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Tanzania Day 2: Elephant Crossing

The next morning was basically a repeat of the previous morning: lukewarm trickle shower and omelets for breakfast. Maningo was there at 8:45 a.m. sharp to pick us up for the drive to Tarangire (pronounced Tar un gee rah, with a hard g) National Park to officially begin our safari. We were so excited!

We drove through Arusha again. This took a long time; morning traffic was pretty stacked up. Once outside of town, we passed lots of Maasai tribesmen herding their goats and cattle and lots of people using donkeys to carry water and goods.

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These hollowed out logs are hung in trees to attract bees to build their hives. Honey can then be harvested from the logs and used or sold.
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We drove through a large military zone where pictures were not allowed. Surprisingly, there were camels in that zone. While driving through a small town just outside the park gates, we met Michael, the Tanzanian owner of A2T. Finally we arrived at Tarangire around noon.

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Maningo did the required paperwork while Brenda and I stretched our legs a bit.

Elephant skull at the welcome center
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Tarangire is known for its large baobab trees.
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We stopped just inside the gate at a picnic area to eat our boxed lunches. A word on boxed lunches....not good. Some are better than others but most are not that great. This was one of the better ones, containing a fairly overcooked piece of fried chicken, samosa, crepe, donut thingie that wasn't sweet, meat pie, juice box, and cookies. Several vervet monkeys were hanging around at the picnic site trying to pilfer everyone's food and climb inside the safari vehicles. Maningo calls the monkeys troublemakers. He and the other guides took turns running them off.

After lunch, we were off on our very first game drive! And just a minute or two later we were rewarded with a herd of bull elephants right on the side of the road. They were standing in a semi-circle, cooling themselves by flapping their ears.

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A few minutes later, a mom and baby wandered over. They were part of a female herd passing through.
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The baby must have had an itchy ear.
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Mom and baby greeted the oldest elephant of the bull herd, the one standing behind her.
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This guy got himself pretty excited over mom. He pulled out his "5th leg."
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But in the end, she rejected him and he went off to pout by himself.
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The rest of the female herd crossed the road to go to the watering hole.
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Suddenly, a small herd of zebra came running across the road. They joined the elephants on the other side.
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We saw a few birds on our drive.

Superb starling
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Ashy starling
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Red-and-yellow barbet on a termite mound
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Crowned lapwing (or crowned plover)
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Yellow-necked spurfowl. These damned birds would start making all kinds of noise about 4 a.m. Apparently they don't realize the sun is not up and they should still be quiet at that hour!
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A couple more elephants and another herd of zebra.
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We came upon one male and two female ostriches. Suddenly, another male came running up and ran off the first male and one of the females. He was left alone with his female.

Male ostrich
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Female ostrich
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We found these zebras hanging out at a watering hole just off the road. They kept spooking themselves every few seconds--drinking, running away in a panic, coming back down to the water, repeat.

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After our game drive, we drove to our lodging for the next two nights, the Tarangire Safari Lodge.

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TSL is a permanent, tented camp with an awesome view. We had tent #34.

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Inside our tent, the bathroom is just behind the zippered part
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The view from our tent
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The main building
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Each night before dinner, TSL offers a happy hour on the terrace where they serve vodka or gin tonics, popcorn, and homemade salsa and chips.

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The view from the terrace is the only reason to stay here. We saw this elephant picking fruit or leaves from a tree down by the river.
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We enjoyed happy hour until it was time for dinner. Dinner at TSL begins with a soup (of course) and then consists of a buffet for the main courses and a dessert. The soup was carrot and coriander which was a little watery but decent.
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The buffet had beef stew with rice, poached fish, green beans, and carrots. These were edible.
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But then there was dessert. It was supposed to be apple pie. It was essentially applesauce poured into a frozen pie tart. Ick!
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A good laugh later and we were escorted to our tent for the evening. The generator is turned on each evening from 6-10 p.m. Outside of that time, there is no electricity in your tent. You can't really leave your tent after dark since there are no fences or anything. Wildlife can and does roam through at any time. This was not a big deal since we were pretty beat and ready to go to sleep by the time the lights shut off anyway. It's amazing how tiring it can be riding around on those dirt roads all day long, not to mention the excitement of not knowing what you'll see next.

Posted by zihuatcat 20:37 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania tarangire brenda

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