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Tanzania Abaju

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S: Tanzania Abaju by Peter & Sandy Williams

FC: Tanzania Abaju | (Amazing Tanzania) by Peter & Sandy Williams

1: (Amazing Tanzania) by Peter & Sandy Williams Safari 2011 | Tanzania Abaju

3: Contents | 1 Introductions 2 Sinya, West Kilimanjaro 3 Arusha National Park 4 Tarangire National Park 5 Lake Manyara National Park 6 Ngorongoro Crater 7 Ndutu, Ngorongoro Conservation Area 8 Central Serengeti 9 Nyamuswa/Speke Bay | i

5: 2 | In 2005, we -- Peter & Sandy Williams -- discovered Africa. Our South African Safari and Cape Town visit so enchanted us that we expanded our horizons in 2008 and travelled to Tanzania. By 2011 we were back in Tanzania, back on the northern circuit with ur now good friend and superb guide, Said. Our outfitter: Access 2 Tanzania -- by now, good friends, as well, and with a chance to meet Brian & Karen in person. Our itinerary this time would include (letters refer to map): A/B West Kilimanjaro, Sinya Reserve (Kambi Ya Tembo Tented Camp) C Arusha National Park (Dik Dik Lodge) D Tarangire National Park (Whistling Thorn Tented Camp) E Lake Manyara National Park (Ngorongoro Farmhouse in Karatu) F Ngorongoro Crater (Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, Crater Rim) G Ndutu, Ngorongoro Conservation Area (Ndutu Safari Lodge) H Central Serengeti (Kati Kati Tented Camp) I Nyamuswa Village (Orange Circle) and Speke Bay, Lake Victoria (Speke Bay Lodge) The addition of the Kilimanjaro area would permit dinner with Brian, Karen, their children, Said and our old friend, Ray, who would be guiding Karen Arusha National Park would give us a chance to do some canoeing. Ndutu, with luck, for the migration and the birthing of the wildebeest calves. And Nyamuswa -- a chance to meet the inimitable Max Modoro who heads Zinduka, the sister charitable organization to Project Zawadi, Brian Singer and Karen Stupic's educational NGO, and to visit a village school. This trip would teach us more about Tanzania, about the wildlife and the people, about the needs and the resources and the resolve which makes this country one of the bright spots on a troubled continent. Despite its extreme poverty, there is much hope here -- and good reason for that hope. But there is also struggle and many obstacles to overcome, and we feel privileged to have the opportunity to participate -- both as mere tourists and, more, as true friends. | 1. Introductions

7: 2. Sinya Reserve West Kilimanjaro | KIA Lodge, Kambi Ya Tembo Tented Camp | 4

8: KIA Lodge, Kilimanjaro -- Right next door to Kilimanjaro International Airport, this lovely lodge would serve for our late-night arrival overnight on January 24, 2011 and, again, as a day room for our last afternoon on this trip on February 12. On a clear day, you can get a glimpse of the frequently elusive Mt. Kilimanjaro from KIA's patio. Above: Reception. | 5

9: 6

10: Our Bungalow | 4 | 7

11: Right: Restaurant Below: Grounds | 8

12: Let's Get Going! (Said & Peter) | 9 | 9

13: 10 | Mt. Kilimanjaro

14: Sinya Bush Walk - Sandy, Amos, Msanga Right: Msanga Carving Maasai Toothbrush Below: Safari Ants | 11

15: 12

16: 13

17: 14

18: Pre-dawn Start: Sinya is a private reserve in the West Kilimanjaro region, where very few roads exist and navigation is wholly a matter of experience. For that reason, Kambi Ya Tembo Camp provides a Maasai guide to accompany guests on game drives. Msanga, whom we had met the day before on our bush walk, served as our guide's guide -- and, while unable to speak English, communicated volumes with his good humor, amazing knowledge of the area, and perfectly compatible sense of adventure. | 15

