Trip Start Nov 19, 2004
7Trip End Dec 06, 2004
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Ironically, one of the scariest moments in Tarangire did NOT involve hyenas or other large beasts, but rather a small but vicious rabid badger running around our campsite. Our encounter was tragically brief - Emmanuel eventually had to kill him with the only weapon available - a tent pole. The killing was precluded by a frightening chase around camp, an unsuspecting Harold having to take cover in the trailer on his way back from the bathroom, a temporary knock-out of the badger followed by a surprise angry resurrection, and Amy and I screaming from the tent any time the scary little fellow came near our home away from home. Even the thick canvas of our army-issue tent could have been easily punctured by those long, sharp weapon-teeth. We felt badly about killing the poor creature, bit it truly was necessary for self-defence. These are the laws of the jungle - you know, the cirlce of life bit that we all learned so well from The Lion King!
A stunning drive today past Lake Manyara & the Ngorogoro Crater on our way to the Serengeti. As we climbed higher & higher up the ridges surrounding the lake, we were often enshrouded by a gorgeous mist, making me wonder if Diane Fossey might appear around an upcoming bend. The foliage was extremely green and lush, a significant contrast to the more bush-like terrain we had been seeing prior to that. At some points, the cliffs dropped off sharply to a deep ravine, with majestic draping vines and trees, all green and white and foggy and mysterious.
Lunch was on the crater rim, with a couple of elephants grazing just a few metres away. Not once, but twice, we were swooped upon by a greedy black kite bird who grabbed food right out of Amy's hands. Screams all around of course. First it was a sandwich, then a perfectly ripe piece of passionfruit. God, it was funny!
New animals sighted today: hyenas, hartabeest, cheetahs, hippos, crocodiles, various birds (including a creepy vulture), and a jackal. The cheetah sighting in Serengeti was another magical moment. Two brothers were just sitting serenely by the side of the road about 20 feet away from our jeep. It seemed as though they were posing for us before getting up and sauntering gracefully across the road. They took a brief roll in a patch of dirt, sat up and looked back while waiting for their third brother to join them, and then continued away from us toward a distant rock outcropping. Amazing.
I'm running out of superlative descriptive adjectives. If I see no other animals for the rest of the safari, I will not go away disappointed.