The Tarangire

On our way to the Tarangire National Park we first stopped at a carving shop down the mountain from Gibb’s Farm. Several men were sitting outside the shop, carving freehand from pieces of ebony and rosewood. Terry bought some bigger pieces, but I had to limit myself to a small but elegant little carving of an embracing couple, a little bowl, a hippo for my grandson, and a necklace. Kim found one, as well.

There were relatively few places to buy souvenirs on this trip. On our way out of Arusha, on the third day, we could have stopped to look at tanzanite, but I wasn’t feeling well that day. I was the only one in the car who was interested, and I didn’t care that particular moment whether I shopped or not, so we passed it up. We did, however, stop at a boma, or Maasai village, where we inspected one of their huts, and were treated to a dance performance. Kim and I were also pressed into participating in the dance, but Terry and Steve are forbidden from ever sharing photos or video of the experience. At the end of the dance we were invited to inspect a vast variety of beaded jewelry and other items for sale. I thought they were grossly overpriced, myself.

Tarangire is a spectacular park, home to hundreds of elephants, as well as other wildlife, concentrated because of the availability of water. On our one full day at the park we saw close to 300 elephants, between the ones we saw in the forest and the vast herds in the marshes. We also saw a lazy pride of young lions, snoozing in the shade of a sausage tree. They were completely unconcerned about us, despite our Land Rover driving all the way around the tree, in the same shade.

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Lions under the sausage tree

On our first night at our new camp we were treated to a traditional camp dinner, with amazing food, under the stars. The owner of Flash Safari Tours, Magda Vrijs, joined us and several other groups traveling with her guides.

Our camp was so interesting. There were about a dozen cabins, all different, and all given Maasai names. Ours was Olmeut, which means “giraffe” in Maasai, as opposed to the Swahili name for giraffe, which is twiga. The beds were carved, as were our chairs, the mirror frame, and the enormous bathtub, which was in the shape of a pelican. Steve and I were sitting on the porch between our shower and dinner, and suddenly a dik-dik and then a warthog thundered past. We were sure something bigger would follow in hot pursuit, but nothing ever appeared.

In the 12 days we traveled around Tanzania we saw nearly 240 different species of birds, and several dozen species of animals. Zepha, our guide, was exceptionally good at spotting birds and animals, and he had an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the natural history of his native country.

The day we saw these elephants, though, was one of my favorite days of the entire trip. We watched them for hours, and we got very near to several different groups during that day. In fact, the dust from one elephant taking a dust bath actually blew into my eyes, we were so close. We were fascinated as they lumbered into the mud, then the water up to the tops of their heads, then out into the dust. The termite mounds we saw everywhere were almost all shiny from elephants using them as scratching posts, to get that itch, just there, the one you can’t reach.

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The last day of our trip was a travel day, with a long drive back to Arusha. We stopped at a restaurant for a cold drink, and later met Magda and her partner at a traditional Tanzanian barbecue restaurant for a late lunch. We sat outside and watched local families, some celebrating weddings or other events, and we relaxed on our last day in Africa. After our server helped each of us wash with warm water and towels, we ate with our hands from platters of barbecued meats (including chicken and goat, all delicious), and fried potatoes. The local beer might be great, but I wanted something different, and Magda suggested a Tangawizi, a locally made ginger beer. A new favorite!

What a trip. We thoroughly enjoyed everything, except maybe the tsetse flies. We even got used to the dust. It took days to stop seeing the golden plains in my dreams, and I was sad to see them fade away.

Steve & Karen at Lamai

Asante sana, Tanzania! We will never forget our visit with you and your many treasures.

June 28, 2016. Uncategorized.

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