|Leaving Anne and after only 2 days Kenya, we take the shuttle down to the border of Tanzania and on to Moshi and Mount Kilimanjaro. We relax for a few days before safari hoping to get some good views of the mountain but after 4 days it is still covered in constant cloud. In Arusha the touts are merciless and walking down the street to a restaurant requires a constant stream of "no thankyou". We get picked up on 10.Jan by Salvatore, our guide, and drive first to Kirurumu tented lodge for lunch, and then on to Lake Manyara for our first safari drive. The roof of the car comes up so that we can stand while driving slowly and get a wonderful breeze and take good photos without having to get out of the car. Its difficult to get close to the lake as the water is low so we only see the haze of pink from the thousands of flamingoes in the distance. Manyara is a good Intro to safari as we seek the more common safari prizes like the giraffe, elephant, buffalo, wildebeast, zebra and lots of birds. In the evening we stay in a permenant tent, listen to a local choir singing the "Jambo Jambo" song (of which we can nearly sing all of the words to the first verse after 3 weeks in Tanzania) and help the waiter practise his .... Norwegian!
Safari Day 2 takes us up over the Rift Valley and then up and up into Ngorongoro National Park (not yet into the crater). Further past Maasai mud-hut villages and warriors clad in red where we learn from a rather angry official that it's forbidden to take pictures of the people. And then on to the endless plains of the Serengeti. The herds of Zebra, gazelle and Wildebeast graze in the southern plains, where they will stay until they begin their long journey north for water starting in may. If you were to drive through the southern plains in june for example, they would be completely empty. Driving north the plains are empty except for the odd giraffe or elephant that dont migrate with the herds. When we reach Seronera in the early afternoon we go cat hunting. Our driver gets a radio message that a leopard has been spotted with prey and we drive over to have a look. We watch as the leopard disappears away from its kill into the long grass. Sitting patiently and watching every movement through the binoculars we see the swish of a tiny little tail. The mother leopard comes back with her baby and up to the road, completely unphased by the 10 or so safari cars parked there. We have the prime spot and watch in wonder as this beatiful creature saunters past with slightly more shy child in tow. They disappear back into the long grass to eat. The evening at Serena Lodge throws us a little to be experiencing such unnecessary luxury in the middle of all this nature.
Day 3 we follow the same route but in reverse. Our cat hunting in the morning finds a group of lions lying in the sunshine and even a cheetah and her baby sitting on the rocks of the kopje (ancient granite mound). We drive back through the plains and stop at Olduvai gorge - the cradle of mankind - where Louis and Mary Leakey found the 2 million year old skull and bones of the "Homo Habilis" which gave rise to modern man. We spend the night at the cosy Bougainvillea Lodge in Karatu.
Day 4 we drive into the Ngorongoro Crater where all the animals you could imagine are held captive by the natural walls of the crater. We catch some lions sunbathing this time right next to the road and watch the birds of prey circling the picnic spot for the signs of meat they can scavenge.