I met some friends for an open water swim the other day, and one said to me “I’ve been reading your blog – when are you posting next?” So I thought I had better get this blog entry done before I forget entirely what happened on safari.
Looking back, the decision to do a mainland safari excursion after Zanzibar was a bit of a no brainier. There are a total of 15 national parks in Tanzania, the most well known of course are Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti. And they are all big business, as we discovered a vast array of tour operators offering pretty much any itinerary to suit all budgets and time. We would have loved to have gone to the Serengeti, but it was a five hour dive to get there and we simply didn’t have the time. Instead we chose a more varied itinerary, visiting the national parks at Lake Manyara, Tarangire and Ngorongoro Crater, booking through a safari operator called “It started in Africa”, but we wish we hadn’t….
After major dramas with our incorrect/changed flight booking details being sent to us after we had arrived in Stone Town, and a delayed departure from Zanzibar, we were on our way. On arrival at Arusha, were met by the in-country manager Roy, who wasted no time ushering us and our bags into an elderly land cruiser with an odometer that was just about in the super 401k club. We had barely discovered the lack of seat belts when he asked us for the remaining balance to be paid. This is a lesson leaned – pay the balance before you get there – no matter what the online handling charges are.
After doing a “Benny Hill” style run around Arusha to find an ATM working, we switched to a scene from Black Adder as Roy clearly had no idea what our itinerary was, nor did our driver, Martin – as they clearly thought they are “all the same”. Eventually we left Arusha. With the flight changes, subsequent flight delays, ATM hunt and confusion over our itinerary, we eventually got to Lake Manyara – one hour before closing. We had lost an afternoon of safari, but eventually we got to see what we came for – Africa’s amazing wildlife.
I know who killed bambi…
Rather than make this the worlds longest blog post, and to avoid further delay in posting, I am just going to focus on the most amazing thing Clare and I had ever seen. Even our driver Martin said it was pretty special and not something he sees very often.
In the Tarangire park, over a two hour period between 11 and 1, we witnessed a cheetah kill. OK well, not the actual act as it happened so fast and far away, but we did witness the stalking, stampede and the cheetah mother teaching her cubs to find her after the kill. Absolutely incredible to witness….
I have put together the pictures in the sequence they were taken.