Wednesday, 6 January 2010

New Year Safari!

Mud and amazing beasts probably sums up the last few days well. It's definitely been a learing experience - and probably planning more than a few hours ahead would improve the experience next time (slightly less stressful if nothing else). Main lessons being: (a) follow the advice of those who told you how to drive off road and check the depth of any suspicious puddle; (b) get a bit more hole extraction kit for the landrover (probably also carry a screwdriver so you can change the fuse for the wipers too) and (c) make sure the diff lock on said landrover is working before heading out again. Plus of course, lots of useful experience on where to visit and where to stay next time - some to miss, some to do more of. The final safari ended up being a combination of tented lodge for one night, camping for two nights and full lodge experience for the last two. We spent 24 hrs in Tarangire (now much greener and wetter than this trip, one of which was spent fruitlessly trying to extracate ourselves from a very deep hole until a friendly tourist vehicle turned up and helped pull us out - we then drove another 10 mins and heard lions not far off... But sadly at this point still thought we'd left the camera back in Arusha so no photos of this fun.), drove over to just near Lake Manyara and camped there with a full day in the NP the next day, then headed up to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and decided that this time we'd give the crater a miss - it being high season and all - and drove straight on to Ndutu, on the boarder with Serengeti but still in the NCA for two nights in a very nice lodge there before trundling home today. We also got stuck in the mud near Ndutu for a bit, but only because I was following another vehicle (who had confidently said we'd get across the marsh if I followed him - having spotted a large tourist vehicle already stuck in the middle) who got stuck first and once he'd got stuck in front of me I had to stop with the inevitable consequences... [Lesson 4 in off road driving - if following a vehicle through soft mud, try and keep close enough to see where they've gone, but far enough away that if they get stuck you can find a solid place to pull up in and laugh from] This time at least we were pulled out very quickly and still have plenty of time to see the pride of lions nearby and spot a cheetah on the plains before lunch. Fantastic! And here are some pics...

Buffalo with the rift behind in Lake Manyara:

'Unts as the Mancub would tell you, in the same place:

  The view of Ngorongoro Crater from the road to Ndutu:

Some of the migration on the Ndutu plains - animals as far as you can see (and rain!)
Rufous-tailed Weavers were common around the lodge...

Genet Miaow (another official Mancubism) seeking shelter (and sustenance) in the lodge during the evening

If we weren't actually stuck it would be a good illustration of the fun that can be had with a landrover! The car in front was, indeed, a Toyota. And we wouldn't have beens tuck if it hadn't done it first!

On the other side of the marsh were the beasts we all wanted to find...

Endless Serengeti plains...

And between times they almost solved the Times Christmas Jumbo...

... whilst the Mancub made close aquantance with more wee beasties.

And whilst these had kept me awake last night, it was stil good to see dozens of them as we drove back across the plains this morning (and we still found another four new mammal species for our trip list on the way through too. Definitely a fantastic area to keep exploring!).


  1. Happy New Year...what wondeful memories to start the year with.
    Hope it continues well.
    I do love Kitty's dress!

  2. very envious. We're all stuck in the deep snow. Great Britain has come to a standstill!

  3. Fun ties. I think we've got Aberdeen's snow here though incase you were missing it?