Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tarangire NP camping

AD was determined that my entire week in Tanzania was not to be spent relaxing around the house - & when someone is willing to take me camping and on a big game drive in an Africa national park I am hardly going to offer a dissenting voice.  Tarangire National Park was one I had never heard of & AD had not been too - so that was chosen as our destination.  A relatively easy (especially for me in the passenger seat) two-hour drive south-east later we were at the park gates around noon on Friday.  Camp was quickly set up in the public campground and we set off for a game drive for the afternoon.  The previously much-derided Range Rover came in to its own off road - very capable & very comfortable.  As AD was driving, I became chief photographer - it sure was nice to have a proper big camera, even if my photography skills are rudimentary at best.

We couldn't believe how many elephants there were - hundreds!  All the other usual suspects were present: giraffe (much darker than those I saw on my last trip), zebra, ostriches, big vultures, buffalo, water buck, various antelope, mongoose, monkeys, baboons.  We finally saw a couple of lions nearing the end of the afternoon.  It was more than fun to be two guys from NZ just driving abound a huge national park in an ageing 4WD in amongst so many animals & tourists on proper expensive safari trips. Enough talking, the photos are better (more and better versions are here).

Apparently a large herd of elephants came to pay our tent a lot of attention after we drove off.

AD tried to take promotional photos, I minded the barbecue - sort of.

Thankfully more large steaks didn't attract the lion(s) we heard a little distance from camp.

So many large baobab trees.

Up & decamped early, there was enough time to marvel at plenty more elephants before returning to Arusha. I hastily packed, said my goodbyes and started what turned out to be a thirty hour trip home (that's almost as bad as returning from NZ). It turns out carrying a Thermarest Neoair in your hand luggage is great for napping on boring airport (Nairobi) floors. Arriving home Sunday afternoon to the order of England, not too tired considering, it was hard to believe just the morning before I was out camping in a fantastic African park and seeing so much extraordinary wildlife.  Thanks AD & Carm for an excellent African break.

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