Safari!! (2)

Trip Start Aug 13, 2010
Trip End Nov 16, 2010

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with zebras

Flag of Tanzania  ,
Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 3 - Another early start to begin our morning game drive across the Serengeti. Right away there were three African buffalos literally 10metres away from our campsite which was amazing. For the rest of the morning, we saw much more of the same stuff which was still cool; the Serengeti is just gorgeous so we weren't complaining. On our drive out of the Serengeti, we spotted our first cheetah and our awesome driver Ricky went offroad (very legal of course) so that we could get a close up picture of it. It’s hard to describe the feeling, but there is something cathartic being less than 5 metres away from the fastest mammal on earth. Personally, this was the highlight of the trip. Next stop – Ngorongoro Crater. We reached our campsite just after dusk thanks to a flat tyre (and a flat spare too lol) so we ended up pitching our tents in the dark. One of our bottles of Konyagi (Tanzanian gin) broke en route which was heartbreaking but it was quite hilarious seeing a dog at the campsite lick it off the floor, got drunk and started biting the testicles of another dog. There was also a herd of zebras at the campsite running around dropping zebra shit everywhere it felt like a minefield of poo getting to the showers 200m away. Spent our last night on safari having a big feed and getting drunk with our cook and some of the local guides around. Good times

Day 4 – Now a bit of background information. The world famous Ngorongoro Crater is a caldera (collapsed volcano) so it is not surprising that the Ngorongoro crater has got the densest population of lions and large mammals in the world since the animals can’t get out of the 2000ft deep crater.  The descend down into the crater was jus incredible and somewhat scary thanks to our dala-dala safari jeep that was falling apart in front of our eyes (more on this later). Saw more lions, cheetahs, hippos, buffalos, hyenas, thousands of zebras and wildebeest the sheer amount of animals in such close proximity was just mind blowing. Apparently it was date night at the Ngorongoro as we saw couples of lions and cheetahs just having some one on one time away from the others instead of pouncing on the nearby gazelle. Unfortunately we did not see a black rhino, one of the Big 5 that I really wanted to see. Oh well. We ascended out of the crater shortly after noon, had a big lunch (roast stuffed chickens, grilled potatoes, pizza, salads and pancakes) and prepared ourselves for our journey back to Moshi. Just as we were about to leave the campsite, an elephant (possibly the biggest one I have ever seen) rocked up to the campsite, which apparently is quite common as they often do come in to have a drink from the water tanks. What was different this time however were the presence of stupid Maasai "warriors", brandishing their shiny spears while trying to sell their made in china crap to us. One of them decided to think it would be funny to provoke the elephant and all of a sudden it went beserk. Now we were sitting in our dala-dala/jeep literally 2 metres away from this very pissed off elephant which could have easily rolled our jeep over, or worse.  On the way journey back, our jeep got its third flat tyre within a 24 hour period and the axle of the front wheel jammed it could have been a disaster. We started doing shots of Konyagi on the jeep 'coz at that point it felt that only a miracle would take us back to Moshi, alive. A few minutes later, we were pulled over by guards who we had to bribe to let us through (it is illegal to drive foreigners around after dark in Tanzania as it is quite unsafe and trying to reason with these guys that it was because our vehicle repeatedly broke down just wasn’t happening). We then inched our way to the next town Arusha, did a dodgy jeep swap outside a supermarket while trying not get mugged and eventually got back to the doctors compound at Moshi just after 10pm. A bed and hot shower never felt so good, ever.

Going on a safari is one of those life-changing experiences that you really can’t fully explain to someone who has not been on their own. It may have not had the most luxurious or problem-free safari by any stretch but with excellent food and great company, it truly was an adventure of a lifetime.

Zanzibar this weekend!!! Tutaonana!

P.S. photos by end of the month promise! 
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