Nomad Adventure Tours: East Africa Tour Day 3

by Melissa on January 28, 2014 · 13 comments

“How do you like it now, assholes?”  A voice from outside my tent shouted angrily.

What a lovely way to wake up! I thought to myself as I opened my eyes and looked around the dark canvas two-man tent I was sharing with my high school friend, Giancarlo.  We were in the middle of the Serengeti – our first morning – on the third day of our East Africa Tour with Nomad Adventure Tours.  We had been lucky since we didn’t have to be up at a ridiculously early hour – which is par for the course when you’re overlanding through Africa- however, I guess our campsite neighbours were less than enthralled that our late arrival to the campground meant that we were probably up later than most.  And let’s be honest, as a group of 16 people, we probably weren’t the quietest.

I checked the clock on my phone and realized it was pretty much time to get up to get ready for breakfast followed by our first game drive in the Serengeti, so I collected my toiletries and made my way across the campsite to the shared ablutions and got ready for the day.

I met up with the rest of my East Africa Tour group members in the mess hall, where the organizers from Serengeti Experience (the company that takes Nomad’s clients into the Serengeti) were serving up a delicious breakfast complete with fried eggs, sausage, toast and fruit.
east africa tour Soon after we’d filled our bellies for the morning, we all made our way to the 3 LandCruisers that would be taking us on our first game drive.

Personally, my only objective of the day was to finally cross off that nagging item from my bucket list – see all of the big 5.  I was unlucky on all of my previous safaris (such as in Etosha and Chobe National Parks on my Cape Town to Victoria Falls tour, and during my game drives through Masai Mara, Hell’s Gate, Lake Nakuru and Queen Elizabeth National Parks on my Masai Mara & Gorillas tour)  and had been unable to track down the ever-elusive leopard.

“Chui!”  I cried out my new favourite Swahili word – meaning leopard.  “I wanna see a chui!”  And with that one Swahili word being our morning’s battlecry, we set of into the savannah – in search of chuis, simbas and toto tembos (leopards, lions and baby elephants).
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east africa tourOur first animal sightings were those of the more ‘boring’ variety.  The herbivores that scatter the dusty, sundrenched plains – topi, gazelle, striped mongoose, dik-diks and even a cute baby hyrax.  While I did take the opportunity to snap some great photographs, I made sure to keep an eye out for leopards which are often found lazing on high branches.  Unfortunately for me… no chuis were making an appearance for me or the others on my East Africa Tour.

On our quest for big cats (specifically leopards) – we came across beautiful birds (including my favourite – the lilac breasted roller), a hippo pool, and even a lone bull elephant wandering through the Serengeti’s iconic savannah. east africa tour east africa tour east africa tour east africa tour And then we saw it.

The massive line up of vehicles.

When on a game drive – when you see a giant cluster of vehicles, there’s only 1 thing it can mean – CATS!

A lot of the binoculars and cameras seemed to be pointed high up into a tree – which I could only logically deduce that there was likely a leopard high up in the tree – as they are really the only cats who are regularly found in trees.  A surge of excitement rushed through me… THIS WAS IT!

Only it didn’t happen just then and there.  Abraham – our driver from Serengeti Experience – pulled over and tried to position our vehicle into a prime spot with as clear of a view of the trees.  I peered excitedly through my 300mm lens, others peeked through their binoculars – but there was no spotted cat in the tree.  I desperately searched each of the trees around the area- but there were no leopards to be found.  Abraham drove up and down the dusty roads… and then when we least expected it – there she was!

A young leopard – likely around 6-7 months was relaxing high up in a tree, about 100m away.  We oohed and ahhhed over how perfect she was.  My camera sounded more like a machine gun – the shutter continuously clicking as I filled up my 32GB SD card with photos of my first leopard.

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After spending longer than most normally would watching the young leopard in the tree, we decided to slowly make our way back to camp for some lunch and to relax for a few hours before we went on our late afternoon game drive.  On the way back to camp we were lucky enough to spot a lone lioness lazing about in the tall grasses and even a cheetah who was beating the heat by relaxing under a tree.

Upon our arrival back at camp, we were delighted to find our lunch had been prepared and was waiting for us – fried fish, pasta salad, spinach and hot vegetables!  It was quite the delicious meal.

