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December 3rd 2016
Published: December 20th 2016
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Tarangire NPTarangire NPTarangire NP

Sifuni, Paul, Sheila and Rammy

Compared to the many days we spent on rough roads in the Serengeti National Park, it was an easy drive from the market town of Mto wa Mbu, on a good ‘surfaced’ road to Tarangire National Park, only the last four miles travelling along rough roads. We went through the usual process at the Entrance Gate having to fill out the necessary forms whilst Sifuni obtained the park and camping passes.

Although Tarangire is an easily accessible NP it is often missed out by many tourists who prefer the more well know Central Serengeti area, leaving this park virtually untouched so it was much quieter for us and more like what we had experienced at Lobo Hills in Northern Serengeti.

Tarangire National Park is huge and covers an area between the plains of the Maasai Steppe to the south east, and the lakes of the Great Rift Valley to the north and west. In the south are a series of vast 'Swamps' which dry into verdant plains during the dry season. A very different park to the others we had visited but we were so glad we decided to come to this one. The northern part is dominated by the perennial Tarangire River, which flows through increasingly incised ravines until it leaves the north-western corner of the park to flow into Lake Burungi.


The park had breathtaking views of the Maasai Steppe and the mountains to the south. We loved the scenic Tarangire River, which runs the length of the park nearly cleaving in to two. It was a good magnet for the wildlife and we would always be sure to see something new when we came to a part of the river, even the parts without any water. In the dry season this river shrivels to a shadow of its wet season self and it would have been good to see it in full flood. Nonetheless it is was still choked with wildlife as thirsty nomads wonder hundreds of miles knowing that there is always some water along the river’s length. We saw huge expanses of the river devoid of water - it was quite surreal seeing this dry ‘river’ of red/yellow sand with steep sided walls waiting for the next rains to bring it back to life and link it all up again.


On the way to our camping site we had our First Game Drive in this park and saw plenty of animals along side the track. We arrived at Miswaki Public Campsite which was nice and flat and with the usual kitchen and dining facilities the latter though was not secure from wildlife but an open building with metal table and benches. There was a new block of toilets and solar heating so hopefully some warm water! The ladies door however would not shut and it was always full of mosquitoes and other flies and moths - in the end I used the gents as this had a door that closed keeping most of the insects and animals out. At least we could have showers again which was useful as the dust was becoming encrusted in our clothes and hair and we were also able to string up a washing line as well … …

This camp had a local young man who kept the site clean, he stayed during the day and at night an armed Ranger would take over from him and they would change over again the next day. This was the first time we had experienced a Cleaner & Ranger actually staying in the camp overnight - the Ranger slept in a permanent tent situated under a tree near the kitchen. Sifuni said that he (ranger) would ensure that no animals came into the camping areas!

The local lad insisted on putting up our tent and even brushed it out before putting out our sleeping bags which was really kind. I asked him whether they had any Hyenas near the camp and he said no - no animals at all! There was only one other couple camping who were from Tunisa (we still had to come across any Brits). Chatting to them later they said they had had a restless night as apart from some Impala speeding through the camp and Lions roaring nearby they also had Hyenas roaming behind their tent where the impala would come at night to shelter from their prey. They were leaving that day and were quite happy to go … … so we would be camping alone again but at least we had an armed Ranger this time.

We sat with Sifuni as Rammy served up yet another tasty meal for us all. There was an large green outside metal table and Rammy put our usual colourful red tablecloth on this and we sat and chatted whilst watching the sun setting - we had to tie down the ends of the cloth with cocktail sticks as it kept blowing in the wind but it was a good setting under the trees. As we ate we watched two elegant Giraffe wander behind the kitchen block and stroll on towards the horizon - a magical moment indeed. Each evening the setting sun would disappear behind the tree line giving glorious shadows across the campsite and each evening we would spot many different animals wandering around. One evening we watched a family of Banded Mongoose dart across the campsite disappearing underground.

Just before we retired to bed we heard this awful noise and saw the Ranger running through the camp with his gun. When he came back he said it was only a male Impala - did not know they could make such a loud noise it was quite strange coming from this majestic antelope. We were used to the loud bark of the Zebra but this was something new … …

Paul had an ‘OK’ night but I was still struggling to get any sleep - the night noises keeping me awake trying to figure out what animal it was making such a ‘weird' noise just outside our tent. But of course we heard lots of different noises and it was hard to tell one from another and whether it was a bird or mammal. I must say I particularly hated the noise the Hyena made - an eerie wailing call, they were particularly active at dawn and dusk but I gradually got to know the sound so well that I knew that when they came to the end of their call they would move off, hopefully a lot further away.


