Continuing a wildlife safari through the evocative
game parks and reserves of Tanzania and Kenya. Some of the Africa of old survives in these
precious places and we can still admire the gatherings of animals that were once widespread across
The plains of
the Serengeti in Tanzania and adjoining Masai Mara in Kenya were born of volcanic upheavals in
Africa's distant past. Volcanic ash from Rift Valley eruptions covered and smoothed these
expanses of land with a nutrient-rich soil. The grasses that now grow on these wide savannas
sustain the huge populations of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles.
The African elephant
The immense savannas of east Africa mark the area where
the human race is believed to have emerged. The Olduvai Gorge near the Serengeti in Tanzania has
yielded the oldest known remains of modern humans. Today, it is the expanding and encroaching human
population that is putting increasing pressure on wildlife.
Elephants still roam east Africa, but in far lower
numbers than a century ago. Loss of habitat to agriculture, and a greed for ivory from their tusks,
have each taken a heavy toll on these intelligent beasts.
Through the 1970s and 1980s, ivory poachers decimated
elephants in the Serengeti and other parts of east Africa. This was a dark time for these
magnificent animals. After the world-wide ban on the ivory trade in 1989, elephants began returning
to some areas and their numbers are now increasing.
African elephants are sociable
animals. Herds are usually made up of one or more family groups, although bulls can be
more solitary. Elephant herds are headed by a matriarch and have a complex social structure
centered on the females and calves.
Flamebirds of Lake Nakuru
Magnificent flamingos congregate in huge numbers
at Lake Nakuru in Kenya. The alkaline waters of this Rift Valley lake support the blue-green
algae on which they feed. Many thousands of these beautiful birds ring the lake and
provide one of the world's supreme wildlife spectacles.