My first day on Safari

Trip Start Jul 17, 2011
Trip End Aug 29, 2011

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday 16th August

Got up nice and early and sorted some of my photos. Power was still off but was told it usually come on about 8am. Well not today. Frank, our driver and guide was supposed to arrive at 8.30, seemed there was some trouble with an other car, I think it was closer to 10 by the time we got away.

Frank was driving a stretched Toyota Land cruiser. It was certainly needed on the roads we were going on, good thing that Peters back is O.K.

We first headed to Arusha about 80km east of where they live. The drive was thru a very flat country side, mainly planted in Maize. Much still waiting to be harvested.

They let it dry in the fields and then make flour from the kernel, seems to be their main food. The stalks are cut and collected to feed the animals. We saw several lorries loaded to twice their height with stalks.

Once we got closer to Arusha the traffic became very congested. Trucks, cars, land cruisers, tuk tuks, push bikes, donkeys and people walking. Some of the things that we stay in my mind for ever is the number of people walking. Even in the middle of nowhere, there are people walking along the roads.

The colourful dresses of the women and their great posture. Probably from carrying things on their heads, sometimes unbelievable large parcels with a graceful ease.

The Maasai wrapped in their red and purple shrouds.

The plan was to stop in Arusha for coffee and cash from the ATM.

They have very good coffee here, not only freshly roasted but also freshly picked. There was of course a toilet stop, in general I have found the toilets in Tanzania reasonably clean and with toilet paper, a real luxury.

No luck with the ATM, both were out of money. Hopefully Ken has enough cash on him. Credit cards are virtually unused here. Everything except drinks are already paid for. Frank has plenty of bottled water with him, and both places we slept had bottled water in the rooms. A nice change from Egypt.

Arusha with a population of close to 1 million is at 1400 meters, I think Moshie is about 1000, which accounts for the cooler temperatures, that and the fact that this is the cooler season. After Egypt we were rather pleased with the cooler weather.

From Arusha there was still around 100km to the Tarangire National Park.

We passed many small Maasai villages with their round thatched huts and saw many small boys herding goats or bigger ones herding cows.

We were stopped by police 4 times, checking insurance, registration, etc.  and I suspect getting a bribe.

We got to the park around 3pm, had a walk around the entrance for about 30 minutes while Frank checked us in. If it can be complicated they will make it so. However having said that we have found the people very friendly and easy going. We saw our first animals while waiting, some cute playful monkeys, and many animal sculls on display.

Our next animals was some antelopes, so graceful, next a zebra, and then some elephants, not very close, but so exciting to see our first wild elephants.

Next lots of wildebeests.

The park is not wooded, but has many trees especially outstanding is the Baobab tree. The legend about the tree is that God got angry about the fact that the tree kept wandering, so the God picked it up and planted it upside down.

Next a lone warthog. More wildebeest and zebras gracing together. The like being together, because zebras have great sight and wildebeest great sense of smell.

Our next animal was an ostrich, which kindly decided to cross the road in front of us. More Zebras an a closer look at a warthog.

More excitement, an other elephant, much closer this time, and Frank was sure if we were just patient and waited awhile, it would cross the road in front of us. 10 minutes later it did.

A little later we came to our first 'Zebra crossing' . A line of Zebras crossing the road.

Innes and Ken was very keen to head for the lodge as it got close to 5pm, but Frank kept ignoring them saying let's just go down to the river.

We saw some vultures  the river

With good reason as down by the river there was a pride of Lions, just relaxing having probably just eaten.

They weren't very close, but it was still very exciting.

We got to the lodge just after 5pm, the accommodation was permanent tent. Nice and big, 2 beds a small bathroom toilet and shower. Water is solar heated I really didn't have much luck with getting it to run warm, Innes did better, but she had read the instructions and let it run for at least 5 minutes before getting in.

We met on the terrace for a drink before dinner, lovely temperature.  We could see some elephants antelopes and a lone giraffe in the valley below. The giraffe is Tanzania's National emblem and you go to prison if you kill one.

Dinner was nice, I think we were in bed before 10pm. Power goes off at 11pm and not back on again till 6am. You are not allowed out of the tents during the power outs as the animals are quite likely to wander among the tents.

There is a torch in the tent and both Peter and I travel with one.
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