A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: zihuatcat

Tanzania Day 8: Same Animals, Different Day

We were starting to get frustrated. We'd been at Katavi for a couple of days and only had two more days left on safari. We were grateful for the good sightings we had at Ruaha because we weren't getting much at Katavi. So we decided to change tactics. Rather than go out in the early morning and late afternoon, we decided to sleep in and go out later, staying out all day. Of course, sleeping in meant being ready at 7:30a instead of 6:30a.

We had breakfast in camp which consisted of cinnamon rolls, fruit, omelet, sausage, and tomatoes (an English twist).
20190622_075524.jpg

While we were eating, the server told us about the python that lives in the roof of the dining area. We'd been eating here for two days, oblivious to the python above.
IMG_6718.JPG

That definitely got me checking the roof of our banda when we got back to it!

We left out about 8:15a and started our drive by the river where the birds were out.

Yellow-billed stork
IMG_6720.JPG

IMG_6758.JPG

Gray heron
IMG_6721.JPG

Goliath heron
IMG_6722.JPG

Martial eagle eating breakfast in a tree
IMG_6725.JPG

IMG_6733.JPG

We saw Charles and Katie with their guide. We talked to them a bit and they weren't seeing much of anything either.
IMG_6738.JPG

Palm nut vulture
IMG_6739.JPG

Hammerkop
IMG_6744.JPG

Fish eagle
IMG_6750.JPG

IMG_6743.JPG

IMG_6745.JPG

Cape buffalo
IMG_6760.JPG

IMG_6763.JPG

IMG_6764.JPG

The antelope in the background are the elusive eland. I've only seen them a handful of times and never gotten a good picture. They are always running away.
IMG_6773.JPG

IMG_6775.JPG

IMG_6777.JPG

IMG_6779.JPG

By now it was time for lunch so we stopped off to eat our box lunches of scotch egg, veggie sandwich, and fruit.
20190622_130619.jpg

We spent most of the afternoon with a herd of elephants. This group looked like four generations together at once.
IMG_6783.JPG

IMG_6788.JPG

IMG_6794.JPG

IMG_6795.JPG

IMG_6800.JPG

IMG_6801.JPG

This one gave us a demonstration of how they knock berries and fruit off the trees.
IMG_6807.JPG

IMG_6813.JPG

I was sitting in the back row, as usual, with my zebra hair fly swatter.
20190622_151057.jpg

IMG_6819.JPG

IMG_6824.JPG

We arrived back to camp around 5:30p.
IMG-20190622-WA0001.jpg

Our little male bushbuck that lived under our banda was out and about.
IMG-20190622-WA0003.jpg

20190622_180455.jpg

We were no longer the only ones in camp. Some Canadians joined the camp tonight. They'd been driving around Tanzania for several weeks. At this camp, we still ate our dinner separately but did have drinks and popcorn with them around the campfire beforehand.

For dinner, we had veggie soup to start then beef and mushroom pie, fried eggplant, potatoes, and veggies.
20190622_201159.jpg

20190622_201334.jpg

Dessert was an orange meringue pie. Our giggly Masaai guide walked us back to our banda and we were done for the night. Neither of us had the energy to face the scalding hot/freezing cold shower.

Posted by zihuatcat 01:46 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania brenda katavi Comments (0)

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.
IMG_6658.JPG

IMG_6663.JPG

We stopped off at the hippo pool but it was pretty quiet around there.
IMG_6664.JPG

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.
20190621_083448.jpg

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.
IMG_6668.JPG

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.
IMG_6669.JPG

He was camera shy and disappeared into the water.
IMG_6670.JPG

We watched him swimming up against the concrete banks for a while. There were crocs sunning themselves, too.
IMG_6671.JPG

IMG_6673.JPG

As we left the river after breakfast, a couple of old cape buffalo were resting.
IMG_6674.JPG

A giraffe with his cheeks full of food.
IMG_6678.JPG

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.
IMG_6684.JPG

And a waterbuck watching all that was going on.
IMG_6692.JPG

We passed by a picnic area and stopped to see the bats hanging out underneath the roof covers.
20190621_111941.jpg

20190621_112054.jpg

Some kind of scary looking fruit.
20190621_115852.jpg

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.
20190623_092436.jpg

20190623_092449.jpg

IMG-20190621-WA0000.jpg

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.