19: Darkness gave way to a hot, dry and dusty day -- misty at first but full of promise. We had been told to expect lots of the huge elephants which, we understood, customarily wander back and forth between Sinya and the adjacent Amboseli, just across the Kenyan border. We found no elephants. None. No live ones, that is . . . | 16

20: Giraffes in the Early Morning Mist | 17

21: 18

22: Lesser Flamingos | 19

23: 20

24: Black-capped Avocet | African Fish Eagle | 21

25: Golden Jackal | Cape Hare | Savannah Baboons | 22

26: Elephant Remains: The only sign of elephants we found at Sinya. Below: Said & Sandy with Elephant Femur | 23

27: Peter with Elephant Femur | Elephant Teeth | 24

28: Weaver's Nest | Crowned Plover | 25

29: Plains Zebras | 26

30: Fun on the Kenyan Border | 27

31: 28

32: Kambi Ya Tembo Tented Camp Lounge/Restaurant

33: Said, Amos, Peter | 30

34: 31 | It's a lovely camp, with excellent tents, excellent service, and spectacular views of Mt. Kilimanjaro, when she chooses to peek out from under her bonnet of clouds. It would be nice to stay here again, in a season with more elephants on display.

35: 32

38: 35 | Time to Party! | Peter, Ray & Lori -- and a chance to meet with Brian, Karen & their kids, Cora and Evan. We would spend much of the evening discussing Project Zawadi, the Access NGO we had come to support, drinking good Tanzanian beer, and developing our cherished friendship.

39: 36

40: 37

41: 3. Arusha National Park Dik Dik Lodge | 38

42: On the Road: Tomatoes for Sale! | 39

43: 40 | Neither the fierce wildness of the Serengeti nor the exotic variety of Tarangire -- perhaps the gentlest of Tanzania's wild places, Arusha National Park has its own singular enchantments -- not least of which are its two lovely lakes and the wide variety of birdlife they support.

44: Bushbuck | Tropical Boubou | 41

45: Mt. Meru - Second Highest Mountain in Tanzania | 42

46: Above: Fireball Lily Right: Black-headed Heron | 43

47: While we waited to begin our canoe trip on Little Momella Lake, curious (and thirsty) Maasai Giraffes came down from the hills to check us out, and to get a drink from the lake's cool, inviting water. It was a spectacular day, and we would be greeted once more by these giraffes as we rounded one side of the lake in our canoes and watched them approach the bank to drink again. Craning our own short necks, we could look nearly straight up those amazing long necks, under the giraffes' delicate chins as they watched us float by. A truly memorable perspective on these gentle, wondrous creatures. | 44

49: 46 | Dock and Waiting Canoes, Left Above: Peter, the Adventurer!

50: Pretty, relaxing and convenient Dik Dik Lodge

51: 48

52: 49

53: 4. Tarangire National Park Whistling Thorn Tented Camp | 50

54: Main Gate | See the Vervet Monkey up there? Raiding the trash can? When leaving your vehicle, be sure to close all windows. It's safari rule #1. Tarangire National Park is known mostly for its hundreds of elephants and its hundreds of baobabs. It's also known for the Vervets attempting to raid safari vehicles for unprotected lunch box goodies at the main gate. And, third, it's one of Tanzania's most truly magnificent parks. From the beauty of its terrain -- rolling hills, magnificent river, the heartstoppingly beautiful Silale Swamp, acacia woodlands and spectacular vantage points -- to the variety and density of its wildlife, Tarangire is often cited as second only to the Serengeti in the hearts of safari-goers. It enjoys the added advantage of being a relatively short drive on tar roads from Arusha, making it the most common introductory park for first-timers. | 51

55: 52

56: The Vervet Monkeys are usually first to greet you at Tarangire. Second, usually, are the warthogs. | 53

57: Left: Red-billed Firefinch | Right: Red-billed Hornbill Below: Abdim's Stork, Marabou Stork | 54

