Tarangire National Park (8/3)
We had breakfast this morning and then loaded up the trucks. We had one bag for safari and the rest of our gear would be stored at Bushbuck Safari's office. At Bushbuck they loaded our gear in a storage room. We saw Roy and Fungi there. We then loaded up the trucks and headed out. I rode in the larger truck with Nancy, Susan, Mynan, Jamie, and Allen. Eric was our guide/driver. For the safari, I rode with these guys. They were interested not only in the big animals, but also the birds. It was a great group to go on safari with.
Just outside of Arusha we stopped at a gift shop. This place was pretty popular. There were a bunch of safari vehicles and people here. I didn't see much I wanted to buy. I knew we would be stopping at other places. According to Allen you will see the same stuff everywhere, so there is no hurry to buy any souvenirs. At this shop they had a lot of carved animals. It seemed like a lot of stuff here you could find at Cost Plus or Pier One at home.
We then proceeded to Tarangire National Park. Along the way we passed lots of Masai people and their little groups of huts. We passed some Masai boys all in black with their faces painted white. This meant they were preparing to enter manhood.
At the park gate we looked at various displays while our drivers paid the entrance fees. There was a little store there and we bought lots of junk food. I also bought a cool table cloth for Karen. I was looking for one like the one we had in our mess tent. I couldn't find that one, but I found another really cool one with an interesting pattern on it.
We raised the top of our safari truck and headed down the dirt roads checking out the animals as we headed to the Sopa Lodge Tarangire where we will be staying tonight. Along the way we saw giraffes, elephants, zebras, and impala. We also saw numerous Baobab trees. The baobab is found in the savannas of African and India, mostly around the equator. It can grow up to 25 meters tall and can live for several thousand years. The baobab is leafless for nine months of the year. The baobab looks like it has been picked out of the ground and stuffed back in upside-down. The trunk would be the tap-root, and the branches the finer capillary roots. We spotted one Baobab tree that had a hole in the center of the trunk. The guide said elephants made the hole.
We arrived at the hotel and checked in. One of the zillions of porters, took our bags to our room. It's almost impossible to carry your bags.
We met at the pool for lunch. I had a bread sandwich with marinated meat with a mustard sauce. They also had a salad and desert bar. The lunch was great.
After our late lunch, we went out for a 3 hour game drive. We saw a ton of animals. We saw a very deadly puff adder (snake) crossing the road. It was moving very quickly, but I managed to get a shot of it. We also came upon a pack of lions with a freshly killed zebra. They had dragged the zebra under some trees. You could see the zebras guts hanging out. One of the lions in the group had a radio tracking collar on it.
We headed back to lodge as the sun was setting. Dinner was at the lodge. There is no other place to go. They had a multi-course menu to pick from. I had soup, avocado and cashew nut tartlet, sweet potato and spinach rasti, and coconut ice cream for dessert. Periodically, they would turn off the lights and the staff would form a conga line of sorts and sing native songs. The guy leading had a lit torch. One time they honored our successful climb of Kilimanjaro with a series of songs and a cake shaped like Kili. The cake was chocolate, thick and rich. My kind of cake.
After dinner, some of us went to the the bar for some drinks. I had an Amaretto and then went to bed about 11:00 pm.