SURREAL SERENGETI


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Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park
July 6th 2010
Published: July 8th 2010
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[youtube=1gv4GGQzpR8][youtube=AgQHWuw1oqk][youtube=2hj23xOHiy4][youtube=BNRQzilo8tQ][youtube=1Dw5Wrv-nuU][youtube=nNDadEio9Ok][youtube=BHt1LsI1qHE][youtube=oYWM--RpTBs][youtube=dsX5PwOdwno][youtube=Ue-P68BCmsE][youtube=OWK5gXt0xHE][youtube=isDCJIHM-rg][youtube=-Tv3CA_Tg04][youtube=qw4fjTvTRhU][youtube=-lBkf1_ottI][youtube=8LAUxR8fs1M]A Trip that I didn't plan !

It was few months ago when one of my friend Parvin at work opened the topic of climbing Kilimenjaro in Tanzania. I am one of those suckers who will try anything for once and so I said I will go for the climb. Then a few days latter I was visiting David. He said ken we need to book tonight for Kilimenjaro because thats the last flight off season and from next day onwards it becomes on-season flight and so the prices go up.
Thats that - we booked the flight then and there - Kilemenjaro, we are comming !

Fitness is a relative thing !

Well, I did not know that David use to run marathons in his younger days - mind you, he is a very fit sixty year old now. In his world a man runs 20 miles and can not complete 21st mile is unfit. I can not run more than couple of miles and now where does that put me in his world - moribund-man may be.

With that background we tried to practice climbing in Breacon beacons mountains in Wales. A paltry little mountian of 1000 meters comparing to the majestic Kilemenjaro of 5900meters - I mean meters, that makes it 19,000 feet. Suddenly the penny dropped - Ho my lord, what have I led myself into was the thing kept ringing in my ears.

A Kilemenjaro drop-out & Serengeti truant !

Well, when I knew Kilemenjaro was bit too far fetched for my cycle loving feet - I pulled out from the climb, now I have to live in shame for the rest of my life as 'Kilemenjaro drop-out'. Never mind, there are worse things in life than that shame - 'Serengeti truant' may be ! Then I reconciled to the fact that I rather be a truant than foolhardy adventurer.

When I wanted to cancel my trip the air line wont allow cancellation. And so I started to search what else I could do when I go to Kilemenjaro. To my delight I discovered that Serengeti was only few hundred kilometers away.

Serengeti on my mind

Ever since I saw the Serengeti TV series by David Attenborogh ten years ago I always wanted to visit that amazing place. But that never materialised and now suddenly by chance I had the oportunity to visit. And so I changed my plan and asked the tour company to book me for Serengeti instead.

Give me the money instead !

Thats what my Dad asked when I asked him and mom to join me in Serengeti. He said we already live in a mountain with tigers in the jungle. If I go up and wait on the rocks for few hours certainly we could spot a tiger. So why are you asking me to come all the way to Tanzania to see that. Well, a legitimate question indeed. I told him, 'Dad, I promise this is different. Come and have a look'. He said-'You are wasting money. Give it to me instead, I have some repair works to do at home'. Well, enough to say that my parents were sceptical and reluctant visitors to Serengeti.

Kilemenjaro airport

On the day my self and David flew from Heathrow London to Amsterdam. There, Bal and Jas joined us to the fllight to Kilemenjaro. Bal is a lady dr who is as fit as a Gazel for climbing and Jas is a kick-boxing gap-year student. I told myself, remember fitness is a relative thing.

We landed in Kilemenjar after 8 hours flight in Arusha airport - an airport in the middle of no-where. The tour agents picked us up and took us to Moshi, a town at the foot hills of Kilemenjaro. Pity the cloulds were so dense we could not see the mountain at all.

My parents had already reached Moshi a bit earlier and I met them in the hotel. Very pleasant to see them again after couple of years.

300 KM drive to Serengeti

Next day Tour agents picked us up from Moshe for the long drive up to Serengeti. We went thru Arusha to Ngrongoro carater. Stayed in the Carater for a day and started again to Serengeti. Good roads untill Ngorongoro and it becomes a dirt road for 150KM all the way to Serengeti.