59: Opposite Page: Common Waterbuck Above and Right: Dwarf Mongooses (Not "Mongeese")

60: 57

61: 58 | Opposite Page, Top: Kirk's Dik-diks Opposite Page, Bottom: Female Impala Above: Bohor Reedbuck

62: Left: White-bellied Go-away Bird | Right: Eurasian Roller | Left: Ground Hornbill | 59

63: Hooded Vultures | 60

64: Baobab Tree

65: Tarangire River | 62 | Our previous 2008 safari had brought us to Tarangire in the dry season when foliage was a uniformly golden brown, the river but a trickle and the baobabs raised the naked limbs which have earned those massive trees the sobriquet of the "upside-down tree." In the lull, however, between the two rainy seasons, Tarangire's baobabs are in leaf, and the park is dressed in vibrant shades of green through which the river flows like a silver chain, and the park is on display at its absolute prettiest.

66: 63

67: Tarangire National Park is best known for its large elephant herds, and when we learned that the chef at Whistling Thorn Camp -- just outside the park's borders -- had never been to the park and had never seen an elephant, we invited him to accompany us on a day-long game drive for his first real wildlife viewing experience. His nickname is "Papa." We all had a wonderful day together, Papa saw lots of wildlife (and elephants!), and our box lunches that day were the best of the entire trip. | 64

70: 67

71: 68

72: Right: Von der Decken's Hornbill | Left: Red-billed Hornbill

73: Picnic Site Overlooking the Tarangire River | 70

74: Above: Olive Baboon Opposite: White Crowned Shrike | 71

75: 72

76: Red-and-Yellow Barbet | White-bellied Go-away Bird

77: Right: Superb Starling Below: Ashy Starling | 74

78: 75

79: 76 | Whistling Thorn Camp Mess Tent

80: Whistling Thorn Tented Camp

81: Sunset at Tarangire is very special. The skies almost always go pink and gold and lavender, with acacia trees standing in romantic silhouette against them. As with most tented camps, there is a campfire before dinner -- here, with our favorite Kilimanjaro beer and, wonder of wonders, popcorn! The sunset fades into the dark African skies, illuminated sometimes by the moon and most nights by the Southern Cross and its billions of companions. | 78

82: 79 | Campfire Peter & Said Sandy & Friend

83: Maasai Beehive | 80

85: 5. Lake Manyara National Park Ngorongoro Farmhouse | 82

86: At the Lake Manyara Main Gate, Peter waits for Said to complete the paperwork for admission to the park. Despite having its share of big cats, Manyara -- like Arusha -- seems a gentle place, where Syke's (Blue) and Vervet Monkeys play in the groundwater forest, hippos inhabit their comfy pool and thousands of pink flamingos bejewel the alkaline lake. Its small forest is fed by runoff from the Ngorongoro highlands, and the park is bordered on one side by a wall of the Great Rift Valley. Its geography makes it a more exotic place than its reputation implies, and there's plenty of excitement to be had in this "gentle" little park. | 83

87: 84

88: Right: Fresh Water Stream Opposite Page: Syke's (Blue) Monkeys Below: Vervet Monkeys

89: 86

90: Left: Vervet Monkey Center, Below: Impala Buck Missing Horn | Left: Warthogs | 87

91: Hippo Pool with Water Fowl | 88

92: 89 | Great Rift Valley Escarpment

93: 90

94: 91

95: Lake Manyara Picnic Site | 92

96: Above: Well-concealed Lioness in Leafy Glade Right: Maasai Giraffe | 93

97: 94

98: 95

99: The African Elephant is the world's largest land animal -- larger than the Asian variety and larger than all other animals except the whale. Most often, they arrive in herds; sometimes they arrive alone. However they arrive, when they cross your path, you stop. These are extremely intelligent and sensitive animals with highly complex social lives and strong family ties. They are under extreme stress in Africa today from poachers greedy for their ivory. The only predator capable of killing an adult elephant is a human being with a gun. And there are, sadly, a lot of human beings with guns in Africa. | 96