IMG_6700.JPG

IMG_6701.JPG

IMG_6707.JPG

IMG_6712.JPG

Back at camp for the evening, we enjoyed a fish dinner with rice and veggies then braved the temperamental shower before bed.
20190621_201526.jpg

Posted by zihuatcat 01:47 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania brenda katavi Comments (2)

Tanzania Day 6: Hippo Fights and Hippo Sights

We were up at 4a for our drive to the airstrip. The camp started a campfire for us to keep warm while we waited to leave. We could hear, but not see, hyena right outside the perimeter. We knew it would be cold so we stole the blankets off the beds to use as wraps. We asked Jimmy to bring them back to camp for us after dropping us off. Nothing could prepare us for the brutal cold of that drive in the pitch black dark at full speed in an open air vehicle for 1.5 hours. Mostly we just closed our eyes and tried to get through it. I'm not sure I've ever been so grateful to arrive somewhere in my life as I was to arrive at that airstrip. Guess who else was there? Charles and Katie from England! They were going to Katavi as well but staying in a separate camp from us.

We had a two hour direct flight to Katavi and I'm pretty sure I passed out as soon as we were on board. Charles, sitting behind me, had the same idea.
20190619_235130.jpg

20190620_005134.jpg

We arrived in Katavi and were greeted by our guide, Romano, our driver, Kevin, and a local bull elephant.
IMG_6540.JPG

On the way to camp, we stopped off down at the river to stretch our legs and see the crocs and hippos.
IMG_6546.JPG

IMG_6547.JPG

This brave yellow-billed stork kept fishing all around this croc and hippo.
IMG_6553.JPG

IMG_6556.JPG

IMG_6555.JPG

IMG_6575.JPG

Then these two were on the other side and couldn't keep from mouthing each other.
IMG_6563.JPG

IMG_6570.JPG

IMG_6584.JPG

IMG_6585.JPG

IMG_6588.JPG

As we left the river, we saw a cute little warthog family that went tails up when they saw us.
IMG_6590.JPG

We arrived at Katavi Wildlife Camp around 1p and since we were the only guests in camp for a few days, they upgraded us to the family banda with a private pool.
20190620_121531.jpg

20190620_121939.jpg

20190620_121345.jpg

20190620_121407.jpg

20190620_121415.jpg

20190620_042248.jpg

After dropping off our bags, we walked to the dining area for lunch of sliders, potato salad, salad, and apple slaw with dessert of chocolate mousse.

Around 4p, we headed out for our late afternoon game drive. There were a few different animals hanging out in the savannah area outside of camp.

Waterbuck
IMG_6597.JPG

Reedbuck
IMG_6598.JPG

Tessebe
IMG_6600.JPG

IMG_6610.JPG

Zebra
IMG_6614.JPG

IMG_6616.JPG

IMG_6619.JPG

Snake in a tree
IMG_6627.JPG

We arrived at the hippo pool and were able to get out and walk around a bit. The stench was indescribable.
20190620_095632.jpg

IMG_6629.JPG

IMG_6634.JPG

The mud and poop all looked the same.
IMG_6636.JPG

I spent a long time poised with my finger on the shutter just trying to get the perfect open mouth pic.
IMG_6641.JPG

IMG_6644.JPG

The guides had some fun with a hippo skulll.
IMG_6650.JPG

Back in the vehicle, we were able to catch the sunset on the way back to camp.
20190620_102856.jpg

IMG_6652.JPG

We met the camp manager around the campfire for a pre-dinner drink then were seated in the dining area for dinner.
20190620_195853.jpg

Dinner was a starter of pumpkin soup (they are really big on soup starters in Tanzania). Then peri peri chicken, rice, potatoes, and veggies.
20190620_201515.jpg

Here a Maasai warrior with a spear walks you to your tent each night after dark. These guys usually speak very little English but are hilarious in their own right. After getting back to the banda, we tried out the shower which appeared to have two temps only - scalding hot and freezing cold. We kept having to turn it on and off to get thru it. After that experience, we were ready for bed.

