The four days I spent in the Serengeti were full of incredible experiences. One of the things you always dream about is the opportunity to spend time with big cats. From shy cheetahs to lazy lions or the ever elusive Leopard, there’s something captivating about the alpha predators of Africa. At the outset of my safari I hoped I’d spot, perhaps, one or two large male lions and a leopard or two. A cheetah or two if I was lucky and a pride of females with cubs. Little did I know what the Serengeti had in store for me.
My time spent in Tarangire at the start of the 9 day safari had already set a high bar. After all, catching lionesses and their cubs beneath a rainbow was one of the most magical things I’ve witnessed in my travels. Yet, lo and behold, the Serengeti had far, far more than that in store. By the end of my four days in the Serengeti I had given up on counting lion and leopard sightings. At times, the big cats got so close to the vehicle that, had they been tempted, they could have easily jumped inside. At one point a young Cheetah Cub put his front paws up on the bumper and chewed on the cattle guard a bit. In another, a large male leopard used us as a sun and wind block and settled down immediately next to the vehicle.
The highlight though? Spending a good 20+ minutes with a tree full of lions – a sight that I have dreamed about for years but never imagined I’d get lucky enough to catch….let alone with a tree soo overflowing with lions that they quite literally ran out of room forcing the youngest of the litter to retreat to the ground for a nap.
I attribute the sheer number of big cats and the special experiences I had in part to my incredible guide from Fed Tours and Safaris. He understood the animals, where they’d be, and when they were inclined to be active. He also didn’t shy away from driving the extra distance to get off the most heavily trafficked roads, which meant most of the time spent with the cats was done in relative tranquility. Camping in the heart of the Serengeti National Park and starting at sunrise also made a big difference as the best big cat viewing came when they were most active – around sunrise and sunset, in the day’s coolest hours. By the time many of the other vehicles finished breakfast, gathered themselves, and headed out to explore or arrived from the lodges out/around the camp – the cats were already napping.
To learn more about my advice for picking a good Safari company read the post here. To learn about the $200, 70-300mm lens I shot most of these photos on see the post here. All shots were captured on a Canon 6D. To see my full albums, including black and white edits and other big cat photos from my visit jump over to flickr. Wan’t to purchase a print of one of these shots? Let me know or browse existing prints in my store.
Sunset Over the Serengeti
Mother and Child
A Well Balanced Lunch
The World’s Laziest King
Leopard Perfect Safari
The Secretive Serval
Into the Wind
The Playful King
King of the Mountain
The Chase (Leopard / Hyena)
A Lover’s Nibble
A Lion’s Tears
The Hungry Comedian
Relaxing at Sunset
Leopard and Kill
The Full Tree-House
The Hunter’s Perch
The Fat Cub
Leopard at Sunset
Lust in the Moment
Thanks for going on Safari with me! Don’t miss my other blog posts from 9 incredible days spent exploring Tanzania’s spectacular national parks and countryside.
Have questions about how I captured or edited these photos? You can see aperture, lens, speed and ISO if you click into the image over on flickr. Want to know more? Feel free to ask in a comment below.
Don’t forget: To learn more about my advice for picking a good Safari company read the post here. To learn about the $200, 70-300mm lens I shot most of these photos on see the post here. All shots were captured on a Canon 6D. To see my full albums, including black and white edits and other big cat photos from my visit jump over to flickr.
Wan’t to purchase a print of one of these shots? Let me know or browse existing prints in my store.
If you are considering a safari, I’d highly suggest considering Tanzania and the Serengeti/Ngorongoro Crater park in particular. I’d also suggest the team at Fed Tours and Safaris who I partnered with for this trip. They’re a Tanzanian owned and operated company run by two brothers and they provided me with an absolutely spectacular safari experience. As part of our collaboration, I received a discounted rate in exchange for sharing my unfiltered/fully independent experience with them. If you are considering Tanzania, I do encourage you to research Fed Safaris and mention you’ve read about them here on VirtualWayfarer. They’ll make sure to take extra good care of you.