Saturday, April 24, 2010

Safari Again

Last Sunday, K2 and I went on safari to Arusha National Park, an easy day trip from Arusha. We hired a guide and a Land Rover and I paid the foreigner's park entrance fee of $35, while K2 paid the resident's entrance fee of about $1.29. The guide is supposed to have a pre-loaded credit card from one specific bank in Arusha to pay the party's entrance fees. Our guide didn't get to loading the card, so it was a 30-minute argument to get the ranger to let us pay in cash. I forked over US dollars, because it would have been even harder to get them to accept Tanzanian shillings from a foreigner. Very strange customer service model,  because they really really want foreigners to visit the parks and view the wildlife. Anyway, we eventually got into the Park....


Arusha National Park is small. It has lots of open forest of short trees, a few areas of savanna, and a bit of rain forest. It includes a crater and several small lakes. We were there on a cool, cloudy day, but it never quite rained on us. The roads were muddy, though. At one really muddy spot, we passed a Land Rover full of local Tanzanian ladies wearing dresses (hey, why not? You don't really get out of the car except to eat lunch...). Our guide made a joke in Swahili to their guide that at least if he got stuck, all those "mamas" could get out and push. He got a big laugh.

We did not see as many animals as in Tarangire and Lake Manyara, but considering this was a quick day-trip-with-a-picnic-and-home-by-5:00, it was pretty amazing. We saw giraffes, cape buffalo, zebras, warthogs, baboons, flamingos, blue monkeys, and a couple of bush bucks off in the distance.



 I just think it's way cool to see their necks sticking up above the canopy!


 Cape buffalo in the foreground, warthogs behind them, and zebras all the way in the background.


Baboon


Baby baboon...awww!

This park is known for colobus monkeys, though, and that's what I was really hoping to see. They are black and white with lush, long fur and look like long-limbed skunks perching in the trees. As we drove into the first little bit of rain forest, our guide slowed way down and was scanning the trees and muttering, "Where are you today?" We drove out of the forest, and I thought maybe we would miss the colobus monkeys that day. But on the way to the picnic area, we passed through another bit of forest and found them!



Colobus monkey hanging upside down and watching me through the open roof of the Land Rover


Two adults with an all-white baby in the middle. The guide said he's a very young one, and will change color as he gets older.


Love the long, fluffy tail...


Moomela Lakes


The clouds almost clearing off Mt. Meru. 


Mt. Meru's summit is over 15,000'. It's a popular climb, and many tourists consider it a warm-up for climbing the bigger Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,340'). K2's been to both summits numerous times. He says Meru is much steeper than Kilimanjaro, and really difficult, but a shorter hike of 3 days instead of anywhere from 4 to 9 on Kilimanjaro. He's almost convinced me and Anna, the British receptionist here at Kundayo Apartments, to climb Meru. The trailhead is in Arusha National Park.


Hammerkopf. This bird shuffles its feet in the mud at the bottom of puddles to stir up critters, which it seizes and eats when they surface. A favored food is frogs.


This picture is for Cynthia T! I hope your computer screen is big enough for you to see the back legs of the unfortunate frog hanging out of the beak...


Waterbuck, male and female.


Gray-crowned cranes, juvenile and adult


Giraffes wandering outside the park boundary


A herd of Cape Buffalo.


They smell like cows...


...but they're reputed to be a lot meaner.


A small flock of greater flamingos on a really stinky, sulfur-ish lake. Greaters are more white than pink, but their leg were bright pink.


Weren't the baboons good guys in "The Lion King"? Because this one looks like some kind of demon ape...


OK, here's one that's not as scary...


We came across another couple of colobus monkeys, eating leaves right next to the road, and seemingly oblivious to us






The white fur on the back drapes down almost like a cape


A last pass through the savanna area called "Little Serengeti" on our way out of the park. Cape buffalo and giraffes. There're probably some warthogs in there somewhere!


 This young zebra was following this young giraffe who was following its mother who had just crossed the road in front of us.


They stood here and watched us for several minutes.


Then they continued on to cross the road and disappear into the bush...


Kwaheri (good bye), Arusha National Park.


I've posted a link to an album in Snapfish of about 75 photos of Arusha National Park. You can click on it in the right hand column.

3 comments:

  1. Wow!!! Great pics. It's been fun following all of your adventures. It sounds like you are having lots of fun. Keep it up. Enjoy!!!

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  2. dodie@hotmail.comApril 28, 2010 at 8:45 AM

    NICE! glad we can see your pictures and read apbout your adventures. It is raining here in Utah, getting ready to snow

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