Off to Tanzania and the Serengeti
Trip Start Aug 26, 2012
87Trip End Ongoing
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As we crossed the Kenya – Tanzania border I was amazed at out how immediately the landscape changed. It was finally Africa as seen on TV. You know the images I'm referring to; the wide open hot and dust plains with the lone Maasai in traditional dress herding his herd. I also noticed right away that Tanzania appears to be in better economic shape then Kenya was though according to our guide this is not the case
We have covered a lot of miles in Tanzania this week with arriving in Mto Wa Mbu, a village 18kms from Arusha which is the safari capital of Tanzania on the first day. On the second day we packed a smaller bag hopped into some six man jeeps and headed off to the Serengeti with a pit stop in the Ngorongoro crater, which is a huge, perfectly intact volcanic crater and is home to some 30,000 animals including endangered black rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, zebras and hippos. After driving up the outside of the crater and then down into it I got to experience my first game drive. It was pretty amazing, having the top off the jeep and to stand up and search for animals.
During our time here we saw many gizalles, ostrich and wildebeest where the crater is home to approximately 7,000 of them as they do not migrate from the crater
We camped for 2 nights in the Serengeti National park. There are many different campsites with in the park but none of them have any fences or walls around them which means animals are free to wonder in. Hyenas were a common occurrence both nights and quite brazen and knew exactly where to go; the garbage and cooks area. The first night they did howl. In the morning as we were having breakfast some Cape Buffalo wandered by at about 150 feet away. The best though was having a bull elephant come within 60 feet of where we were eating and doing dishes. He stayed for about 20 mins happily grazing but then as more and more campers from other groups learned of him they came over making noising and shining their lights at him that he finally wandered off
The morning game drive in the Serengeti (name is from the Maasai word Siringitu - 'the place where the land moves on forever') landed us a herd of elephants (2 babies) as we were still exiting the campsite, giraffes, impalas, jackals, topis, three lionesses, a cheetah, rock hyraxs, vervet monkeys, baboons and moguls. Not bad for 3 hours work eh? Our evening drive was not as busy but we did hit the mother lode…….a leopard…..just hanging out in a tree. Within 24 hrs. I saw four out of the big five game animals. As I was sighting and watching all of these animals it seemed completely natural for me to say causally "oh look there is a lion" but at the same time it seemed surreal that I was actually watching them in their habitat.
Back at our truck we spent another night camping in Mto Wa Mbu and had a village walk and lunch before getting back on the bus for two days of travel to Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. Goodbye plains and animals (for now), hello spice farms, beach and Indian Ocean.