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Tanzania Day 12: Elephant Crossing Once More

It was our last day on safari. Since we had seen wild dogs the day before, we decided to do the morning game drive and an afternoon boat ride. Brenda wanted the chance to see elephants crossing the river. So we headed out early on that Saturday morning. I'm not sure about other times of year, but at least in June, there were few flowers in the parts of Tanzania we visited. We stopped at this flower and asked what it was. Ezra said it was an Impala lily.

Although beautiful, they are extremely poisonous. The bushmen used to ground them up and use them as poison for their arrows to hunt impala.

Some African cacti.


The first animal sighting of the day were some female kudu. When they are scared, they curl their tail up so that the white part shows as a sign for the others to follow.


We then found a small pride of lions who had just killed a cape buffalo.




They were still resting after the kill so we decided to go have breakfast and come back later to check on things. We had breakfast with the wildebeest again.


And this cute little ground squirrel.


After breakfast, we went back to see what the lions were up to. One was resting in the shade of the bushes.

Another was charged with guarding the carcass from vultures. Ezra said that they most likely wouldn't eat during the heat of the day; they would wait until it was cooler. In the meantime, someone had to keep the vultures and other animals away. This lion was hiding in the bushes and anytime a vulture would come near, he would come running out of the bushes to chase it off.


He let this one get a little close.

But then he came charging out.

Before retreating back to the bushes, he decided to have a little snack.

We decided to leave the lions to their snack, passing some guineas on the way out. Of course, Brenda yelled "GUINEAS!". Of course, I thought she said, "Denise". Then there was a short, Africanized guinea version of "Who's on First?"

We also passed a herd of thirsty impala girls.

And some zebra along the side of the road.

These two baby giraffes were hanging out together with some adults.

One was missing a tail, probably already nearly a victim of a lion.

On the way back to camp, we encountered several giraffe lying down in the heat of the middle of the day.



Our favorite Maasai warrior, the one who giggled at us frequently, was in camp when we arrived for lunch so we asked him for a quick picture.

Today's lunch was stew mince meatballs served with Tanzania ugali, salad, and a mango shake for dessert. The ugali was the first local food I had tasted and it really didn't taste like much. It's made from maize and cooked to a dough-like consistency. It's really used as a filler for people who don't have a lot of food otherwise but many Africans love the taste of it. I tried eating it with the meatballs and this helped give it some taste.

After lunch and the rest period we headed out for our last boat ride with Ezra and Toboke. A lone, bull cape buffalo watched us from shore as we rode by, watching the African fish eagle.

We saw a Hammerkop on a limb.

And a Goliath Heron creeping along the shore.

Lots of waterbuck and had come down to drink and graze.

Of course, everyone has to watch out for the crocodiles on shore and in the water.


Some giraffes were having a sundown drink as well.

We came around a corner in the river to the spot where the elephants sometimes cross. Along the shore, were lots of waterbuck with babies and these Egyptian geese with their goslings.



Around that time, a herd of elephants came down to the river to cross. Brenda would get her river crossing.









After that herd crossed, another herd crossed as well. We got two river crossings.




It was interesting to watch the older elephants help the smaller ones along, to make sure they got across, as some of the smallest ones were almost completely under water. Once across, all of the elephants continued in the brush and disappeared. What a coincidence that our safari began with an elephant crossing and ended with one as well. We made our way back to camp for dinner.

For our last dinner, we asked Barbara, the camp manager, if our guides Ezra and Rajabu could dine with us at our table. This appeared to be extremely uncommon at Selous as she was quite taken aback by our request. But to her credit, she arranged everything and didn't even charge us for our guides' dinners as we had expected. The courses that evening were olives bread soup, tuna salad, soya lime chicken with lentils and chapati (Indian flatbread), and coconut trifle for dessert. At dinner, Ezra didn't drink alcohol at all and Rajabu claimed to but sipped one drink all night. They seemed a little uncomfortable but we managed through it. It was good to get to know them a little better. Ezra was an excellent guide and Rajabu an excellent driver. Rajabu would also make an excellent guide if his English were better. I would ride with either one again in a heartbeat.

That night, during the night, the power went out. The fans went off and it was quite warm. This either brought the bush babies out or allowed us to hear them. They had some kind of party on our porch, running around and making all kinds of noise. We didn't get much sleep. We woke for breakfast then were driven to the airstrip for our flight to Dar es Salaam. Once there, we took a goodbye picture with Ezra (left) and Rajabu (right).

Our flight to Dar was short and uneventful. Once there, a driver was waiting to take us to our hotel day room at Harbour View Suites. I talked to Mike on the balcony while Brenda found a computer to print our international boarding passes. Then we had a delicious seafood meal in the hotel restaurant. We had arranged for a driver to take us shopping at the local crafts market where we both purchased many souvenirs including several wood carvings and Tinga Tinga paintings (mine of a giraffe, the Tanzanian national symbol and Brenda's of zebras). Once we started to get overly harassed, we returned to the hotel to re-pack, shower, and wait for our night flight home. The hotel driver returned us to the Dar airport and we left Tanzania around 11p. We parted in Amsterdam with Brenda flying to Houston and me returning to Dallas.

For both of us, this trip had been a lifetime dream and for both of us, this trip was a life-changing experience. Being able to spend time with animals in their environment is fascinating. It's exciting to drive through the bush, not knowing what you might see next. At the same time, it was emotional. Nature is cruel and these animals have a hard life. For one to survive, another must perish. I wondered the whole time how I would feel if we saw a hunt and kill. We did not so I am still left to wonder. But it was upsetting to see limping wildebeest or other animals that appeared sickly or injured because I knew what was soon to come for them. Since we've returned, not a day goes by that I don't think about some aspect of this trip and that I want to return to Africa. The animals that call it home and the experience of spending time with them have a permanent place in my heart.


Posted by zihuatcat 18:11 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania selous brenda

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What an amazing venture. I have only viewed day 12, and it was spectacular, and the closest that I will ever get to Africa. Thank you for sharing your magnificent journey.

by Pollyann Garris Powers

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