Saturday, August 15, 2009

The serengeti is really all its cracked up to be

We just got back from our 5 day safari to the national parks in Northern Tanzania. We saw amazing creatures and beautiful and varied landscapes.

Day 1 -- Lake Manyara
We left late in the morning and headed out on a nice paved road to Lake Manyara about 90 minutes away. The story goes that there were some Japanese dignitaries that had gone to safari in NgoroNgoro and Lake Manyara and the roads were just terrible. So they just decided to fund a new paved road for all the visitors ... nicest road in all of Tanzania.

We checked into our nice campsite, and went on a 5 hour game drive through the park. The park is the most like a jungle, and we saw lots of awesome creatures ... babboons, dik diks, elephants, and lots of birds. We stayed in our awesome campsite complete with dinner, an awesome hill view of the park, and a local acrobatic show.

Day 2 -- Serengeti
We left super early from the camp and drove on a not so nice road to the serengeti through NgoroNgoro Conservation area. We got to the serengeti gate and everything just looked desolate ... how can there be animals out here? But then the amazingness happened. Within the first hour we pulled up to a large male lion resting underneath a tree and got within 10 feet of it! The animals there are just so used to cars that they most of the time don't even care that you are then.

All in all we saw cheetahs, leopards, lions, ostriches, elephants, and lots and lots of impala.

Day 3 -- Serengeti
We woke up before sunrise the next day so we could watch the sunrise over the Serengeti. This was simply beautiful. Highlight of this day for sure was watching a female lion hunt, miss the impala, then climb into a tree for a nap, and then climb out of the tree for more hunting.

We then drove to NgoroNgoro crater campsite for the night. There we had zebra just walking through our campsite.

Day 4 -- NgoroNgoro Crater
Okay, it's cold here. We got up nice and early and drove down into the crater. Today was the day to see black rhinos, as there are only 17 known left in Tanzania and they are all in the crater. And we were the first car to spot a rhino of the day ... it was a little black dot on the horizon, but with good binoculars we could see the horn!

We drove back to the Lake Manyara campsite for the night.

Day 5 -- Tarangerie
This was our favorite landscape of the trip ... the others were lots of brown and few trees, and this one had a river, trees, and savannah. We saw lots of elephants here and even watched a group of a dozen for about 30 minutes bathing, drinking, and playing near the water. The little babies were climbing all over each other and playing just like little kids.

Our guide David and cook Juma took such good care of us, and we had an amazing time! We camped out in tents every night and got wonderful food. But I think we are all excited to not be on bumpy roads for a while now.

Our favorite animals seen on safari:
Michelle -- leopard
Lindsay -- elephants
Hailey -- cheetah
Jimmie -- giraffe

And now we head to Zanzibar for a nice vacation that will involve lots of beach laying, snorkeling, and exploring beautiful stone town.


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