Thursday, 15 April 2010

safari time by Granny

The landrover was fully loaded with extra supplies of water, boots and emergency snacks, as well as the shovel and suntan cream - not to mention insect repellant. All bookings made in advance and off we set for a five day adventure, all superbly planned by Mr B - one of the very few people entitled to act as driver into the Ngorogoro crater.

We had planned to do a lot of animal spotting but the highlight of our adventure came before we had even entered any park, just on the main road and very close to a small family waiting for a bus, as well as a broken down lorry, we encounteres two lionesses. After a hasty photoshoot we backtracked to warn the local people before setting off once more up the long hill towards the crater.

Our first stop was at Ngorogoro Farm Lodge - set in a coffee farm, with beautiful gardens and a plentiful supply of weaver birds as well as a superb swimming pool. The afternoon included a tour of the plantation tour and the evening included local music and dancing - Mrs B contributing to the entertainment. Next day we were up and off in good time for the drive alomng the crater rim, and down towards the Oldupai gorge where we had a picnic lunch whilst exploring the little museum overlooking the gorge itself. Bumping along rough roads all the way we headed into Ndutu, a wonderful Safari Lodge on the border of the Serengeti, to find lovely cabin accommodation and a central dining area where the highlight for the children and many visiting adults are the Gennets ( Known to Kitty and the mancub as the "Gennetmiaows")

Lots of wonderful food, friendly staff and the ability to drive wherever you want in order to find the animals you are looking for gave us two days of ani mal hunting -looking for all sorts - elephants, zebra, giraffes, as well as plenty of birds including vultures who gave us the location of possible kills - all very exciting.
 The smaller wildlife also took us by surprise one day:

Ourdeparture was delayed one morning by the discovery of a flat tyre  quickly replaced by Mr B with the assistance of the mancub, so we were soon back on the road again

 Plenty of wildlife - just a small selection:

Off next day for the final destination - Ngorogoro crater. We stayed at the Sopa Lodge - by far the grandest, but equally friendly. The rooms all overlook the crater , and with an interconnecting door between our two rooms, there was lots of visiting to and fro, with communal use of the rocking
chairs to entertain in quieter moments. Granny, Grandad and our personal driver, Mr B set off for a day in the crater with enormous packed lunched supplied by the lodge, and spent 8 hours exploring the vast area of forest, grassland and lakes which are totallty unspoilt and occupied by thousands of animals and birds. Getting out of your vehicle can incur a penalty, but not when you are helping others out of a fix. Our intrepid driver assisted in towing out another vehicle which had got stuck in a mudhole - and his navigation skills throughout the trip were amazing - no signposts, just a good memory for landmarks and sense of direction saw us through We saw 8 rhino, hippo, elephants, jackals and hyena, as well as countless Correy Bustards and Guineafowl as well as this beautiful Crowned Crane.
Just another friendly local inhabitant

Our lunch stop was overlooking a hippo pool, and another lake was pink rimmed with flamingoes - far too much to take in in just one day. It was amazing that we had completed out whole trip with dry weather -as we climbed out of the crater, the first raindrops began to fall but even that shower cleared up in time for Granny to take the children for a final swim in what must be the coldest pool in Tanzania. the hot showers afterwards and the excellent cocktails before dinner made up for that!

Today started very early with the mancub awaking to the realisation that he was two today. Birthday extended until we returned safely home when presents could be opened, and cake and party is promised for tomorrow - what a brilliant end to a fantastic holiday. Only the news that we may not be able to get back to the UK has surpassed the challenges we have faced over the past few days - many thanks to Mr and Mrs B and mancub and kitty for giving us such a great time. We need to come back to find that elusive leopard!


  1. Happy 2nd birthday, sweet Mancub. (The Icelandic volcano with the unpronounceable name might mean you get more time with your grandparents!)

  2. Happy Birthday!
    Getting on a bit.

  3. Goodness me mancub it seems only a few weeks ago Aunty Tia anounced your arrival, two already. Happy Birthday sweetheart.
    As for Grannie and Grandad praying for a safe journey home with enjoyable interlude wherever that may take you. Much love

  4. GUT and GAF send birthday wishes and also the news that they squeaked baack into the UK from spain about 5 hours before the close down of N. Europe plc. Maybe you will have time to find the elusive leopard after all.... love GAF