Tanzania Day 8

Hi Everyone

Had a great nights sleep even in the heat and humidity of Tanzania. Try not to get bitten by the Tse Tse fly. The burning itch lasts for about twelve hours. Julian gave me a cream called “Burn Cream”.

Of course, we went through the same routine. Woke up at five with hot pressed Tanzania coffee and boarded our vehicles at six. We drove until the sun started to come over the horizon and then parked. I watched the African sun rise against some beautiful clouds and trees. I always tell people you need to see the sunrise and sunset in the real Africa. It is a show by itself. We then drove over to where the lions were. This is the biggest known pride in Katavi and consist of twelve lions. On my previous blog, I told you that they had killed a hippo. Four of them were eating the carcass. They loved the bones and chewed on them. We then saw a couple a little distance away. We drove over and they were matting. Lions mate in a very interesting way. They mate anywhere from three to seven days and do not eat during this period. They have sex almost like clockwork every fifteen minutes until they are finished. Sean said you can set your watch by it. We watched them for quite a while. The female would always initiate the act. She would stand up and the male would reciprocate.

We then drove around looking for some more wildlife and finally stopped for breakfast. The drivers set up our breakfast and made our coffee overlooking a dried out riverbed where elephants and giraffes were roaming. After our breakfast, we drove on the side of the riverbed and saw some giraffes around a large pond of water that came from an underground stream. Before getting to the water, our driver spotted a small beautifully colored lizard on a tree. I couldn’t believe he had seen this small lizard while driving the Land Rover. He must have great eyes. The giraffes created some great shots of them drinking and standing in the water. There seems to be an abundance of giraffes here. We then drove on towards the Airstrip. Don’t forget, only two planes a week land and take off here. Our driver then spotted a male spotted leopard under the shade of a tree. Leopards are quite rare in Katavi. We spent some time taking pictures of him and then drove back towards Camp.

The afternoon heat is very intense. You feel like doing nothing and become lethargic. Lunch is at one and then its tea time at four and our drive at 4:30. In 2012, Olivia joined me for one of my many charity trips to Cambodia. She termed the heat and humidity there “Africa Hot”. It is “Africa Hot”. I took a quick nap in my tent before the afternoon drive and was woken up in a pool of sweat and a big fan was blowing on me. The only way to describe the heat is intense.

Our afternoon drive started at 5. We drove until we found a pride of young lions near a dried out riverbank. There was a woman doing video there by herself. The driver told us she is German and has spent the last two months here doing a video on the Katavi Lions. As soon as we arrived she packed up and waited for us to leave.

We then drove on and finally came upon a beautiful mud pool of numerous hippos. Our driver let us get out of the vehicle since there was no one around. Speaking of remote. There are only five Bush Camps in Katavi. Each one has accommodations for the most ten so at the peak season there are only at the maximum fifty people in this huge National Park.

We all met for drinks around a campfire. I just starred into the fire knowing that I am blessed to have experienced this magical place.

Dinner was then served. For our last dinner, local Swahili dishes were made. The chicken was very good and the vegetables were excellent. Some facts about Tanzania. There is no medical system. You pay as you go with no government help. The average income earned is $70 US per month. Only 10 % of the population pay taxes. There are only 1500 doctors to take care of 46 million people. Quite disturbing.

Tonight is our last night at Katavi so I will sum up my experience here. Katavi is a special place but it is not for everyone. You get close up to the wildlife, but the Camps are not for everyone. I loved the Bush shower and living in a large tent. The heat gets to you and you slow down and become lethargic. The bathroom is too primitive for most people but I enjoyed being on a safari from years ago. You endure lots of bugs and Tse Tse flys. I can only hope that some of my grandchildren have the courage and drive to experience this amazing and beautiful small part of Africa. Katavi is an experience and visit that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Now for tomorrow. The morning drive is optional. I will do it. We then come back to Camp for breakfast. We will be taking showers after breakfast and then pack up. My laundry was done everyday so everything is fresh. We leave the Camp at eleven and our putt putt takes off at 12:30 for a forty minute flight

Where are we going? We are going to Mahale National Park. Our Camp is “Greystroke Mahale” and is located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. We will be trekking chimpanzees in the morning and enjoying the Lake in the afternoon. Sean told us that Lake Tanganyika is the second deepest lake in the world. The center goes down to over 4000 feet. He also said the water is amazingly clear and clean. I have never taken pictures of chimpanzees in their natural environment. This should be a great challenge and I hope to get numerous get shots.

The adventure continues