October 25, 2015
Election day in Tanzania! After fifty years of one party in power, there is a serious opposition party. It has generated much interest. Long lines of voters were evident everywhere, not only in the city but in the outer regions. Everywhere Tanzanians were exercising their right to vote. Democracy in action! Stay tuned for results.
It is Sunday and we are off to Ruaha National Park, a two and a half hour trip over…yes, bumpy roads again. But it was worth the effort. Before we even reach our lodging at Mwagusi Safari Camp, we saw elephant, zebra, impala, crocodile, waterbuck and giraffe. One giraffe was a baby only 3 months old. We were so close and all he did was stare motionless, hoping we would just go away.
Our campsite is luxury in a tent or as they call them bandas. It is open, inviting and cushioned. It even has a hammock. This will be quite an adventure. Our schedule for day one: lunch, some down time, tea at 3:30 and our first gamedrive at 4:00.
Each gamedrive is unique. One nevers knows what will happen, even the guides. We witnessed something seldom seen, four lions attacking a cape buffalo. Though the lions seemed to succeed at first, the other cape buffalos united and drove the lions into retreat. Who says the lion is the king?
How to describe our dinner experience? It was held after dark, in the dry riverbed, with a bonfire and lanterns placed in the rocks of the hill. Think of a 1960’s beach party movie without water. What a setting! After we had drinks by the fire, the coals were used to warm our dinner of lamb in a special sauce, mushroom stroganoff, carrots, cauliflower, and peas with corn all is unique sauces. After dinner under the almost full moon, we were off to bed to rest for the next full day of game runs.
On Monday we went for a breakfast-in-the-bush game drive. We met at 6:30 AM. After looking for animals for about an hour, we stopped for breakfast in the bush…a sit down breakfast that fortified us for the second half of the run. Yummy cinnamon buns, fresh fruit, eggs, and even toilets!
We saw the largest herd of cape buffalo, about a thousand, and got up close and personal with a pride of seven lions. They walked right by the safari vehicle, not paying us any mind as they looked for shade in the heat of the noonday sun. One hundred impalas were down in the riverbed taking a drink out of what was left of the water. This is the end of the dry season; the rains begin the end of November.
Other animals we saw were: a troup of baboons, dik dik, more giraffe, elephants, even a red-billed buffalo weaver. Add to that white pelicans (Don’t they know this isn’t Florida?), greater and lesser kudus, a gray crowned crane, and a stork.
Before we go further, we should tell you about our guides: Festo and his sidekick Ima. Not only are they a wealth of information about the animals we’ve seen but they are excellent spotters. Sometimes the animal coloring allows them to blend into the environment. We needed the eagle eyes of Festo and Ima. It is the 21st century and they have cell phone checking with other guides about spottings. As a matter of fact, this afternoon we will be chasing the elusive leopard. It has been spotted by another guide.
We hope to get this out today. Stan is using his cell phone hot spot so we are crossing our fingers that you get this. It will be the last posting unto we get to Dar es Salaam on Wednesday. Picture to follow also.