06.20.2013 - 06.20.2013
The damned spurfowl woke me up about 4:30 this morning. Noisy birds! We got up at 5:30 to begin our game drive at 6. This is the earliest game drives can begin in Tarangire and there were lots of people leaving at this time. But TSL only turns on the generators between 6-10 a.m. so you have to get dressed by flashlight. You would think they might adjust those times to 5:30-9:30 so you can have some electricity in the morning. Brenda thought it was a good idea to take a shower. There was not much hot water so her shower was pretty cold. I passed on that idea and just put my hair in a ponytail.
Our first sighting of the day were some helmeted guinea fowl. In the coming days, every time we saw these Brenda would say, "Guineas!" And every time she said that, I thought she said, "Denise" so I would say, "What?" And it would take us a while to figure it out. We never learned.
And then these vultures in the top of a palm tree
Around the corner, some Southern Ground-hornbill were walking along the road. This guy had something wrong with one of his feet.
Nearby a vervet monkey was sitting in a tree.
A female Defassa waterbuck was not happy with our presence. She snorted her discontent several times.
Her male counterpart looked like he was lying in the grass, until he started walking, and we realized he was standing and the grass was just that tall!
The rock hyrax were scurrying all over the rocks. They froze when we drove by.
By this time we were getting hungry so we stopped at the picnic site for breakfast. A giraffe was there to greet us.
We had breakfast boxes from our lodge. I couldn't wait to see what delights these included after last night's meal. I was not disappointed (wink, wink). There was an apple, banana, juice box, salami/cheese sandwich, and a sweet roll. At this site it was the squirrels and the starlings that tried to pilfer our food. The food was so bad I considered giving it to them.
Afterwards, our breakfast giraffe was still hanging around just down the road.
And a warthog was nearby.
A male Dafassa waterbuck was hanging out with some Impala girls.
A couple of dik-dik were hiding in the bushes on the roadside. They always looked so terrified, poor things!
Around the corner a large herd of impala girls and babies were grazing with their male leader. Maningo always called these males "lucky boys" because they usually appear as one male with a large herd of females. One boy with a group of girls to himself. Impalas are very territorial and the males spend a lot of their time shepherding the females and keeping them within the herd, fending off rival bachelors, and cutting out the juveniles with antlers.
We spotted a couple more dik-diks.
Brenda then spotted what looked to me like a big rock way off in the distance. So Maningo patiently stopped the truck and got out his binoculars. Turned out it WAS a big rock...with two cheetahs lying on top. Maningo was very excited. Cheetahs are a pretty rare find in Tarangire. I don't know how she saw them with her naked eye. They were so far away I couldn't even get a decent picture with the zoom lens. Maningo said it was a mother and cub. The only picture I could get was of the mother.
Maningo got on the radio to tell the other guides about the sighting and before long, a ton of trucks were there. It's amazing how fast the word spreads. Unfortunately one of the other guides who showed up laughed really loudly at one point which caused mama cheetah to decide it was time to move on. She led the cub out into the long grass until they were out of sight.
Moving on to a male impala, more ostriches, and giraffe.
A herd of female elephants and calves came walking by.
Another guide called us on the radio to tell us about a lion sighting. Three lions had gone down to the river after a warthog. The warthog got away but the lions were resting on the other side of the river. This was our first lion sighting!
We returned to the lodge for a hot lunch and a break. Lunch was another buffet (yuck) which included honey chicken, meatloaf, rice, spaghetti with mushroom sauce, and veggies.
After lunch we browsed the gift shop a bit. I bought some black and white safari coasters and my usual Christmas ornament. I took some pictures around the lodge while Brenda rested in our tent.
White-bellied Go-away bird
Apparently this bird sings a song that sounds like it's saying, "Go away, go away." Brenda wanted one to take home. I would have liked one, too, but my bird would have to know Spanish to be effective.
We went for a short game drive in the late afternoon. We saw the usual suspects--zebras, warthogs, and impalas. We stopped by a termite mound and found a troop of dwarf mongooses, Africa's smallest carnivore. Of course, Brenda and I had a discussion as to whether the plural of mongoose is mongoose, mongooses, or mongeese. You'll be happy to know that I have looked that up and according to Webster's online, it's mongooses. I know everyone can sleep at night now.
We watched them scurry around and wrestle with each other for a while. They are busy little things. Brenda was happy to find them. She named one of her cats Goose (after Mongoose) because he's such a good snake killer.
On the way back to the lodge, we stopped to watch the beautiful sunset.
We continued our sunset watching on the terrace with more vodka tonics and chips and salsa. Dinner at TSL was truly horrible. It started with potato soup that looked like dishwater. I expected it to actually have potatoes in it. No such luck.
The buffet contained some kind of crusted chicken that almost made me physically ill. I ate a lot of white rice instead.
After the previous night's applesauce pie fiasco, I decided to go with the ginger cake for dessert.
Brenda ordered the pie again. This time it was a lemon meringue. The meringue was burned completely black.
We were both thankful this was our last dinner here.