As mentioned above this park is huge and is divided into several routes - you really had to know your way around. We covered most of them on several long Game Drives but sometimes were not sure which route we were on but a brief description of them follows:

The Lemiyon route covers the most northerly triangle of the park and our campsite was located in this section as well as the parks headquarters. Beyond the Lemiyon route, the park is split into the Matete route in the east and the Lake Burungi route to the west. The eastern Matete route, named after the tall elephant grass and reeds that grow on the Tarangire riverbanks. The western Lake Burungi route, meanders through combretum (a genus of about 250 species of trees and shrubs native to Africa) and acacia woodlands. The route also features lovely views of lakes Burungi and Manyara as well as the peaks of Milima Mitatu or ‘Three Hills’.

The Kitibong Hill route also covers the western section of the park and is centered around Kitibong Hill. The route features combretum, acacia woodlands and the Gursi floodplains to the south. The Gursi and Lamarkau routes are located in southern part of the park and mainly features grasslands. During the wet season, large areas in this region are transformed to swamp areas. The most southern end of the park is split into two areas known as Mkungunero and Nguselororobi, which offers a number of freshwater pools.


We had a very early start the next day and soon came across a sandy den with a group of Bat-eared Foxes playing around the edge. These cute looking foxes are named of course for their large ears and when they saw us they dived inside the den only to poke these ‘ears’ out again a short while later. They prefer bare ground and areas where the grass is kept short by grazing so they were very easy to spot. In contrast to other canids this fox has a reversal in its parental roles, with the male taking on the majority of the care. Females usually give birth to one to six kits and stay during lactation when the male takes over grooming, defending, huddling, chaperoning, and carrying the young between den sites. The female forages for food, which she uses to maintain milk production, on which the pups heavily depend. Food foraged by the female is not brought back to the pups or regurgitated to feed the pups as seen in other foxes.

We were amazed at so many different landscapes which changed rapidly within this park. The fierce sun here sucks the moisture from the ground, baking the earth with a dusty red colour and the withered grasses stand like brittle bundles of straw. Despite the fact the Tarangire is drier than the Serengeti, its vegetation is much more dense including thickly packed elephant grass and some pretty ribbons of riverine forest. Over endless rolling hills, large areas were covered with mixed Acacia woodlands - the flat-topped acacias which are so reminiscent of the film ‘Out of Africa’ as well Tamarind and Sausage Trees and the occasional Palm Tree which did seem a little out of place here. What stood out for us though were the majestic ancient African Baobab trees we had so loved seeing in northern Australia.


There are eight species of baobab; one in Africa, six in Madagascar and one in Australia. The one in Tanzania is the largest and the Tarangire National Park is the best place to see them. The lifespan of the tree is long and most of the trees here are over 1000 years old. However it is difficult to age them without radio carbon dating as they don't produce annual growth rings.

Sometimes called ‘monkey bread' or 'cream of tartar fruit' - the fruit is rich in vitamin C - apparently 6 times that of any Orange. The fruit is a large, hair covered, egg-shaped capsule and it has a hard, outer shell and contains a dry, off white pulp which covers the hard, black, kidney-shaped seeds. It is very nutritious being high in calcium, magnesium and potassium and are enjoyed by humans, baboons and monkeys as well. When we were in Northern Territories the Aborigines would paint the shells and sell them to tourists - our fellow Oz traveller, Gaye bought one and it was really pretty and unique.

The trees have creamy white flowers but they do not have leaves for around nine months of the year, throughout the dry season. According to a legend of the Bushmen, the tree offended God and so he plucked it out of the ground and planted it back in upside down, leaving the roots exposed instead. It is adapted to life in seasonally arid areas as it can store up to 120000 litres of water in its very large trunk and can withstand long droughts - known to survive for ten years with no rain.

At one time it was thought that the tree were becoming extinct but then it was found that young trees do not resemble adults at all - we could not understand why we did not see any smaller ones in the park this must be the answer!