Champosa - our charming tour guide

We were so lucky to get a similey faced and well informed tour guide, Champosa. He took care of us so well and made our stay and trip a very pleasant experience. Nothing was any bother to the man - he just went about making sure we got the best out of our trip. We did try to make him as comfortable as possible with us in a group - infact, he became part of the group. What a lovely chap.

Starer becomes the Stared at !

We all have stared at animals in the zoo - a zebra, Giraffe or a lion or tiger, we all have seen them in fenced arena. Welcome to Serengeti where rolls will be reversed and you become the captive being in a car while all the free roaming animals stare at you. Strange feeling indeed.

We stayed for 3 days in Serengeti Serena lodge - rather a secluded hotel in the woods. Even when you want to go to reception walking thru the grounds they sent us a security with a gun to make sure we didn't get eaten by a lion or something ! A lovely hotel with very friendly staff owned by Aga khan the princes from Gulf. Had a chat with the staff and they all seem to love the man for taking care of them. No wonder it shows in how they treat the clients.

Land of the Zebras and Wilderbeasts and so the Predators

They were everywhere ! Thousands of them scatered in the vast and spraling plains of Serengeti. I was taken aback by the pleasant surprise by their sheer numbers. Where there is zebra and wilderbeast - there will be Lions, the Cheetas, the Leopards and Hyenas. And so they were lurking behind the bushes or up in the trees. Scary place the Serengeti is - if not this then that will have you for lunch or dinner !

Zebras

700,000 to be precise in number. Such a beautiful creature with mesmerizing stripes is a sight to behold. So many of them in large clusters everywhere among the green bushes was so pleasing to look at. Then Champosa asked 'Is it the black srtipes in white background or white stripes in black background?'. Well the answer is it could be both. Zebras have evolved this stripes to confuse the Lions when the chase them. It is a an excellent tactics - however that does not seem to stop the Lions getting hold of them for lunch on a regular basis.

Weildebeast

They are more than a million in number all over the place. However in Serengeti Zebras seem to out-number them. Not very pleasing to look at.

Gazels, Impalas and Antlers

Gazels are so beautiful and charming creatures. As they can get water from the frost on the grass - they are free to roam. When all the predators are tied to a water hole - Gazels are out there as free-sprite in the far away pastures where no Lions or Leopards could survive.

There were few Impalas as well. Looked very similar to Gazels but with no stripes and a long horns.
We also saw few Antelers - as big as a bafellow at a distance.

Elephants and Hippos

Large herds of huge elephants are dotted among the vast areas. Their sizes are imposing and rather unnerving when you see them up close. And so are the Hippos in the waters. They wallow in their own excrements and the whole place stinks.

Crocs

We crossed a small river - serene and secluded spot rather inviting to get in the waters to escape the harsh Sun. Hold on, look bit closer and who is watching you thru that peering eyes is a Crocodyle ! Ho my goodness, is there any place which is safe in serengeti - Champosa answers -'Don't get out of the Jeep !'.
The sizes of them are so huge are frightening indeed.

Everyone must go once in their life time

LasVegas is one such place - wether you are 5 year old or 95 year old, you will have fun in Lasvegas. And so is Serengeti - does not matter how old you are, you will see amazing spectacles of beautiful and dangerous animals. Rather a surreal place with plenty of heart and sprit.

I returned home in a daze - couldn't believe that such a place could exsit in the world. It does and you know what- it is good and heart warming indeed. Makes me wonder why can't we have one such Serengeti in very country for animals to roam free and live in their own world?

Vicarious trip

To have a vicarious experience just follow my photo clicks. I just added them all as it all happened. No need for any more words to explain.


Additional photos below
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9th July 2010

amazing holiday
Exciting holiday , wonderful site! Thoroughly enjoyed browsing through your site. It certainly gave me an insight on how Tanzania and its wildlife look like .would love to travel there one day.

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