Today I left Nairobi and Kenya to head back to Tanzania. It was quite nice to be leaving the big city – I just cannot understand the two volunteers on the Kenyan project who haven’t left Nairobi since they arrived and don’t seem to have any plans to either! To come all the way to Africa for 4 months and not see anything goes beyond my conmprehension! An odd couple!
From what I can gather one of the main issues with Kenyan traffic jams is the fact they are doing so much road works at the moment they require lots of traffic diversions as they need to close off the roads. The problem is they don’t seem to tell people when they are closing off the roads – either before, during or after, so you only find out the road is closed when you are stuck in a major jam and a lorry is trying to do a 3 point turn in not enough space. In Arusha the cause was something different entirely. The police decided to randomly close the road because the president was driving through – this caused chaos and a delay to my setting off on safari. And from what I hear back in England the issues seem to be cause by panic buying of petrol – I wonder if this will make the prices go down? Probably not.
I booked my safari through Roys Safaris – they came highly recommended on trip advisor and so far have yet to disappoint – it has cost me a fortune though because I am on my own I have to pay the total amount for the driver, fuel, vehicle, park fees etc. which would normally be split between people. I would have liked one, may be two more people but its good being in a very small group and I wold rather do it on my own than not at all. My driver guide is called Thomas and he seems to be very knowledgeable with a good eye for spotting animals. He is of the lets go slowly and see more school of guiding rather than just tear round the park as quick as possible as another guide I saw today.
Today we were at Lake Manyara National Park – on the way we stopped to buy some red bananas – they apparently only grow in this region of Tanzania – might explain why I had never heard or seen them before. They were quite tasty for a banana – good job I liked them as ended up with a huge bunch of them!!!!
In the park we came across a large family (about 40) baboons. The males have grey bottoms and the females red – however it is when the females are in heat that the really odd swollen shaped bottoms appear – it looks like a big ugly tumour! There were several young with them – some of which rode under their mothers stomachs while others preferred to ride on their backs. After watching the baboons for a while we moved on and soon saw lots of other animals, many impalas and Thomsons gazelles and thousands of yellow billed stocks especially around the hippo pools. The hippos were really enjoying their time wallowing in the mud and water. So much so they would only poke their heads out of the water for a minute before going back under. The large herd of zebras we saw were amazing – I have always like zebras as they remind me of horses!
We were just moving away from watching the Duik Duiks (the smallest antelope with the biggest eyes) when we spotted an elephant moving towards us. It ended up that a family of elephants walked right in front of our jeep – I could have touched them they were so close. The guys in the jeep that came around the corner at that time were so jealous I got so close! Soon after that we saw a female tree climbing lion asleep in the tree. Apparently this is quite rare in this park so I got quite lucky. She was a beautiful creature and looked so relaxed that she might fall out of the tree at any minute! Saw a few more elephants, giraffes, zebras and warthogs before we had to leave the park and head to our hotel. Tomorrow the Ngorogoro crater. That is if I can still move – they have given me so much lovely food to eat at my lodge I feel like I may burst!