We decided to add a 4th day to our Safari adventure. We were signed up for a walking Safari in Arusha National Park just north of the town of Arusha on the eastern slope of Mt. Meru (5th tallest Mountain in Africa). The day didn’t get off to the best of starts. Elley could not find her 80-200mm lens (and 2x extender) with value over $2,000. We looked through every bag we had – more than once. She had last had it in her hand in the Safari vehicle in Lake Manyara National Park just before we shot the video of Albert. Albert had rented toe Safari vehicle to a friend for today and we had no idea how to find the car for a search. We finally found the Land Rover – in the shop getting oil change, brakes and tires checked and there in the back seat was the $2,000+ worth of glass….perfect! Tanzanians seem so honest.
We were off to the Park (in a normal car). It was a bit foggy with a light mist so we expected to be cold. I had left my gortex jacket in the hotel room in the one day I might need it. I think I was the only one in Africa enjoying the cold weather. The first thing we saw was a bus load of school kids out for a field trip. That cost me 30 minutes interacting with them. So fun!
We met the park ranger who would be our guide/guard. He carried a rifle that was only strong enough to shoot us if we were attacked by a wild animal. At least we wouldn’t suffer long. The park’s Lions and Cheetas had been hunted by the locals and now thought to not be around but there were many, many other animals that could make for a very interesting end-of-life video. Baboons, Hippos, Cape Buffalo, Pythons, Elephants and even Giraffes were known to have killed people. The biggest fear was seeing a leopard. (Neither we not the leopards were so lucky). We started our list of “100 ways to die in East Africa” with the idea that we might put it on Albert’s website with the closing “Come with me on Safari, It’s my job to protect you.”
We explored a bit including a beautiful 20m tall waterfall.
We walked the park getting interestingly close to a trio of Warthogs. We walked right up to their den (after they had scampered off). We were just 100 feet or so from a collection of Cape Buffalo. We were only 1 foot or so from the ranger with the gun. That little toy gun of his would have no chance stopping a charging Cape Buffalo.
Luckily – no charging today.
We then headed back to the car and drove up the mountain to the famous Hole in the Fig Tree (reminiscent of the driving hole in the redwood tree in Northern California). The rain forest up the side of Mt. Meru was beautiful. I did get a chance to use the camera rain jacket I bought at the Wedding Photographer’s Convention in Las Vegas in March – it kept my camera dry and still allowed me to shoot. (Note to self: when visiting a rain forest, take the people rain gear that you drug 10,000 miles with you.)
We headed back to town for a relaxing evening including dinner at the local Chinese restaurant. We were hungry and thus the food was pretty good.