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Northern Tanzania safari, Sept.-Oct. 2013


Zubbie15
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Alright, well I feel like to be a full-fledged member of this community requires a trip report, which I’ve been meaning to start numerous times lately but have never gotten around to it. So, knowing that once I actually start working on this I will not let myself let it slide anymore, here goes nothing.

 

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Before we begin, just a quick warning: expect that this report will come in spurts, followed by periods of not a lot of activity, so if you like to read a substantial part of a report at once, then maybe don’t start this one for a while. Also, we did this trip about 18 months ago, so some of the details have probably been lost to the fog of time, unfortunately.

 

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Having said that, shall we take the plunge?

 

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Edited by Zubbie15
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Starting with some background:

 

We ended up being 6 people (my in-laws and their two adult children with their significant others) on this safari. I had always wanted to go on safari, but while in grad school it seemed an unattainable goal given the low salary and minimal time off. On my first vacation after graduating, I was killing time in the airport at the bookstore, looking for ideas for our next trip, when I saw the Fodor’s Safari Planner book and an idea was born. Unfortunately, it still took a few years to get everything together.

 

The next question became where to go. Lacking any detailed knowledge about safaris when we started looking into this, I thought that the obvious location would be Kenya. Looking back, that more than anything is due to their promotional activities I think, although some of the trip reports on here make me definitely want to go there at some point. Expanding my horizons, I was really intrigued by Tanzania, not only because of the presence of the iconic parks like the Serengeti, but also because private vehicles seemed much more typical there than elsewhere. So, in the end the decision was made to focus on Tanzania for our trip, at which point the logistics were left up to me.

 

This took a lot of planning, which I don’t think anyone here needs the specifics of, but we ended up with the following plan:

2 nights Arusha, Arumeru River Lodge

2 night Tarangire, Maramboi Tented Camp (a rookie mistake on my part; 25 minutes outside the park gates, and no wildlife in the vicinity)

2 nights Karatu, Ngorongoro Farmhouse (due to a specific request by a member of our group to visit the tribes at Lake Eyasi)

2 nights Crater rim, Ngorongoro Sopa

2 nights Central Serengeti/Seronera, Nasikia Central Camp

3 nights Northern Serengeti/Kogatende, Olakira North

 

Not to get ahead of myself, but the itinerary worked out fairly well; I wasn’t the one to request the 2 nights in Karatu, and think for wildlife viewing that time definitely could have been put to good use elsewhere, but for a first trip to Africa it went alright.

 

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Your efforts at becoming a full fledged member are a grand success. Nice variety in your itinerary. I'll be interested in your Nasikia comments. Not that many people stay there. I did and liked it.

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Yes,

the TR has started with a bang!

keep on going @@Zubbie15

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Welcome to the full-fledged world, glad you took the plunge! Particularly like that photo btw, great shot. And the Leopard is a fantastic opener!

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Welcome @@Zubbie15 and I look forward to more - although I've been on several safaris, I've yet to get to the Serengeti or Crater. When I read a report I want to go...but I read so many I want to go everywhere!

 

So I will enjoy vicariously until the opportunity arises :wacko:

 

Love the cheetah cub!

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We ended up being 6 people (my in-laws and their two adult children with their significant others) on this safari. I had always wanted to go on safari, but while in grad school it seemed an unattainable goal given the low salary and minimal time off. On my first vacation after graduating, I was killing time in the airport at the bookstore, looking for ideas for our next trip, when I saw the Fodor’s Safari Planner book and an idea was born. Unfortunately, it still took a few years to get everything together.

 

 

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~ @Zubbie15:

 

What an energetic way to kick off a trip report!

You write with flair, honesty and clarity.

Your fine photos bring the words to life.

The cheetah cub's fur ruffled by breezes and the fine foreground grass detail are excellent!

Writing in dribs and drabs as time and responsibilities permit is totally OK.

We're all in your debt for sharing your experience with us.

For example, I've never visited Tanzania, thus anything you write or show is a revelation to me.

