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If you've enjoyed reading about my experiences in Tanzania here, check out the new blog I've started on Wordpress as of November, 2017. It's called "Back to Tanzania" and you can read it here. All new adventures in Tanzania from an older, wiser, more experienced expat.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Safari Njema!

"Safari njema," means "have a good trip." "Safari is the Swahili word for journey, and also for travel in the verb form. K2 and I took a two-day safari over Easter weekend and visited Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks. We went with Restoration Safaris, and had a really fun guide/driver, Sam, who hauled us around in a giant Land Cruiser with a pop-up roof to allow for wildlife spotting from above.

We drove about two hours into the heart of Maasai country. All along the way, we saw scattered Maasai villages, and Maasai people dressed in traditional red and blue robes working fields with hand tools and herding goats and cattle and walking along the highway.

Here's a link to an album in Snapfish of photos I took in a Maasai village in a 2006 visit to Tanzania:

We reached Tarangire National Park mid-morning. It was raining hard in Arusha and along the way, but not in the Park. We had a lovely, cool day with occasional showers. Tours here take the form of wildlife drives, in which the driver cruises a series of dirt roads and visits certain spots where he can expect to find animals for his clients to marvel at. When two or more Land Rovers pass, there's a brief pause while the guides exuberantly greet each other and divulge (in Swahili, so the clients don't know what they're saying) where the animals are today. Tarangire is savanna with scattered acacia and baobab trees. The air has a spicy rosemary and thyme scent. Now, in rainy season, the grass is lush, green, and about three feet high. While beautiful, this makes it hard to spot wildlife. The predators are hiding in the grass, and some of the prey leave the Park and go to short-grass areas where they can see what's going on. Still, we saw lots of animals! It was awesome!

Giraffe (left) and Baobab (right).

Yellow Throated Francolin
Water Buck

Water Bucks resting on the river bank

The beautiful green of the long rains and the beautiful long neck of the giraffe.

A beautiful kingfisher. I can't remember the species--Kathy P., if you're reading this, I'm sorry. I've asked K2 to bring me one of his wildlife guidebooks, at which point I'll look up this, as well as some things in the Snapfish album I'm putting together, and fill in the details.


Impala again--very elegant, even when chewing grass

Young elephant grazing--he'd smash the grass on top of his head, then put it in his mouth

Lots of ear flapping. My theory is he was trying to swat away the horrible biting flies that were everywhere. 

The flies swarmed our Land Cruiser whenever we stopped. K2 took my Buff (a stretchy, handkerchief-fabric tube thingy) and was swatting furiously at them. They bit both K2 and Sam a lot, but hardly touched me. K2 and Sam developed the theory that the flies don't recognize white people as having blood to spare, because we are so pale. Then we passed a Land Rover with several white people sticking out through the roof, all of whom were furiously swatting flies. K2 and Sam immediately turned to me and demanded to know my secret. I told them, "Mdudu hawapendi mimi kwa sebabu nakuwa na damu chachu." I botched the last two words and K2 had to tell me what they really were. But my meaning is, "Insects don't like me because I have sour blood." It's true at home, too, with mosquitoes and those horrible midges on Antelope Island in the spring.


wart hog

Dik dik--the smallest antelope, only about 18" tall

The lunch stop gave me a chance to go into the bathroom (which was surprisingly clean and nice) and drop my pants to look for the three dead flies who had crawled up inside my pant legs and made it halfway up my thighs before I felt them and smashed them through my pants, leaving big round blood spots (or whatever fluid is inside flies) on my pants and something disgusting on my skin that I was eager to brush off.


Maasai souvenir shops on the way out of the Park

We left the Park in late afternoon and ran the gauntlet of souvenir shops selling Maasai jewelry and crafts along the Park entry road. I asked for one stop and bought two bracelets (very similar to the six I have at home from previous trips).

We drove to MigungaTented Camp, about halfway between the two parks to spend the night. Migunga means yellow barked acacia. The camp is set in an open grove of these beautiful, lacy-leafed trees and is just lovely. The tents are fancy, pitched on wood platforms with porches and thatched roofs. Each tent has its own bathroom with a flush toilet, a sink, a shower, and hot water. And electric lights! Vervet monkeys run through the trees around the tents. After dark, we heard bush babies yelling all around our tent. They're primates, lemur-like, so-called because they sound like babies crying. All night there was a chorus of insect and animal sounds. The starting point was a background wall of frogs repeating a two-note call, then various insects and birds intermittently added all different noises. I was reading my Kindle under the mosquito net with a small book light clipped to it. Some enormous-sounding moth was battering its wings against the outside of the net trying to get at the light. I never could see it, but I'm thinking Mothra, that monster-moth from the Godzilla movies. Next morning for breakfast the restaurant served brewed coffee, not instant! I really didn't want to leave...

The dining room at Migunga Tented Camp

Souvenir shops selling tinga-tinga paintings, another tourist staple in Tanzania, along the way to Lake Manyara National Park.

We headed out to Lake Manyara National Park next. Manyara has one area of savanna, and a lot of beautiful rain forest, as well as a portion of huge Lake Manyara within its borders. Off in the distance, you see the escarpment that is part of the Great Rift Valley. Another great day of spotting animals. Sam was really good at finding them for us.

Heading into the rain forest

European, or yellow-billed storks

Baboons are plentiful in the Park. At the entry gate, you have to roll up all the windows before leaving the Land Cruiser for the lengthy permit process with the rangers, or the baboons will search your car for food.

Blue Monkey

Silver Cheeked Hornbill

The hippo pond

Out in the savanna, zebras

Zebra matakos (a vulgar Swahili word for butts)

Giraffes lying down--they still stick up pretty far...

Baboons with babies

Giraffe with baby

We saw a couple of groups touring the Park by dala dala. Looks like this one has a Facebook page.

Drinking giraffe

Nile monitor

Banded mongoose...mongeese...mongooses?

I forgot the name of this lizard, too, but it's in that book that K2 has, too...

Giraffe and Lake Manyara

Giraffe and flamingos and Lake Manyara--that's them in the pink, broken line low in the water there. Although Lake Manyara is known for its flamingos, you usually can't get any closer than this.

I've posted pictures that will link you to Snapfish albums of about 85 photos each, one for Tarangire and one for Manyara, in the right side column of this page. Although Snapfish makes you sign in with a password and email address, their policy is not to use that information for anything other than letting the album owner (me) see who's viewed the album. If you are receiving individual posts through e-mail, I think you won't see the right side column, and will have to sign into the website to see those linked photos.

1 comment:

  1. This post is why I dream of going to Tanzania some day! Absolutely wonderful, Barbara. Thanks for posting.