Day one of our Safari is upon us and Elley and I are headed out of Arusha towards the south west for a first stop in Tarangarie National Park. We’re taken the road most of the way to Tarangarie before (on day 1) to visit a primary school. The return trip is a little better – maybe just because we now call the ride on the rough roads of Africa an “African Massage.” (Comes free with a paid Safari trip.) We are traveling in high season so the park is “crowded” (as if the African’s have never read about Yosemite or Yellowstone in the summer). The wildlife is truly amazing. We’re treated to Giraffe, Wildebeast, Zebra (they all look alike until you get to Photoshop), Elephant, Dik Dik, Impala, Waterbuck, Velvet Monkey, Birds so numerous they weren’t even worth listing except the storks, ostrich, and flamingos and of course, the Lion.
We just missed a lion killing a wildebeast down by the river but witnessed the three lions enjoying their lunch until a family of three elephants came over to inspect the kill. Just as Albert said they would, the lions backed away to the edge of the grass as the elephants came up to the kill and mourned the loss of a colleague. This kind of interaction between the species has been happening for millions of years. It was so cool to look through my zoom lens (400mm) and even though I was really zoomed…I could often see 5 or 6 species in the same image. There is nothing like this in the States – not even in the zoo.
We came upon a collection of humans in their Range-Rover-shaped protective shells. This is a sign that there might me a lion around. Sure enough, hidden in the grass about 10 feet from the road, was a sleeping female. We jostled for position with about 10 other parties and finally the lion woke up and walked right past our vehicle. Soon coming up the hill after her was the male. It’s almost the perfect life at the top of the food chain: eat, sleep, have sex, sleep some more, let the women go to the grocery and prepare the meals, and you don’t have to eat your vegetables. Just amazing.
This is the furthest south I have ever been (a trivia fact that only I care about…but – I made you read it!)
We finally left the park and headed to the Twiga lodge, just east of the Lake Manyara National Park where we ate and crashed. We also dropped $1.25 to rent the internet for 20 minutes. They finally found a way to get money from me. It was a great day 1 and the best was yet to come. Tomorrow would be Ngorongoro Crater. It’s famous for everything in one location. I was so tired that the night shot of the Southern sky would have to wait.