A Travellerspoint blog

Serengeti Savannah Camp (day 10)

Our last day on Safari

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Not everyone gets to see a tree climbing lion.
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The one and only leopard. This was was the one animal chris wanted to see, and Maningo found it for us!
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One of my very favorite pictures!
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I am not sure what happened here, but their faces were a little bloody.
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The lions were very close to the jeep
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This is the view from the pool area of the Serengeti Sopa Lodge
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I love this picture of Hunter with the Serengeti behind him, it almost doesn't look real.
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The view from our room
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Yep that is the pilot two seats ahead of us! VERY Small plane
We took off and landed about four times dropping people off at different "fly in" camps. The constant up and down of the plane took it's toll on emily. We had to give her a gravol when we landon in Arusha, before we took off for Zanzibar. It knocked her right out. I love the drool shot!
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Posted by dogtired 17:22 Comments (0)

Serengeti Savannah Camp (day 9)

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Kaleb and Maningo liked to make fun of the tourists with the large lenses. They would joke that they were compensating for being small in other areas! I don't think Maningo will ever be the same after spending two weeks with Kaleb! LOL
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Hunter was the first to point out that this cheetah was missing an eye.
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How cute are hyena pups?
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I love the goofy look on this guys face.
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Again Maningo amazes us by spotting this mini turtle on the side of the trail. I never knew turtles could move so fast. We called him Zippy.
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Posted by dogtired 06:34 Comments (0)

Serengeti Savannah Camp (Day 8)

38 °C

Leaving Ngorongor Crater we saw these clounds rolling over the edge of the crater, it was the coolest thing.
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On the ridge of the crater we ran into two hyenas that were on the side of the road, I guess they wanted to say good bye.
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The drive from the Crater to the Serengeti Savannah Camp was very long. It might not have really been that long, but when your tummy is upset, the drive seems VERY long and bumpy. I was hoping when we left Ngorongoro park there would be an exit gate like all the other parks with a bathroom. After a few hours I finally asked Maningo how much longer until the exit gate. He told me there is no gate untill we get to the Serengeti National park in two days! So I said, ok then when is the next bathroom? He told me not untill we get to camp at dinner time. It was 10am now and my tummy was gurgaling. He offered to pull over on the side of the road, considering I have never "gone" without a toilet in my life, and the fact that I hadn't seen a bush in a very long time, I wasn't about to make this my maiden voyage at the side of the road. I ate a few pepdo tablets and prayed! A few LONG hours later Maningo pulled into some camp and told me he had to ask someone there a question, and I could use the bathroom while I waited if I wanted to. I don't think he really had to ask anyone anything, I think he just took pitty on me, and I am gratful he did!
I guess the reason for my long story is that I didn't not get as many pictures of the wildabeast migration as I wanted to. For some reason I just had no interest in standing up out the roof and snapping shots. So the pictures that I do have, Chris took.
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I had to remove the sound on this video because it was very windy. I replaced it with the Jambo Jamob song.

The coolest part about The Serengeti Savannah Camp is that it is the only place that we went to that you could go "off road". If you saw an animal you didn't have to observe it from the road, you could get up close to it.
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Ohhh my Metis instincts tell me a lion has been this way! Ok not my Metis instincts at all, Maningo told me, but I am sure I would have figured it out on my own anyways!
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A vulture buffet! What an awful way to die. These poor wildabeasts never made it to the other side of the dry river bed. Either they died of natural causes all at the same spot (there were about ten dead ones lieing around) or they got stuck in the wet river bed and starved to death or the heat got them. Poor buggers. I guess one wildabeasts loss is a vultures gain!
Funny enough just around the corner from here is where we stopped for lunch. We ate in the jeep, but for some reason there were a lot of flies. I wonder if it was our dry cheese sandwiches attracting them or the dead bodies laying around!
After lunch we found a little family of cheetahs. We got up farely close to them, not too close to interfear. They chose to get up close to us.
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Oh look, lunch is served! We didn't get to see them catch this baby gazelle, but we did get to see them eat it.
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This picture reminded me of my poodle terrier, Taffy, after she ate speghetti. Her face looked the same, well she has speghetti sauce where these guys have blood all over their faces.
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Wow my boys sure like to get close ups of the action.
After a fantastic day of animal viewing we headed to camp to check out where we would be staying for the next two nights.
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This is the "hallway" to the shower.
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And my favorite part of the whole trip!
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I so don't miss that toilet!
They also had a gift shop.
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Yep that is it, a few things on a stick. My kids loved it. No pushy sales staff here!
We lucked out again. We were they only guests staying this first night.
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The kids got to help set up the fire.
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Dinner was alway better when Maningo was allowed to join us. At this camp we did get to eat with Maningo.
After dinner we sat by the fire for a bit.
Kaleb got Maningo and a staff member of the camp addicted to "word search" puzzle books. They loved them! They did rather well considering that most of the words they never heard off!
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You can see Kaleb and Maningo working on a puzzle.
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Bed time!