We may have loved the Baobab trees but what we hated about this park was the Tsetse Flies. These mosquitos of the bush, feed on blood, anyones, but particularly mine!!! They were so bad some days you were looking out for the them more than the wildlife!! The bite was really painful and all three of us got severely bitten numerous times - they even could bite through thick clothing! Sifuni had a large well-used horsehair flyswatter in the vehicle but they were really hard to kill - once you hit them you had to grind and grind them and even then some of them would just take off and come back for another bite. We were a little worried about catching Sleeping Sickness but there was nothing one could do to stop their bites the 50 percent Deet and other sprays we had with us had no affect at all. We had been so lucky and had not had too many Mosquito bites but these were a completely different ‘ball game’!! They would just fly in through the open roof or windows and stayed until they got some blood … …


We travelled along rough tracks, across dry riverbeds, over flat plains, climbed up hills with wonderful views over rolling woodlands seeing a variety of wildlife. Sifuni told us that this route took us to a network of flat swamps which are usually impassable during the rains, but dry to a uniform green during the rest of the year. As we approached the top of a hill spread out below us was this massive green and blue Swamp which continued as far as the eyes could see in both directions These swamps are the focus for 550 different birds, the most breeding species in one particular habitat compared to anywhere else in the world.

The sight that greeted us was astonishing, it was so lush just like out of a colouring book. Many large mammals including Elephants, Buffalo, Zebra & Wildebeest, waded in stomach deep water whilst all around the banks were hundreds of waterbirds with hundreds of large Open-billed Storks. Smaller mammals waded in the really shallow water including one of our favourites the funny looking Warthog. A track followed the swamp both ways and we set off travelling along the righthand route. A while later over the Ranger radio we heard that several Cheetah had been spotted so Sifuni headed off in the direction they were last seen. We never did find them as we raced across the bumpy ground but came across several Leopards sleeping in the trees with their legs hanging down below. We watched them for a while but they continued to snooze so we set off again and a while later stopped to look at a group of Lions finishing off a freshly caught carcass absolutely oblivious to us.

Later we stopped at a scenic picnic area overlooking the swamp and had lunch watching a massive heard of Elephants come down to drink. My camera card was full so when we were back in the vehicle I downloaded it onto my computer which was also limited on space. Although the computer said that it had downloaded the shots it had not and I lost a whole batch of photos which was a real shame including many from the Ngorongoro Crater visit.

We were really tired when we got back to camp after that marathon game drive and it was great to be able to have a warmish shower whilst Rammy prepared our dinner and again we watched the sun go down behind the Baobab trees. In the trees were a flock of Yellow-collared Lovebirds they had such a noisy squawk but were really beautiful to look at. They were very similar to the Fischer’s Lovebirds we had seen in the Serengeti. The Yellow-collard variety only occur naturally in Tanzania but escaped caged birds are now rife in Kenya where they had hybridised with the Fischer’s Lovebird.

That night I decided to sleep in the safari vehicle but Paul stayed in the tent. What a mistake that was - as just as I was going off to sleep I heard this loud buzzing, not sure if it was a mosquito or Tsetse Fly it kept buzzing around my face and would not go away. As it was pitch black and I could hear animals outside I could not get out and I was afraid to open the windows as that would have attracted a lot more bugs into the vehicle. As I could not see it and did not have a chance of catching it so I had a little brain wave … … I had an umbrella in the car as well as my silk sleeping bags liner and I made a mosquito net by putting the umbrella inside the bag and then opening it up. It was rather hot inside but it did keep the bugs out - Paul got quite a shock in the morning when he came to wake me up for our next early morning game
Heading off with mumHeading off with mumHeading off with mum

after playing in the red mud
drive and saw this weird apparition inside.


It was another 6 am start - hard work these safari holidays as we were out for another 9 hours again. We set off travelling up hill for a while and Sifuni stopped to let us see the glorious view of the river far below meandering through the grasslands. We headed down and followed the river circuit for a while and we came across a large group of Elephants including many youngsters bathing in the river.


If you want just one reason to come to Tarangire National Park then it has to be to see the Elephants. The park is reputed to contain some of the largest elephant herds in Tanzania or even in Africa itself we had never seen so many in all our travels around Africa and India.

Herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the dry river beds for underground streams when there is no water above ground. Large family groups gather around the ancient trunks of Baobab and Acacia Trees and strip the bark for their afternoon meal. Many trees bare deep gouge marks and have odd shaped trunks due to the ravages of the elephants. However the damage very rarely kills them and we saw many oddly shaped Baobab trees as it does not suffer from ring barking and can regrow bark if damaged by elephants.

I do not know how many elephants we saw in this park they seemed to dot the landscape like herds of cattle. There were indeed many hundreds, everywhere we travelled we saw them, up close and in the distance, travelling alone and in large groups and nearly always we spotted many youngsters amongst them - obviously the park is well suited to these gentle giants.


Apart from the Elephants we saw may other animals each day including Wildebeest and Zebra, substantial populations of Impala, Giraffe, Eland, Buffalo, Warthog, Hartebeest, Thompson’s Gazelle, Bush and Reedbuck and we spotted our very first Kudu and of course lots of Hyena and hundreds of birds - there seemed to be a bird of prey on nearly every tall tree we passed that we actually stopped looking for them as they were so common … …

We came across a couple of Dik Diks the female antelope being somewhat larger than the male but still they are very small at 12 to 15 inches tall. They are recognisable from a large black spot below the inside corner of each eye (like they have not had much sleep!). This patch contains a preorbital gland that produces a dark, sticky secretion and they insert grass stems and twigs into the gland to scent-mark their territories.

Another first for us was the giant termite mounds - well the colonies of endearing Dwarf Mongoose that inhabited them. We would often come across a large family of these cute little critters playing in the holes they had burrowed into the mounds. The species can be distinguished from other mongooses by their size. It is much smaller than most other species being only about 8 inches - in fact, it is Africa's smallest carnivore. The soft fur is very variable in colour, ranging from yellowish red to very dark brown. It is a highly social species that lives in extended family groups of two to thirty animals. There is a strict hierarchy among same-sexed animals within a group, headed by the dominant pair (normally the oldest group members). All group members cooperate in helping to rear the pups and in guarding the group from predators.

Later that day we came across a group of Banded Mongoose running across our track - this is a much larger sturdy mongoose with a large head, small ears, short, muscular limbs and a long tail, almost as long as the rest of the body. They are a similar size to the Meerkat, Paul’s favourite mongoose, we had seen all over Botswana and South Africa these cousins also sit erect on their hind-legs and are a delight to watch.

They are greyish brown in colour with transverse dark bans along the body. They also live in colonies with a complex social structure. They have been observed removing ticks and other parasites from warthogs and primarily feed on beetles and millipedes.

Another mongoose we came across was the Black tipped Mongoose which can be distinguished from other mongooses due to the prominent black or red tip on the end of their tails. These solitary slender mongoose generally live either alone or in pairs. The colour of their fur varies widely between subspecies, from a dark reddish-brown to an orange red, grey, or even yellow and they also have silkier fur than the other African members of their family.

Many times when we stopped to look at the Dwarf Mongoose they were accompanied by pairs of Red-and-yellow Barbets, which draw attention to themselves by their loud, clockwork-like duetting. It was great to watch the mammals and the birds happily living together on the sandy termite mounds.

We spotted an African Fish Eagle the first we had seen in Tanzania standing out with its white head and chest. We also saw an African Orange-bellied Parrot which we actually heard long before we saw! As we neared camp we spotted another safari vehicle broken down on the side of the track. Sifuni stopped to help the guide change the tyre - in the end it was he was doing all the work as the other guide did not seem to have a clue, so he was lucky that we stopped to help. Sifuni kept coming back to the vehicle to get yet another spanner - none seemed to fit! It was hot waiting and he was concerned that we were OK standing around in the heat. It was quite nice though to just watch the wildlife around us and have a rest from the bumpy track it had been another long day … …


Back at camp we had an excellent dinner and Sifuni even made us a farewell cake - how he made and iced a cake with such basic facilities I do not know but it was delicious and even had our names on it. Another couple of campers had arrived so would not be on our own in camp that night, they were called Todd and Tracey and were from Vancouver and we had a great evening chatting to them about their home country which we had visited last year.

