Breakfast in the Serengeti

Serengeti, Tanzania

Feb 28 2010 Written by:Richard Field

I had my best ever breakfast recently. The food was good – home made muesli, fresh fruit, muffins, yummy bacon and egg sandwiches, sausages and fresh plunger coffee. However it wasn’t actually the fare that saw this breakfast rise meteoricially in my standings, instead it was the fact that I shared it with some great safari companions and around 2 million wildebeest in the middle of the vast expanse of the Serengeti.

It was our first morning and there was a sense of anxious anticipation when we had set off for our first proper drive in the Serengeti. Would we find the migration? How long would it take? Would it be as spectacular as it is portrayed?

The answers to those questions were ‘Yes’, ‘Not long’ and ‘Most definitely yes’!

It is a breathtaking, awe-inspiring, mind warping spectacle. Your eyes tell you that there are wildebeest and zebra for as far as you can see, in all directions around you, but somehow it takes a little while for your mind to catch up. Yes, it is real. No, these animals haven’t been placed here by Disney.

It is a spectacle on a similar scale to the Grand Canyon except with loads of movement and noise. Wildebeest grazing, walking, running, chasing each other, giving birth, nursing, and wildebeest getting eaten.

With such a food supply you would rightly expect a few predators too. We had seen a leopard and a large pride of lions the night before and on this morning we discovered one of the tricks for locating predators in the Serengeti – look for the gaps in the herd. The wildebeest will simply move away from a predator when they see one, which leaves a conspicuous hole in the sea of animals. We found a cheetah and plenty of hyenas this way. And this was all before breakfast!

By the time breakfast came around we were all fairly ravenous, but it did come as a surprise when Roland and Godwin, our local guides, simply stopped in a seemingly random spot on the plain. They offloaded some camping chairs for us and popped some table cloths on the bonnet. Within minutes the coffee was ready and we were tucking into our feast, with several hundred thousand eyes watching us intently. It was simply awesome, and definitely my best breakfast ever (with the only competition coming from the next two mornings when we did it all again)!

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