Serengeti Safari

Tanzania's flag
Africa » Tanzania » North
October 30th 2014
Published: November 4th 2014
Edit Blog Post

The long awaited Safari is about to begin😀. The EastcoSafari company came highly recommended but we began with a rocky start. The pre departure meeting never took place and they were 1 1/2 hour late picking us up. Said was our driver/guide and Lazaro was our cook. We chose a camping safari cause we wanted to experience the real Africa not one created by lodges.

We are here in the shoulder season, just at the end of the dry season but the wildlife is still plentiful. We begin in the Tarangire National Park, here the first big sightings are of giraffes, zebras, and around 3000 elephants. Wildlife is plentiful during dry season because of the permanent waters of the Tarangire River. Here it is also possible to walk the boarder area of the park that belongs to the Masai and we have an authentic Masai guide with robed fabric and carrying a spear as protection. Wow this is the real deal. Then his mobile phone rang. Our early morning walk is about 2 miles to a small Boulder laden hill that allows us to see the entire area. It is very very dry but will be lush green again in a few months. We stay here 2 nights in a private Naitola lodge that is screened in on 3 sides for gaming viewing. Francine is awakened during the night by an animal drinking from our wash stand right out side our door. It was a zebra. We have open air toilets and shower (broken but large buckets of hot water delivered for washing). Francine and I are the only people staying here. We have private dinners and food is good. We traveled along through the park and stopped to take photos of the elephants, a young male slowly walked towards our vehicle the charged at us to give us to give a warning. Wow. One lesson learned very quickly was the slap, snap repeat method of photography. The tsetse fly was aggressive and constantly after you, so we were forced to slap them away, then quickly snap the shot and do it all over again. Must have worked, so far no bleeding from the eyes, ears or nose! No dengi fever nor Ebola so far. More risk in Ohio for Angie than in Africa. We visited a Masai village and were greeted by the women and children. They adorn us
with beaded neck bands and hand us fly swap/brushes made from cow hair. They then start singing and raising their shoulders up and down to make the stiff neckbands move. We follow their actions. However when they start to jump up and down, our Kilmanjaro legs decline to join in. A gum chewing teenage girl, so typical of all teenagers slowly joins the group of women and pushes forward a fly swat to Francine. Her body language said it all. "What E va"!!! Our next explorations takes place in the Serengeti National Park for 3 nights. Even though migration is still a few weeks off there are thousands upon thousands of wildebeest, buffalo, zebras. During the night we hear hyenas, run into buffaloes during a mid night toilet run, that scares the begeeses out of us. They are huge black shadows with glowing eyes from the reflection of our torch. They move away when they hear us but then one takes a step forward at us. Trying to walk slowly and then ran into the toilet block. Oh no, we still have to get back to the tent. Brave Francine allows Angie to take charge and hides behind her as we walk then run back to the tent and fumble with nerves and adrenalin to unzip the damn door. Inside we breath and giggle. Next we hear the heavy breathing and munching of grass right against our tent and it is the buffalo. Our version of running with the Bulls. We also have baboons, and mongooses running around camp all day long. And we are told to keep our tents zipped so the animals don't try and steal any food snacks. They are So funny to watch. The lions mostly sleep during the day and hunt at night. We saw several groups. One with the carcass of a zebra, 1 lioness walked directly past our 4wd and drank from the stream. Another was resting and watching from a tree. A group of 6 lioness and 8 cubs that stopped our vehicle by wandering across the road. We had a stampede of 100s of wildebeest across the road until turns by a large male and our path was again clear. Next is The Ngorongoro Crater. They are very strict here with only a 24 hour permit. The crater has 600 meter high cliffs and is 210 Square kilometers of a varied ecosystem that has one of the few remaining population of black rhino in Africa. Only the giraffe and the impala are absent as they cannot negotiate the steep crater walls. The crater claims to have the highest density of lions in Africa, 30 per 100 kilometers, the Serengeti has 14/kilometer. And we did see large groups of lions here mostly females with Cubs. Occasionally the solitary male lion or the couple a males guarding the prides territories could be found. We see our one and only rhino from a distance, but he is there. This rounded off our wonderful list of sightings. We saw the rare saber cat. Angie asked if Francine had heard of it as she hadn't. Francine replied, yes it was in the Flintstones ( Haha saber tooth tiger). At camp we are told to be careful when getting up during the night as the elephants come to drink from the water tank area. Disappointed we did not see them, but some lingering evidence on the ground the next morning. Our last day was partly spent at Lake Manyara. Although the lake is present in the dry season, it is greatly reduced in size to more than half. But permanent waters allow the hippos refugee from the heat and a large population of birds, monkeys baboons but no sightings of large cats here. Lunches. These were boxed lunches made either the night before or in the morning just before we headed out for game viewing. We prefer not to think when. Lunch consisted a mix of tetra long life juice pack, boiled egg, plain cup cake you could break your teeth on, sandwich or bread filled with last nights salad, samosas, banana, and a piece of chicken. All nicely wrapped. These lunches then sat on the floor of the 4wd until lunch time, maybe about 4-5 hours, unrefrigerated. And we are still here to tell the tale. Salmonella Sam and Mary would be impressed. Aside from the animals our next great discovery and a big favorite was the potato crisps. Ingredients, potato, oil, salt. Addictive. Even seeing them being made along the dusty roadside on the outskirts of Arusha after we had already consumed several bags, did not stop our munching. They were being cooked in big vats of oil next to the road amongst, people, cars, goats and cows and people. We have always been weary of street food but ..... It was in a sealed plastic bag. It must be ok.????. The return to the Outpost lodge is like coming home. We have a routine of gathering laundry, showering,especially after another week of wet wipes and cold showers. The place has a delicious variety of international food and the staff are lovely and the Kilimanjaro and Serengeti beer goes down easily. We have our boots cleaned and one of Angie's comes back black not gray. Off she goes to sort out her ruined boot. Umm it was wet so was darker. Oops. A good laugh suppose you had to be there. Inspiration. Next to us is a family from England who just finished climbing Kilimanjaro and they are cleaning the wheelchair of their son/brother/cousin who has CP who also made the climb with them. Wow! How amazing is that! Only the mind can truly handicap people. what a support this young man had in family and friends who made the climb with him👪. A short list of animals seen: rhino, Thompson gazelle, giraffe zebra, elephant, élan, sabre cat, squirrel, water buck, Impala, wart hogs, ostrich, hare, water buffalo, leopard, red buck, wilder east, dik dik, hippo, Egyptian goose, cheetah, vervet monkey, topi, banded mongoose, lion, red beaked stalk, baboons, jackal, heart-beast, hyena, African crested crane, vultures, karibaster- the heaviest flying bird, blue monkey, red beak horn-bill, 1 snake, Masai cattle, goats, dogs, titzi fly, evidence tunnel digging of aardvark, birds of so many difference species.

Additional photos below
Photos: 115, Displayed: 27


Tot: 1.104s; Tpl: 0.056s; cc: 12; qc: 31; dbt: 0.0199s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb