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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.
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One of the male lions was having some 3-day old giraffe for breakfast.
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He had his fill and sauntered off for a rest somewhere.
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A jackal was waiting in the wings to get in on that breakfast.
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The baboons were having theirs as well, relatively calmly for baboons.
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Harrier Hawk on the lookout (our guide's favorite bird)
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When it was getting close to time to eat, we stopped off at a picnic site by the river.
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Our first crocs of the trip.
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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.
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We continued driving by the river and Jimmy found another place where it was safe for us to get out and explore a little.
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The hippos looked like big, lumpy rocks in the river.
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Fleeing female kudu
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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.
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Lilac-breasted roller
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Some female lions were relaxing by the river.
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We came upon a group of what we first thought were some innocent-looking giraffe.
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It soon became obvious that things were not so innocent. The male very obviously was trying to mate with one of the females.
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HIs first attempt failed. I guess she needed more courting.
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So he kept trying to woo her.
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And trying.
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We were all waiting for what seemed like forever.
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Me with my finger poised on the shutter ready for action.
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The male was obviously ready.
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Finally...success!
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Twenty seconds later we're all like...that was it?
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Even the warthog was unimpressed.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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Lion #1 hiding in the bushes
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He decided to venture out
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Lion #2 looking pretty fat and full
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The vervet monkeys were having breakfast in the nearby trees.
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Next up was an elephant family with some adorable little ones.
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They looked like they were trying to figure out how their trunks work.
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We made our usual pit stop for food.
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And a bathroom break.
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Go away bird
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Giraffe
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Another elephant herd
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Baby zebra catching up to his mom
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Kudu pair
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Baobab tree
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Elephants digging down below the surface for water in the river bottom
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The baby was a little tired.
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Mongoose family
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Agama lizard
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Dik dik
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Giraffe
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The aptly named candelabra tree
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Warthogs doing what they do...running with their tails up
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We came upon a river with actual water in it and followed it for a while
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Cape buffalo
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There was a group of self-drivers down by the river repeatedly getting in and out of the car.
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Apparently they didn't see the four lions watching and stalking them but we did.
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Rock hyrax
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Impala with yellow-billed hornbill
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Kudu crossing
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We were able to catch some of the sunset before getting back to camp late around 630p.
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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.
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You can see how close the vehicle gets to the animals, which are basically ignoring our existence.
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They were kind of, sort of watching this giraffe but they weren't interested enough to do much about it.
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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.
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Brenda and I explored the hollow tree while they did so.
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The rest of the day was spent encountering an assortment of animals.

Impala
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Giraffe
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Lilac-breasted roller
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More giraffe
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Male lion hiding in the bushes
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Elephant
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Male kudu with his female harem
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Fish eagle
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Owl
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Yet another giraffe
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Mom and baby
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Saddle-billed stork
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Male ostrich
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More elephant
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Kudu and giraffe
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Zebra
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Even more elephant
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Baboon
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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.
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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.
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Our pilot, Henry.
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We stopped off in Zanzibar and picked up another couple.
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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.
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Some impala.
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And a giraffe.
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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.
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There was an assortment of giraffe, elephants, and baboons coming through for a drink.
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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.
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Next we came upon a pair of mating lions taking a short break. Both looked pretty young to be becoming parents.
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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.
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After leaving the lions, we found another herd of elephant with babies.
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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.
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But he wasn't going to get anything because one of the lions was hiding in the bushes.
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The carcass was not far away.
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Jimmy, our guide, on the left and Sudi, our driver, on the right.
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We made it back to camp just before dark and were shown to our tent.
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Brenda immediately began re-arranging.
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Just behind the zipped curtain was our bathroom.
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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)

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