tanzania: safari

here’s an account (in reverse order) of two days’ safari in tanzania… if only words could truly describe! click here to see all the pics.

November 9, 2007

Raph and I went back to Mikumi National Park today after an “English” breakfast of eggs, beans, a weenie, fruit, toast, tea and passion fruit juice. It’s funny how we sit still when we see animals from far off instead of jumping up to take pictures. We’ve accumulated so many close-ups already. So today’s tour is more relaxing, but still awe inspiring. Raph likes to sit on the luggage rack above the hood of the car. Our vehicle is a pop-top 4×4… safari sun-roof.

We saw another group of lions today, off the legal trail again. This time we spotted a male as well. Incredible.

The only disappointment of the day is that we missed the visit to the snake park that was included in our safari package. No biggie. I’ve seen plenty of snakes before. I was hoping I would get my picture taken with one around my neck, though! Maybe next time…

We got back to Dar Es Salaam in time for dinner with Skye. We decided to go to a restaurant typical of Tanzania, in part so Raph could try the maize paste that we also eat here in Benin. From there we went to a bar with live music. The sets mixed American, African and Reggae. We danced a lot. I can’t remember the last time I got to dance at a bar to “brown eyed girl” or “wonderful tonight!” It was so much fun. We kinda tried to set Skye up with a cute Fulbright student working on her PhD, but I was a little skeptical of her motives. Raph got her number just in case.

November 8, 2007

I tried Ethiopian food for the first time last night. Skye took Raph and me to an awesome retaurant with great ambiance. They basically bring out a sheet of thin, pancakey bread and then dump small bowls of various savory meats and veggies (or pumpkin) in yummy sauces onto the extra large pancake thing. They then give you a plate full of what look like rolled up hand towels, but they’re actually more of this pancakey bread stuff. You tear off some bread and then use it to pinch off a mouthful of meat or veggies. It was absolutely delicious! And great food for socializing. I’m surprised this hasn’t caught on all over the US… I might venture to say it’s better than tapas!

Raph and I left Dar Es Salaam early this morning with our driver and safari guide, Abel. We drove 5 hours, half of which we slept, the other half we caught up on each others lives and the lives of our mutual friends. It feels good to talk about folks from home.

We dropped our bags at our room and had a quick lunch and siesta at our hotel outside the Mikumi National Park. Abel picked us back up for a “three hour tour” (it really was a three hour tour, and I kept singing the Giligan’s Island song in my head). We saw so many animals! At first we were taking pictures of anything, even if from a distance. Giraffes, baboons, wildebeests, pumbas, impalas, zebras, elephants, bush bucks, lions, hippos, buffalo and various birds. The lions were hard to find, and we had to go off the “legal” trail. Abel kept saying, “Quick! Take your pictures! We are not allowed to be here, and can only stay a minute.” The lions were just resting and panting, too relaxed or tired to mind our presence.

We were pretty much on top of the world.

We ended the tour at one of the watering holes at the park. As the sun began to set, all the various animals came together for a drink: animals’ happy hour. I felt the constant need to pinch myself or break out into song… “in the circle of life!” To see all the animals all at once in perfect harmony beneath the orange sky… I have no words.

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