On our third and last day of safari, we headed to Tarangire National Park. You’ll notice from the pictures that this was also the day that I basically ran out of clean clothes to wear and had to cobble together outfits from pieces of my and Amanda’s least-smelly articles of clothing.
When we arrived at the park, we saw a monkey near the restrooms, and just as we joked about it going inside, it darted into the women’s restroom. We heard some banging and it ran outside. When we looked inside to investigate, we saw that it had upended the trashcan, but since it was still early in the day, it didn’t find any delicious food inside.
The safari started out a little slow, although we were lucky enough to see another cheetah, albeit much farther away. But after a while, we saw elephants, including baby ones, giraffes, and tons of baboons, including days-old babies clinging to their mothers.
Mohammed explained to us that despite being a national park, the elephants in Tarangire still occasionally fell victim to poachers, so they were much more wary of people than the elephants at Lake Manyara or Ngorongoro Crater. When we stopped the jeep near a group of elephants, sometimes one of them would turn and stare down the car, and generally appear agitated. At one point Mohammed had to rev the jeep’s engine in order to scare a juvenile male elephant off.
As we drove around, both Amanda and I got several bites from tsetse flies, which look like house flies on steroids, deliver rather painful bites, and also happen to be carriers of sleeping sickness. Liberal coatings of bug spray definitely helped, but we had to reapply it several times. Interestingly, tsetse flies are attracted to the color blue, so we saw several tsetse fly traps all around the park, which looked like large bright blue cloth flags.
When we stopped at a picnic table to eat our box lunches, we were accosted by several birds, including a particularly aggressive hornbill.
Although the safari was amazing, and although I (clearly) love animals, I actually thought 3 days of safari was bordering on too long. It sounds sort of dumb to say, but after a while, seeing another giraffe or another elephant just isn’t that exciting. Don’t get my wrong – I absolutely loved the experience, but I thought the Kili trek was much more of a unique experience.
The drive back to Moshi was uneventful, but we did run into Damien and Annie just before they left, so we got to say our goodbyes to them. As I’m writing this, I realize that I should probably drop them an email like I said I would… The Springlands was still very empty, so Amanda and I got put into a huge 4-person room right next to the dining area.
We rested for the remainder of the afternoon, and at dinner we met a few more people, including a pair of girls who were nearing the end of a 2-year volunteering stint in Ethopia, and a 23-year-old Merchant Marine from South Carolina who had summitted the day before. We gave the girls our extra bath wipes, baby wipes, and handwarmers since we didn’t need them anymore. After dinner it was more relaxing until bedtime.
(You’ll notice I doubled up a few of the photos because I couldn’t decide whether I liked the color or the sepia-toned version. What do you all think?)