Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Titles should be catchy.  I’m too tired for that right now ;)

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! No. Wait. That’s somebody else’s story... Lions and giraffes and zebras, oh my! Lol and elephants and monkeys and both the largest and smallest species of antelope. So yeah - it’s been an incredible day. And this is take two of this post so I suspect it’ll be much shorter. Please note - shorter in no way equals short ;). For the short version - see list of animals above. We did.

Still with me? So a lifetime ago, or maybe just this am, we met up with our driver/guide - Agustin - and after a brief check-in re still missing luggage, we were on our way!

Our way was, admittedly, quite a long and boring drive. Other than the clock tower that marks the centre of Africa, some Masai (sp?) boys who were heading out on their manhood ritual (impressively terrifying face paint), and the stunningly gorgeous purple trees that I wrote down what they were called but alas that too is gone the way of the vanished post. I slept through most of the drive to the park given that I’m on a combined combo of anti-malaria, anti-nausea, and anti-cold drugs (thanks airport cold!) — all three of which have drowsiness as a side effect. So yeah, I mostly didn’t have a chance.

We arrived at Tarangire national park and had a chance to stretch our legs before safari the first. When we got back to the vehicle, the guide had put the roof up. Literally cranked it up so we could stand easily (and in my case on a seat) and take unobstructed photos while still being covered from the sun. The am drive was cloudy so we didn’t really appreciate that till the afternoon which was all sun.

The first safari was incredible. Everywhere we looked more interesting critters were wandering about. Zebras everywhere! And with them their friends the wildebeests... I’m not quite sure what the symbiotic relationship is between them but I’m reasonably convinced after today that there must be one. Sadly I have no access to google so alas I must remain ignorant for a while... If or when I have a flash of wifi, I’m putting it to use uploading this ;)

The various guides share finds over the radio so everybody can see when something cool is happening; that’s definitely how we got to see the first lion, sunning by the tree...

The other one that was really cool was the baby elephant- followed shortly by baby everythings ;). Apparently google did well by us when I researched when to come for animals... Babies on the ground, and because it’s dry season, all the animals are hanging out near the water source. In the rainy season they scatter and apparently are very hard to see in the grass. So yeah, win :).

We eventually stopped at our next hotel - in the park - for lunch. Lunch was by the pool with some amazingly stunning birds and a neon lizard hanging out. A monkey stole one lady’s lunch nearby ;). Lol and we lost a butter lump to a sneaky bird. But all good.

The rooms are all ground floor and you go outside to get to them - as you’re in the park, animals wander freely. There were zebra and elephants our our balcony. Absolutely incredible. Chris just got sent back inside - we’re not allowed to be outside after dark; apparently the zebras are on the front lawn now :). I did promise one of the women I work with that I’d avoid getting squished by an elephant, so I will follow that rule *g*

Okay back to my story - after lunch was back out on safari! The sun came out over lunch so temps went up significantly. We saw more of all the things, but most impressive were the lions feeding on a wildebeest, even two cubs! Was... wow. The male lions here don’t have manes - too hot. Apparently the ones in the Serengeti will :). That’s in a few days. Saw many more elephants, giraffes and zebras - so many zebras. I find myself somewhat fascinated with the giraffes. There were some cape buffaloes too but we couldn’t get a good view of them. Hopefully more another day.

Amazing sunset and got to watch a whole troop (uh is that the right phrase? Google-less here...) anyways a troop of monkeys playing, incl a couple that were apparently only days old. And I’m loving the elephant families with baby and big sibling or two all still hanging with Mum.
Return to the hotel once we lost sunlight for supper and likely early bed given that both C and I woke up wide awake at about 1am this morn. This hotel has hot water from 6-8am and pm. Lol and hot was really more like vaguely warm, but I wasn’t freezing and did get to wash my hair so win. Power was a little questionable- Chris showered by the light of my flashlight.

Anyways - the day has been beyond words. Despite the number of them here, there’s no way I truly captured what I felt. I think I expected it’d be like when you go to Algonquin to see animals - you might find a few bears, a moose if you’re lucky, but mostly you drive around aimlessly or make friends with someone who knows. Well our guide both knows and has friends but far more than that is the sheer quantity of animals. And they all seem healthy and just going about being their animal selves. So incredible to experience. They have little to no fear of the vehicles so we can get super close. Only the babies and sometimes the zebras run from the safari vehicles.

Anyways - I’ve been told the other parks are even better?!?! But we luckily have one more day here before we go find out. Different parks have different animals (this one’s specialty is elephants) so we tried to plan a trip with as much variety as possible.

Not sure how I’m so tired after sitting in a vehicle all day, but I’m wiped. More tomorrow :). If the internet deigns to cooperate.


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