Sunday, 13 February 2011

24 hrs of freedom... And Bye Bye Grandma!

Dual post today, as we have to report both on our grand child-free adventure and the fact that Mama B is currently delivering Grandma to the airport so we've had an action packed last day with her. First though, our great escape...

We headed off Friday afternoon at about 4, with a rough idea of our destination - a new lodge about an hour away that is run by ex-street children. We'd met one of them a year ago, when he was chef at another lodge and was just about to leave to take over at the new lodge. It's called Kiboko Lodge and you can find them online here. ALthough some of the advertising is perhaps rather overstated (the 1.5km scenic walk was more like 150m, and scenic was pushing the point a little...), we had a lovely relaxing evening watching the resident hippo and lots of nice birds in the swamp next to the lodge, havinga  drink and not having to look after children. We even had a romantic candle-lit dinner for two. Very nice...  In the morning we were rather slower than perhaps we shoudl have been, but eventually got organised and made it to the far side of Arusha National Park where we'd planned to pick up a ranger and go for a walk. Another small delay later, and we were off - with ranger and one extra tourist who was happy to go with the map drawn by a neighbour of the best walk he recommends, taking in lots of the sights on the Meru side of the park, where we don't normally go. And it was really nice too - no doubt if we'd been there at the crack of dawn it would have been cooler walking and we'd have seen more birds - but we still had fun and I even had a tick - Bar-tailed Trogon. Rather a smart number. And a pair, mating, so lots of activity! Very nice.
We walked over the back of the hill in the foregound. Not the top of Meru, but still 4 hot hours...

Mama B  faces down the charging buffalo

My little waterfall.

The famous fig arch of Arusha NP (apparently)

Crowned Eagles are rather smart - scare the monkes though!

OK, not the best pic and this is the dull female, but you can see bars on the tail, pink on the breast and shin green back. Cant you?

Couldn't remember if bushbuck have starred on the blog before.
Then, after a late lunch and having checked in on everyone back home (reception is rather patchy in the park...) we headed down to a favourite lodge for a swim and a drink and a quiet read, before returning home in time to get children ready for bed. A lovely 24 hrs - the main conclusion was that we must do it again... Soon... So any willing baby-sitters please let us know!

Then today's activities consisted of Church, followed by lunch in that same lodge as we enjoyed yesterday, with more swimming,

then a concert at the nearby university - with lots of wild druming, dancing, singing and other assorted musical treats. Before a meal at a last lodge (with lovely Black and white Colobus going to roost in a tree in the garden) and then I brought the children home whilst Mama did the honors at the airport. Busy, but fun!

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