Home Sweet Home

The whole experience was just awesome.
I want to give a shout out to the travel company Africa Dream Safaris (AfricaDreamSafaris). Couldn’t have asked for a better experience from start to finish.

Back home. Back in my time zone. Back at work.
Now all I have are my memories, my photos and a few dozen damn fly bites that itch like #%$#

I’ve got some of my photos on a web site. About 400. Only 2000 more to go.
http://bonedoc1.com/Safari/Site/Welcome.html

Here are a few shots that I alluded to earlier about the newborn gazelle. I thought that I had lost the photos but they were there. So here are 2.

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And one more lion for the road.

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Day 11 – Tarangire and Arusha – going home

Today’s blog is brought to you by Impala and other antelope

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Impala and some other antelope travel in harems controlled by one lone male and dozens, sometimes even a hundred or more females. The females all become fertile around the same time, so the one male has to mate with all of them. Happy but exhausted impala. There is always a bachelor herd nearby. When the dominant male is tired from all that mating, it’s a perfect time for one of the other males from the nearby herd to assert dominance.
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Throughout the trip we also say Thomson's gazelles, Grant gazelles, waterbuck, hartebeest, dik-dik and several others. The dik-dik are small antelope who mate for life and travel in pairs.
I have a picture of them somewhere but I can't find it now.
Did you know Wildebeest are also in the antelope family as are the Cape buffalo.

More elephants. Scratching his rear on the tree.

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Bat eared fox

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We finished off the part drive with another lion sighting. They’re far off though. 20130116-161955.jpg<;;a

As we were leaving, though,more monkeys, more monkey babies.
Male vervet monkeys have blue testicles. I could make a comment, but I will leave that to y'all.

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Then we drove about 2 hours to Arusha on mostly good roads. Went to do some shopping. I bought an African drum. Always wanted one. Figured I should get it in Africa. Should be interesting getting it home.

Now I’ve showered and we’re relaxing in a hotel, then heading for the airport to go on the very long trip home. It’s been a great trip and fun sharing it with my friends. But I am looking forward to getting home.

A note to all my fiends. I did not buy a lot of souvenirs. So tell me what animal you like best, and I will print you out a photo of your choice in size.

See you in a few days

Diane

Day 10 – Tarangire

Today’s blog is brought to you again by elephants. Lots of elephants.
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Tarangire meaning river of water. I know that’s redundant but it is what it is.

Did younknowmthat elephants are matriarchal. The oldest female elephant leads the herd during traveling. Because they have such good memories, the oldest female will remember the best way to water during the dry seasons.

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Beautiful evening by the fire.

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Beautiful sunset.

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Day 9 – Lake Manyara and Tarangire

Today’s blog is brought to you by Baboons.
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First woke up to a gorgeous sunrise. View from our balcony20130114-203610.jpg

We headed out for a long drive to Lake Manyara. But to our pleasant surprise, the road was paved. Never enjoyed a paved road so much.

At Lake Manyara we encountered hundreds of baboons and monkeys (vervet monkeys and blue monkeys). With super cute babies. Here’s a mother telling her infant not to run away. Tail comes in handy. 20130114-203924.jpg
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Happy baboons being groomed. 20130114-204300.jpg

Young ones playing. 20130114-204352.jpg

Horseback riding. 20130114-204932.jpg

Mating. Took about 5 seconds. 20130114-205003.jpg

Female baboons have a pink butt when they are in estrus to tell the male. Male baboons have a black butt.

Vervet monkeys.
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Then another drive on paved roads to Tarangire. Tarangire is another national park and is home to the largest concentration of elephants.
Momma and baby.

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The lodge is literally in the middle of nowhere but is stunning.

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Day 8 – Ngorongoro Crater

Today’s blog is brought to you by rhinosaurus

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Rhinos are rare and solitary creatures so getting a photo of one is a challenge. Obviously we did not get very close, which is probably a good thing, since rhinos are very aggressive and have been known to charge cars. Rhinos are pretty rare. Here live the black rhino usually adapted to eat off trees but here live off grass. There are only about 30 rhinos living in the crater and we managed to see 6. But all from afar. Rhinos have been hunted to near extinction just for their horns. What a shame.
We have now officially seen the “big 5” : lions, leopards, Cape buffalo, elephants, and rhinos. Not to mention all the others. I think I’ve checked off just about everyone we could expect to see.

We woke up this morning to a beautiful sunrise.

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And drove down to the Ngorongoro crater. We’re staying at a lodge on the rim of the crater. The Ngorongoro crater is the 8th wonder of the world, and let me tell you it was. It is a 10+mile wide volcanic calvera, sitting 610meters (almost 2000 ft) down. We descended via a long, narrow, steep road. The natural amphitheater is home to the densest population of animals anywhere.

Lots and lots of zebra

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Plenty of wildebeest and Cape buffalo.
We saw lions stalking buffalo. We missed the kill, but did see them eating. Unfortunately something went wrong and many of my photos did not record. Oh well. We were pretty far away.
Here’s a shot of lions laying by the trucks. It was this pride that we later saw eating the buffalo.