With Thanks,

Tom K.

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Thanks for the encouragement all, in particular @@Atravelynn and @@michael-ibk - I just found your report about India this weekend, it's definitely slowing down my progress on my own report. I'm starting to rethink my plans for 2017 (far ahead, I know!!!).

 

@@graceland and @@Tom Kellie, I think I have better cheetah cub pics, but decided to keep them back for the appropriate day. Unfortunately, that's not until the end, so you'll have to stick around. :P

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Stringing us along with cheetah cub photos. That's a very good incentive!

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@@graceland and @@Tom Kellie, I think I have better cheetah cub pics, but decided to keep them back for the appropriate day. Unfortunately, that's not until the end, so you'll have to stick around. :P

 

~ @Zubbie15:

 

Given the quality of your commentary and photography, it will be a pleasure to stick around until the end.

Nice cheetah cub pics are certainly well worth the wait.

If you eventually do decide to visit India in 2017, we'll be fortunate to see your comments and photos from that journey!

Tom K.

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Stringing us along with cheetah cub photos. That's a very good incentive!

 

~ @Atravelynn:

 

Amen to that!

I'll gladly follow any trip report which tantalizes me with chettah cub pics.

Tom K.

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HI guys, while we are on this great thread, I came on to post a remark, and noticed my avatar is now a big ole question mark....I have no idea why (sorry to hijack your thread for a moment @Zubbie 15,) but if anyone can tell me what I've done wrong NOW I'd appreciate it....I could not find a place to ask this question...I was going to CHANGE it but the pic was too big....so I left it and now screwed it up - aggggh as usual. I do have a new apple mac....maybe I did something screwy.

 

@@Tom Kellie,I bet you know what do do...

 

Not a great day for this.

 

but I do want more

cheetahs, Zubbie!!

 

And,

Thanks.....and sorry again for jumping in with this. I appreciate your patience, or you can yell at me; I'd understand :rolleyes:

 

Any help?

 

 

Edit:

 

OK....I SEE THE PROBLEM..... "Safari" did it to me but not Chrome......very weird.

 

Sorry Zubbie that I am intereferring.....but the positive is I came back for more of your report :blink: I swear I am not as crazy as I seem.

 

More cheetahs, please....

Edited by graceland
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Days 1 and 2 (also known as, holy cow we’re actually in Africa!)

 

We arrived on the KLM flight at Kilimanjaro, which meant that our first impression of Africa was darkness. We’d splurged for Economy Comfort seats on KLM, which was a bit of a misnomer because the seats were probably the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been in on a plane, but gave us the advantage of being at the front of the line for crossing the border. While that went smoothly, of course our bags were last off the plane so we waited around for a while. Finally, we met our guide for the next two weeks, headed to our hotel, and crashed.

 

The next day, we slept in a little in order to help get over the jetlag. We started our animal watching on the grounds of the lodge, where several pairs of Kirk's Dik-diks inhabit the grounds. They were completely habituated, which let us get some fairly close pictures of them:

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Today, we planned to spend our time in Arusha National Park. I felt that this would be an easy introduction to the safari, and would help us get our camera systems properly set up in a less strenuous situation (since I’d rented a couple of things, and a couple of other people weren’t too experienced with the super-tele lenses). It also seemed to offer a different type of vegetation from what we’d see later on, since we were skipping Lake Manyara.

 

On our way to the park entrance, Mt. Meru was visible.

 

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Almost immediately upon entering the park, we came across a small grouping of zebra and buffalo. They weren’t really doing much of interest, but being our first large mammals of the trip it was worth a stop.

 

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However, the major animals that we saw during our time there were primates. First, we came across a Mitis (or Blue) Monkey:

 

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We then spent time watching some Olive Baboons on and along the roadside. I know they aren't everyone's favorites, but I found them quite entertaining during the trip.

 

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As we transitioned into the more mature forest region, we began to hear sounds of monkeys in the canopy. Eventually, with some patience, a group of Black and White Colubus monkeys came into view.