That night I slept in the safari vehicle again but not before Sifuni sprayed it for me so that I did not get bitten by any nasty Tsetse flies, so had the best night sleep I have had for ages and did not have to put up my makeshift mossy net! Paul enjoyed his peace in the tent on his own … …


We awoke early in the morning to go out on a final game drive. Just before we set off we heard the male Impala galloping through the camp making its weird yelling noise - the herd had obviously been sheltering in the campsite for the night again. It was still dark and Tracey came over really scared as she wanted to go to the loo but was not sure what the animal was - of course us ‘seasoned campers now’, told her it was only a male Impala!!!! We said our goodbyes and headed out on the game drive whilst Rammy packed up camp with the help of the camp cleaner.

We took one of the circular river routes and soon came across many Elephants bathing in the cool water. It was quite a large group and again with lots of youngsters. Sifuni said that one looked like it was only a few days old and we sat and watched as it struggled trying to decide which of his 4 legs went where and was even more confused where to put his trunk .… Several others youngsters were suckling and it was such a privilege to be able to sit and watch these gentle giants so close.

A while later we stopped at a large Baobab tree with its trunk hollowed out. Sifuni said it was known as the ‘Poachers Lookout Tree. It had a small man-made entrance that led into its hollow interior, which easily provides room for about six people to sleep in. Several years ago poachers used this tree to avoid detection by park warden patrols - thankfully that was in the past. Small wooden pegs had been placed so that the poachers could climb out of view if they were detected. Many of these giant baobab trees which have been hollowed out by lightning or humans have had many uses including; water tanks, bus stops, toilets, prisons (we had come across one in Australia for
Killer BeesKiller BeesKiller Bees

We kept out distance
this purpose and of course it was called the Prison Tree).

We kept our distance when we came across a large nest of Africanised Bees also known as Killer Bees as they are much more aggressive than the European Honey Bee. If their hive is disturbed the entire colony attacks whereas only about 10 percent of the European honey bees will attack if their hive is disturbed. The Killer Bees have been known to actually chase a person a quarter of a mile and have killed over 1000 people with the victims receiving ten times more stings than those from European honey bees … … They have also killed horses and other animals so needless to say we moved on pretty sharply and were glad they were high above us on the trunk of the tree.

Just before we headed back to camp we saw a bus packed with local school children peering out at a pride of Lions enjoying their day in the park. We were hoping it was a Cheetah - we had become complacent with seeing so many lions in the parks here. The children however were absolutely delighted with their find but all started waving frantically out of the windows as we approached, more interested in us now and not the pride of Lions of course they have probably seen plenty as well!!


A short while later we came across a herd of Buffalo crossing the track just in front of us. We stopped to let them pass not wanting to have another encounter with them but they were 'not happy' and quickly formed a tight line by the side of the track - watching us and guarding their territory ready to charge if we got any closer ..…… they had no worries there !!

It was ironic really we have had so many unfriendly encounters with the Buffalo in Tanzania more than any other animal ... ... ....

1. Buffalo in Arusha - large male would not get out of the way and our armed guard had to raise her gun before it would back off.

2. Buffalo in Central Serengeti - charging through our campsite and just missing our tent and finding it injured in the morning outside the gents.

3. Buffalo in Lobo Northern Serengeti - large male charging Sifuni as he tried to leave camp to get gas supplies.

4. Buffalo in Tarangire - lining up to charge - but ensuring we were leaving their park!

So we have come to the end of our final Game Drive in Tanzania and headed back to camp where we had a good brunch. Rammy had packed up the trailer so all we had to do was say goodbye to our friendly cleaner, hitch up and head out. We passed by several roadside Maasai villages and drove through a couple of small towns all busy with locals attending the busy street markets. We passed through Arusha dusty streets yet again and stopped at Duma’s office to drop off the trailer before continuing on to Kilimanjaro in the safari vehicle. We thought that Rammy would leave us at their office but he came with us to the Lodge we had booked for our last 3 nights in the country, so we had a little more time together.


It was a very long way to the lodge and we were quite tired after our morning game drive and long drive to get here. We had not realised just how far outside Arusha it was but we finally turned off the main highway. We travelled along a dirt road for a while passing groups of smiling children returning home from school most were carrying large buckets to fetch water to take home - they all looked immaculate in their school uniforms many of which were the colours of the Tanzania Flag. Sifuni stopped to asked directions to the lodge and we were directed along the side of a thick banana plantation did not look very promising to us. We were just beginning to wish we had booked Rivertrees, which was closer to Arusha and the Airport and where we had stayed at the start of our journey. However quite suddenly, still travelling amongst the bananas plants, we came across a couple of huge steel gates (not very welcoming) but they opened as soon as we pulled up and we were welcomed to Kaliwi Lodge by the Thomas the German Manager and some of his staff.

