Tarangire National Park, Safari Day 3 – August 13

Today marks a special anniversary – third day in a row that Brad and I are wearing the same clothes! Gross. We didn’t really pack for safari or think about it when we were packing; I had my hat, and Brad had some khakis. You get absolutely filthy from the dust, so we ended up having to wear the same casual clothes each day. Sigh…so when you see our pics, you have a heads up as to what’s going on.

Ok, today was our last safari day and we spent it in Tarangire National Park. Tarangire is tar-an-guy-er. We weren’t too excited at first about today because we drove through the park for about 30 minutes last night to get to our hotel, and everything looked pretty brown and we really didn’t see any animals. It’s the dry season here, so that makes sense, but one of the awesome things about safari has been seeing the pretty scenery. We also wanted to see the “Big Five” while we were here. The big five include lions, elephants, water buffalo, rhinos, and leopards and refer to hunting difficulty. It’s a cool thing to see all five, and thus far we’ve only seen three. Leopard and rhino are left. The rhino that lived in Tarangire was poached (very sad) so we knew we wouldn’t see one. That only left leopards, and apparently they are impossible to find because they are fast and climb trees. Plus, safaris can be tiring! We have no idea how someone does this for a full week. Nick’s mom warned us about that, and she was certainly right (sidenote – thank you Diane! All of your tips made our trip awesome!). However, we hopped in the ole Land Cruiser and headed off, determined to make our last day awesome.
We saw giraffes and elephants and zebras – all our old friend – and continued our quest for a leopard. The drive was pretty brown, but we learned that Tarangire was a LOT bigger than the other two parks and included a swamp. We drove towards the swamp and it was super green and really pretty! We saw an elephant walking in the swamp, and wildebeasts and ostriches hanging out nearby. Then, one of Casey’s guide friends alerted us to a very cool sighting – a leopard with two leopard cubs! We headed towards the tree that housed the leopard, and I still have no clue how these people found this thing. Pics are below, but that is zoomed in 80x! We sat and watched the leopards for awhile through the binoculars – the cubs were adorable and awkward and just so fun to watch. We were thrilled to see them. We saw a lot more elephants hanging out by the watering hole, then saw a tour group with a guy screaming at his wife and screaming obscenities at his tour guide for what seemed like no reason. That was pretty disappointing to us – everything on our trip has been incredibly peaceful – just driving around the parks in silence and listening to the animals has been amazing. Ugh. It was a reminder to us to appreciate our surroundings and where we were because this is an amazing experience!
Ok, enough venting. We ate lunch and saw a baboon attack a group of lunchers near us. Apparently baboons are known for breaking in to cars and stealing food from people. Basically like armed robbery but with monkeys. The people freaked out and a guide chased the baboon away. It was pretty entertaining, to be honest!
Something that’s weird is the HUGE cameras that people on safari have. We had my little canon and I loved it and it worked great for us. The cameras I’m talking about literally look like telescopes. What’s weird about it though is that people stand up in the jeeps and look through the pop top roofs with these huge cameras. Out of the corner of your eye, it looks like a bazooka coming out of a huge military tank, and I did a double-take multiple times.
After the game drive and lunch, we headed back to Moshi. We saw some groups on the side of the road selling African art (we bought some yesterday – Brad showed off his bargaining skills to get an amazing painting) and all read and dozed off on our 6 hour drive. We arrived at Jacaranda B&B and said goodbye to Casey. Saying goodbye to him was as tough as saying goodbye to our Kili guides! Our innkeepers at Jacaranda were great – in true Tanzania fashion, they got our breakfast order, fixed up our taxi for the morning, and told us where to get dinner. We walked in to downtown Moshi, asked for some directions (scary at first, but we quickly realized that everyone is amazingly nice) and arrived at our dinner place. It was clearly a tourist place :). But the food was amazing – they had Indian and Italian food. We enjoyed a super long dinner, made longer by the 45 minute attempt for the restaurant to use Nick’s credit card, grabbed a cab to our B&B, and settled in for the night. This B&B was 20 bucks a night. Unreal! Tomorrow is Amani School day!
Giraffe enjoying a tree snack
ImageMama leopard in the tree. So gorgeous.
ImageBaby leopard cub!
Climbing down the tree to see the other baby cub – such awkward climbing!ImageWildebeasts and ostrich and cool cactus tree. My favorite safari picture – shows how the animals just live peacefully there.
ImageUs in front of the super green swamp
ImageMama and baby at the watering hole
ImageMama and baby walking around. These guys can get pretty fast!
ImageOur room at the Jacaranda B&B. A TV!

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