Safari :: Tarangire National Park
Absolutely wonderful and amazing Tanzania. The safari was everything I dreamed it would be and more! I was never the kid who sat inside and read books… In fact, I remember the struggle of my parents trying to get me to read ANYTHING. To try and get me to read more, they even bought me a Sport Illustrated subscription with the condition that I had to read every issue cover-to-cover (didn’t happen). I didn’t read because I played outside! So, for a tomboy who grew up in Kentucky kicking around the tobacco fields and woods, looking for wild animals, caves, and adventure to relieve boredom every day, a safari in Africa is The Best Thing I’ve Ever Done.
Give me animals… Give me the Wild… Give me The Outside, sky, a full palette of stars, endless plains, strange trees, big birds, predators, prey, bugs, grass, sunrises…! Add to that the fact that it’s called “Game Hunting”, as our guide described, it is an actual game, where you are trying to find as much stuff as possible when you’re driving through the parks (think: Duck Hunt – meets – Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego – meets – Animal Crossing)… And it’s absolutely 100% The Lion King movie, which I must re-watch for the first time in 20 years as soon as possible. I mean, why haven’t I done this sooner!?
I was in a group with four other people, a Guide (who also drives), and a cook. I was lucky to have four really fun, cool people to be on the safari with😃 In this pop-top Land Rover:
I hadn’t heard of Tarangire before I was researching safaris in Tanzania, but it ended up being my favorite place I saw, with regards to the landscape. Green, rolling hills, and utterly beautiful.
It is Galapagos-esque, in that the animals (especially the big ones) aren’t really afraid of the vehicles/people. There is no off-roading, and no getting out of the vehicle, for obvious reasons (except when Guide needs to pee..?). So, you have to keep your eyes peeled for animals hiding in the grass and trees nearby the road. It’s hit-or-miss: if the animals happen to be close to the road, then you get to see them, but if they happen to not be, then better luck next time. Tarangire was full of giraffes, elephants and impalas, some baboons. I was really impressed with the giraffes… they’re huge but also so graceful and beautiful against the backdrop of the field and sky.
I couldn’t wait to see the baobab trees, with their enormous trunks and mysterious design. Each one is a work of art.
The “Big Five” of the animal kingdom are: Lion, Rhino, Elephant, African Buffalo, and Leopard. The Big Five signifies the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt and kill on foot. Ultimately, we saw all of the Big Five, every one up close and personal, except for the rhino (which, since I got an on-foot surprise sighting of an Indian Rhino in Nepal, I didn’t really mind). The Indian Rhino is in the ‘vulnerable’ threatened conservation category, so probably the rarest animal I’ve ever seen in the wild. On the first day of the safari, we saw one of the Big Five: elephants.
That night, we camped near Lake Manyara, at a campsite that is by the River of Mosquitoes……………. yeah, it’s actually nicknamed that. What a great place to stick people in tents and fight out the night. Actually it wasn’t that bad. After I spent 30 minutes searching and killing the ones I found with my flashlight inside, I had one mosquito infiltrate my tent, an it didn’t cause too many problems.
And the next morning, we got a nice breakfast and were tanked up for the day of game driving and heading into the SERENGETI! OH JOY😍
Next up: Serengeti and Meeting the Maasai