BootsnAll Travel Network

On Safari

What a change of pace from mountain life to the safari route. The past 2 days have still been very long, but spent mostly in the seat of a Land Cruiser with binoculars in front of our eyes. We’ve had some great sightings, and are enjoying a relatively luxurious hotel life to compensate for the long tent nights in the cold.

Yesterday was a bit too long, as we were picked up from the hotel in Moshi at 7:30 and did not get to our new location until about 7:00pm. The drive down was a little disorganized, as we had to make several stops on the way to pick up supplies and that dragged things out. We entered Manyara National Park at around 14:00 and spent 4 hours touring. The landscape was incredibly lush and we enjoyed seeing lots of animals, including many babies! Hippo, elephant, baboon, dik-dik (Marianne, we thought of you!), vervet monkey, giraffe, impala. The highlight was clearly the Hippo baby – neither of us have ever seen one before. Manyara has a Hippo pool and there must have been 20 – 30 hippos in there, so it was quite a sight.  The other really cool thing was watching the animal dynamics when a lion came into the area – we never actually saw the lion, but heard the warning calls, the screaming of the baboons and saw monkeys, antelope, and every other “prey”  in the area run frantically away from the lion hiding in the bush. It was a great game drive, but by the time we got to the hotel we were exhausted from being in the car all day; and then frustrated, as the hotel we were at (Lake Manyara Hotel) was BEAUTIFUL and we had no real time to enjoy it. We were especially disappointed that we did not get our planned afternoon siesta time, when we saw the beautiful pool grounds overlooking Lake Manyara and with pool-side bar. We went for a quick swim anyway and then explored the hotel on the way to dinner, coming to the conclusion that it was haunted (very old with eclectic décor, relatively empty). We made it through the night anyway, and slept like rocks in our comfy room.

Today started early with 6:30am breakfast; the ghostly staff was ready and waiting for our luggage (eerie – as we walked out the door to our room with bags in hand, they walked around the corner ready to take them away from us. How did they know?). While waiting for our guide to pick us up, we stepped outside the entry hall and found the front lawn covered in baboons! Really – there was a troop of over 30 of them, playing a kind of catch and hide-and-seek with the groundskeeper. So the day began with good entertainment.

We then headed to Ngorongoro Conservation Area and spent several hours in the crater viewing the animals. It was amazing to see such an abundance of wildlife, all living next to and amongst each other. As we drove to the crater floor, we saw 2 cheetah lounging in the grass, overlooking a plain filled with grand gazelle, Thompson gazelle, wildebeest, and buffalo. And this was just the beginning. On the lakeside, we found hundreds of flamingos in the water while jackals and hyena scavenged the beach. Further down, 2 lions lolled in the sand. We saw an ostrich chase off a hyena and a yellow crested crown crane tail a serval cat, calling out for all to hear that there was danger nearby (poor cat didn’t get his lunch today thanks to that gutsy bird!). Adding to yesterday’s “baby” sightings, we found a baby black rhino. The highlight for today was a large male lion laying on his back in the sun, appearing arrogant and without a care in the world. And funny, there were not any other animals around the area that he was napping. Jill was also excited to spot an elephant skull, but was disappointed that she couldn’t take it home to school. Would have been tough to fit it into carry-on….
We ended earlier today, but the mountain fatigue caught up with us and we snoozed most of the way from Ngorongoro to our new accommodations near Tarangire national park. We are staying tonight at Maramboi tent lodge, and we love it here! We drank a glass of wine out on the pool deck, which borders on a large plain with Lake Manyara in the background. So we sipped wine while watching zebra and wildebeest graze. Our tent is huge, and comes complete with wood floors, 2 beds, sitting area, and bathroom. There are little walkways between all the buildings that curve around and make us feel like a natural part of the landscape. We’ve just finished dinner and can also report that the food is great, and service could not be better (thanks James!). The only downside is, as we sit here and blog, we hear something climbing around on our tented roof. I’m hoping it doesn’t chew it’s way through!

Tomorrow we are sleeping in (YAY!) and will report on the rest of the days’ happenings from Nairobi, as we wait for our connecting flight towards home. And we’ll upload photos then, too; the baboon on our tent roof seems to be causing signal interference as we keep losing connection now.


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7 responses to “On Safari”

  1. Judi says:

    Awesome! this is the part I was supposed to be there for! Thanks for the imagery filled update! Can’t wait to see pictures. Was Stanley scared of the animals? He practiced at Schreiner Farms, you know.

  2. Juli says:

    You do not disappoint! WOW, what a great safari! I want to stay in the tent, with a bathroom, sipping wine!

  3. Tracy says:

    We are so glad to hear you are thoroughly enjoying your time there. Can’t wait to see photos and hear the details of your simmit! Sounds like a great way to end your adventure too! Enjoy your last hours there and safe travels to the both of you!

  4. Achim says:

    You are a bunch of crazy girls. I am very proud of you. You made it to the top. I have to say, you look like professional mountaineers with all that equipment.

  5. @juli, yes you would have loved the tent lodge – it is very “Al Natural” in style, for all the Panamites amongst us, so you can easily imagine how much we enjoyed it.

    @achim, your first comment is pretty much in line with the opinion of everyone we’ve met; as we sat in our tent at night giggling, we wondered at exactly how crazy our team suspected we are. But hey, nothing like a bit of craziness to make things fun! 🙂 I’m glad we looked professional once we were all geared up and dressed; made up for the amateurness (or prissiness) of showing up with 4 suitcases. Jill is disgusted that you let me out of the house with so much stuff. hee hee

  6. Achim says:

    I stopped complaining about the size of Jaimi’s travel luggage. It is hopeless. She can take as much as she wants as long as she can handle it and does not bother me. And, of course my car has a big trunk.

  7. Juli says:

    Ha, ha, ha,good answer Achim!!!

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