Okay, we have been in Tanzania for two full days and we have seen so much and done so much that it feels as if it had been a week. Sensory overload but of a type completely different than that which we experienced in Marrakech, Morocco, the only other part of Africa that we have visited. We both prefer what we are experiencing here.
When we tumbled out of our little airplane around noon on March 8th, we met the four drivers who are taking us around this beautiful area: Jackson, Joyful, Aaron, and Albert. We have driven with three (we have yet to experience Joy(ful)), and they are fabulous. They know so much and are delighted to share their knowledge with us.
The leader of our safari is Nigel Kingsley-Heath, who was born and raised here, although he and his wife and three children now make their home in Cornwall. He is here for months each year during the “seasons” in Tanzania, Botswana and, maybe, Namibia. His father was one of the last great white hunters in Africa and we are being teased with bits and pieces of stories about that life. When we are in our tented camp for three nights, beginning tomorrow, we will share stories around the campfire. It will only be our group of 16, so, it will be fun.
Before we even got to our first lodge on the 8th, we had seen hippo, elephants, impala, warthogs, zebra, topi, lions, giraffes and who remembers what else, to say nothing of the incredible birds. Although Nigel says that there are lots of “LBJ’s,” little brown jobs, all of the birds we have seen so far have been incredibly colorful, even if some of them have been quite ugly, ie. the maribou stork.
Yesterday was more of the same but lest one become too focused on the animals, the landscape in which they appear is incredible. Huge plains, with hills in the distance, vast skies with amazing cloud formations. This is the period of the short rains and things are greening up beautifully, with that gorgeous spring green that we get when the leaves first bud out. The rains also keep the dust down, which is a huge benefit to a wearer of contact lenses.
This morning, we left Kirawira and eventually ended up here at Serena Serengeti; not nearly as luxurious as Kirawira, but pretty darned nice. On the long, round about drive to get here we had two remarkable sightings:
First, we saw a cheetah sitting up in the high grass. Although it wasn’t very close to the LandRover, it was a beautiful sight and made a lovely photo
Second, we saw a leopard, which is fairly rare. And, it was walking right next to the road, which is even more unusual. And, about 20 seconds after our first vehicle stopped, it walked right up to it and then laid down in the shade under its back door. Our vehicle arrived about 5 seconds later. WOW!!!
I have bruises on my arms from pinching myself to make certain I’m not dreaming. I don’t know if my WIFI reception is going to be good enough to include photos in these posts but I will try. And, if not, I will post some albums when I get to a better connection.
The animals also had some interesting sightings today:
First, when I got out to “check the tires” at the back of the LandRover, they got to see the “moon faced American, female.”
Second, when one of the guys got out to do the same, they got to see the “pink necked mongoose.” Occasionally, they see the “long necked mongoose,” but, apparently, not today. Or maybe nobody wanted to brag.
Michael is on our porch right now looking at impala, close up, and elephants, off in the distance. We face west and the sun in setting.
Anyone want to sign up for the next trip?