Claudette’s Safari Experience

February 23rd, 2008 Safari Day 1 = Maryana Lake National Park

We were picked up from our hotel in Arusha at 9:00 AM by our guide/driver Thomas. on the way out we stopped at the grocery store to pick up water. I didn’t go in with Rick & the kids but I think I should have as they spent $90 on apples, carrots, potato chips, chocolate bars, 30L of water, and 2 bottles of wine.

We then travelled to a small village, Mto Wa Mbu, which is just outside Lake Manyara National Park. We are staying in tents on the grass of one of the local hotel/guesthouse. We had a quick box lunch after dropping off all the tents, food, luggage etc. We then left for our afternoon safari drive through the national park where we saw baboons, elephants, giraffes, impalas, hippos, warthogs, and dik-diks. One of my greatest fears before agreeing to go on a safari was that I feared the animals may have been fed or corralled into central areas so that the tourist could have a good look at the animals. It was with great satisfaction that in my opinion these animals do indeed look wild and unhasselled by the tourists driving by.

The scenery on the drive to and around the park was fantastic. It was surprizingly very calming and soothing. I can only hope that the next few days will be more of the same.

February 24th, 2008 Safari Day 2 = Ngongorororo Conservation Area (Ngongorororo Crater)

Today we left Lake Manyara NP at 9:00 AM for NCA. We stopped ATM in the village of Kanuta so we could get the final 400,000 to pay for the balance of our safari. Rick also asked if we could stop at the local internet cafe so we could transfer some money to cover the VISA cash advance.

The drive took about 2 hours when we reached our campsite we unloaded the truck again, and then took off for the bottom of the crater. We stopped near the bottom so that we could eat our boxed lunch before proceeding. We toured the crater for about 4.5 hours. We saw zebras, wildebeests, lions including 2 lion cubs, a leopard, thomson gazelles, elephants, and numerous kinds of birds.

The view from our campsite at the top of the rim of the crater is spectacular. I can’t wait to see what more lies ahead.

February 25th, 2008 Safari Day 3 = Serengeti National Park

We woke this morning on the rim of the crater at about 2400 metres. Needless to say in was a little chillier than we are used to. We all got a fairly good sleep, eventhough I was woken up in the middle of the night by an animal (assume it was a Zebra) eating grass right outside our tent.

We hit the road shortly after 9:00 AM again, after a quick stop at one of the local stores for more TP (toilet paper for those of you who weren’t sure). On the way we saw a herd of Wildebeest that must of numbered in around 5000ish, that was crossing the road in front of us. Our second stop was a few kilometers into the park at the Naabi Hill Gate Park office, so that the driver could pay our entrance fees. After a long delay we decided to drive straight through to our campsite near Seronera.

After lunch we did our afternoon safari drive. One of the first animals we saw was a Warthog which was just on the side of the road. We saw many more of the animals we’ve seen on the past few days, however the new animals we saw included a topi, waterback, mongoose and a leopard up in a tree.

Seeing the animals has been a great experience although I think that the grass plains are even more spectacular. I expect that the great plains of Alberta must have looked exactly the same 150 years ago.

February 26th, 2008 Safari Day 4 = Serengeti National Park

We have been spoiled a bit on this tour, as Richard, our cook, has insisted on letting us sleep for the kids. So again this morning almost all of the other safari tours have left before we’ve gotten out of bed. We did 2 game drives today. The morning drive we saw more of the same animals we’ve seen on other days, however the afternoon drive was another story. We finally got yo see our first male lion up close.

Camping has been reaaly nice although we can’t shower here in the SNP as they don’t have enough water, and now that it’s been really dusty on the roads my hair is like straw (Yuck!!!).

February 27th, 2008 Safari Day 5 = Serengeti National Park/Mt. Lengai (Volcano)

We hit the road fairly early this morning, which was good as we saw quite a few more animals on the road as we had on earlier safari drives. I’m sure it’s because it’s cooler in the morning, and the animals are more active at the time. Before leaving the SNP we saw 4 cheetahs lying on the side of the road, and a serval cat cross the road far ahead of us. I have now seen every animal I could have hope for.

Our driver Thomas has agreed to take us by a volcano which has been active on and off for the past few weeks. In order to do that we have gone north through the SNP, and the road out of the park it not even on the map. Truth be told I’m not even sure it’s a road as in places it looks more like a dried out creek bed. The road/trail is very rough, dry and dusty. After about 5+ hours on the road we stopped for lunch. We could see the mountain, but the locals said that it had erupted earlier in the morning but that it was dormant now. We were initially disappointed but after about half hour back on the road as we were approaching the volcano, it erupted again. The eruption must have lasted almost 1 hour as we followed the trail which skirted the base of the mountain. What a spectacular sight, I have added this to my list of natural wonders we’ve experienced.

Overall, I will have to admit that I was very wrong, as I intialled did not want to come to Africa. I have really enjoyed our time in Tanzania and the safari experience was worth ever penny. I would say that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.

Comments are closed.