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Galana goes west down memory lane in Southern Tanzania.


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3 hours ago, michael-ibk said:

but spent more time in the Udzungwas.

I would have done so too but as it would have been more bird orientated I chose not to inflict Kilombero and the forest on my companions. I had been before so those special LBJs were not so imperative.

Our first trip to Mdonya Old River was over Christmas and it was drier so we were able to keep north and west rather than schlep down to the central area.  Heck we had a leopard and her two cubs check us out each morning or evening from the approach path the camp.


Glad you are enjoying the ride. You would love Tandala in dry season.

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We wake on our penultimate day, breakfast and have a second go at attempting to go west over the boggy bits where we had to turn back yesterday.


We get to the next river crossing but the slopes are too steep to exit.1-DSCN3894.JPG.011faad4df2a401677a2eff9dda98e14.JPG1-DSCN3899.JPG.eb0b1b1bd8860036096cfeabfa729dd1.JPG

Even serious work with a Mattock makes little impression.

So we head back to terra firma.



Some Marabou gaze wisely at our failure.



And we have other watchers too.


But we persevere and are rewarded...



A pack of thirteen lazing and playing by a muddy pool.1-DSCN3909.JPG.95d48e8534492e7b63056135256e827e.JPG1-DSCN3910.JPG.7a10e6c589782c74b23074b4ec2bca89.JPG1-DSCN3919.JPG.46430cc11b83cdb9fcec41c861ae225f.JPG1-DSCN3921.JPG.7d77d1540d0b8b7f59ff2dcc1efcb424.JPG

The six pups are doing the playing.



While the adults relax and stay cool.


The there is an alert call and ears get pricked up...



We have an intruder..


A Spotted Hyena has approached.

If it knows what is good for it it won't stick around long.



The dogs make their displeasure known and the Hyena clears off.



Calm is restored.


Then another alert.



What's up?



Baboons have arrived. Pups love to chase and tease Baboons.



So they move over to beneath the trees where the Baboons are.



The Baboons know better than to risk a confrontation and soon give up and move on.




Order is restored but they keep a wary eye out for trouble.

(I have watched Dogs sort out baboons and whilst the primates are quick to keep out of reach they do sometimes get it wrong.)

Not this time though.

We stay with the dogs until the heat of the day drives us to seek shade nearer camp for lunch.

After lunch we do a little gentle birding and having now found Boehm's BeeEater at last we have a full set.1-DSCN4055.JPG.e26d777cd17b6da9fa08025bca54e210.JPG


As dusk draws we hear a Pearl-spotted Owlet calling and after a few calls in response from us ( "Pheoo, pheeoo, pheeooo" in  rising pitch) it joins us in the branches above.



Always nice to see these cute chaps on our trips.


Quite an eventful day.

Tomorrow we can leave well content.





Edited by Galana
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Our last full day dawned bright again and we were 'told' by our hosts that we would be going off after breakfast to the airport for our flight out to DAR. Could we be packed and ready to leave by 10.00?

Now let me be clear, this camp was not full so they did not need our tents and indeed they were on the cusp of closing for the rains.  So why the haste?  I can guess as this had been a prevalent theme throughout our stay here. To our 'host', guests were apparently something to be endured at arm's length.


Our flight was not until 15.10 but we were to leave, with picnic lunch, at 10.00. and game drive, no problem there, but why not lunch at camp??? I would stress that the staff were fine but 'host' was a misnomer.

So be it. Lets get on with the report.

Packed already so after farewells etc., we set off on our two hour drive to Mtememe airstrip about 90 minutes away.

After getting well clear of camp to find 'new' ground to search,  the car met the 'main road, and whilst we did see some antelope the most excitement came as a family of Banded Mongoose crossed the road ahead.



The car then left the main road and headed down towards where I knew Impala camp was located but we did not go there. Instead Zak advised us he was looking for 'somewhere nice' to stop for our picnic. so we carried on with the drive and explored many side tracks etc.,

On our travels we came down to the river edge again and watched a 'Black Heron' doing its Umbrella act to shade any fish around.



Later on we saw several Vultures perched around so we checked out if there was a carcase or something but failed to find anything.



But I was able to add Hooded Vulture to the checklist.


We also got a much better view of Deiderick's Cuckoo for our collection.



The morning continued with the car continually casting around allegedly seeking a nice picnic area. This begged the question that if the practice of a picnic on the way to the airstrip was the norm, how come they don't already know of 'a nice place' ?


After exploring several rough tracks that seemed to lead nowhere and sometimes involved back tracking out we got to a lagoon and stopped for lunch.

To be honest it did not look much different to many other sites we had passed by although it did cotain a lone Pink-backed Pelican which we disturbed as we got down from the truck.