100: Ngorongoro Farmhouse

103: 6. Ngorongoro Crater Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge | 100

104: Ngorongoro Conservation Area Main Gate | 101

105: 102 | The NCA (Ngorongoro Conservation Area) comprises the Crater and a portion of the southern Serengeti. Administered separately from the Serengeti proper, it is one of the natural wonders of the world The Crater -- actually the caldera of an ancient collapsed volcano -- is approximately 12 miles in diameter and constitutes a self-contained ecosystem, complete with soda lake, forest, woodland, marshes, freshwater ponds and plains, supporting a wide variety of Tanzanian wildlife. Most mammal species are present -- with the exception, mainly, of giraffe and impala -- and many, many species of birds. Designated a World Heritage Site, the Crater is one of Tanzania's greatest treasures.

106: 103

107: King of the Crater

108: Lioness & Cubs | 105

109: Olive Baboons | Cape Buffalo

110: Left: Black-bellied Bustard | Right: White Stork | 107

111: 108 | Above: Gray Crowned Cranes Right: Augur Buzzard

112: Plains Zebras | 109

113: Egyptian Geese | 110

114: left: Warthog | Right: Ex-Buffalo | 111

115: Baby Grant's Gazelle | 112

116: Spotted Hyenas

117: Sometimes It Rains | 114

118: Black Rhinos | 115

119: And Those Who Find Them | 116

121: White-bearded Wildebeest & Calves | 118

122: Spotted Hyenas, Plains Zebras & Foals | 119

124: Top: Cape Buffalo Bottom: Sacred Ibis | 121

125: 122

126: Black-backed Jackal | 123

127: Kori Bustard | 124

128: Breakfast

129: Vitelline Masked Weaver | Eating Sandy's Bread

130: White-bearded Wildebeest Lesser Flamingos: Lake Magadi

131: African Elephants on Open Plains | 128

132: Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge | 129 | It's a large conventional hotel, but perched on the east rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, nearly adjacent to the access road, making the Sopa Lodge far and away the best positioned lodge or camp for visiting the Crater. With spectacular views, good food, huge rooms and access to a hair dryer, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

133: 130

134: Left: Baby (Boy) Baboon | Right: Syke's (blue) Monkey | 131

135: 132 | Leopard Tortoise

137: 7. Ndutu Ngorongoro Conservation Area Ndutu Safari Lodge | 134

138: You come to Ndutu in February for the Wildebeest birthing -- for the gathering of the annual migration herds in one place on the Ndutu plains, where they come at the same time every year to gorge on the nutritious, mineral enriched grass that makes their milk so perfect for their newborns. Except sometimes. Except this year. For some reason. Having to do with the rains. In any case, there were advance herds here (as seen above), but nothing in the way of the enormous herds we had been promised. Nature is entirely unreliable. A lesson learned. Nonetheless, Ndutu is beyond amazing, even without those fickle herds. | 135

139: It's amazing, for instance, for the lions. | 136

140: And for: Young Kirk's Dik-dik

141: And: Marabou Stork | 138

142: 139

143: African Crested Hoopoe | Augur Buzzard

144: Secretary Bird - With Nest Material | 141

145: Secretary Bird With Nest Material

146: Cheetahs | 143

147: Lionesses | 144

148: Bat-eared Foxes

149: Above: Maasai Ostrich Family | Right: Hooded Vultures

150: Lioness | Lion Cubs | 147

151: Yellow-billed Stork | 148

152: See How They Hide? | There She Is | 149

153: 150

154: left: White-backed and Ruppell's Griffon Vultures | Right: Tawny Eagle | 151

