The River Runs Through It

Trip Start Apr 19, 2010
Trip End Apr 18, 2011

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Panorama Campsite

Flag of Tanzania  ,
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The last day of our safari was spent at Tarangire National Park, named after the river that runs through it by the same name. It's a popular safari sight because it has the most water and plant life for the animals during the dry season.   And the river was the most amazing part of the park.  It was like driving up to a scene in "The Land Before Time" as all the animals were gathered around the river.  The first time we passed part of the river, the zebras walked into the water for a cool drink.  Bariky explained to us that the zebras only come to the river a few times a day because they know that predators will be after them there.  But as long as we were there near the river, the zebras stayed, feeling safe in our presence.  And as soon as well drove away, the zebras continued on their way, away from the river.  Later, as we passed by the river a second time, it was littered with baboons and gazelles keeping cool and drinking water.  We parked ourselves just over a mini bridge and were able to watch the animal go about their day as if we weren’t even there

We also saw TONS of elephants.  Tarangire is famous for having the most number of elephants per square kilometer than anywhere else in the world.  And we sure saw a bunch.  We saw elephants alone and in families, eating, and even bathing in the water.  We saw them up close and far away.  They were endless and it was really cool.  To top off our safari, we saw more cheetahs sleeping together under a tree off in the distance.  It’s amazing to see how much we actually saw on our excursion. 

But alas, the safari came to an end.  We made it back to Arusha and stayed the night at the hotel that works with the tour operator for the safari, and got a free night negotiated into our original safari deal. Sweet!  But things took a funny turn the next morning when we went to pay the remaining balance for the safari.  We wanted to renegotiate with them the final balance because there were a lot of things that we were told that weren’t true about the safari, such as how many people we’d be traveling with, how many meals we’d be getting and more.  Additionally, we paid our money for the National Parks straight to the park, and when we got a cheaper tariff than he anticipated, he wanted us to pay him the difference.  It was all a mess so when we asked him to renegotiate, he was furious and said that we had to stick to the contract and this was the deal we made.  True, but not everything on the contract was accurate and there were still things on the contract that we had yet to receive.  It went back and forth for a long while, with him even getting upset to the point that he told us to leave and not pay any of it.  Determined that we still owed him money and refusing to go without paying, we stayed to try negotiate.  Finally, we told him that we know that his business works off recommendations and we’d be happy to recommend his company if we could work this out.  That seemed to lighten is stress slightly, because we were able to agree on a price and take along some business cards to pass out.  Deal.

We spent the afternoon in Arusha trying to find the AICC.  This is the place where you can go as a visitor to watch the Rowanda Tribunals, court proceedings that are underway in relation to the genocide that took place in Rowanda.  Unfortunately, when we arrived, they had convened for the day and wouldn’t be opening again until after the weekend.  We were disappointed, but with plans already in the making, we weren’t going to be staying until Monday to see them.   On our way back to the hotel, we ran into a few Welsh travelers that asked if we had been on a safari.  Funny you should ask!  We handed them the business card that we had received and told them all about our safari.  Maybe they’ll go with the operators we went with or maybe not, but at least we filled our part in the recommendation.  When we returned to the hotel hours later, the 2 Welsh people turned into a group of 5 that we had just booked a safari with them!  The sales guy was so stoked that he offered us another night’s stay at the hotel and purchased our bus tickets for our ride to Tanga the next day.  Well that worked out, now didn’t it?

Later that night, we went out to a night club called Babylon for dinner and some hang out time, with our friend Sebastiaan that we met on the safari and who we’d been paling around with since.  We had the best chicken and chips, and listened to music and talking with the local Tanzanian people as best we could.  It was really great food and a fun night out.  Exhuasted though from the safari and the later hour, we headed back toward our free night’s stay and prepared for our bus trip to Tanga the next morning. 
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