Posted by zihuatcat 02:50 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania brenda katavi Comments (0)

Tanzania Day 5: Giraffe Kills (Still) and Giraffe Thrills

It was our last full day at Ruaha and we were hoping to see some different animals. Ruaha is known for its large elephant herds as well as having the second largest population of lions in Africa and those were our main reasons for coming there. I was itching for a little variety and we would get that today.

We were up and out at 630a (again) with Hennessy joining us (again) and we started out at the giraffe carcass (again). It was cold (again) so we were all wrapped up in our blankets.
IMG_6376.JPG

One of the male lions was having some 3-day old giraffe for breakfast.
IMG_6377.JPG

IMG_6385.JPG

He had his fill and sauntered off for a rest somewhere.
IMG_6390.JPG

A jackal was waiting in the wings to get in on that breakfast.
IMG_6388.JPG

IMG_6389.JPG

The baboons were having theirs as well, relatively calmly for baboons.
IMG_6396.JPG

Harrier Hawk on the lookout (our guide's favorite bird)
IMG_6397.JPG

When it was getting close to time to eat, we stopped off at a picnic site by the river.
IMG_6404.JPG

20190619_094947.jpg

IMG_6407.JPG

IMG_6409.JPG

IMG_6405.JPG

IMG_6406.JPG

IMG_6411.JPG

Our first crocs of the trip.
IMG_6414.JPG

IMG_6416.JPG

We hung out at the picnic tables for a while talking to our guides. Jimmy told us that when he goes home on leave, he has to take a bus and that it takes him several days. They have mandatory time off and then they come back for weeks at a time. His dream was to buy his own safari vehicle and be his own boss. He was young and playful, definitely giving off the vibes that he wasn't too interested in going the marriage/kids route any time soon. But for someone so young (early 20s), he was highly educated in the ways of a safari guide. We jokingly called him the Professor because he was a great teacher of information.

Before leaving the picnic site, we asked another guide to take a pic of all of us.
20190619_104413.jpg

We continued driving by the river and Jimmy found another place where it was safe for us to get out and explore a little.
IMG_6419.JPG

IMG_6420.JPG

IMG_6421.JPG

20190619_025814.jpg

The hippos looked like big, lumpy rocks in the river.
IMG_6423.JPG

IMG_6426.JPG

IMG_6427.JPG

IMG_6451.JPG

Fleeing female kudu
IMG_6442.JPG

A tree that looked like something with large teeth had eaten around the sides. I believe Jimmy said this was the damage that elephants do to the landscape.
IMG_6444.JPG

Lilac-breasted roller
IMG_6447.JPG

Some female lions were relaxing by the river.
IMG_6453.JPG

IMG_6455.JPG

IMG_6456.JPG

IMG_6458.JPG

IMG_6460.JPG

IMG_6461.JPG

We came upon a group of what we first thought were some innocent-looking giraffe.
IMG_6478.JPG

It soon became obvious that things were not so innocent. The male very obviously was trying to mate with one of the females.
IMG_6479.JPG

HIs first attempt failed. I guess she needed more courting.
IMG_6480.JPG

So he kept trying to woo her.
IMG_6482.JPG

IMG_6485.JPG

And trying.
IMG_6487.JPG

We were all waiting for what seemed like forever.
20190619_053202.jpg

Me with my finger poised on the shutter ready for action.
20190619_053149.jpg

The male was obviously ready.
IMG_6495.JPG

IMG_6496.JPG

Finally...success!
IMG_6501.JPG

Twenty seconds later we're all like...that was it?
IMG_6505.JPG

Even the warthog was unimpressed.
IMG_6506.JPG

Just down the road, our eagle eye guide spotted a serval cat hunting in the tall grass. It's pretty rare to see that during the daytime so we were pretty excited.
IMG_6512.JPG

IMG_6515.JPG

IMG_6519.JPG

IMG_6520.JPG

IMG_6525.JPG

Unfortunately, Hennessy encouraged our driver to go off road a bit and get too close which, in our opinion, interrupted the serval's hunting. This greatly upset us (especially Brenda) and we were both quiet the rest of the way back to camp.