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And here’s another pair of lions stalking buffalo. I don’t know if they ever caught one.

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After touring around for about 2 hrs we stopped for a picnic breakfast.

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These birds were pretty but harassed us through breakfast. One of them stole my croissant right out of my hand.

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Elephants large elephants live In this crater

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I’ve talked about the poor memory of wildebeest, and everyone knows the adage “an elephant never forgets”. But I didn’t know they had the very human capability of revenge. If a person harms an elephant or its young, the elephant will remember and if they find that person, even years later, will kill him. I thought only mankind was capable of that.

Cape buffalo are very aggressive beasts and are responsible for more human killings (esp Massai shepherds) than lions are. If you are chased by a Cape buffalo, your best chance is to lie down, then they can’t get you with their horns. So now you know what to do next time you’re chased by a Cape buffalo. They sure do look pretty mean.

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Baby warthogs. A face only a mother could love.

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The only photos I am sorry that did not get through are those I took a a newborn Grant Gazelle. It was no more than. Few mi uses old and we saw it take its first steps. But I don’t have the photo. Sorry. Just picture it in your mind. It was amazing.

We had a picnic lunch but stayed inside the vehicle since the birds were bigger and more aggressive. By mid afternoon we headed back. There is one road in and one road out of the crater. The road in was near the hotel and took about 30 min. The road out lead us to the other side of the crater and took nearly 2 hours to get back.

I’ve been instructed by my sister to post more picture of the lodge. This lodge is stunning. The room.

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The view fro the balcony

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The hallway

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Tonight’s entertainment – stilt walker and band.

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20130113-183006.jpg in the lounge where I am enjoying beer, appetizers and Internet and a stunning view.

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Life is pretty good right now.

Tomorrow we head out to another local and another lodge. I’m not sure is I will have wifi access so it maybe a few days until I post again. A few more days of safari then head back to the real world.

Day 7 – Ndutu and southern plains.

Back to Internet so I’ve caught up. This is the latest post but go back to day 5 to see them all.

Today’s blog is brought to you by Wildebeest. Tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of wildebeest.

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It is hard to appreciate just how many wildebeest there were. As far as the eye could see. To the horizon and beyond.
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There are about 1.5 million wildebeest in Tanzania. All of them are dumb. They run back and forth from one side to the other and just circle around. They had forgotten that they’d just been there.
Two wildebeest fighting.

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Then they suddenly stopped. I guess they forgot what they were fighting about. And went back to grazing.

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Hyena

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We did see a lioness earlier in the morning. Thirsty fresh from a kill.

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Lots of bugs on her.

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A few words about bugs. Lots of them here but mostly flies. The antelope, zebra, and wildebeest, and most other grazers are constantly swishing their tails to keep the bugs away from the anus and genitals. The bugs like to lay their eggs in those areas, so the constant swishing of the tails keeps them away.
We have not gotten bitten by any bugs. Lots of flies around – annoying but harmless. (No Mom, they’re not Tse-Tse flies.)

Then we went to see a Massai village. Really fascinating. They are a nomadic traditional tribe of shepherds. The keep goat, sheep, cattle and even a few camel (not native to here). They continue to live in this part, with their warriors keeping the dangerous animals away from their flocks. Their diet consists of meat, milk and blood. Nothin else. They greeted us with a traditional Massai welcome dance.

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20130112-174422.jpg which we took part in.
Then our guide should us their houses and school. Most of them go to school for 3 years, from age 3-5 only. A few good students continue on to primary school. The boys begin tending the flocks by age 7-14, then train as warriors from 14-17. They marry at 18. Men have multiple wives.

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The Massai wear only blues and reds. The blue is to symbolize their believe in God with the blue heavens. Red serves 2 purposes: one is that many dangerous animals do not like red, so the flee, and the second is so that they can see each other from afar, when they are our in the pastures.

Then a brief stop at the Oldugapi Gorge where many hominids (early human ancestors) were discovered by the Leakys. Box lunch then a drive to the Ngoronvoro crater for a short scenic stop.

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Then on to the lodge which overlooks the crater. Stunning views. Here’s a view from the lounge where I am sitting having a beer and blogging.

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The room is stunning and the view from the room is beautiful.

More tomorrow. We go into the Ngorongoro crater which is teeming with wildlife including rhinos.

Day 6 – Southern Serengeti

Today’s blog is brought to you by cheetah.

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Today involved a lot of driving on very rough roads and paths. Not a lot of animals but what we did see was spectacular. We saw 2 cheetah brothers. Brothers often pair off for life. Cheetahs and lions. They do mate but stay with their brother cheetah.

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Suddenly they sat up. Alert that 100’s meters away was a lion. Lions do kill cheetah. They usually don’t eat them. Lions prefer herbivores not other meat eaters.

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So we drove over to the lion. As he sat under a tree. We got within 10-15 feet. Didn’t bother him at all.

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We called it an early afternoon and rested.