We are pumped as we are off to Tarangire on safari. Livingston (or Ziggy as John calls him) meets us at 6:30am. We pick up our breakfast boxes, meet our driver Justin and I comment ‘just like Justin Bieber?’. This gets a lovely giggle from Justin and we load up the Land Cruiser and are off.
We drop Livingston and one of his staff off at their office in Arusha town and start our journey to Tarangire. We head west of Arusha past Maasai farms, goat and cattle herders dressed in their colourful gear. Everyone from the smallest child to elderly care for their animals. The Maasai are a nomadic people and therefore live in mud huts so that they can move where water and food for their cattle are plenty.
The highway has recently been upgraded and is quite pleasant until we reach detours where it is still under construction. Here the roads are sandy and therefore full of ruts and holes. It is quite the rock and roll experience. Justin says it is an African massage however we feel it is more like a beating. A couple of times I was airborne about 6 inches off my seat!
After 2 hours of jostling, bouncing and dust we arrive at the Tarangire Park Gate. It takes only a few minutes to get our passes and before long we say so long to the adorable monkeys hanging about and start on our safari.
Within minutes we spot a herd of wildebeest and zebra. We are all excited and stand up to take photos out of the roof. A little further along we spot osterriches and Jim’s fave, Tembos, or elephants. They are so close to us! More zebras, wildebeest, a family of mongoose – they are adorable and make the cutest sounds – impala, monkeys and tons of elephants.
This park is over 1250 square miles and has 4×4 trails everywhere. Justin knew his way around however the 3 of us were lost, and we didn’t care. We were in our glory watching for animals.
We had our picnic lunch made by Ziggy’s cook, Antonio, while watching elephants, giraffe and the most beautifully coloured starlings. Lunch finished we are off again to see what we can see.
We find a huge herd of zebras and wildebeest – Justin tells us that the zebras hang around the wildebeest at the water holes. They wait to see if there is any danger and if nothing attacks the wildebeest, then the zebras drink. Pretty clever. Mingling in with the zebras are several families of baboon, and some very cute little ones.
We drive on and finally there they are, Simbas (lions), a pride of 6 including a male. There are only 2 other Land Cruisers and the 3 of us watch for the longest time. The zebras come around behind us with one of the staying behind as if on duty. Several of them start calling out to warn the rest of the herd which is at the river drinking. Their call is almost like a dog bark. Finally the lionesses start to move and walk right in front of the vehicles in front of us. Then the male comes out and they all rest once again. We speak in hushed voices as our cameras are clicking like crazy. All of a sudden they start moving behind us so the drivers quickly turn around to keep up with them. One of the younger lionesses jumps the gun and starts a mad chase. Justin is driving like like a mad man to keep up. Within minutes we see a warthog literally running for its life and the lion missing out. What excitement! We followed them for a little while longer and then they turned back to sit in the afternoon sun.
We carry on and see 2 male impala fighting for territory while the females curiously look on, more baboons and herds and herds of elephants from small babies to big bulls. Just as we about to leave we came across one only 3 feet from us eating a bush alongside the road. He just watched us as we took photo after photo of him. Only minutes later we see more giraffes so close to the road, we are in our glory – we can’t believe the number and variety of animals we have seen today. So many that we don’t even bother picking up our cameras anymore – oh it’s just another elephant! Ha ha
The 3 of us dozed as we made our way back to Arusha and the Snow Crest. John and Livingston greet us and it is so good to see them. Everything is set for our Kili climb tomorrow and we are excited.
It has been a busy day so we have a bite to eat and head for bed early. What a great day!!