Tables were set out in the shade.1-DSCN4139.JPG.285061cc13c70c861d31162cf35e0b47.JPG

Somebody looks keen.

A nice thing about these two camps we have used is that a 'picnic' breakfast or lunch is not the usual offering of an indeterminate sandwich with maybe a roadkilled chicken leg, hard boiled egg and fruit drink with straw.

In the Southern sector they do do the job properly.


Definitely a pleasant experience.


So after a decent break we set off for the airstrip and our plane.

We checked in, I think, and waited in the shade for a plane.

It arrived and some pax got out and after they had cleared away with luggage we were invited to board for our flight to Dar es Salaam. We took off and after 4o minutes we were overhead Dar es Salaam but we did not land. Instead we carried on to Zanzibar where we landed. Some pax got out as did the pilot.

We sat a while and sat some more more out of mild curiosity than anxiety. Some excited Chinese boarded adn found seats and promptly took selfies of all and everything that caught their attention. Eventually the pilot returned, got in and fired up the engine and took us to Dar es Salaam. Nice.

We arrived at the domestic terminal and picked up our bags and walked outside. Our friends grabbed a trolley and loaded the luggage whilst I went to pick a taxi for the international terminal which I knew was  a fairly long walk away. Our companions would like to walk instead so we set off. I knew the way but had never walked it before. Oh well, first time for everything. 

We got to the fenced area with exit gate and were told we could not take the trolley out even though we were going to the other Terminal. So we opted to carry our bags and left the trolley with the nice man at the gate. It was about 35 degrees in the shade or would have been if there had been any.

I was comfortable enough as I knew the way even though the terminal as not in sight.

Eventually we turned back in towards the International terminal and I selected the one where we had waited all day three weeks earlier for our friend to arrive from Zanzibar. I did this because I knew, well, there was a nice restaurant from our earlier use of it.

I don't know the name but the Logo read "BAO" if that helps. We sat outside and ordered Mango Surprises and Tangawezis for us all. And the late afternoon went well and as the time for check in approached, 20.00, we continued our walk to the KLM check in quite refreshed (and having grabbed  a luggage trolley). Check in went well and security was the usual friendly African one as was Emigration.

The plane loaded on time and we left Tanzania with some sadness and many memories.

Three of us had a long layover in AMS but #4 headed for his quick connection to LHR which he made OK.

Probably home and enjoying a cup of tea before we had arrived in our next layover in Manchester.

We made it back to IOM without further issues and the trip ends here.


We filed our claims with KLM over the debacle outbound and this is still ongoing four weeks later. all claims acknowledged and referenced but nothing else has been heard other than a letter dismissing the claim as it was weather related. This is obviously an error as we have it in writing that 24 hours before our flight was due the plane was stopping in ZNZ for 24 hours to ensure crew rest time.

I quote. "we are forced to adjust our route. To ensure safe flight operations and respecting the crew's legal rest and working hours, the flight in Zanzibar will be delayed by 24 hours before we fly on to Dar es Salaam.Which means, unfortunately that your flight will arrive with a delay of 24 hours in Dar es Salaam."

No mention of 'weather' or maybe this was a spelling error and they meant "Whether we can be bothered to fly you to DAR or not"? 

Back in TZ in August but flying with Ethiopian.


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ahhh sad, the trip ended too soon. and i've enjoyed the sightings along with you. Dogs for the end (almost) - always so welcomed! i've still yet to see a boehm's bee-eater.

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Very serendipitous that you didn't make it up that incline! Dogs in the water, oh my. And I've not had Boehm's Bee-eater either--that's a good one!


In the end a very successful trip aside from the rough beginning. Hope you get some resolution from KLM, but I wouldn't hold my breath :(

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Ahh Stoney Tangawizi :D, I hope it's still the "East Africa recipe" and hasn't been Coca-Cola internationalised :(


Great report & thanks for taking us along (apart from the flight!)

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Thanks everyone. Pleased you enjoyed it.

@AfricIanAs far as I know it is the same taste. As was introduced to it in Uganda about 20 years ago when my driver took it at lunch with a dash of bitters in it. I preferred it neat.

@janzinand @KitsafariBoem's is a beauty indeed. A bit localised in distribution. I have seen them in Katavi and Nyerere and further south in Kafue where I was very surprised to see they actually nest in the ground. Literally. Not in a river cliff but in an open level piece of ground. The camp owner, Chris McBride, marks their nests with a stick to prevent people accidentally pitching tents on them. 

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12 hours ago, Galana said:


I'm having a bit of a challenge deciding on the ratio of sarcasm to sincerity here, but it made me laugh no matter what. 


Thanks for the report. Hopefully things work out with KLM, thankfully they were perfectly fine for our trip in February! 

