We finished four days and hundred of miles through the Serengeti, found the migration in multiple places and ended for our last two nights at Tanzania’s famous Crater Lodge.
It’s unusually dry. Not yet a crisis it will become so if widespread rain doesn’t develop, soon. We arrived the crater in a rainstorm, so that was obviously good news. But the day that preceded our arrival was a dust bowl.
Equatorial weather is the most complex in the world: jetstreams tangle with each other from every direction. Weather forms but doesn’t move; the thunderstorm grows over you ominously and then dumps itself out of existence.
But climate change has turned the complex into chaos. We found the migration. Over two days we saw about 100,000 wilde and zebra; 400 eland; 10,000 gazelle and the count continues tomorrow as we head east from Ndutu onto the Lemuta Plains.
The man who organized the safari I’m guiding has been with me eight times. Only four others of the 12 people have been to Africa before, and Steve had a list of favorites that he wanted to share with his close friends.
For a million years the huge rock hill with steep sides stood undisturbed in the middle of the Great Northern Frontier, alone on 200,000 acres yet in the shadow of the sacred Samburu mountain, Ololokwe. Then, a camp was built on its top.
Just as the camp’s first customers arrived Ugali was born in one of the narrow caves pierced from the cliff side by the brief, slashing rains of April, several hundred feet below Tent 4.
The cliff side was perfect for her mother and herself. It was packed with hyrax for a light snack and baboon for something more substantial. There were also klipspringers, although their dexterity defied capture.
OnSafari: NAIROBI. As I wait for my group to arrive it’s impossible to have a single conversation with any Kenyan that doesn’t ignite almost instant anger about corruption. Uber driver, hotel clerk, hotel maid, tourism executive … everyone is livid with recent revelations, and a few of them involve America.
The Botswana elephant story is out of hand. Elephants Without Borders (EWB) has gone bazonkers, the Botswana government is unnecessarily defensive, October elections are driving false emotions, and exaggerated claims on all sides have damaged elephant conservation for years to come.
Animal rights activists were always easily ticked off by any poaching, but the current tense global situation has managed to raise their decibel level to unheard levels. Usually good media like the BBC aren’t telling enough of the story, thereby just making things worse.
Hours ago a Botswana government report was released recommending that the ban on elephant hunting and culling be revoked, because there are too many elephants.
“Too many” is, of course, a subjective determination. I argue vigorously that the vast majority of deer culling in the United States is wrong including most hunting, but I agree with the Botswana government that there are too many elephants. Culling might be the only answer. Hunting is not.
A 19-year old who beheads an older man, then freely confesses to having done so, strikes me as less evil than desperate or dangerously manipulable. It’s a sign of our times.
The situation happened last week in Tanzania’s Tarangire national park, not far from the upmarket Swala camp. The area is at the edge of the park immediately outside of which is an agricultural village suffering climate change challenges. The boy was in a poaching gang and the village elder he beheaded allegedly had reported him to game rangers.