December , 2021
We arrived in Tanzania via a very small airplane where we met our wonderful guide Wolfugan. From the airport in Kilimanjaro you get a beautiful view of this mountain as a backdrop to the city. We then purchased our visas (after very complicated and non-successful attempts on-line) once we passed thru customs and we were then on our way to Tarangire National Park.
Tanzania does not allow plastic bags and trash is minimal in this beautiful country. As you can see from the picture below, they use the roadside areas as gardens and this space is available for anyone to use for that purpose.
Tarangire National Park
The Tarangire National Park is known for its huge herds of elephants, giraffe and over 500 bird species. Our game drives here were outstanding because of the water source of the Tarangire River that can support up to 6,000 elephants, giraffe, buffalo, zebra, lion, leopard and cheetah. We stayed in the newly built Tarangire Treetops lodge and the views were just spectactular on our balcony.
I could write paragraphs about how amazing Tanzania is, but I will just let the pictures tell our story.
Lake Manyara National Park
After an early breakfast we drove to Lake Manyara National Park, which is world-famous for its nimble blue monkeys, flamingoes, elephants and tree climbing lions. Many animal species live here, along with an abundance of birds.
This is a soda-ash lake and was once the home to thousands of flamingoes. Sadly, Lake Manyara is drying up, for a number of reasons, and this is effecting the wildlife that lives and visits this once large lake.
Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti was the main attraction for our visit to Tanzania. It is truly one of the most beautiful and famous wildlife sanctuaries in the world. The Serengeti is home to Africa’s highest concentration of game. This vast savannah, granite ridges, caves and rivers create a habitat for many creatures and the savannah makes the game very easy to spot on the many game drives we did during our time in camp. The Simba Kopje in the Serengeti was used as inspiration for scenes in the movie The Lion King.
Each morning we would rise before dawn to quickly eat breakfast and jump in our Land Rovers and head into the savannah. Daily, we were rewarded with so many amazing sightings and at night, it wasn’t uncommon for bush babies to run across the top of our tent or lions to be hunting around us. Only the canvas wall separated us from the sounds outside our tent.
Another lovely breakfast and a tearful goodbye as we left our friends at Ang’Ata Camp, (angatacamps.com), climb into the vehicles and cross the Serengeti plains for the tough “road” ahead to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Olduvai Gorge and Museum
We stopped to visit the remarkable Olduvai Gorge and Museum. Although hot, the amphitheater provided shade as a conservationist gave us quite an interesting talk as we looked into the three gorge convergence that is in the southern part of the Great Rift Valley.
Ngorongoro Game Drive
We were up early to be at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area gate when they opened. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, dropping into the caldera I must admit this was a huge expectation for me. We slowly drove down the steep road and proceeded across the caldera on as many dirt roads as we could, trying to spot specific wildlife. I don’t want to tell people to not see this, but after the last week+ in other areas in Tanzania, I was disappointed.
We drove through Arusha to our boutique hotel that evening, preparing for our Tanzania departure the next morning. Onto another small plane into Nairobi regional airport, through customs, into a van to Nairobi International Airport for our flight back to JNB, then home.
Below is a listing of some of the animals we saw in the Serengeti.
Cinnamon Chested Beeeater, Two Horned Chameleon, Zebra , Masai, Cows, Auger Buzzard, Giraffe, Lions, Superb Starling, Yellow and Red billed oxpecker, Thompson Gazelle, Secretary Bird, Savannah Heron, Kori Bustard, Warthog, African Wildcat, Grants Gazelle, Tawny Eagle, Crows, Babblers – grey and brown, Hildebrandt Starling, Hartebeest, Ostrich, Reedbuck, Black Bellied Bustard, Red billed Teals, Stork, Crowned Crane, Cape buffalo, Lizard Falcon, Blacksmith Lapwing, Grey Backed Fiscal, Sacred Ibis, Sandgrouse, Wydah, Crowned Lapwing , White Crowned Shrike, Hippos, Leopards