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Thank you for a great report.

A wonderful sighting of the dogs


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Page 1


What an adventure even before your adventure!  Major messups in getting there seem to be the norm now. 


A memory card is not easy to find once it is lost.  Glad you located it. I think there is some photographic cosmic rule that if a memory card is lost, it will contain highlight photos of the whole trip.  Those must have been tense moments wandering the grounds.


"Apps, Taps and Laps"  That's hilarious.  Did you make that up?


The look on the squirrels' faces at lunch is so hopeful and ready.  The green contrasts nicely with the gray elephants.  You did well with these stars of Ruaha.


Your mention of heavy rains affecting the picnic site seems to be a theme now.  Unusually heavy and unusually timed rains have affected half of my wildlife trips since the pandemic, on different continents.  Hope the wetter landscape did not thwart your other plans or viewing.  It certainly greened things up.


On 3/9/2023 at 5:00 AM, Galana said:

Well with all those bloody buttons to choose from I am bound to get it wrong sometimes.:ph34r:


You were using the Bird Button on the P1000, weren't you for some of the sharp bird shots?  Whatever button, those endemic Red-billed Hornbills are great shots.


Nice to see Mdonya Old River Camp again and the open areas for wildlife viewing from camp.


Looking forward to Page 2.

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6 hours ago, Atravelynn said:

have affected half of my wildlife trips since the pandemic,

Well I have managed three. Namibia where it rarely rains but did, Svalbard where it snows but managed not to and Tanzania where as you saw it did and had. 66%.

BUT the green of both Namibia and especially Tanzania was refreshingly beautiful and welcome.

Pleased you liked it.

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Great TR of a great trip Fred, in spite of KLM, but that happens even if it shoudn’t.


The reading was really pleasant and your pictures are getting better and better, the birds I already saw in your BY but you had some very nice mammal sightings, for me the dogs were the cherry on top of the cake.


Plenty of bed linen, as expected B).

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On 3/26/2023 at 11:34 AM, pedro maia said:

Plenty of bed linen, as expected B)

I did not want to let you down.:P

Thanks for the nice comments on the quality. The dogs were hard to describe as they were so relaxed but nevertheless always alert. The Hyena action was low key. I was hoping for something better with both it and the Baboons. I have been lucky enough to see other more active interactions.

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Lovely trip report @Galana I enjoyed it a lot particularly because we will be the first time in Ruaha and Nyerere in August this year. After reading your trip report I can hardly wait.

We will also be flying KLM:rolleyes:

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That elephant was just a tree hugger.  Very accommodating leopard that posed for you.  Nice catch of the white throated bee eater!  The blue-cheeked is gorgeous. And the carmines put on a show for you. Monitor with tongue out--classic!  The elephants really hung out at your tents, whatever the camp.

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On 3/28/2023 at 9:25 AM, Athene said:

We will also be flying KLM:rolleyes:

To be fair this is the first time in 30 odd trips they got it wrong but boy when they did they made up for lost opportunities. What has really got my goat is that they have 'initially' rejected our claim by saying it was weather related. THAT is unforgivable.


Thanks Lynn. He was funny. I was pleased with all BeeEaters. So photogenic. And having ellies pay courtesy calls to our tents is soo polite of them. One of the reasons we go.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for all the great sightings you have shared. The wild dog group hug is a winner.  Love the black "umbrella."  How many boat trips did you do when staying at Lake Manze?  Morning or afternoon?  Do you have a recommendation of morning or afternoon? I'm visiting in July.

Edited by Atravelynn
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8 hours ago, Atravelynn said:

Do you have a recommendation of morning or afternoon?

We did just the one around 16.00. To be honest it was not as good as we have enjoyed in the past.

The boat was an unreliable starter and I am not sure the guide was up to the job. I got seriously worried when we stopped for angry hippo that blocked the channel and he switched off the engine not knowing it would start promptly if we had to leave in a hurry. I am quite relaxed with all wildlife but will confess to having everything crossed at that moment and if Greek I would have worn my worry beads away.


The dogs were fun as always.

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I did read in your report about the boat starter problem.  Not good around the hippos.  Thanks for your sharing your experience.

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8 hours ago, Atravelynn said:

Thanks for your sharing your experience.

Very welcome.

Some freak on the 'notifications' prompt took me back to your earlier response on March 25th which I seem to have partly ignored. Pole sana.

Making amends.

Very astute. Yes the Bird button is constantly deployed. I think it is some form of 'shutter priority' set at 1/500th so works well for most shots of anything from landscapes down if the light is good. I am no fstop fanatic. A photo is all I need.


And yes, the 'Apps, Taps and Laps' is all my own.

Enjoy your own trip.

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