Our Guests’ Favorite Moments with East Africa’s Wildlife

Written by Thomson Safaris

They came within inches of gorillas, watched the world’s fastest cat chase down its prey and saw the king of the jungle face off with the gentle giant of the Serengeti.

One of the best ways to support endangered wildlife is to view it using environmentally friendly accommodations and unobtrusive methods. That’s how our guests caught these incredible moments, and how others will continue to enjoy more moments like these for years to come.

Rare Rhino Sightings

One of the surest ways to find the rarest of the Big Five is to visit Ngorongoro Crater. Several black rhinos live on the densely populated crater floor – like this one photographed by guest Doug Gimler.

black rhino in ngorongoro crater

Much rarer are the black rhino sightings in the Serengeti. Finding a pair of black rhinos in the park, which is roughly the size of the state of Connecticut, is quite a feat. Finding a mother rhino with her calf, pictured here by Lee Carvalho, is nothing short of incredible.

black rhino with calf in tanzania

“We were extremely excited when we saw a young rhino with its mother. A very rare opportunity in the open Serengeti.” – Lee Carvalho

Make Way for the Elephants

When you share the road with elephants, it’s hard to mind traffic jams.

elephants in serengeti tanzania

The elephants, on the other hand, don’t always get along with company, especially when their calves are close by. Thomson staffer Andrew Doherty learned this firsthand when a herd faced down a pride of lions in the heart of Seronera.

Lions Up Close

It’s hard to blame the elephants. Lions don’t always have the best sense for personal space.

lion on hood of land rover in tanzania

But that can come in handy if you’re trying to punch up your selfies.

Or catch get a bird’s eye view of Africa’s biggest cat.

Getting to the Gorillas

In the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, many of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas roam in families, and they don’t mind a little company.

Just make sure you listen carefully to them and make way for the silverbacks.

Africa’s Most Effective Predator Enjoys a Low Profile

The African wild dog takes down 85 percent of the animals it chases. Meanwhile, fewer than 1 percent of safari goers see them on the prowl.

wild dogs in selous tanzania

Spotting a pack in Tanzania, like guest Harry Coulombe did here in Selous, is a big deal.

wild dog hunting in grasses in tanzania

Upon seeing them, a guide immediately calls the park authority on a CB radio to document the finding, and guests earn serious bragging rights among wildlife aficionados.

Catching a Cheetah Chase

Cheetahs might not be as “effective” as the African wild dog, but their chases are just as intense. Guest Cathy Nickerson watched one unfold in real time.

cheetah spots prey from mound

The mother cheetah spots her prey.

mother cheetah stalks prey

Moves stealthily toward her target

cheetah chase gazelle in serengeti tanzania

Takes off when she finds her opportunity.

cheetah kill in serengeti

And catches a meal for her hungry cubs.

Monitoring Endangered Wildlife
All the animals above are either threatened, vulnerable or endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Read about the status of each here.