155: Marabou Stork | `152

156: Cheetah Brothers Opposite: The Marsh | 153

158: Lioness & Her Cubs Opposite: More Cubs | 155

160: Long Trek to the Shade | 157

161: We don't know what she's doing, either. | 158

162: Augur Buzzard | 159

163: In February, one comes to Ndutu for the migration. The camps and lodges are at maximum capacity, safari vehicles are as plentiful as birds, and more than 1 million wildebeest have arrived on the Ndutu plains for the express purpose of dropping their young. Sometimes, however, nature doesn't keep to the previously announced schedule, and the wildies aren't where they're supposed to be. The rains either haven't come yet, or came and went, or rains somewhere else have drawn the attention of the migrating herds. Whatever the cause, in 2011, the herds were not at Ndutu in mid-February. We had missed the migration at Grumeti in 2008, and had chosen February because that's the one time of year when you can be sure where those dratted wildebeest will be. Except sometimes. Okay, there were a few. But not many. Not "enough." | 160

165: Then the rains came. Left: Peter Struggling with the Umrella | Right: Even in the wild, cats don't like being wet.

166: One of the best things about coming to Ndutu turned out to be Ndutu Safari Lodge. It's difficult to explain why this place feels so special. Within view of Lake Ndutu, it has been the temporary home for professional photographers and naturalists for decades, and it has authenticity, romance and . . . genets. | Opposite: Common Genets. Resembling cats, they are most closely elated to civets and mongooses. And these wild cuties have adopted Ndutu Lodge as a haven, coming onto the restaurant and lounge rafters in the evenings to watch the guests eat and drink. We must be fascinating.

167: 164

168: 165 | Left: (In Case the Animals Can Read)

169: 166 | Lake Ndutu | The Birdbath, Superb Starlings

170: 165

171: 8. Serengeti National Park Seronera (Central) Area Kati Kati Tented Camp | 168

172: Greeted by Elephants at Naabi Hill Gate | 169

173: 170

174: 171

175: Nearby, huge herds of Plains Zebras . . . | 172

176: Migrating herds of Wildebeest and Plains Zebras were scattered over the plains of the southern Serengeti as we drove north from Naabi Hill, sometimes crossing the road in long, polite, single-file lines. Their apparent discipline is impressive. If one wildie goes rogue, however -- leaping suddenly in the air and braying like a startled donkey -- running, as one might say, amok -- in any old random direction -- well, then, those polite and well-behaved old wildies will take off after him at a gallop, as though their lives depended on it. Which, of course, they sometimes do. | 173

178: Sometimes, other obstacles would present themselves

179: Heh. | 176

180: 177 | Above: Ruppell's Griffon Vultures Opposite: Lilac-breasted Roller

182: Cape Buffalo with Red-billed Oxpeckers | 179

183: Elephants | 180

184: 181

185: 182

186: Previous Page & Below: Seronera River Right: Reedbucks | 183

187: 184 | Marabou Storks

188: Above: Cape Buffalo Below: Dwarf Mongooses | 185

189: Spotted Hyenas | 186

190: Marabou Stork | Blacksmith Plover | 187

191: 188 | Young Savannah Baboons

194: 191

195: 192

196: Migration Herds Gather at Seronera River | 193

197: Coming Across | 194

198: We caught up with the main migration herd in the Seronera region of the central Serengeti -- where they had been drifting in from the southern Serengeti for a couple of weeks. The herds numbered in the thousands -- as opposed to the tens of thousands we had hoped for -- but the sheer enormity of what we were seeing eclipsed the difference. It takes one's breath away. | 195

199: The animals were approaching in long lines, mostly from the south, and piling up on the far bank of the river. The zebras which accompanied the wildebeest were encouraging them to cross, but the wildies hung back, afraid there might be crocodiles. The zebras would cross over to our side and beckon the wildies to follow, with no success. They'd then cross back, give the reluctant wildebeests another pep talk, and then cross again, demonstrating the obvious safety of the roughly two-feet-deep river. After much coaxing and repeated efforts at encouragements, the wildies began to cross -- and when one wildie does something, they all do it. The sudden rush to be on the other side of the river became a bit of a stampede, and the sound of hooves on the hard ground was deafening. Once on our side of the river, they calmed down a bit and began to wander around rather aimlessly, presenting us with a dusty but fascinating close-up look at their long faces and dangerous-looking horns. Many think these beasts look silly. We don't, actually. We think they look pretty impressive. We think they just act silly. | 196