This adorable baby zebra helped though.
IMG_6532.JPG

Back at camp in time for showers and dinner, I confirmed with the office our leave time for our 7a flight the next morning. They had us incorrectly listed as booked on the noon flight so it took some effort to get that straightened out. We had our last dinner here which included a pesto linguine starter, beef with tomato sauce, green beans, potatoes, and spongecake. As usual, none of it was very good but it got the job done. We spent the rest of the evening packing and getting ready for our early morning departure. Brenda made cards by flashlight to give to our guides with their tips.
20190620_044659.jpg

Just as she finished, the light went out.

Posted by zihuatcat 22:04 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania brenda ruaha Comments (0)

Tanzania Day 4: Elephant Overload

I was feeling much better the next morning so we were loaded up and out at 630a. We were joined by Hennessy from Germany since the vehicle he was in had broken down. Of course, we stopped off at the giraffe carcass first. There were two male lions watching over things.

Brenda taking pics of me taking pics of lions
20190617_232118.jpg

Lion #1 hiding in the bushes
IMG_6166.JPG

He decided to venture out
IMG_6172.JPG

IMG_6179.JPG

IMG_6181.JPG

Lion #2 looking pretty fat and full
IMG_6189.JPG

The vervet monkeys were having breakfast in the nearby trees.
IMG_6208.JPG

IMG_6211.JPG

Next up was an elephant family with some adorable little ones.
20190618_002821.jpg

IMG_6220.JPG

IMG_6227.JPG

IMG_6228.JPG

They looked like they were trying to figure out how their trunks work.
IMG_6229.JPG

IMG_6232.JPG

We made our usual pit stop for food.
20190618_020200.jpg

And a bathroom break.
20190619_144439.jpg

Go away bird
IMG_6236.JPG

Giraffe
IMG_6239.JPG

Another elephant herd
IMG_6243.JPG

IMG_6244.JPG

IMG_6245.JPG

IMG_6249.JPG

Baby zebra catching up to his mom
IMG_6254.JPG

Kudu pair
IMG_6261.JPG

Baobab tree
IMG_6268.JPG

IMG_6272.JPG

Elephants digging down below the surface for water in the river bottom
IMG_6274.JPG

IMG_6280.JPG

The baby was a little tired.
IMG_6285.JPG

IMG_6286.JPG

Mongoose family
IMG_6290.JPG

Agama lizard
IMG_6293.JPG

Dik dik
IMG_6296.JPG

Giraffe
IMG_6306.JPG

IMG_6307.JPG

The aptly named candelabra tree
IMG_6308.JPG

Warthogs doing what they do...running with their tails up
IMG_6309.JPG

We came upon a river with actual water in it and followed it for a while
IMG_6322.JPG

IMG_6331.JPG

IMG_6333.JPG

IMG_6337.JPG

IMG_6338.JPG

Cape buffalo
IMG_6341.JPG

IMG_6345.JPG

IMG_6354.JPG

There was a group of self-drivers down by the river repeatedly getting in and out of the car.
IMG_6358.JPG

Apparently they didn't see the four lions watching and stalking them but we did.
IMG_6359.JPG

Rock hyrax
IMG_6360.JPG

Impala with yellow-billed hornbill
IMG_6363.JPG

Kudu crossing
IMG_6372.JPG

We were able to catch some of the sunset before getting back to camp late around 630p.
IMG-20190618-WA0000.jpg

20190618_100341.jpg

I felt up to dinner but I wished I hadn't after eating it. The celery soup, lasagne, and pie left a lot to be desired but then again, we weren't here for the food. It was light's out after dinner and showers.

Posted by zihuatcat 04:38 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania brenda ruaha Comments (0)

(Entries 21 - 25 of 131) « Page 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 7 8 9 10 .. »