Safari (4 days)

Trip Start Jan 31, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Twiga Campground

Flag of Tanzania  ,
Monday, February 11, 2008

Day 1 - Tarangire national park

The first stop on the Safari was the Tarangire national park, after a long drive from Moshi via Arusha we arrived at the gate. We were in a cool Toyota safari land cruiser with two flaps on the roof which opened, so you could stand up and stick you head out to view the wildlife. We saw Zebra and Impala as soon as we entered the park, then water buck, Dik Dik which is the cutest little animal I've ever seen, they look like a baby deer but there've fully grown, Warthog, Giraffe, Baboon, Ostrich, a wide variety of birds and just as we were leaving the park we saw two elephant's at a distance which finished off the day nicely. Also saw the famous, Baobab trees which are also referred to as the up side down tree due to there strange shape, some of these trees are thousands of years old. It's the first time I'd seen all these animals in the wild, so it was a great day. We then drove past lake Manyara and various Masai villages on the way to the Twiga camp site. Staying in a little hut on the camp site which has an ensuite, far better than the wet tents on the mountain. Should be visiting lake Manyarna on the third day, Ernest Hemmingway refereed to the lake as the most beautiful in Africa , so it should be a amazing sight. Tomorrow is the Ngorongoro crater which is Africa 's garden of Eden and quite possibly the birth place of humans as the oldest hominoid remains and foot prints were found here. This is the day of the safari I'm most looking forward too.

Day 2 - Ngorongoro crater

Well the Ngorongoro crater fulfilled all expeditions, it should be with out doubt one the seven natural wonders of the world. When I saw the crater from the rim today I had the same feeling as when I saw the grand canyon for the first time, the feeling of complete awe. The crater is magnificent with rivers, lakes, savannah, swamp, forests and rocky outcrops all incased in 19km squared area with a 600m wall surrounding. The volcanic power which created this wonder 750,000 years ago must have been colossal .
We entered the park and drove down a very bumpy red clay road. The first stop was a Masai village, where we watched the Masai dance. They showed us their houses and small school it was all very interesting but after reflecting on the experience, we realised that the village was probably not where they exactly lived full time. It was more like a place to show the tourists about Masai life. Never the less it was worth the $20 we paid. The Masai have turned into very good business people. Not sure if their way of life has changed for the good though, with money and greed coming into there society it could have a negative effect.
Next stop was the decent into the crater itself. It is truly Africa 's garden of Eden. I saw Elephant, buffalo, gazelle, lion, zebra, rhino, hippo, warthog, hyena, jackal, Ostrich, water buck, baboon, wildebeest, flamingo, numerous birds of pray and many more. The best moment of the day was a pride of lions attacking a fully grown water buffalo, It was just like a BBC wildlife programme except it was happening less than 50 metres away, wow! They finally killed it after hours of trying as the buffalo decided to jump into a water hole which made it difficult for the lions to finish it off. We spent the whole day in the crater but I could happily spend all week there, what a magical place. It's lake Manyara tomorrow.
Day 3  - Lake Manyara

Today we went to lake Manyara , an early start again after a night of heavy rain at mosquito river which we have been using as a base for the visits to the national parks, by 9am the rains had cleared and the sun came out although later in the day the rains returned briefly. Lake Manyara is beautiful place but it doesn't beat Ngorongoro crater for natural beauty and wildlife. The best moment of the day was a close encounter with an elephant and its calf, we were within a couple of meters of the pair for several minutes while they grazed. They acted completely naturally like we weren't there, such majestic animals. We didn't really get very close to the lake, but I got some great photos of a herd of giraffe on the plains near the lake with the mountains of the rift valley in the background. Also saw a great troop of baboons playing around in the grass, there was a tiny baby causing real mischief with the other infants jumping around, climbing and falling off little bushes, you could see that the baby was a real character, it was great to watch. We got back to camp early today as everyone was tired after 3 days of animal watching and bumpy driving in the 4x4. In many ways the safari was more tiring then the time on the mountain, due to the heat and all the travel. Tomorrow we go back to Moshi via a Tanzanian market and snake park.

Day 4 - Snake Park and back to Moshi

The 28th year on the run and no Valentines Day card, I'm sure I'll have hundreds on the door mat when I get home, not.
Today was the last day of the Safari, we set off from camp early again, but I've got use to the early nights and early mornings by now. We headed back to Moshi but on the way we stopped off at souvenir market where I bought a couple of presents to take home. Then we had a guided tour of the snake park, they had some of the most dangerous snakes in Africa such as the black mamba and various cobras, very interesting to hear how quickly some these snakes can kill, just glad I didn't step on any on the trail. The guide let me hold a baby Nile crocodile which was one year old and I held a 3 foot long tree snake around my neck which was cool. Then I witnessed two tortoises humping which was hilarious, the sounds coming from the male weren't too dissimilar then some human males I'm sure. We got back to the hotel early so I had a swim and generally chilled out before the epic 8 hour bus journey to Nairobi tomorrow, not looking forward to it. The next 36 hours are going to be long, but I better get use it as this is going to be a common occurrence in my travels.
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