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Published: April 2nd 2009
Back home…..well, sort of….. I wouldn't normally consider a small economy hotel/motel in Stone Town "home" but we've been staying at Mwauni Inn between all our trips around Tanzania—and its starting to feel nice. During my time in Zanzibar, we've stayed in Mwauni Inn maybe five separate times, each time for a couple days. Slept here my first night and it seems to be as close to "normal" as I get. Maybe that's why it's like home: a little boring, ordinary, and mostly adventureless.
But certainly not last week. Only adventures during our safari, strictly enforced.
A recap: I stayed in a hotel just outside Dar Es Salaam for about 10 days last week. Had lectures most weekdays at University of Dar Es Salaam, except for an occasional snorkeling trip to a nearby protected island. Learned some interesting stuff about marine ecology, Tanzania's government, and the mainland's culture.
As we ate breakfast early Wednesday morning, a trio of Land Rovers pulled up into the parking lot. Oh snap. A painless four hour drive southwest from Dar brought us to Mikuni National Park: 3,000 square kilometers of "AWESOMENESS" and "OH DAMN CHECK THAT OUT."
So we get
Mikuni National Park
Some upclose elephant action. This elephant got really angry at our vehicle because we pulled up right next to it, maybe 10 or 20 feet away. It shock its head back and forth, flapped its ears, and grunted at us. We just laughed.
into the park and we're driving to our accommodations, which happened to be incredible, thank you for asking, and within 15 minutes we saw all sorts of big game like baboons, elephants, buffalo, impala, zebra, and giraffe!!! Yeah and we weren't even on the safari yet. Over the course of three days, we went on four safaris, each one in the land rovers for a couple hours.
There were three animals that I was super excited to see: giraffes, lions, and leopards. I saw the first two on that list. Multiple herds of giraffe throughout the park. And its not like they are difficult to see with their long necks and all. A couple times we got close to them (say 20 yards or so) but they're timid creatures and would run away, stop, turn around, and stare at us like we were the entertainment and they were the tourists. And I can't blame them, we looked pretty silly, muzungu heads poking out through the sunroof of a moving vehicle with binoculars and cameras, shocked and in awe, pointing and gawking at anything and everything that moved.
We also saw a pair of lions, a male and a
female on our fourth and final safari. It was about 6:40 in the morning, we were exhausted but excited, the sun had just risen and it was even a little chilly. We saw them crossing the road and walk a little ways before they plopped on the ground to relax. Then, we engaged in a starring contest with them (they won). After about 20 minutes of watching them breathe, blink, and yawn, we went home, but only because our one-hour safari was over. I make it sound unspectacular but it wasn't. So we didn't get to see them stalking their prey, hunting impala and zebra, no big deal, sinashida (translation: I have no problems). They were beautiful and I'm so glad I got to see simba.
I've always wanted to be an interesting writer. Finding an original and engaging voice is surprisingly difficult and I spend considerable time on papers (and on this blog) trying to keep the reader's attention, to absorb him or her in my words. Yet no matter how good a writer I am or will be or could be, I'll never be able to adequately describe to yall how sweet Mikuni was. You're just going
Elephant (Tembo in Swahili)
Just some excellent elephant butt
to have to believe me. If a picture is worth a thousand words, I guess I'll leave you with tens of thousands of words then.
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