A Travellerspoint blog

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)

Tanzania Day 3: Animal Assortment

I woke up feeling like a sinus infection was coming on so I took what I thought was a Claritin and a Mucinex in hopes of staving it off. But because we didn't have any electricity and I was taking pills by flashlight, I ended up taking a Claritin and an Imodium (which wouldn't turn out to be all that helpful). We were in the vehicle and on our way by 630a. It was very cold so Jimmy brought blankets for us to use to wrap our legs and feet. Before getting underway, we stopped off at the giraffe carcass but there was nothing much going on there this morning. A way down the road, we came across two female lions lounging around.
IMG_6046.JPG

You can see how close the vehicle gets to the animals, which are basically ignoring our existence.
20190617_002858.jpg

IMG_6047.JPG

IMG_6054.JPG

IMG_6055.JPG

IMG_6058.JPG

IMG_6061.JPG

IMG_6063.JPG

IMG_6068.JPG

They were kind of, sort of watching this giraffe but they weren't interested enough to do much about it.
IMG_6065.JPG

We were starting to get hungry so Sudi found a quiet place for us to have breakfast. We stopped and the guys got everything set up for us.
IMG_6079.JPG

IMG_6078.JPG

Brenda and I explored the hollow tree while they did so.
IMG_6077.JPG

20190617_101125.jpg

IMG-20190617-WA0003.jpg

The rest of the day was spent encountering an assortment of animals.

Impala
IMG_6081.JPG

Giraffe
IMG_6087.JPG

Lilac-breasted roller
IMG_6093.JPG

More giraffe
IMG_6095.JPG

Male lion hiding in the bushes
IMG_6099.JPG

Elephant
IMG_6101.JPG

IMG_6103.JPG

Male kudu with his female harem
IMG_6111.JPG

Fish eagle
IMG_6114.JPG

Owl
IMG_6115.JPG

Yet another giraffe
IMG_6120.JPG

Mom and baby
IMG_6122.JPG

Saddle-billed stork
IMG_6125.JPG

Male ostrich
IMG_6126.JPG

More elephant
20190617_132127.jpg

IMG_6129.JPG

IMG_6131.JPG

Kudu and giraffe
IMG_6135.JPG

Zebra
20190617_053005.jpg

Even more elephant
IMG_6147.JPG

IMG_6149.JPG

Baboon
IMG_6157.JPG

By the time we arrived back at camp, I was feeling significantly worse. All I wanted to do was rest. They brought me some juice and I was convinced to gargle salt water (which never works). Brenda went on to dinner by herself and I fell asleep very early to the sounds of the lions roaring around the giraffe carcass.

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

Tanzania Day 2: Lion Thrills and Lion Kills

We both slept really well even though we had to get up at 5a. We stored our luggage at the front desk of the hotel to be picked up after safari. The hotel restaurant was open so we had some made-to-order omelets before leaving.
20190616_063623.jpg

Our driver took us to the airport but dropped us off at the wrong terminal. We had to pay an extra $20 to find someone to take us to domestic flights where our Safari Link charter would depart. We waited for our 10:30a flight in a separate waiting area where we met Charles and Katie from England. They kept us entertained throughout the day. Even though we had a small plane, we had plenty of room to spread out.
20190616_022927.jpg

Our pilot, Henry.
20190616_102838.jpg

We stopped off in Zanzibar and picked up another couple.
20190616_105045.jpg

20190616_110424.jpg

20190616_110710.jpg

We also stopped in Selous and Mikumi, where we had a bathroom break with elephants. A little after 1p we landed in Ruaha and were met at the strip by our guide, Jimmy, and driver, Sudi. The guides had brought us lunch so we headed off to a nearby picnic area. On the way, we ran into some elephants.
IMG_5966.JPG

IMG_5967.JPG

IMG_5973.JPG

IMG_5974.JPG

IMG_5977.JPG

IMG_5980.JPG

IMG_5983.JPG

IMG_5985.JPG

IMG_5986.JPG

Some impala.
IMG_5988.JPG

IMG_5990.JPG

And a giraffe.
IMG_5989.JPG

We arrived at the picnic site and while the guides were setting things up, I looked out over what I assume was a dry, river bottom.
20190616_155340.jpg

There was an assortment of giraffe, elephants, and baboons coming through for a drink.
IMG_5993.JPG

IMG_5996.JPG

IMG_5998.JPG

After a pasta salad lunch (with Coke Zero for Brenda which she was very excited about), we continued our afternoon game drive.

