S: Tanzania 2012
FC: Tanzania Safari | Tarangire National Park, Serengeti National Park, and Ngorongoro Conservation Area June 2012
1: Within a few months of dating, Greg and I discussed him joining my parents and me on a trip to Tanzania in June of 2012. He was excited by the idea and in no time he was in on the planning. In no time it was June and we were leaving Dallas for Tanzania. We traveled via the Houston and Amsterdam airports. And the new knowledge gained from the flights --- Houston’s airport is amply supplied with defibrillators.
3: Once we landed at Kilimanjaro Airport, we were picked up by our guide for the trip, Eric. Eric brought us to our hotel where Hezron, Stella, and Joshua were there to meet us. After some hellos, catching up and goodnights, we left to go get some sleep. Greg and I were actually given a suite, courtesy of Hezron, as a sort of engagement gift. We stopped feeling guilty for having a nicer room than my parents really fast.
4: Day 2: Before we set out for Tarangire National Park, we took a brief stop in Arusha to say hi to Hezron, Stella and Joshua. Although we all were sad not to have Hezron as our guide due to his back issues, we were already quite impressed with Eric. On the way to Tarangire, we also paused in a Maasai market.
6: Upon arriving in Tarangire National Park, one of the first things we saw was a large group of elephants swimming and playing in a large pool. Did you know - Elephants are able to swim for long distances?
7: African Elephants, not Indian.
9: On opposite page are Grey's Zebra, Water Buffalo, and Wildebeest.
15: Some Giraffe “Did you Knows:” - Giraffes drink large quantities of water (10 gallons per day) when it is available enabling them to live for long periods in arid areas. - Giraffes have one of the shortest sleep requirements of any mammal averaging 1.9 hours per day. - Both sexes of giraffes have horns, although the horns of a female are smaller. - The tongue of an adult giraffe is black and measures 27 inches. - The necks of giraffes can be over 2m in length. - The favorite food of giraffes is Acacia Leaves. They spend between 16 and 20 hours a day feeding.
17: Some Elephant “Did you Knows:” - Elephants normally walk about 4 mph. - Elephants spend about 16 hours a day eating and consume as much as 495 pounds of food per day. - They live in tight social units led by an older matriarch and males leave the herd between the ages of 12 and 15. - Elephant tusks are of ivory and are actually enormously enlarged incisors. - The elephant's eyes are small and its eyesight is poor. - They have the largest brains in the animal kingdom.
19: The Cheetahs in this photo showed us a tiny fraction of their ability to run. They decided whatever they were running for wasn't worth it and gave up.
20: Top Row: Dwarf Mongeese and Yellow Necked Sparfowl. Bottom Row: Warthogs
23: This page: Baboons. Facing page: Black Faced Vervet Monkeys
24: By the time we arrived at our tented lodge we were suitably exhausted, but thrilled by the day. It was a nice tented lodge (but not the best, because our tents zipper didn't work completely). But the camp did have wonderful sunsets.
27: Day 3: We woke for the day and set out after being entertained by birds around the lodge. There are always birds, but these were particularly friendly because there were peanuts left over from the previous night.
28: It was while waiting for Eric to arrive and pick us up that Greg and I noticed that the lodge had a mural depicting the “Little Five.” Eric had challenged us to figure out what they were. We had realized that they corresponded to the “Big Five,” the Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard, Lion and Rhino, and had guessed some. But we could not come up with all of them. The mural depicted all of them – the Rhinoceros Beetle, Buffalo Weaver, Elephant Shrew, Leopard Tortoise, and the Ant Lion.
41: Day 4: We left for the Serengeti and on the way drove around NgoroNgoro Crater. On the way, a baboon (a bit unsuccessfully) tried to get in the Land Rover.
45: The first real hippo pool of the trip. They never smell very good, but it is really cool to watch them once they start to move (if they do). The baby ones are quite cute.
47: This bridge was downright terrifying for some of us (mainly myself and my mom). It was narrow, wobbly and felt kind of unstable. Being able to look at Greg was the only thing that made me able to get across.
48: Nile crocodile, on the top row are little baby ones.
50: At some point, Eric had to go take the Land Rover in for service so he left us at the large rest area in the park, so we could at least have things to do. On the other page: Agama lizard (both male and female) and Rock Hyrax (which is coincidentally related to the elephant).
53: We at lunch, after Eric picked us up, with the Giraffes. We got to drive slightly off the road, park under a tree and eat out on the Serengeti. It was really magical.
58: We spent the part of the evening packing up our laundry and filling out the laundry form. It is worth paying to get laundry done. The dust gets everywhere and it is not worth bringing enough clean clothing.
61: Day 5: We continued exploring the Serengeti, though we got to see wildlife before breakfast (Klipspringer and Hyrax) and at breakfast (birds).
69: The birds on the legs of the Giraffe are Oxpeckers.
73: The airport in the Serengeti. I think it does chartered flights over the park to give a birds-eye-view of the landscape. It is also there for emergencies. On the opposite page is the Silver-Backed Jackal.
77: Day 6: We spent our last bit of time in the Serengeti and headed to the crater. To get there you have to drive around the crater - aka. the land of sticky dark dust.
80: We never got a clear idea of what this lion was eating as we came on her long after the kill, but she was very intent on the bones.
82: We arrived at the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge in time to see the sunset - which from the rim of the crater is absolutely stunning. The signs at the lodge are amusing as they show distances to major world cities.
85: Day 7: We went into the crater and miracle of miracles - Eric fulfilled a dream I had at the beginning of the trip. Early on I had dreamed that we had seen a rhinoceros. Eric had pointed out that we might not see one because it was a bit cold and they would be a bit more "shy." As we drove into the crater Eric began driving really fast and we pulled up on not one, but two rhinos! And even more impressive they were really close. They were so close that they were distinguishable without the zoom lens of the camera! That has never happened before. They stood there and ate for a while and then laid down and disappeared into the grass.
87: You could actually see the rhinos almost that well without the camera. It was really amazing!
96: Grey Crowned Cranes and Kori Bustard. The Grey Crowned Crane has a breeding display involving dancing, bowing, and jumping. It also has a booming call which involves inflation of the red gular sac.
101: This was probably the most memorable encounter of the trip for me. We were leaving the park, and came across a rather large herd of elephants crossing/walking in the road. Eric stopped the car and we just quietly sat as they passed around us. The large elephants were within a foot of the Land Rover. I could see into their eyes and see their eyelashes without the camera. There is something so peaceful about the elephant. Although I know that if they wanted they could hurt me, they seem quite peaceful and gentle, particularly when you see them that close.
103: Day 8: We left the Crater and headed toward Arusha. Before leaving the Lodge, my mom got a picture with the Doctor who took care of her the night before. On the way we also saw Mount Kilimanjaro (which was nice because it doesn't always happen). Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcanic mountain. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 5,895 meters or 19,341 feet above sea level.
104: We stopped at a stork nesting area. The whole area was littered in feathers and other bird mess but still managed to be pretty. The gray birds are the young storks, the ones that are white and black are adults.
106: Right before we left, we stopped to visit the Samaritan Village (an orphanage). There we got to see the completed construction on their new building, as well as play with the children. Mom was going to stay, but had managed to lose her glasses and could not go two weeks without them, so had to leave with us.
107: The End