200: 197

201: 198

202: Zebras Bathe in the River. . . | 199 | . . .While Others Stir Up Dust

203: And Elsewhere on the Serengeti Plains . . . Spotted Hyenas | Above: Gray Crowned Cranes & Hammerkop

205: 202

208: Kati Kati Tented Camp, nestled under a hill in the Serengeti among the acacias -- excellent food, excellent tents, good campfire discussions and a single spider on my pillow (how do they know?) Enjoyed this camp immensely, except for the spider and the strange box contraption containing the toilet, which tilted on its frame and made using the john a strange balancing act. | This Page: Mess Tents | 205

209: 206

211: Nyamuswa/ Speke Bay, Lake Victoria Speke Bay Lodge | 208

212: Above the Grumeti River, between the Serengeti and Lake Victoria, lies a small village called "Nyamuswa." There, Brian Singer's Project Zawadi combines efforts with Max Modoro's Zinduka to help provide education to as many area children as possible. We visited Zinduka, and Max showed us his current project -- a micro-lending program for women -- and one of the schools we are helping to support. We had roselle wine with the headmistress of the school and her husband at their home, and then lunch at the home of Max and his family. It was a very special day, and cemented our commitment to help support Project Zawadi and Zinduka. | 209

213: Waiting Area, Micro Lending Unit | Room Planned For Computer Training | 210

214: 211 | New Classroom | Below: School Grounds

215: Left: Classroom Below: Arrangement For Collecting Rainwater From Roof

216: 213 | Roselle Wine with Headmistress, Max and Others

217: Sandy's Little Shadow | 214

219: Speke Bay Lodge, on the Shores of Lake Victoria. | 216

220: 217

221: 218

222: 219 | Above: Black-winged Stilt & In Flight Opposite Page: Little Egret Fishing & Eating

223: 220

224: Open-billed Storks in Flight | 221

225: African Fish Eagle, Screaming | 222

226: 223

227: 224

228: Seronera Airstrip Goodbyes, Again | 225

231: Mammals: Baboon, Savannah Buffalo, Cape Bushbuck Cape Hare Cheetah Common Dik-dik, Kirk's Elephant, African Fox, Bat-eared Gazelle, Grant's Genet, Common Giraffe, Maasai Hippopotamus Hyena, Spotted Impala Jackal, Black-backed Jackal, Golden Lion Mongoose, Dwarf Monkey, Syke's (Blue) Monkey, Vervet Reedbuck, Bohor Rhinoceros, Black Waterbuck, Common Warthog Wildebeest, White-bearded Zebra, Plains | Birds: Abdim's Stork African Crested Hoopoe African Fish Eagle Ashy Starling Augur Buzzard Black-bellied Bustard Black-capped Avocet Black-headed Heron Blacksmith Plover Crowned Plover Egyptian Goose Eurasian Roller Gray Crowned Crane Ground Hornbill Hammerkop Hooded Vulture Kori Bustard Lesser Flamingo Lilac-breasted Roller Little Egret Maasai Ostrich Marabou Stork Open-billed Stork Red-and-Yellow Barbet Red-billed Firefinch Red-billed Hornbill Red-billed Oxpecker | Birds Cont'd: Ruppell's Griffon Vulture Sacred Ibis Secretary Bird Superb Starling Tropical Boubou Vitelline Masked Weaver Von der Decken's Hornbill White-backed Vulture White-bellied Go Away Bird White Crowned Shrike White Stork Yellow-billed Stork | 228

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