Sunday, 8 November 2009

Stinky Flamingos (no, not a local rock band...)

On Saturday we celebrated having been here for a whole month by visiting our second national park - Arusha National Park. Just half an hour from here, it is perfect for a day trip. We got up and out fairly early and were rewarded with clear views of both Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro. No lions and only forest elephants (v. hard to see) in this park, but loooooads of buffalo, plenty of giraffes, zebra and warthogs and lots of monkeys too. We passed great troops of baboons, several with babies clinging tight, and quite a few Sykes monkeys, but failed to find the colobus this time.

Being volcanic, Mount Meru has several old craters, now protected green oases for wildlife, which you can gaze into from on high.

It also has a few crater lakes and we saw a hippo with a baby, a few hundred little grebes and tens of thousands of lesser Flamingos.

 An amazing sight, but deemed "pretty but stinky" by Kitty, who moaned every time we went round a bend and there were "oh no, MORE stinky flamingos" while the Mancub gleefully yelled "STINKY!" repeatedly. To be fair to the poor birds, I suspect the lake contributed a fair amount of the smell.

Smaller, beautiful (but less stinky) were some Crowned Hornbills, Silvery-cheeked Hornbills, a splendid male Narina's Trogon, Little, White-fronted and Cinnamon-chested bee-eaters and a host of other waders, weavers, shrikes, boubous, quails etc. (Apply to Mr B for a complete list...)

We found a peaceful, if scorching, lunchspot next to one of the lakes, and had just settled into our picnic when a busload of school children turned up. They were very high-spirited and friendly and kidnapped the children for dozens of photos (me with a Mzungu girl!) before we retreated back to the car and headed off to find some shade or breeze.

After a full, hot, and rather parched (I only managed to pack half of the water...) day, we rounded things off by attending Fireworks Night, held at one of the big school campuses out of town on the west side.

Kitty and the Mancub tried their first BBQ chicken (deemed very acceptable as long as we bit pulled pieces off for them and they didn't actually have to hold it...), the Mancub had his first fizzy lemonade and admired the "BIG FIRE!", we bumped into various friends and aquaintances, survived a very impressive fireworks display without any tears or screaming, and Mama lost her glasses... Ooops. I'll phone the school tomorrow on the off chance that they have been found and survived unscathed. Seems unlikely somehow.

Today was somewhat less exciting. We tried a new church which was very friendly, boasted some impressive harmony singing from the congregation, seemed very sound and was simultaneously translated into English from Swahili. Sadly, it was also very hot, veeeery long (although not for here) and had no kids programme during the service, so I don't think we'll be going back. This afternoon I packed up our belongings ready for the move tomorrow (to the house we're house-sitting) while Mr B took the kids swimming at the lodge up the road. And tonight he's out on one of our first furniture/kitchenware/toy raids. We've had quite a response to our email round the local e-listings saying that we are looking for stuff to equip our house. The second hand market among ex-pats is flourishing, but also very expensive. Tomorrow or tuesday I shall seek out the local second hand furniture market and see how it compares.

And so to end, we proudly present our first ever, in the history of this blog...


 A prize (hmmm - free G&T on your arrival?) for the provider of the best caption!


  1. Little giraffe "When are we going to see grannie and Grandad?"
    Big giraffe. "They are arriving on 3rd April"

    Little giraffe " Hooray"
    Big giraffe "Hope they are bringing the G and T with them!"

  2. Is that a BLACK spot on your neck??!
    Relax you hypochondriac.