Published: July 6th 2010June 16th 2010
The elephants crossed the road...
A large herd of elephants slowly crossed the road right in front of our truck 5 minutes after we entered the parl.
We are on another amazing adventure and will do our best to capture some of it. We haven’t been very “bloggy” on our last couple trips but think there are some stunning photos that we should share. We decided ages ago to head to africa this summer. We jokingly invited Shiona (shelagh's sister) and her new husband Andy to join us for their honeymoon. We never expected they'd say yes. So this is the "Shiona and Andy's honeymoon crashed our holiday" trip.
We spent our first day in Tanazania sitting beside the pool in our hotel. Mount Kilimanjaro appeared briefly from behind the clouds and the photographers got a couple shots. It turns out that would be the only time that we would see Kili as it is a very “shy” mountain. Shelagh, Shiona and Andy also began their quest to try all the beers Tanzania has to offer - Safari, Serengetti, Tusker, Kili…
Day 1 - Tarangire National Park
Our guide Godwin from our safari company Maasai Wanderings picked us up bright and early and we headed out of Arusha. The first thing we all noticed was the number of people around. There were hundreds, thousands of people
by the side of the road, waiting for buses or rides, walking, riding bikes, sitting and chatting etc. Not quite like rush hour at home.
The types of shops by the side of the road was entertaining. The Barack Obama Hair Salon looked popular and the Barack Obama Mobile Gift Shop was amusing. There are also Obama stickers on cars…he’s a popular guy here. The other thing that struck Heather instantly was how everyone had cellphones. And they seemed to work and people could afford them. Something Heather has yet to experience in Canada.
The four of us had arranged what would become our permanent seating arrangement in the jeep…Andy and I in the front two seats (more leg room) and Shelagh and Shiona behind. We realized that Andy and Shelagh couldn’t sit beside each other because when they stood up out the roof their cameras would interfere with each other. So instead of them being each other’s way, Shiona just had to put up with Shelagh hitting her in the head with her camera several times a day. Our guide flipped the roof open and we headed into the wilderness.
Within five minutes of being in
the park we came upon a herd of elephants (Tembo for those looking to improve their Swahili vocabulary - you now know one of the 10 words we do). Our guide anticipated their movement and positioned our truck so they walked across the road right in front of us, the whole family. Some of the elephants are massive, the only thing bigger are the Baobab trees.
It became clear quite quickly that Heather needs to go to the optometrist when she gets home. The rest of the group was marveling over the family of giraffes in the distance and for the life of me I couldn’t see them. Luckily mom and dad gave me a great pair of binoculars so I was able to enjoy the safari…but I will never be a professional animal spotter. Unlike our guide Godwin. We learned that Godwin has unbelievable eyesight and over the course of the trip he repeatedly amazed us by spotting an animal far in the distance or hiding almost perfectly in the grass. Even with our binoculars and him telling us where to look it always took us a minute to see what he saw.
That day we also
We saw many antelopes on this trip and they come in various shapes and sizes.
saw our first zebras, cape buffalo, several species of antelope and a jackal. Like every day we saw many birds such as vultures, ostriches (Hey Emma - I saw an ostrich this morning, did you?) and countless others we don’t know the name of. It took us several days to remember that the buffalo are not water buffalo, they are Cape Buffalo - to the consternation of Godwin. Apparently water buffalo live in India. Who knew?
After a great day of game driving we headed out of the park. Along the way we waved to many Maasai children who are out herding their goats and cows. The young boys (like as young as 6 maybe) are out driving the animals to water and back. Maasai goat herders wear the traditional blanket as a wrap and carry nothing but a stick...well, and a cell phone on their belts. We arrived at the Tangarire river lodge where we would spent the night. It is a beautiful place with a main lodge building and then permanent tents. These aint no MEC backpacking tents. They had a permanent wooden balcony, floor and frame. They were large enough for king sized- 4 poster beds,
Male ostrich from behind.
dressers and ensuite bathrooms with showers. The water is solar heated but provided hot showers in both the evening and morning. We had dinner in the beautiful open-air lodge.
There are more photos below