. In one of those fights we watched the huge lower tooth of a hippo penetrate the lower jaws of his adversary. But most of the time, they slumber in hip-deep water, almost completely submerged. Only their ears and eyes show. Their puffing and grunting carries a long distance. At night they leave the water and venture out to get food, which often takes them surprisingly far from their most preferred habitat.
Buffaloes obviously feel best when wrapped in a layer of mud. Once we came across a herd wallowing in a mud hole, inch thick mud everywhere, even on their eyes. Warthogs usually trot around all alone and elephants are always busy taking in their 200 kilograms of greenery per day.
The funniest are young gazelles: they often stand in the track waiting for a jeep to approach very close and then, trusting their speed, dash off to the side.