It is without a doubt, the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world: Serengeti National Park. We all have seen the Discovery Channel or National Geographic documentaries that show wildebeest grazing on the savanna or a lion seeking out its next meal while stalking a gazelle. It is these images that fuel the dream of one day going on a safari to see these amazing things with our own eyes.
We spent 2 nights staying at the Serengeti Sopa Lodge and this was our home base while exploring the Serengeti. It was here, in the Serengeti, where we spotted our first lions. They were basking on rocks in the far distance. But only binoculars brought those lions close enough to really get a decent look. We were a bit disappointed that those lions didn’t get up and meander towards us for a better look, but something even better happened not long after.
Our guide was on the radio speak Swahili to another guide and seemed to be rather excited about the conversation. When they finished, we asked what was going on. The word was that a single leopard was coming through a field.The guide put the hammer down and we seemed to arrive on the edge of the field in less than a minute. As soon as the jeep was put in park, the leopard appeared, slithering through the tall grass. Before we knew it, the leopard was within 10 feet of our vehicle and then just stopped. An amazing photo opportunity was right before our eyes.
This moment proved to be one of the most memorable experiences of our time in the Serengeti.
We were not expecting how close some of these animals would get. The leopard was by far the closest.
However, we got up close and personal with lions (about 50 feet away). They were taking a snooze in a tree and were there for hours. The occasional yawn or glance down to our jeep happened ever once in awhile, but for the most part they kept their eyes closed and got their beauty sleep.
There was a time when our guide had to put the jeep in reverse to get out of the way of an elephant.
And then there was the time we were headed back to our lodge after a long day. Kenny, being the hunter that he is, has an eye for spotting animals hiding in the woods. He was the one that spotted a cheetah lying in the grass relaxing. It was the only cheetah we saw and thanks to him, we got to spot this amazing creature.
Our time in the Serengeti was nothing less than epic. We feel so lucky to have experienced this amazing opportunity to see these wild animals in their natural habitat. Conserving the Serengeti Ecosystem and its millions of animals is such an important mission and one that is essential to make sure these animals are roaming the plains for thousands of years to come.