On Thursday, June 20th our safari guide Lau picked us up at 8am for the two hour ride to Tarangire.
(PHOTO: Male vervet monkey with blue balls.)
Our safari was private–me, Noah and Lau–in a seven passenger Toyota Landcruiser. This gave us a lot of control over our schedules, where we stopped and for how long. Almost all of the safari vehicles are Landcruisers that have been after market retrofitted for safari with expandable an expandable roof, making it easy to stand-up to view and photograph wildlife.
Lau told us Landcruisers are excellent vehicles for safari and win on all counts, with the exception of deep mud, where Range Rovers win. He told the story of being on safari in deep mud during the wildebeest migration when he and a number of other guides had to fork over USD $20-30 (a huge sum in Tanzania) for another guide on a Land Rover to pull them each out of the deep mud.
(PHOTO: What do you do when an elephant crosses the road?)
(PHOTO: Massive Baobab tree.)
Tarangire is 1,100 square miles and is known for elephants and baobab trees. There are tons of other animals including the vervet monkey where the male monkeys have blue balls (not a typo or a joke, they are bright florescent blue in order to attract the females). You also see massive termite mounds the size of a small car.
We were in the park from about 10am until 3pm. I could not write down the various animals as fast as we saw all of them. All the parks are truly spectacular, and if you ever wondered what it would be like to live inside a National Geographic wildlife documentary for a day or a week, head to Tanzania.
Our (incomplete) animal list from just five hours included elephants, giraffes, baboons, vervet monkeys, savanna monkeys, zebras, Thomson’s gazelles, wildebeest, impalas, warthogs, ostrich and many types of birds.
We left the park around 3pm, drove past Lake Manyara National Park, and stopped and drove through a Masai market on the way to the hotel. The Masai market was similar to Tengeru but with a critical difference. The Masai – whose livelihood is herding animals – trade (barter) animals for all the goods they need and want. So take Tengeru and add animals and bartering.
At the end of the day we arrived at Kitela Lodge, a big step up from our Arusha accommodations and one of the nicest places we stayed on safari. The food was very good and the coffee, from their own plantation, was the best cup of joe the entire trip.
NEXT: More Tarangire pictures & videos.