We said good-bye to our guide Ayoub today. We had spent the last five days and countless miles and hours in the jeep together. He had taken care of us and taught us so much about the Tanzanian animals and people. Ayoub would drop us off at the nearby little tiny airport and we would board a little tiny airplane and fly to the Serengeti. For all of you who may have missed this, I do not do well in airplanes, especially the little, tiny, bouncy ones, but Tanzania was such a stretch for me that the toy airplane seemed of little significance.
The plane ride was fine and our new guide, Olee, met us at the Serengeti airport; no security at this airport, folks. He asked us what we were hoping to see during our visit. Of course, the big ticket Serengeti item is a Wildebeest crossing. He warned us that waiting for a crossing could be frustrating and disappointing, you could spend a lot time waiting and see nothing, all the while missing out on the other animals just hanging around the plains waiting to be admired. He warned us and now he would but he would try and show us a Wildebeest crossing. We drove to crossing #4 (Points where the Wildebeest like to cross the Mara river are numbered 0-10. I had a great time adding crossing point numbers into conversations just for fun.), the crossing point nearest the airport, and low and behold, those little fellas had just started to cross the river.
Watching the Wildebeest cross the Mara River was a spiritual experience for me. It was nature and instinct in all its raw and powerful glory. I kid you not, the sight of those animals following only their instincts towards possible death or injury took my breathe away. The animals were calling to each other and it was like a heartbeat that reverberated all around us. There was dust on either side of the river where the animals entered and exited the river.
We watched as a crocodile enjoyed his afternoon meal. I found it interesting that Olee had tears in his eyes as we observed the doomed Wildebeest struggle. It was not the first time that I had seen a guide get choked up watching an animal die. Ayoub had looked away when the Hadzabe men shot the Bush Baby. The more time we spent chatting with people on safari and guides, the more I realized what is on the “safari list.” Rhinos (because they are few and elusive), cats, especially Leopards (because they are elusive), cats with kills, killing and being born, babies and animal action are all top of the list. I don’t like seeing animals die, but in the wild it’s a bit different, it’s survival and the animals are just doing what they do, it’s not personal and it’s natural, it’s how they are supposed to act.
Baby Warthogs must be some of the cutest babies. Their skinny tails stick straight up like antennas and they have little miniature tusks.
Olee told us that this baby was about an hour old. We watched him as he circled the tree over and over again. Zebras are brown until they are about six years old.
The Cheetahs were fun to watch as they hunted.
The guides are very respectful of the animals and their habits. We would often watch for a few minutes, take some pictures and then our guide would comment that we should allow them to hunt in peace.
Ashley called these lizards Spider Man lizards because of their coloring.
We drove to the Kenya/ Tanzania border marked by these pylons. Grant is in Kenya and Ashley is in Tanzania.
It rained on us one afternoon and reminded me of the summer rainstorms I saw growing up in Colorado.
The storm clouds made for a beautiful evening sky.
We liked to watch the elephants eat their “bouquets.”
Hyraxes are adorable and funny and believe it or not, closely related to elephants and manatees.
A little Tanzanian Flora
We stayed at two tented camps in the Serengeti. This camp was called Ubuntu and we had a giant family tent. This was the only place where our showers were actually buckets but it was a great shower.
On our last day we were looking for lions in the morning and got stuck in a big hole. It was not a good feeling being without a vehicle in the middle of lion country. It took Lucas (our guide) and Scott about thirty minutes to get the jeep out of the hole.
The kids flew us back to Kilimanjaro International Airport for the long flight back to Amsterdam. How, you wonder, were they both able to sit in the co-pilots seat? We took off and landed five times, that’s how they did it. It was more like a bus ride with stops at all of the parks, than an airplane ride. It was probably good for me. I survived my time in Tanzania and I learned a lot, much more than the names of the beautiful animals, but that is for another blog.