Posts From Tanzania


Traveling to Arusha (Arusha, Tanzania)

Journal entry for Tuesday 2nd Sep, 2014 (day 414, miles 6764)

Today was a traveling day, from Nairobi to Arusha (Tanzania), so no animal watching. The day was not without some points of interest however. To start with the hotel recommended we book our taxi for 5:45 to travel the 15 km to the airport for an 8:30 flight; seemed like a lot of time to us. Once we were on the plane we could understand their suggestion. Even at 6:00am in the morning Nairobi traffic was thick and not moving very fast. At the airport there was a long line of people trying to get into the terminal as all bags and passengers had to pass through a security screen before entering the terminal. And then the gate staff commenced boarding the plane an hour before takeoff. The good news about the early boarding was that the cabin staff could serve the "meal" while we were still on the ground as the 35 minute flight time really did not give them enough time to push their service trolley up and down the aisle more than once. The other good news was the relatively new and apparently well maintained plane.

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Arusha National Park (Arusha, Tanzania)

Journal entry for Wednesday 3rd Sep, 2014 (day 415, miles 6764)

Our safari really does not start until Friday (that is until Lee and Gordon, Nina's sister and husband have arrived) but there was no way Nina could sit in the hotel today and do nothing but wait so yesterday we arranged with our safari company to provide us with a vehicle and driver for the day so that we could visit the local Arusha National Park. Thus at 8:00, Swai our driver for the day (and our driver for our safari as well), was waiting for us with his relatively new Toyota safari vehicle and we soon got underway.

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Tarangire I (Oliver's Camp, Tanzania)

Journal entry for Friday 5th Sep, 2014 (day 417, miles 6764)

The president's presence was still being felt in the hotel this morning. A lot more people, a red carpet out in the main foyer, and a higher level of security. In amongst all this organized chaos we got breakfast, checked out and started out safari. First stop was the downtown area of Arusha, provisioning up for the journey and a briefing on the details of our safari at the office of Easy Travel. Following that, there was a drive of about 2 hours to the entrance to Tarangire National Park. After lunch and park entry formalities we started our afternoon game drive, and it proved to be very successful. By the time the afternoon was over we had seen herds of zebra, giraffe, wilder beasts, antelope, elephant, water buck, small groups of wart hogs, and a number of ostriches. A very successful first afternoon of animal watching. For Nina the day had garnered approximately 850 photos that she had to edit and cull during the evening.

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Cats (Oliver's Camp, Tanzania)

Journal entry for Saturday 6th Sep, 2014 (day 418, miles 6764)

Coffee in bed a 6:00am, breakfast at 6:30 and our mornings walking safari started at 7:30. No lazing around and sleeping late this morning. The walking safari consisted of our group plus one other guest and two armed guides/rangers. We walked for about 2 hours through a variety of vegetation examining animal signs on the ground, and old animal kills. We saw herds of zebra, met a few wart hogs, water bucks, giraffe, and had a bit of a standoff with a lone buffalo. But all in all it was interesting but not eventful.

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A lazy morning and then a travel day (Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania)

Journal entry for Sunday 7th Sep, 2014 (day 420, miles 6764)

Today had a slow and lazy start as we decided yesterday to make this morning a bit of a "recovery". So a latish, breakfast, for me a tour of the camp back-lot (with an inspection of the high-tech solar system and an introduction to the technology if a charcoal refrigerator), and some extended good byes to our gracious host and hostess Justin and Jacky, then it was onwards towards the park gate. Permits to enter the park are issued in units of 24 hours and we had to be through the gate by about 1:30 pm. The drive to the gate was mostly a retracing of previously covered territory but even so we were keen to make our final sightings (in this park) of giraffe, elephants, zebras and of course we kept our eyes open for more novel things. As it turned out our guides diligence was rewarded and we saw another small pride of lions, including a young male that was still dining on their recent kill. To top that we saw another leopard resting in a tree.

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The Crater (Serena Lodge Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania)

Journal entry for Monday 8th Sep, 2014 (day 420, miles 6764)

By 6;30 am this morning we were in our safari vehicle headed down the 600 meters into the Ngorongoro Crater. The crater is a circular depression about 20 km across surrounded by mountains that range up to 3600 meters. The mountains supply the crater with fresh water and hence the grass lands at the bottom of the crater have become home for many animals. As a result the crater is a big attraction for tourists (like us) wanting to see Africa's wildlife.

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Maasai Village (Four Seasons Serengeti, Tanzania)

Journal entry for Tuesday 9th Sep, 2014 (day 421, miles 6764)

Today we drove north to the Serengeti. The name means "endless plains" and it sure lived up to its name, we drove all day (with various sightseeing stops) and at the end of the day we are still not at the end of the Serengeti. Now I do not mean to give the impression that the day was just driving. Early in our day we stopped at a Maasai village for a tour. The villagers organize the tour themselves and appear to provide no "kick back" to the tour company. We were met outside the village by one of the chief's sons who collected our entrance fee. Then there was a welcome dance by a large troupe of men and women, the four of us tourists got to participate in the dancing (not a pretty sight) and then we toured the village, a Maasai house and their school. We could never entirely be sure of this but it seemed like the entire village of 138 people were descendants or wives of the chief.

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Back under canvas (Lemala Lodge, Tanzania)

Journal entry for Wednesday 10th Sep, 2014 (day 422, miles 6764)

This morning we decided to take advantage of the luxury of the Four Seasons and delay our departure until after lunch. So we spent the morning variously catching up and or lazing around. A few souvenirs from the hotel shop, then lunch was done and we were on our way. Swai, our driver/guide, told us that it was 150 km or about 5 hours to our next camp and that our route would take us out of the Park/Conservation area in order to shorten the drive. So the day was largely just a drive to get there. Once out of the Park the roads deteriorated at times being nothing more than the marks of previous vehicles. Swai explained to us that the route we were taking was not used during the rainy season, and we could see why. Long stretches of clay soil that would turn into a quagmire with even a small amount of water.

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Ballooning over the Serengeti (Lamala Lodge, Tanzania)

Journal entry for Thursday 11th Sep, 2014 (day 422, miles 6764)

We were roused at 4:30am this morning with coffee and orange juice for a 4:45 pickup for a long anticipated Balloon flight over the Serengeti. Thus started the days adventures. The second leg of the adventure was the drive to the launching site; a 90 minute drive in the dark on trails that sometimes felt more like an off road coarse. But eventually we arrived to find the ballon partially inflated, the pilot giving instructions and doing his inspection. In short order we were all aboard and in the air, just in time to catch the sun poke its face over the horizon. For an hour or more we skimmed across the plain some times only a few feet off the ground, sometimes clipping trees, scaring wart hogs and ostriches and getting an entirely different perspective on the land and the animals.

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