OUR FIRST HOURS IN THE SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
After hours on the road, we finally arrived at the entrance to the Serengeti National Park. The entrance has a large picnic area, a couple of convenience / souvenir shops, and a few administrative buildings. We sat down to enjoy our picnic lunch while waiting for our driver to sort out our permits. Finally, after about half an hour, we popped up the roof of our vehicle and headed into the Serengeti.
The first few minutes we spent driving across open flat fields. There are a few main roads and a large number of established tracks in the Serengeti. The main roads are rough, washboard, affairs that are used to quickly travel from one part of the park to another. The dirt tracks are meant for slower driving and meander through the park past watering holes, kopjes, and stands of trees. While it is possible to see animals on the roads, you are much more likely to see wildlife on the dirt tracks.
After a few minutes, as we were slowing down to turn on to our first track, we saw our first animals – a herd of antelopes on the side of the road.
A short while later we came across an amazing sight – three cheetahs traveling together and very close to the road! I have heard that some people never get to see cheetahs in the Serengeti and here we were faced with three at once.
A little bit later we encountered a herd of elephants in some tall grass by the side of the road.
Watching them walk past and then disappear into the distance across the plain was a truly magical experience.
KATI KATI TENTED CAMP
Dusk approaching, we headed off to our camp for the night. Kati Kati Tented Camp is a mobile camp that moves seasonally from one part of the Serengeti to another. It consists of several individual walk-in tents and a common dining tent. Each tent has a toilet, sink with running water, and a shower. All meals are included, with dinner and breakfast offered at set times.
If you want to use the shower you have to request it. One of the staff will fill up a bucket outside your tent with hot water and you can control the flow of water via a chain inside the shower. At some point, while still in the shower, you will hear a voice from outside the tent asking if you want a second bucket of water – very surreal.
Every night, near sunset, a bonfire is lit for everyone at the camp to enjoy before dinner.
Dinner is communal. The servers bring by each dish and spoon a portion onto your plate. It is possible to charge your phones, cameras, and other equipment at a station in the dining tent while you eat. After dinner, a member of staff will walk you back to your tent.
When we arrived we were given the rules of the camp. One of the most important rules was not to go out after dark. The camp is in the Serengeti after all! That night we found out firsthand the reason why. At some point during the night we were woken up by the deep-throated rumble of lions directly outside our tent. Absolutely thrilling and terrifying at the same time!