Africa. Wildlife. Safari. Think these three at once and invariably you’ll think of the Serengeti. So iconic is the endless rolling lawn of the Serengeti plains, you might imagine you’ve seen it before you arrive; our screens are saturated with footage of its vast wildebeest migrations, cheetah sprints, lion mauls and high-tailed warthog snuffles, alongside the great herds of giraffe, impala, gazelle and eland. But the reality, unaccompanied by the dulcet tones of David Attenborough is something much grander to behold in person, let alone by the most sophisticated speakers and screen. From the survival of the animal life to the magnitude of the landscape, rarely is the raw power of life so wild, vital and readily apparent. Being immersed in such a place is overwhelming to every sense. Arguably the best wildlife viewing in the world.
Up and at ‘em. Dawn brings some of the Serengeti’s most sensational wildlife moments, and even the laziest of travellers should have no problem hauling their bones from the bed to witness the marvels in store. Leopards can still be stalking the plains, not yet retired to their treetop sleeping quarters, you’re more likely to see hippos taking a stroll than at any other time of day, and lions may well still be picking over the carcasses of their latest victim. And that’s just for starters: dawn is, above all, active, and provides many safari-goers’ fondest memories of their time on the savannah. The sun rises, and with it animals (and you) might just get a little lethargic – so catch them early, when they’re at their finest.
An outcrop of rocks favoured by lion and cheetah, Simba Kopje in the Serengeti is perhaps the best place to see them bask in morning sun. With a panoramic command of the surrounding plain, the predators wile away the heat of the day sprawling here before the evening hunt. Cubs play, lionesses flip their tail and wrinkle whiskers, and full-maned males perch high and regal. Simba Kopje is a reliable treat for lion lovers and the longtime home of theses kings and queens of East Africa.