Despite not really doing anything too active or strenuous that morning, many of those on the tour with me decided to just relax in our tents.  I was waiting for an acceptable time to call home (yes – call… while in the middle of the Serengeti) to wish my boyfriend a happy birthday.  Just to hear his voice after being away for nearly a month was enough to top off my already perfect morning! 

As I lounged around in my tent – I started to hear a big commotion outside of the tents – I peered out only to find Michel, Nicholas, Dirk, Milan, Giancarlo, Tom and Marije watching a massive male baboon eating a pile of food scraps left by our foulmouthed campsite neighbours from the morning.  Everyone seemed shocked as to how close the baboon was getting to our tents.  But we took the opportunity to get photographs – for many on my tour, this was their first experience getting up close to a wild baboon.
east africa tour Soon thereafter we met up in the parking lot of the campsite and jumped in our LandCruisers once more.  For the next few hours we drove around the Serengeti in search of anything exciting.  Excitement was brought to us in the form of elephants!  Big, small, old and young – we saw them all.  We even had a few get really close to our vehicle – which was definitely an unexpected treat.

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Upon returning back to camp we had some dinner – a beef stew with rice and salad.  Since I had big plans for the next morning – to cross off a BIG bucket list item– I turned into bed pretty much as soon as I’d finished, hoping to get as much shut eye before my iPhone’s alarm function would be waking me up.
I snuggled into my sleeping bag and quickly drifted off to sleep excited for everything the next day had in store!

Nomad Adventure Tours

Start reading about my experience on the East Africa tour from the beginning! Click HERE for Day 1

Click HERE to read the next chapter of my adventure on my East Africa Tour with Nomad Adventure Tours.

**DISCLAIMER:  While Nomad Adventure Tours asked me to partake in this tour and did provide me with a discounted tour price, all expressed thoughts, opinions and experiences remain my own.**

**If you would like more information about Nomad Adventure Tours and their products – contact me!**



{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne January 30, 2014 at 4:19 pm

How exciting to see a leopard. Amazing pictures.
Looking forward to reading more.


Melissa February 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm

I was especially excited to cross off yet another bucket list item in getting to see my first leopard! Definitely exciting! They are GORGEOUS creatures!


karl February 9, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Awesome pics! Even the so called “boring” creatures. This is one of my favorite adventure series ever, keep going 🙂
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Melissa March 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Hi Karl,

Thanks for this lovely message – sorry it’s been a while since I last posted (this particular post nearly 2 months ago!) – but day 4 is coming out today… I hope you continue to enjoy the adventure!

<3 Melissa


Carmen February 15, 2014 at 10:45 am

Amazing photos! I especially love the ones of the baby animals 🙂 I did a safari nearly 20 years ago… time to do another one soon I think!
Carmen recently posted..A bummer of a time in BoliviaMy Profile


Melissa March 28, 2014 at 12:55 pm

The babies are always my favourite. Especially baby cats!

20 YEARS, you say? Time to get back there!


Nancy Davolio February 23, 2014 at 11:56 pm

Amazing photos! I especially love the ones of the baby animals 🙂 SO much appreciated… thanks for the sharing your best views. all are so much nice…


Melissa March 28, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Hi Nancy,
Thanks for the compliments on my photos! More posts about my East Africa adventure to come!


Nancy Moon February 27, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Hi and what a great blog, so much on Africa! I’m going in September for my first time. My inspiring friend (I took her Vision Course) is Jacqueline Boone and she suggested that I find you :). I’ll read more later, my BLOG on my research on Africa (from NYC) came out today. Hope you stop by. Nancy


Melissa March 28, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Hi Nancy,

I’m so jealous about your upcoming trip to Africa – if you need any specific advice, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email or Facebook. Would love to help you out in any way i can! Jacqueline is so incredible! How did you like the vision course?


Anna from The Blonde Banana March 1, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Your photos are amazing!!! I’ve always wanted to go on a safari… I’ll have to bookmark Nomad Adventure Tours for when I go, hopefully in 2015.
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Melissa March 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Hi Anna,

Thanks for the compliments on my photos – I hope you get to go to Africa, it’s a truly life changing place. Be sure to look into Nomad – and before you contact them, if you have any specific questions don’t hesitate to contact me via email or Facebook (links are on the upper right of the sidebar).


Torsten April 16, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Great review and photos.

Following you on Twitter – hope to connect there sometime!


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