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Africa's Amazing Superstars of the Serengeti
By Jerry W. Bird
Coming from Western Canada and spending much time in the remote Yukon wilderness, I've seen my share of wild animals up close. But until we flew into Kilimanjaro Airport, and took a side trip from Arusha to the Serengeti Plain, did I realize what life must have been like on the Canadian Prairies 150 years ago. The herds of caribou we used to spot swimming the Yukon river, were a puny troop compared to the seemingly endless stretch of wildebeeste and zebra we saw on our first safari. Like a cinemascope movie, Africa's Animal Empire filled the scene, then fanned out in all directions on the far horizon, to the Tanzania - Kenya border, or to Lake Victoria and beyond. And what performers these four legged actors were; prancing about like tv wrestlers, snorting and butting heads, as if they knew they were the star performers of our show.

On a rocky knoll nearby, a pride of lions lolled lazily, like cruise passengers on deck chairs, surveying the situation, as they stood by for the evening dinner gong. Staring at us curiously, this shaggy crew was perfectly cast for the scene to follow, as were the two cheetahs lying couched in the tall grass near the Serengeti airport. In a few hours, traversing the countryside by Land Rover, courtesy of Serena's Serengeti Lodge, we were able to spot at least a dozen recognizable species, including several from the Big Five category (see above).

As a matter of fact, as seen from the air, every water hole from Arusha, to the Ngorongo Crater and Rift Valley, was surrounded by animals of every size and stripe. Before she could land Regional Air's Twin Otter, pilot Iris McCallum had to buzz the airstrip several times to scare away the critters. The next morning, following a 5 am breakfast in the bush, Muguette Goufrani and our North American travel media group drifted a few feet above the migrating herd in a hot air balloon. She will tell you all about it in our coming edition. To be continued.


On Safari: Harold's Defining Moment

"Thirty years ago," Harold Gordon of New York's Park Tours related, "I was on a minibus heading for Arusha Tanzania, when I spotted four tall, ungainly, but graceful giraffes galloping towards an acacia tree to munch on the green leaves. The bus stopped and we watched as they fed, wrapping their tongues around the thorns to reach the tiny leaves. These proud, funny faced, long-necked giraffes, each over 16 ft. tall, were almost within touching distance. I could see their the long eyelashes, as one turned to look at me. They were alive, we were both alive! The giraffe and I shared this earth together, and this eye contact was a defining moment, especially for a city boy like myself, who grew up in a world of concrete and steel. When I saw these four giraffes dancing on the African horizon, my life and career changed forever." Click to continue.


Talk to the Animals. Take an African Tour with Haury Tours of Cote d'Ivoire. West Africa. E-Mail this magazine for details.

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