Clients Trip Report ~ Tanzania Dec 2016
Thanks to Thierry Cellier of Heritage Safaris, we experienced a wonderful and incredible time in Tanzania making a private safari with Christine/Rick Wozney visiting some of the most famous parks. Our guide , Peter “Captain” Maleaki Mmbando of Sunny Safaris in Arusha guided the four of us during ten unique days!
When we arrived in Arusha first thing we saw dimly (since it was evening) in the distance was Mount Kilimanjaro. We spent 2 nights in the Arusha Hotel which is comfortably situated in the centre of Arusha. The old-style hotel was excellent and we went with Peter to the big , local market which was very crowded, but most interesting. We also paid a visit to the Tanzanite Museum which showed us the famous stones they mine only at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Quite an education!
The next couple of days we spent in the Tarangire National Park which is a wonderful big park with giant baobab trees and a huge population of elephants. We were lucky enough to see two leopards sleeping in the trees and were able to get very close with our Toyota Land cruiser, which did not disturb them at all. Later on, right by the dirt-road we came upon a lioness standing guard over a freshly killed wildebeest (Gnu) with her four little cubs all partaking in this “meal”. She snarled at us so that we closed the windows, but soon we could open them again since they all concentrated on eating the intestines first, then the meat and bones. Even sitting in the land cruiser we could hear the crackling of the bones and the tearing of the meat.
We saw so many animals, but one particular moment remains in our memory, when after a short, but strong monsoon the countryside was very wet and our land cruiser was surrounded by a herd of elephants … when one female elephant was so delighted to finally have some wet soil again, that when she climbed the bank she rubbed her tummy back & forth before climbing out of the ditch … very funny indeed. We must mention here that the Tarangire Balloon Camp was superb and Joseph, a native who served us our meals, was most interested in our Swahili dictionary, so that we left the dictionary with Peter at the end of our trip to give it to Joseph which he promised he would do next time going through the area.
On the drive to the next park , the Serengeti National Park, we spent an afternoon in the Lake Manyara National Park where from a distance we saw huge flocks of flamingos; also the whole area was full of baboons which we enjoyed seeing fighting and playing with their little ones.
The Serengeti National Park is huge and covers an area about the size of Northern Ireland. This Park boasts the world’s greatest concentration of large mammals and is the least disturbed eco system on earth. Although we did not see the Great Migration, we did see the start of it by watching thousands of wildebeest and zebras marching single file across the grassland. Naturally we saw also thousand of impalas and other gazelles, as well as the high-stepping secretary bird. Over the next couple of days we spotted more herds of these animals, quite a few lions and also a cheetah sleeping under a tree. Then think of several herds of elephants, giraffes, wart hogs, hyenas, etc. etc. – We managed the rare feat of viewing all of the “Big Five” (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and Cape buffalo).
Another day we headed eastward to the Olduvai Gorge, a fifty kilometre-long ravine where Louis and Mary Leakey discovered in the 1930s the first hominid skull and established Africa as the site of the so-called human origin. We understand that this is the cradle of mankind – it is certainly most interesting. We visited their small but fascinating museum where Nina and Christine each bought a wood carving of a warthog from a good-looking Maasai tribesman! A professor from the university of Arusha explained to us that the Gorge should be really called “Oldupai Gorge” named after the sisal plant … the misspelling came later !
The Mbuzi Mawe Tented Camp was superb, however Rick complained that he did not sleep very well due to all the lions roaring in the distance; Nina and FF were quite amazed when we opened our tent early in the morning to see many Cape buffalos grazing right before our entrance … these dangerous animals spend the night near our camp in order to have protection from the lions !!
Finally, the last couple of days were spent in the Ngorongoro Highlands where we stayed at the famous Ngorongoro Serena Lodge which is built into the rim of the Crater and from where each room has a stunning view of the Crater. It was truly outstanding . Each room has a rock- enclosed balcony that overlooks the chasm. Wonderful. Every where the food and accommodation was excellent!
We visited an original Maasai village which was highly interesting and were greeted by the son of the Chief with the tribesmen singing and dancing a welcome. They braid their hair which is dyed with ochre, carrying spears in hand … the Maasai maintain their traditions and pastoral lifestyle of herding their cattle and goats . We really enjoyed visiting their little school .
All in all a wonderful visit.
Texte Nina & Francois Freyvogel ~ Photos Rick Wozney/Francois Freyvogel