The guides stopped to show us a sausage tree and its poisonous fruit, which generated a few bad jokes and laughs.
IMG_5999.JPG

Next we came upon a pair of mating lions taking a short break. Both looked pretty young to be becoming parents.
IMG_6004.JPG

IMG_6006.JPG

IMG_6010.JPG

IMG_6013.JPG

A self-driver pulled up and apparently oblivious to the lions who were just a few yards away, got out of his vehicle for some reason. Jimmy yelled "Simba" to him to warn him of the lions. He got back in pretty fast.

The lions got tired of us watching them, I guess, so they wandered off for more privacy.
IMG_6016.JPG

After leaving the lions, we found another herd of elephant with babies.
IMG_6019.JPG

IMG_6023.JPG

It would be dark soon and we hadn't checked into camp yet so we decided to head that way. That morning, lions killed a giraffe about 100 yards from camp so we drove by the carcass on the way in. A jackal was scouting it.
IMG_6024.JPG

But he wasn't going to get anything because one of the lions was hiding in the bushes.
IMG_6026.JPG

The carcass was not far away.
20190616_225702.jpg

20190616_225908.jpg

20190616_230426.jpg

Jimmy, our guide, on the left and Sudi, our driver, on the right.
20190616_230443.jpg

We made it back to camp just before dark and were shown to our tent.
IMG-20190617-WA0005.jpg

Brenda immediately began re-arranging.
IMG-20190617-WA0006.jpg

Just behind the zipped curtain was our bathroom.
20190619_183102.jpg

20190619_183122.jpg

20190619_183153.jpg

Dinner of chicken, curry green beans, purple cabbage, potatoes, and chocolate raisin cake was served at 8p. We dined outside, by candlelight, at a long table. We could hear the lions roaring and the impala snorting around the giraffe carcass not far away. After dinner, we took our showers and went to bed with hot water bottles at our feet to keep us warm.

Posted by zihuatcat 04:44 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania brenda ruaha Comments (0)

Tanzania Day 1: Just One Night (Again)

Shortly after take off from Doha, we were served a brunch of scrambled eggs, sausage, and potato. I was sitting next to a woman reading the Bible and there was a kid in front of us who screamed for hours. I was able to get a couple of hours of sleep somehow. We had to make a pit stop in Arusha and we were able to get a glimpse of Mt. Kilimanjaro through the clouds. Finally, after about eight hours, we landed in Dar es Salaam.

The airport in Dar had one of the most unorganized Visa processes I've seen. There was no line. They just randomly took your passport and disappeared with it. We both got our passports back with the right Visas so then it was on to currency exchange. Now last time we were in Tanzania, I had a terrible experience where the currency exchange in town stole money from me. So this time, I thought it would be better to do it at the airport. I was wrong. I gave the woman at the counter $1,200 USD. She gave me back Tanzanian money equivalent to $100 USD. What is with people trying to scam me in this country? All three women were behind the counter giggling and laughing. I ended up having to cause a huge scene to get the correct amount of funds.

At least our driver was waiting and he took us to Hotel Slipway down on the waterfront.
20190615_204101.jpg

We were exhausted and practically falling asleep but we fought the urge to crash.
20190615_184050.jpg

20190615_184520.jpg

View from balcony
20190615_184656.jpg

We walked downstairs to the Waterfront Restaurant for dinner.
20190615_204124.jpg

It was a relaxing little restaurant with a house band.
IMG-20190615-WA0001.jpg

They played everything from Kool and the Gang to Kenny Rogers.

We both ordered rum and Cokes. Boy were they stingy on the rum.
IMG-20190615-WA0002.jpg

For dinner, Brenda had king prawns.
20190615_200759.jpg

I had grilled octopus.
20190615_200752.jpg

20190615_122356.jpg

We hung out for a little bit and watched the locals dance.
20190615_204943.jpg

Then it was back to the hotel for a re-pack. For safari, we were only allowed 30 lbs of luggage each in soft-sided bags. We brought additional clothes for our time in Dar and Doha so we had to shuffle things around in order to store the extra luggage at the hotel. We finally fell into bed around 11p.

Posted by zihuatcat 01:23 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania dar brenda Comments (0)

Doha Layover 1: Just One Night

Back to Africa, baby!

