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Tanzania Day 7: Elephant Dung a Day Keeps the Flies Away

Our first full day at Katavi started with a 6:30a game drive. The savannah just outside of camp was teeming with the usual suspects.
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We stopped off at the hippo pool but it was pretty quiet around there.
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There were some public bathrooms next to the hippo pool and on our way out, we paid a visit. Safari bathrooms are always a crapshoot. At least this one had a real toilet instead of a hole in the ground.
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Just across from the bathrooms was a tree full of cell phones. Apparently, the workers in the facility next door kept their cell phones in these buckets for safety reasons while they were at work. I didn't really understand that but whatever. This guy appeared to be checking his messages on a break.
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We stopped at a place along the riverfront and the guys set up breakfast for us. There was a monitor lizard sunning along the shore.
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He was camera shy and disappeared into the water.
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We watched him swimming up against the concrete banks for a while. There were crocs sunning themselves, too.
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As we left the river after breakfast, a couple of old cape buffalo were resting.
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A giraffe with his cheeks full of food.
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We camp upon a tree full of monitor lizards but the pictures didn't come out. I was able to capture one swimming in the water.
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And a waterbuck watching all that was going on.
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We passed by a picnic area and stopped to see the bats hanging out underneath the roof covers.
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Some kind of scary looking fruit.
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By now it was nearing lunch time so we went back to camp to eat and rest. Then it was back out on the vehicle around 4p.

Aside from large hippo herds and lion prides, Katavi is also known for its tsetse flies. Now I didn't pay this much attention when I was doing my trip research but I will never ignore it again. They are miserable. They are huge, black, biting flies. They bite thru clothes and shoes. They were normally found when we would drive thru a bushy area. If we stayed out in the open, they weren't around. I don't know how the animals and the guides stand it on a daily basis. They are not phased by insect repellent, even if it contained DEET. The only thing that seemed to keep them somewhat at bay was burning elephant dung. That's right. Our guides collected dried up elephant poop, set it on fire, and placed it in a can behind our vehicle.
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That was all nice and well but our guides didn't pro-actively look for the dung. Instead, they would wait until we were overrun with tsetse flies then start looking for elephant poop of the right consistency. After this happened a couple of times, I made a big deal about it and told them they needed to keep a stockpile. I'm not sure they were too happy with that but I didn't care.

The afternoon was even slower than the morning and we didn't see much out and about, although I do love me some giraffe.

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Back at camp for the evening, we enjoyed a fish dinner with rice and veggies then braved the temperamental shower before bed.
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Posted by zihuatcat 01:47 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania brenda katavi

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Comments

Was this when we were given swatters for flies? I enjoyed swatting you once in a while, too, because you overreact. You always make me laugh. And who could help laughing, as we ride along in a cloud of elephant dung?

by Brenda G. Bridges

Yes, there is a picture of that worthless swatter on Day 8!

by zihuatcat

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