Heartbreak Hotel

Trip Start Aug 21, 2009
Trip End Nov 09, 2009

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Where I stayed
Kibo Tented Camp

Flag of Kenya  ,
Friday, September 4, 2009

We awoke to a beautiful sunrise over Lake Manyara but it quickly gave way to a generally overcast sky.  The temperature was quite comfortable when we left Lake Manyara Serena Lodge at 7:45 AM, the last day of our safari.

We traveled along a good paved road for an hour and a half.  The winds picked up and the dust swept across the road and swirled like mini tornadoes in the desert-like landscape.

Along the way we passed through some villages.  There were children playing soccer in the school grounds, but instead of playing with a soccer ball they were playing with a bunch of plastic bags all rolled into the shape of a ball.  Wherever we see children playing soccer, the ball is the same -- plastic bags crunched and rolled into a ball shape.

We crossed the Tanzanian/Kenyan border without a hitch and then had a picnic lunch at a nice African curio shop at Namanga.

After lunch we continue on to Amboseli National Reserve, located immediately northwest of Mt. Kilimanjaro and 240 km. (150 mi.) southeast of Nairobi.  There are suppose to be five different habitats in Amboseli:  open plains, Acacia woodland, thornscrub, swamps, and marshlands.  However, it is the dry season and there is not much woodland, only lots of open plains with not much grass on it for the animals to eat, and some very stinky swamplands where the elephants and buffaloes find some water.

Amboseli is filled with lots of great game -- zebras, warthogs, giraffes, buffaloes, impalas, wildebeests, gerenuks, baboons, and elephants. We see all of these and, in particular, many elephants and ostriches.  We have seen ostriches before, but they generally travel solo or in pairs.  But today we see flocks of ostriches for the first time.

We also see a really gruesome sight.  The foul smell of death permeates the air as literally countless numbers of wildebeest and zebras are dropping dead due to the lack of grass to eat and water to drink.  They are everywhere, their bodies bloated and rigor mortis has set in.  One baby elephant has also succumbed to these conditions.  The ranger at the gate says that he has never seen it this bad before.  It is not a pretty sight and not the way and mental picture our safari should end on.

We are right next to Mt. Kilimanjaro but a blanket of cloud wraps itself totally around Kili and hides the mountain and its summit from our view.

We arrive at  Kibo tented camp about 5 PM. and we are shocked by what we see (or do not see).  The standard of this camp is well below that of the others and it is very disconcerting to us.  There are no lights in the tent until 6:30 PM when it is already pitch dark.  The main area of the tent has only one small light so it is very difficult to see anything.  There is no bottled water.  The toilet is in a dark area of the tent and it is also raised, making for a very interesting trip to the john at any time.  Even our guide admits that this camp is below the standards of most of the other camps we have used on this trip and he knows he has a public relations problem to deal with.  It is not resolved this night and this is the last memory of our safari trip.  We are not impressed or happy.  Sometimes it is the last things that you see or do that you remember the most and we are heartbroken that our safari has to end this way. 
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robanita on

We are Home
Hi Rose & Boyd, I am glad you are having a good time. I enjoyed reading your stories when we got home. In Dodoma the computer was too slow to open your blog posts. In Mikumi Game Park we saw 4 young male lions in our safari drives among hundreds of zebra, elephants, impalas, giraffes, wildbeest, cape buffalo, baboons and worthogs. We also saw bush bucks, ginea fowl, hippos and fresh water crocodiles. The drought situation in Tanzania is worse than two years ago when I was there and it is evident in your stories and in the people with their diseases and deaths. All in all we had a very enlighting mission and are getting back to life and work in Canada. Take care, Love Anita

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