Day 9 - February 1

We awoke at 7 am without a wakeup call, but didn't lever ourselves out of bed until 7:30 am. After dressing and packing, we headed to breakfast - the most elaborate yet: porridge, omlettes, crepes, bacon, sausage, fruit, juice and tea. We headed out from Piyaya camp to the Serengeti. Just past the camp we saw giraffes and a pair of bat-eared foxes. Along the way we crossed through the Migration, seeing Grant's and Thomson's gazelles, hartebeests, topi, elands, zebras and wildebeests, as well as some ostriches. We also saw hyenas, including one with a fresh baby zebra kill, which was being followed by golden jackals and various vultures (hooded, Ruppell's, white-headed and white-backed), all hoping for a snack. We also saw a black-headed heron. Just after we entered the Serengeti National Park, we saw two male lions sunning themselves, with another group of two males and three females a bit farther along. Following five other jeeps, we also spotted a mother cheetah with her two cubs. After a boxed lunch (with ham sandwiches, eggs, beef pasties, bananas and orange cake) at Knobby Hill, we happened upon a pool with several hippos splashing around, with a few vervet monkeys hopping around the bushes.

We stopped at the Seronera Lodge, a luxury hotel built onto a large kopje. Jer had visited on his last trip, 14 years ago, and was pleased to see that the rock hyrax were as plentiful and friendly as ever, plus there were vervet monkeys and striped mongoose. On the way to our camp (just a few miles from the Lodge), we saw a large troop of baboons and a few cape buffalo (nearly hidden by the tall grass).

When we got most of the way to camp, we found a rain-swollen stream that we weren't sure we could ford. Exaud took of his shoes and crossed (with Jer and Shange securing him with a winch), and the water came up to his thighs. Another jeep came up and crossed without incident. Unfortunately, the passengers in one of our two Land Cruisers refused to try, so we headed back to the Lodge and several of our group checked in.

The six of us remaining drove back to the raging stream, only to find that the surge had passed and the stream returned to a trickle. We reached our very soggy camp without incident. After switching tents due to a tippy earth toilet, we headed to the mess tent. Dinner was Indian-themed: papadam and tomato-onion chutney, raisin-carrot salad, spiced zucchini and carrots, and chicken curry over rice, with apple cakes for dessert (Jess had two, since there were extra due to the missing guests). Then we headed to bed to listen for lions.