Kaliwi in Kiswaheli means ‘to sit at’ or to sit on top of something, well this was quite apt as the lodge is sitting on the mountain side by Kilimanjaro. It is situated in the Machame area in an Uduru Village which has about 2600 residents with the main tribe called the Wachagga and they have their own language Kichagga. Most earn a living from agriculture the year round temperate climate and high humidity in this region allows cultivation of a huge variety of crops. Many villagers worked at the lodge and we were to meet a few of the locals during our stay.


It was really sad to say goodbye to Sifuni and Rammy and I think they were sad to say goodbye to us - Sifuni said that he would see us in a few days as he was going to do the airport run for us but that did not happen as Duma had paid the lodge to take us so we did not see him again which was a shame. We waved as they drove out of the gates -the end of a brilliant safari with these two local Tanzanians who had made us feel so welcome to their beloved country.


The reason we opted for Kaliwi to spend our last few days in Tanzania was that it was only a few minutes to one of the starting points for a hike to Uluru Peak the highest point of Mount Kilimanjaro and Africa itself. Although we did not intend to ‘climb the mountain’ it had one of the best views of this iconic mountain as the lodge was neatly tucked into the rainforest and mountainside. Set amidst tropical vegetation and colourful flowering shrubs ten stone bungalows were dotted around the gardens. A small path meandered through the grounds passing tall eucalyptus trees as well as coffee and banana plants leading to a large wooden deck which overlooked the forest with a great view of Mount Kilimanjaro (when the clouds were not covering it). We were shown to our room and ‘wow’ we had forgotten the luxury of one’s own bed and mattress and even more important out own en-suite shower room. It was pure bliss to have soap and hot water coming out of ones very own tap - you do not realise how much you miss these little luxuries but miss them we really had.

We had our evening meal sitting in the night time shadows we think we were overlooking the mountain but could not see anything as it was pitch black. It was strange to be sitting in ‘proper’ chairs around a ‘proper’ table we had become used to camping in the bush. There was only one other couple staying that night and there was no choice of meals but the food was excellent. We had mashed sweet potato made to look like the mountain of course, with beef and vegetables followed by local mangos, we had come to love these fruits that are dished up at nearly every meal or replaced with a banana of course.

Getting our first glimpse of snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro shimmering in the distance whilst eating breakfast the next morning was definitely worth the trek to get to the lodge. Later we wandered down to the wooden
Kaliwi Lodge DeckingKaliwi Lodge DeckingKaliwi Lodge Decking

Glorious view of Mount Kilimanjaro
decking finely perched over the rainforest and the mountains and glimpsing an even better view of this iconic mountain it was truly awesome - another memory that we will never forget.

Over the next few days we ‘chilled’ in a couple of deckchairs watching many different birds visiting the gardens including the Paradise Fly Catcher and Variable Sunbird, two very beautiful birds. Or we ‘chilled’ all alone on the terraced platform overlooking the forest and mountain. We were used to being on our own now as most of our camping had been just us and Sifuni & Rammy of course. Everyone kept saying ‘its the quiet season in Tanzania’ - well it was really quiet apart from all the wildlife of course - there were literally hundreds of thousands more animals than people.

It was great to be able to have a glass (or two) of wine (first for 16 days) in the fresh evening air (no dust) listening to the loud buzz of cicadas and watching Blue Monkeys scurrying in the trees feeding. We even saw a Sun Squirrels hop from tree to tree, the tranquility only broken by
Blue MonkeyBlue MonkeyBlue Monkey

Perfectly balanced
the haunting cry of the muezzin, which seemed strange here high up on the mountainside - for a while we thought we were back in Dubai. The Blue Monkeys were indeed funny to watch as they swung easily from from tree to tree, sometimes falling but always managed to grab a branch with their hands feet or more often than not their tail. One group located some tasty fruit and before long the tree was full of them. One appeared to just ‘sit on the branch’ and peer down at a fruit it had plucked unsure what it was before popping it into his mouth. It was so much calmer watching these monkeys than watching the troops of crafty baboons at the campsites, constantly on the prowl for anything and everything they could lay their hands.

