3rd and last day of Safari

Trip Start Jul 17, 2011
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Trip End Aug 29, 2011


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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday 18th August
We had a very cold night, wore the supplied dressing gown most of the night.
All hopes of a star filled sky gone as were those of a beautiful sunset/rise. Not really complaining get those at home and we have seen so many amazing things that we don't get at home or anywhere else I have been.
We woke up to a very foggy morning or more correct, we were in the clouds. Had a nice breakfast and then we were off, we had quite a long trip down to the bottom of the crater which was about 600. Meters lower.
Road, if you can call it that was quite narrow and full of potholes, but thankfully One Way.
The misty landscape was interesting, like something from outer space.
The checkpoint was quick and easy, came across a few children on their way to school, walking of course and well bundled up.
We stopped to raise the roof when we got down to the bottom and Frank got one of the other drivers to take a photo of the 5 of us.
Our first animals were some Thomson Gazelles, the Zebras and Warthogs.
A hyena hiding in the grass, as we got closer to the lake (which was very low) the birdlife increased. The lake is full of soda, so there is no fish in it, but there is a kind of algae that grows well in it. Flamingos love that type, so there were lots of Pink Flamingos, unfortunately too far away to get any good photos.
There are ranger stations on the hills around the crater and you would get in trouble if you drove off the roads.
We spotted our first male lion. In the distance we could see a long line of migrating buffalo. We could get quite close to them, but we were careful as they are the animal most likely to charge.
We saw a hammerhead in the process of building a nest. They make enormous nest, but abandon them after 1 season.  The nest are big enough and strong enough for a man to sand on them.
An other pride of Lions, all looking well fed an contented, taking little interest in a nearby secretary bird.
Later we saw a lone old male lion, their colour gets a lot darker wit age.
Lots of wildebeest, it's the time of year when they migrate. Just before noon a Cheetah, quite close to the road walking back and forth looking a little lost.
A couple of Jackals looking like they were on the scent of something.
Around 12.30, Frank stopped an looked for a long time through his binoculars, pointing to a dark spot a long way off, saying he thought it was a Rhino. He had a hard time convincing us, we could hardly see the dark spot, after awhile we had had enough, and suggested we move on. Frank wanted us to wait 5 minutes. It paid off. It stood up and we were more than happy to be wrong. There are very few rhinos left.
Poacher are still killing them.
Next animal was nowhere near as exciting an ugly muddy hyena.
Some hippos in a pool with a pelican and other birds, then the road took us back past the Rhino who was still standing, there were actually 2 of them, but you can't tell from the photos.
Some Ostriches and more Hippos, then the nice lake where we and everybody else were stopping for lunch.
Innes had remarked earlier that it was a shame the local Tanzanians didn't seem to get to see the parks, so she was delighted when we found a party of school children at the picnic area.
There were lots of Hippos lazing in the water.
After a nice lunch and some sunshine it was time to head out of the park saw more animals on the way. We left through a wooded area, very nice after the very bleak look of the plains.
We were back on the road by 4pm, which left us with about 4 hours of driving and meaning we would get home after dark. Driving in the dark is hard, no such thing as a warrant of fitness, so nobody gets their headlights adjusted, which is not helped by that multitude of speed bumps in any slightly build up area. Add to that, absolutely no street lights and lots of people walking in dark clothes, all of the opinion that if they can see the cars the cars can obviously see them. Luckily Frank has very sharp eyes, but I doubt that he enjoyed driving in the dark.
One exciting thing happened on the way, we came across a herd of Giraffes, on both sides of the road, more than we had seen in the park.
As luck would have it power was still on when we got home, so we could see what we were eating and have a hot shower.
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Comments

Dee McLearie on

Just amazing! Thanks for sharing all this. X

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