Lobo Valley Trifecta

March 20, 2013 lobo valley trifecta Unique Safaris | Tanzania Safari

We were having a very nice morning drive through the Lobo Valley traveling south from Buffalo Camp to Semetu.  We’d enjoyed our first sightings of giraffe, ostrich, and warthogs of the day when Arnold alerted us to movement on the road ahead.  Much to our surprise we saw 5 Black Eared Foxes coming our way.  Primarily nocturnal, we were excited just to see them at a distance.  But with patience and luck, we watched them come ever closer for a great ‘up close’ view before they scattered into the tall grass.

A jackal later and another set of giraffes and warthogs we spot a large family of elephants on the horizon.  It appeared they were moving to cross the road directly in front of us so we picked up a little speed to get into a good position for viewing.  Yet, before we could get into position to see the elephants Arnold calls out ‘movement’ and moments later, on our right not 5 meters from us was a lioness – alert and focused, but not on us.  Dilemma:  This is our first lion and she’s really focused on something yet there’s a great herd of elephants just a head and likely to cross the road.  Not to worry, Arnold was outstanding in his positioning; Moving forward, moving back, using the slope of the road to coast our Land Cruiser quietly into best position.

We enjoyed wonderful and up close views of the elephants: Huge bull down to relatively tiny, still suckling calves.  At the same time, we saw the object of the lioness’ attention: Another lioness coming toward us with a partially consumed kill.  And then out of the grass came a cub… and then another, and another, and another until 7 cubs showed themselves.  Great morning light, elephants and lions… could it get any better?  Sure enough, off in the distance was that shape we came to recognize, a Cheetah sitting atop a mound scanning the horizon.

With the elephants and lions we were in no hurry to leave and the cheetah gave us that much more reason to sit tight.  As we learned throughout the safari, patience pays off.  The cheetah started moving and that precipitated additional movement.  Sure enough, she had two cubs with her.  And, they were moving our way.  They did, in fact, cross the road: The elephants, lions, and cheetah were all within about 100 – 150 meters and one or two at any given time were crossing the road.  What an amazing experience to see all three so close and at the same time.

We let Arnold know he’d set the bar very high for the rest of the trip.  Little did we know what lay in store…

Photo credit: Garth and Terese Evans

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