 

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Shortly after, we were treated to a nice view of a Silver-Cheeked Hornbill.

 

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From there, we slowly made our way toward the lake area of the park, stopping to observe our first Giraffes coming over the ridge.

 

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To be continued...

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Good start! Really nice view of Mount Meru and a good selection of things so far in Arusha Mational Park.

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You are something of a tease @@Zubbie15

you stopped when things were getting interesting :( and since you have declared that you would be posting in instalments, i hope you know the cardinal rule of ST- that is you may post no fewer than 15 pictures at a time and the volume of the write up must at least be 25% of the volume of pictures . i would like that you be pulled up on such technicalities. and oh before i forget- once having started a topic you are allowed no more than 36 hours to continue with your instalments :)

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I love Arusha NP, simply because it was my very first National Park, and where I saw pretty much exactly the animals you were seeing. So I guess your phtotos from Hornbill, Colobus & Co are from the road leading up to the viewpoint over the crater?

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i hope you know the cardinal rule of ST- that is you may post no fewer than 15 pictures at a time and the volume of the write up must at least be 25% of the volume of pictures . i would like that you be pulled up on such technicalities. and oh before i forget- once having started a topic you are allowed no more than 36 hours to continue with your instalments :)

 

~ @Earthian:

 

That's worthy of framing in silver!

Having grossly violated the 36 hour continuation rule with a getaway safari to Kenya last week, I'm presently in the hoosegow.

Nevertheless my trip report will resume in less than 24 hours.

One must comply with the Safaritalk house rules, as you've so eloquently expressed them.

Tom K.

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~ @Zubbie15:

 

Shots like this which include fruit or nuts in trees along with the subject are especially pleasing, in that they often suggest ecological context and motivation.

During the past year I've grown to like Blue Monkeys.

Thank you for posting this in your more-interesting-as-it-goes-along trip report.

Tom K.

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Wow, @@Earthian, that's definitely not a standard I'm going to be able to live up to. If I'd only known, I would have procrastinated further!

 

@@michael-ibk, yes that's all along the road up to the viewpoint.

 

@@Tom Kellie, thanks for you enthusiasm, it's greatly appreciated.

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@@Tom Kellie, thanks for you enthusiasm, it's greatly appreciated.

 

~ @Zubbie15:

 

A high quality trip report like yours inspires enthusiasm.

We're fortunate that you've taken the time to share such fine commentary and photos with us.

Tom K.

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@@Zubbie15

Welcome and thanks for a great TR so far! I'm eager to see where it goes from here.

 

Also, add me to the list of baboon fans. Their behavior is sometimes unpleasant, perhaps, but always interesting.

Edited by Marks
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Upon reaching the lakes, we stopped for lunch, and then continued along the shores. There was plentiful birdlife on this drive, highlighted by the Flamingoes.

 

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We also watched a Hoopoe, the only one of our trip, go about foraging for quite a while.

 

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We then came across this Ruppell's Griffon Vulture in a tree, who seemed to be checking us out as much as we were checking him.

 

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As we headed back toward the forest, we came across another large group of baboons, which we stopped to watch. The youngsters in particular were quite amusing.

 

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Heading back through the forest, we again came across some Black and White Colobus Monkeys. This guy in particular was very comfortable, and seemed to enjoy seeing us.

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I really enjoyed watching the various primates, especially the Colobus, and that is probably a major reason we’re going to include Rwanda next year in our travels.

 

Finally, heading out of the park, we went through a clearing where several Bushbucks were grazing. Jetlag was really starting to hit at this point, so we didn’t stay long, which was unfortunate because I really like the colouring of these animals, and we didn’t see any more on the rest of our trip.

 

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Welcome to ST! What a lovely start to your trip and some wonderful images too! Love the colobuses and baboons!

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Nice colobus pictures. I have been to Arusha park 3 times now and although I've seen them each time I have yet to get a decent photo. Good job.

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