One of the struggles that I face when planning itineraries is the balance between visiting areas with great wildlife concentrations and at the same time avoiding areas plagued with tour operators and safari vehicles.
|The waterhole in front of the lodge attracts a huge variety and number of animals. This place would work great as a luxurious break or strenuous trip.|
On a trip that I should have blogged about 2 months ago, our itinerary included a few challenging nights at the Four Seasons in Serengeti National Park. On this particular itinerary, the Four Seasons made sense, but if you understand my style of guiding you’ll understand that I place a huge emphasis on the experience of safari- the wildlife, vistas, and on the magic that the African bush can create. Now, while the Four Seasons service and view was, well, Four Seasons worthy, but despite its killer view, its location made it quite a challenge to offer the safari experience I believe in. Being one and a half hours away on a very corrugated transit road from the core of Serengeti known as the Seronera valley, I cringed at the thought of having to transit 3hrs a day to have a good wildlife experience so I broke the rules* and went exploring.
* Whatever some of the camps and safari operators tell you on green-washed websites, driving off-road is not allowed in Serengeti National Park. I love being off-road and justify where I do it, how I do it, and when I do it because I also care about the environment. I will never off-road in a core area because it is not environmentally sound, but there are too many drivers who do not have the same environmental understanding or ethic.
With all the other vehicles driving to Seronera from the Four Seasons, I decided it might be ok to sneak around and took a little track, and still within sight of the lodge found 3 leopards blending into a rocky outcrop. Our explorations later took me to this beautiful spot and this photo might evoke an atmosphere of beauty, adventure, and solitude.
|Alone in the Serengeti. A Ficus sycamorus on the edge of a seasonal river that attracts a lot of game.|