As usual, trip planning started a year ago for me and Brenda to return to Africa. Normally, I would choose to visit a different country but Tanzania is so big and there were still some parks I wanted to visit for the first time. The full itinerary:

Thursday, June 13 - Fly to Doha.
Friday, June 14 - Arrive in Doha. Long layover.
Saturday, June 15 - Arrive in Dar and overnight.
Sunday, June 16 - Fly to Ruaha National Park and spend four nights.
Thursday, June 20 - Fly to Katavi National Park and spend four nights.
Monday, June 24 - Fly to Mafia Island and spend five nights.
Saturday, June 29 - Fly back to Dar and overnight.
Sunday, June 30 - Fly back to Doha and spend two nights.
Tuesday, July 2 - Fly home.

A few days before leaving, on Sunday afternoon while I was packing, straight line winds came thru Dallas unexpectedly and knocked out the power. It was a sunny day. There were no storms. It was the weirdest thing. Even more weird was that the power outage and wind damage was city wide. Power at my house did not come back on until Wednesday night. In the meantime, I stayed at my friend Melissa's house so that I could have a/c and light. I was grateful it came back on before leaving so that I didn't have to worry about it.

Because Brenda is sometimes on her own time schedule when it comes to making planes and it was several hundred dollars cheaper per ticket, I decided to drive to Houston so we could fly together. I left about 10a on Thursday morning and met her at our mutual friend's house in Madisonville where she would leave her car. We then made our way to Houston (thru horrendous construction on the highway) and arrived at the airport for our 14 hour flight.
20190613_163438.jpg

At the Qatar counter checkin, I learned for the first time that our carry-on had a 15lb weight limit. This was a problem since my camera equipment alone was 7lb. So Brenda and I had to do some re-shuffling of things between us but we finally got the problem solved.

We grabbed some dinner at the airport and boarded our flight. Unfortunately, Qatar changed our seat assignments from two aisle seats across from each other to two seats in the middle of a five across. I was not pleased. Luckily, after a dinner of beef peppercorn and potatoes au gratin and two movies, I was still able to get 6-7 hours of sleep.

We arrived in Doha the next day at 5p local time. We breezed thru immigration and currency exchange and our hotel transfer was waiting outside. We stopped in a very busy shopping area at a drug store to get some Flonase for Brenda and arrived at our hotel, the St. Regis, at 730p.
20190614_192659.jpg

Bathroom entrance
20190614_192718.jpg

20190614_193320.jpg

20190614_193332.jpg

20190614_192819.jpg

Some very dry snacks waiting in the room for us.
20190614_192840.jpg

We both needed a shower before dinner but it took the hotel almost 45 minutes to deliver our luggage to the room. We should have done it ourselves. So we had to settle for just changing clothes and sprucing up.
20190614_203156.jpg

We were in Doha at the hottest time of the year. At 8p, it was still 102 degrees outside.

We had an 830p reservation downstairs at Restaurant Opal, a Gordon Ramsay restaurant and our reason for staying at the St. Regis. It was freezing cold inside the restaurant which was basically empty.
20190614_205051.jpg

We started with a sushi appetizer which we shared.
20190614_211036.jpg

Brenda had seared fish.
20190614_213104.jpg

I had beef wellington, the restaurant's specialty.
20190614_213028.jpg

The food was ok, not to the caliber I was expecting and service was beyond slow. Or maybe we were just tired and cranky after such a long travel day(s).

After dinner we walked along the pool area and admired the view.
20190614_222528.jpg

20190614_222605.jpg

20190614_222618.jpg

20190614_222714.jpg

It was around midnight when we fell into bed. We had a 9a flight but a 6a airport pick up. I didn't sleep at all. Our neighbors talked all night long and at 4a, the alarm went off playing Arab music so loud it could have waked the dead. We couldn't figure out how to turn it off so we had to unplug it. I hope it woke up the noisy neighbors.

I got some departing pictures in the daylight just before our driver whisked us away to the airport.
20190615_055231.jpg

20190615_055249.jpg

We found an open breakfast place at the airport and Brenda ordered french toast.
20190615_072716.jpg

I ordered eggs benedict which came with guacamole and asparagus which was...weird...but ok.
20190615_072724.jpg

We boarded our flight and then it was off to Tanzania!

Posted by zihuatcat 01:07 Archived in Qatar Tagged safari qatar doha brenda Comments (0)

(Entries 31 - 35 of 137) « Page .. 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 9 10 11 12 .. »