New species and Tanzania politics

The lodge I stayed in may have been outside of the park but it was in the middle of nowhere on the edge of Lake Manyara surrounded by game and lets face it – when they say tents they can hardly be classed as a tent!

Finished off my safari with a morning game drive back in Tarangire Park.  To be honest nothing could live up to the day before and there weren’t half as many elephants about as there had been the day before.   The rain the day before had filled up some of the water holes so they didn’t need to come down to the river – shows how lucky I was the day before to see so many.  We didn’t see anything other than a few impalas for ages – the long grass hides a lot of things but we drove through different areas and it was good to see the scenery of the park.  I do love watching impalas run – sort of a leaping action which is oddly graceful.  We also saw two young male elephants fighting with each other and trying to chase off an older elephant with only one tusk.  Elephants can really motor when they get going!  There elephants were red because we were in a different part of the park and the soil is much redder.

As we were driving past some rocks we spotted some Rock Hyraxes.  These tiny little creatures resemble a slightly oversize hamster sit on (or hide in the gaps of rocks so birds of prey don’t eat them) the rocks during the day.  Apparently they are meant to be related to elephants!  Now if you see them you will find this very hard to believe as there is nothing what so ever about them that resembles an elephant.  They are small and furry and they have no trunk!  I have been told that the reason is because their testicles are internal like elephants are.  I am still a little bit of a sceptic about this!  The other new species I saw was a Stean gazelle – similar in size to a Duik Duik and looks just as nervous.

On driving back to Arusha we discussed politics.  There was bi-election held on Sunday for the East Meru district as the government minister who represented them recently died. From what I understand his son has now decided that he wants to enter parliament in his fathers seat and the government spent over 20billion Tsh on his campaign (image what the benefits to the people all this money could be have been used for) – which is why the president was in the area on Friday doing last minute campaigning – oh they really brought out the big guns!  And from what I understand even tried using the tactics that the country has been stable since they were in power – it will break into civil war if they lose power!

 Anyway it turns out that the people really didn’t like this nepotism so the opposition candidate won by 10%.  The government was not happy!  There seemed to be huge celebrations going on in Arusha (an opposition stronghold area) that the government of 50 years had been defeated – even if it was only in one seat!  The biggest problem they face is that there are at least 12 opposition parties in Tanzania – unless they start to consolidate and join forces into 1 or 2 parties they are never going to be successful in changing the government.  The view among the educated people I have spoken to believe that a change of ruling party is required but that unlike what is going on in the Arab Spring at the moment – it needs to come from the ballot box in Tanzania.  The feeling is that no matter what goes on beforehand the actual elections themselves are fairly corrupt free.

Checked in to the Outpost lodge which is quite a nice little place – it was recommended on Trip Advisor as a good budget accommodation.  With that I agree with it – however for $57 a night I would hardly say it was particularly budget!  The rooms are clean and comfortable, hot water in the showers, it has a nice garden and small pool with an area I can work in – however there is building work going on so there is a constant hammering happening during the day and was actually surprisingly quiet at night – I was expecting it to be noisy.  But it is for the building work that I have changed hotels.  And I seem to have got a real bargain.  I have moved to the African Tulip hotel – the top rated one in Arusha on Trip Advisor with rack rate prices of $200 a night.  Because they are owned by the same company I am doing my safari with I have been offered a room at $85 a night. 

I got quite a lot of work done this week in my nice quiet hotel room although was quite annoyed to discover that as I am not there the guys at the nursery seem to have taken a week off!  Typical!  Anyway its now Easter and I’m to the Serengeti for the weekend to see some more wildlife!

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About becksupeverest

Took a leave of absence from work and decided to work as a volunteer in Tanzania based in Korogwe, a small town in the northeast of the country (combined with some travels around East Africa). The project is to look at the cost base, strategy and business plan of a tree nursery NGO - one of the Gatsby Foundation projects.
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