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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.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Arusha National Park One More Time

I'm actually in America for a few weeks right now--taxes and all that...

But here's one more Tanzania post. K2 and I recently made yet one more trip to Arusha National Park. We keep going back, because although it doesn't have as many spectacular animals as Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Manyara, Tarangire, and Ruaha, it's only about 45 minutes drive time from town and it's a cheap excursion because we can just drive our Suzuki and not hire a guide. Really cheap for Tanzanians, who pay an entrance fee of 1000 Tshillings (about 89 cents U.S., seriously). I, as a foreigner, pay $35 U.S. But really, that's still pretty cheap.

We invited Rehema, Tunga, and Junior to join us. They would be our new neighbors if we hadn't moved. They moved into one of the houses in Nyumba Sita just a couple of weeks before we moved out. We quickly became friends because they are all members of the Nyakyusa tribe, the same as K2. This means when they meet away from their tribe's home territory in southern Tanzania, they are automatically friends, brothers, and sisters. Plus, Rehema speaks fluent English, so that makes her automatically my friend. She suggested that I marry K2 so I could become a Tanzanian citizen and pay only 89 cents to visit the parks. Hmm....

Junior's five years old, and this was his first trip to one of the parks to see the animals. Also, he really loves K2. He was so excited by the time we pulled up outside their gate, he came running out and bounced all around until his mom got the gate open and he could climb into the car, where he bounced around some more.

We opened the sunroof on the Suzuki and Junior stood on the center console to pop his head out through the roof and get a better look at the wildlife.

The park is known for its colobus monkeys, and they were our first wildlife sighting of the morning.

I gave Junior the binoculars and showed him how to focus them. I'm not sure he understood the focusing part, but he loved the binoculars and used them to look at everything for the rest of the day.

One monkey groomed the other's big fluffy tail.

Junior was so excited to see the monkeys, he was shouting at us, describing the action. We had to explain to him about being quiet so you can see more animals.

We actually got a rare, brief glimpse of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

We had dark clouds and rain on and off all day, with a little bit of sunlight in between.

Here's the park's mainstay--the Cape Buffalo herd.

Moomella Lakes, our view for a chilly picnic lunch.

Here's the canoe cache. A few people were paddling around the lake. Which made us wonder about the rangers and guides always saying there are a few hippos in the lake. We've never seen the hippos, though, so maybe they just tell the tourists that to make us happy.

Water Buck.

Tanzanian park rangers must love buffalo skulls. They're on top of the signs in every park. This is the next lake along the drive...

...and here's why we're not allowed to walk around the lake, this flock of lesser flamingos.

This beautiful kingfisher was in a tree right by the road. I think it's a Savanna Kingfisher, but I'm not sure. I'm finding that even with my new field guide, I can't always pick out the species. For many species, the book shows four or five different color phases and then describes a few more variations by age or location or some other variable. This little guy didn't exactly match any of the pictures.

At this point, another vehicle with a European tourist had pulled up behind us. K2 is such a skilled (unpaid) guide that he eased the Suzuki past so slowly that the kingfisher stayed on the branch and the European tourist had his chance to take some photos, too.

Next, we headed down to the area known as "Little Serengeti" with this view of the base of Mt. Meru along the way.

We found the usual suspects there...zebras...

...and giraffes...

...and a meadow full of olive baboons foraging for grass seeds.

For our last stop of the day, we headed back into the hills... the scenic overlook at Moomela Crater.

We made it through a whole day inside the park without a hint of an animal attack. But on the way home, we stopped for barbecue at an outdoor restaurant and were attacked by a swarm of termites and a lone cockroach.

I called Rehema two days later and she said that from the moment they reached home, Junior was begging to go back to the park the next weekend. Rehema said she'd like to see Lake Manyara National Park, but I told her she can't go until I come back from America.


  1. I'm so envious of your experiences! Great photos!

  2. Barbara, the photos are so spectacular, as is your descriptive writing. I hope this gets published in a book! I'd buy it in a moment.

  3. Linda, thank you for your continuing encouragement! I recently finished a travel memoir class online from Stanford's continuing education program and I got A+. I've always been a teacher's pet, so I was thrilled to get a good grade, even though it's continuing ed and doesn't really matter-except for thrilling me! I'll be sure to let you know when the book's done (not started yet, but really want to write it)