Safari begins

Not what we have but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance.

Jean Pierre Petit-Senn

It seems we are staying at a different lodge tonite also near the town of Arusha (population approximately 650,000+), and the Wi-Fi is good so best write. Tomorrow we start heading west towards different national parks, staying varying lodges and “camps”.

Tanzania is a great country from what I have seen. One lady (not on our trip) said safest in Africa. it has outlawed plastic bags. It has created a system of national parks which they realize preserves what we are seeing. Some were created before they got independence from Britain in 1960. (I have not fact checked this, but what I heard our guides say.). Tourism is nearly 100% of the economy here and they have not made it cheap. A visa costs a $100, a day entry (not overnight) costs a $100, and overnight costs again. And on and on. Camping as we know it in alaska is not done or permitted. Several places to hike requires hiring a park ranger to escort you through the area. It is their economy.

The safari has us moving every day to a new location and wonders with a mix of animals, plants, birds, people, culture. We not only have Cindy our tour leader, but two local guides – Simon and Daudee. They have university degrees in wildlife management and conservation. Their wealth of information is incredible. We seem to constantly be asking questions not only about animals but their country (health care, eduction, solar panels, etc). The food served us is amazing. Happy hour on arrival (about 5) dinner at time specified by Cindy, seems 7 – 7:30. We gather about 8 although some days will be earlier as sun up about 6:30.

And thus today we began meeting guides after breakfast and putting gear in vehicles. We have two Toyota Land Cruiser which can seat 8 people including driver. Top opens and we can stand up with Bimini cover for shade. The vehicles are heavy duty as obviously designed for off road use (as well as highway ). And road today was rough putting the vehicle to the test. Stories abound of vehicles getting stuck.

And within 15 minutes we were at the urban wilderness divide. Arusha national park. After doing paperwork to get into park off we went. Within 5 minutes we had seen numerous giraffe, Cape buffalo, zebra, wart hogs, and in numbers. Absolutely nothing like a zoo. Like seeing a penguin in the wild where they can be what they are, wild animals roaming in wilderness. At the end of day we counted having seen 11 species of mammals dozens of bird species, each more glorious than the last. We drive about the lower slopes of mount Meru, an old volcano, approximately 4600 meters high. Kilimanjaro at about 6700 meters is visible on a clear day.

And so it goes, excited about next days, tomorrow is culture and begin heading west. Day after tomorrow is animals, mostly elephants. We shall see. As is said in Swahili “Makuna mataada” no worries.

Partial list of things seen as kept by Diane while driving on a rough dirt road
Colobus monkey
Columbus monkeys with tail
Cape buffalo
Jonathan our park ranger guide for hike. Very knowledgeable and here explaining hyena skulls but how to males from female skulls with buffalo and how to tell male from female giraffe poop. (Females have more square poop and males hav3 more pointy ends)( both look like moose poop)
Giraffes, zebras
Gear loading
Birds of which I have already forgotten the name of
Dinner tonite
Street scene on drive to lodge
Blue monkeys scrambling about


4 thoughts on “Safari begins

  1. These posts make me so happy that I’m almost yelling out loud. For one thing, I have never seen a giraffe sitting down. He (she?) looked so relaxed. Your brain must be on the verge of exploding, but Makuna mataada, right?

    xoxo Maralyn


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