On our very last day at the lodge we were joined by a couple of Brits, the first we had come across in Tanzania, in fact they only lived 20 miles from us near Portsmouth so it was great to chat to them as well and hear about all the cold weather in the UK - ughh! Our flight via Dar es Salam to Amsterdam was not due until late in the evening but Thomas, the manager said we could keep our room all day. This was great as we could shower before our long journey home and we did not get charged which was even better, although the brochure had quoted a huge fee to keep the room! They let us have dinner early evening before driving us to the airport for our overnight flight home. On the way to the airport it poured with rain and we had a difficult drive with vehicles broken down and many locals walking along the roadside in the pitch black it seemed much busier at night than it had when we came through in daylight a few days ago but we did get safely to the airport and getting out of the country was a lot quicker than getting in.


We already miss Sifuni and Rammy as we had become a happy united group together in such a short time. Sifuni with his excellent driving and wildlife spotting and Rammy with his superb cooking skills,
Sifuni and RammySifuni and RammySifuni and Rammy

Always Smiling
with such limited facilities were amazing. As mentioned in another blog the country is often referred to as the ‘cradle of mankind’, well Tanzania is definitely a kaleidoscope of landscapes, cultures and welcoming smiles and we certainly received many of these from our Duma guide and cook and would like to thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

A journey into an Africa of the past greeted us at every National Park we visited, all so different from each other with an ever changing landscape but at the same time the same as it has always been for eons. We so enjoyed all our game drives, looking out over the endless open plains of the Serengeti, or the vast volcanic encircled space of the Ngorongoro Crater which was just pure magic. As we moved between parks we would suddenly pass a solitary Maasai wrapped in his red/blue cloak silhouetted against the sky heading off to tend his herd, memories we will treasure forever.

We were so lucky with our Wildlife sightings, seeing everything we wished for. We were just so grateful that we had seen the illusive Cheetah at last and in the end at least ten sightings. The family of Lions devouring a huge Buffalo and the packs of Hyena hunting and killing Wildebeests in the Crater was not pleasant but that is the way of nature - its all about one’s own survival in the end. The hundreds of Elephants herds we saw, particularly at Tarangire NP, completely blew us away and not only these large giants but the multitude of smaller mammals we had never seen before, as well as over 200 different Birds that we were able to identify and many more that we could not.

We had been lucky not getting sick and did not get many mosquito bites but of course in Tarangire NP we were bombarded with the horrid Tsetse Flies where we all suffered from multiple bites. We did love some insects though and will always have pleasant memories of the evocative song of the cicada - the noise these small grasshopper-like insects make is so atmospheric and it followed us around from camp to camp.


Well writing this now back at home we are really chilled of course and ‘clean' after days without many facilities but oh what an experience it has all been - mostly wonderful but sometimes very scary indeed … … …

One of our most frightening moments of course was when a Buffalo charging through our camp in the middle of the night just missing our tent. Hyenas wailing all night sent shivers down my spine as well - you would think I would be used to this having often experienced the sound in Southern Africa but its a different matter when they are right outside your tent.

Not knowing what animal the noise came from was the hard part and some made such fearsome sounds and of course in the middle of the night everything appears different and you cannot wander out to see what it is …… Paul was not happy when I constantly woke him up to ask what creature was making that noise!

The most horrid noise for me was the awful sound of bones being crunched a few feet outside our tent - was it a Buffalo fighting or was it a pack of Hyenas chewing on bones they had ransacked out of the waste bins, we will never know - but ‘hey this is Africa’ where one should expect strange noises, the roar of a lion or the bark of a zebra being quite the ‘norm’ together with the gentle hum of the cicadas … …

Finally you may well ask, ‘would we do it again’, well probably not - but do ask us again in a few weeks time!


This is our last blog for this year so we would both like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year. We do have some travel plans already for 2017 - so hopefully we will see you there.

Additional photos below
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24th December 2016

Touring Tanzania
Amazing territory, thanks for blogging.
25th December 2016

Tanzania - the place of smiles
Thanks for reading too ...
24th December 2016
Protected by mum and aunt

Elephants a plenty

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