I tossed and turned all night and got very little sleep. This always happens to me on the first night of my trips.
Olivia went right to sleep and she woke up at five AM. I made us some coffee and we packed. Breakfast was served at six. The coffee was the star. Tanzanian coffee is special. It is very strong and tasty. Just the way I love coffee. Breakfast was good. We both sampled mango muffins and the breads were fresh and hot.
We then all met in the lobby for our orientation. When I was in the Serengeti in November, we flew from Arusha to the northern part of the Serengeti. This time we are driving from Arusha to a national park named “Tarangire” and staying in a permanent lodge inside the Park.
We first drove through Arusha and got a sampling of life on a Sunday morning. It was then onto a straight two lane road. The road meandered through the Masai Country. We drove by lots of Masai herding their cows, sheep and goats. We also passed by lots of small and single family settlements. Our guide, Wolfgrun, pointed out a single family settlement. A flat roof hut faced some round huts. He told us that the husband lives in the flat roof hut and each of his wives lives in the round huts. You can tell how many wives he has by the number of round huts. I would say that most single family settlements had between thee and four round huts. It appeared that the walls of the huts were made from mud and the roofs were some sort of vines or bamboo. The Masai clothing is very colorful with red being the primary color. Most of the men are tall and thin and carry a long stick.
After driving for about three hours, we finally reached the Park entrance. Our guide stopped in the parking lot to obtain a pass and we all got out to stretch our legs. I wandered around and came across some beautiful small albino looking monkeys. After taking some great shots, we boarded our Jeep. Wolfgrun had taken the canvass roof off the Jeep and we are now able to stand up when we spot something. Just outside the entrance, Wolfgrun stopped to point out a pigmy falcon. This is the smallest falcon in the World and quite rare. From now on I will call our guide Wolf for short.
We drove and periodically stopped to view some beautiful birds. Birds are very special when you visit the African Bush. They are different and very colorful. We finally came across some elephants and giraffes. I have missed
seeing all these creatures in their natural environment. Once you see the animals living like they are meant to live, you cannot go to a zoo.
At about two PM we finally arrived at our lodge. The lodge was a permanent hotel where rooms were attached to either side of the entrance way. I noticed a large amount of monkeys and hyrax playing around outside. Hyrax are a small animal that reminds me of a mole and behaves like a small dog or large cat.
We immediately were told to go to e pool and that lunch would be served buffet style. The sun was beating down on me as I had a cold Kilimanjaro beer.
It was then time to check in and be led to our rooms. Our room was nice and clean. Of course, no A/C, but a huge mosquito net hung outside and around our bed. I love to sleep under a mosquito net. The net sort of reminds me of being on safari many years ago and I feel as if I am snuggling into a cocoon.
At four we all met for the ritual of coffee and afternoon tea with some assorted snacks. A beautiful tradition that I could easily get used to.
At four thirty it was off for our a afternoon game drive. As soon as we departed the lodge, we observed a pride of lions napping under a large baobab tree. There are lots of baobabs in this Park. They all have leaves, which to me, makes them less striking. No males, just females and their cubs. The grass is very tall, since the rainy season was ending. Tall grass makes it much more difficult to find and oversee the wildlife.
Let’s talk a little of the Jeep. We are a party of eleven and have two Land Cruisers six in one Jeep and five in the other. We were with the group of six. One passenger sat next to the driver Nd the other five in the three rows of two seats each. The group gave me the first row all to myself. They saw the size of my camera with a 100-400 lens and wanted me to have as much room as possible. Also, I could go from left to right much easier and stand up looking out the roof without hindering another passenger.
Back to the game drive. We saw some giraffes, elephants and birds. Luckily, Wolf was our driver. He is an awesome guide and promises me some great surprises. I have never seen lions sitting in a tree, rhinos and the elusive cheetah.
We returned at seven for dinner at seven thirty. Time for a quick shower, dinner and then bed. Of course, we were escorted back to our rooms.
I have decided to break this trip up into number of days and locations to change the format for this trip. Hope you enjoy the change.
After a great safari breakfast, it was off for our morning game drive. Wolf tried so hard to locate the wildlife. We drove and drove. Nothing interesting came into sight, although the other passengers were awestruck when they saw any wildlife. I always try to capture the wildlife doing something and want to avoid what Andy calls “Wikipedia” pictures.
Lunch was served around the pool and then it was time for a quick nap and then our four o’clock coffee and then the game drive. Nothing is guaranteed during a game drive. You need to always keep your eyes open and ready for anything. How I love driving through the African Bush. I am disappointed when we don’t see anything, but just to be here is so special and unique.
It was nice to get back to the routine of the African Bush. Morning and after game drives, an afternoon nap and then coffee.
Tomorrow morning we travel to Lake Manyara National Park.