safari day 1
We are off today for our safari. After an appalling breakfast at our exclusive lodge, where we couldn’t even get a slice of bread, due to them having no supplies what so ever, we were picked up and off we went. Back to Arusha to fix up the rest of the bill, and then out to grab another couple that would be joining us for the next two days. A nice german couple that are doing medicine, and he has been at an internship on Zanzibar for the last couple of weeks.
Leaving Arusha behind us, we set out for the plains. There is supposed to be a bitumen road all the way out to the parks so the tourists can travel in comfort, but reality is always different. A few kilometres out of town the road works started. This is fine. The wet season is the only time they can do extensive road works, as during the dry there are hundreds of vehicles travelling this road every day. However, being the wet season, the dirt tracks besides the road were in pretty bad condition. It was funny watching the Maasai walk or cycle along these perfect stretches of road while we are bumping up and down in a clapped out old land cruiser with no shock absorbers on a road that is mostly potholes or corrugations.
After an hour or so of this, we stopped into the first tourist shop. Here we had a while to walk around pursuing their goods. Mainly work done in Ebony wood, with the look of traditional carvings and normal touristy trinkets. As we were leaving the car refused to start. The battery was flat! Finding a few locals, and with a bit of help from Andrew, we managed to push start the vehicle and continue on our way. This was an auspicious start for the next two days.
With the road alternating between a dirt track wide enough for one vehicle, but often passing large trucks or buses, then nice stretches of road built with funds proudly advertised from the world bank, we made our way to where we would spend the rest of the day. Tarangire park. This is an open savannah park that is famous for Elephants, Giraffes, deer and cats. There is also a large population BaoBab trees. Not the most active, but the easiest to find. Unless hiding behind an Elephant!
Driving around the park we did get to see Elephants happily walking around, a couple of Giraffes, although they were not close enough to the roads we had to stick to. It was interesting seeing two young bucks arguing. It looked as if they would tie their necks in knots. The paths are clearly marked with directions to this camp site or that lodge, and eventually we stopped for lunch. The weather was a bit miserable, and the low hanging clouds threatened to open up with a torrential down poar of rain at any stage, but we had had enough of being in the car. On escaping the confides, we wandered around a look out point above the river. Here there were a few birds and a squirrel. These were used to humans, and it was not long before they were trying to pinch our food. Being a cute squirrel, it was fed a few choice bits of our packed lunch of pepper sandwich and chipati. It appreciated them more than we did. A sandwich should consist more than two small slices of bread, half a slice of cucumber, and a lot of pepper! Still, there was a bit of fresh fruit, and a biscuit or two as well.
Setting off again, we ended up driving in circles. The next section of the park had no animals, and we went around it three times. Not sure if this was intentional, or just to charge the battery again after the push start from lunch… On the way back out of the park, we stopped at the entrance again, and now there was a troop of blue balled monkeys. Not from lack of sex, but actually blue! These guys are scamps, and while we were outside, they climbed through the open roof of the car to teal everything not nailed down. Even after closing the car up they continued trying. It was fun to watch, although our driver was not that entertained (we are refusing to call him a guide, as the only information we got was that they are pregnant for so long, and how old the animals got!).
It was time to head to our camp site now. Apparently it is about half way between the two parks. On the way we passed a herd of Zebras, and as we hadn”t seen any in the park, we all wanted to stop and look at them. Apparently there was no time however, and we drove straight past them. Arriving at the camp site,we drove up the rough dirt track leading away from the road and up a hill. Apparently it is the Panoramic camp site, but we ended up at a different one. Again, on top of the hill, but without the view. Here we had a couple of tents set up under enclosures. Not too shabby at all, and the place itself was quite nice, with small paths over the place and a rustic feel to it.
Our “Chef” was already there, and preparing dinner. This was pretty good, although he forgot that Annerieke wanted a vegetarian meal, and ended up with cold soup… Andrew’s stew was pretty good though.
A nice evening talking to the others, then off to bed for a very early start the next day.