Posted by dogtired 12:37 Archived in Tanzania Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Ngorongoro Crater (Day 7)

sunny 30 °C

Wow! One of our favorite parks, actually I think it WAS our favorite park.

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Driving up to the edge of the crater, that very first view of it, wow so beautiful. When you first see the crater from the edge, so open and so green, you think you will never see any animals. The amount of animals in this small area is incredible.
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There are a lot of wildabeasts in the Crater. We were lucky enough to arrive at a group where one had just given birth. In fact, she had yet to deliver the after birth. It was kind of weird to see two vultures waiting for her to do just that so they could have lunch. Ick! I guess to vultures afterbirth is like cheese cake!
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We actually got to see a lot of young animals.
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I think we were very lucky to spot a rhino. Even more lucky when we noticed the rhino had 6 legs, then her little baby walked out. Not everyone who goes to Africa gets to see the nearly extinct black rhino, so we were very excited.
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I love this picture. I just wonder what he is thinking as we drove up and interupted his bath.
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We must have annoyed him, as he got up and left.
It was so cool when we came accross a pack of hyenas relaxing by a watering hole only a few feet from the jeep.
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This is Landon's favorite picture of these Hyenas. This shot reminds him of "Ed" from the Lion King.
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We could have taken video of them, but honestly it would have looked the same as the stills. They didn't seem to want to move. Hyenas are nocturnal, so they must have had a hard night.
We saw a group of 6 lions way way out in the distance, I would have taken pictures of them but they were so far away they would have been dots.
I didn't feel bad that I missed them, because we came up to a very hungry looking lioness only 4 feet from the jeep.
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She looked very hungry to me. This situation caused me a little stress. Something about my kids hanging out the window taking pictures of such a skinny hungry looking lion I found unsettleing. In fact I had a nightmare that night I think this moment inspired. I had dream she jumped up to the window putting her big paws on the window sill and roared. I am glad it was only a dream.
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We ate lunch in the jeep today beside the hippo pool. There were some very aggressive birds, and Maningo suggested if we didn't want to share with the birds it was best we stay in the jeep.
After lunch I was eager to take pictures of the hipps, hoping to get the money shot, a hippo yawning.
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The hippos were too far apart and yawned way too qickly for me to get the shot. They were far away, and by the time my camera zoomed in the yawn was over.
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After leaving the hippo pool, we came accross an elephant skull. I am glad we arrived at the skull stage, I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much at the decaying stage, but I imagine some folks saw that stage.
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We came accross another mini hippo pool. Now this picture you have too really look. You can see a baby hippo, his head is just behind the mothers neck. You can see his little eyes and ears sticking up.
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Near the end of the day we came accross our first up close pride of lions. At first when we got there we only saw the three lioness and one cub. As the rain started we noticed four more cubs in the bush behind the lionesses, and two large males joined the pride. I am so glad we sat there in the rain to enjoy. I wonder how Maningo and Chris felt on the roof of the jeep putting down the roof so close to the pride? hmmm I am glad I'm a girl!
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Look it is Simba! Actually they are all simba, because in swahili simba is lion! (another Cliff Claven moment for you. Rafiki from Lion King, means Friend, not crazy baboon that sounds like Benson)
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On our way back to the Sopa Lodge we spotted a Jackal. Our first and only one I think.
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This was our first room that was very "hotel" like. We got one of the best rooms, as it sat the highest and had an unobstructed view of the crater. The rooms had cool covered mini sun rooms attached like a porch. They had two rocking chairs that you could sit in and just look. Very cool. This place, The Ngorongoro Sopa had the worst tap water of anywhere. The water was brown, out of the sink, out of the shower, and in the toilet. The pool was also very uninviting. This is also the place where my ipod was left behind. Very sad. Someone in Africa is enjoying the Twilight series audio book on my ipod.
Walking to dinner, we had more incredible views of the crater.
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We also found the food at the sopa to be....well... not very good. What we ordered was not what we were served. Then again we didn't come to Africa for the food, the view here was spectacular, the animal viewing was incredible, and that is what this trip was about. Also look at our nice family dinner, the food sucked but the time together was fantastic!

Posted by dogtired 07:51 Archived in Tanzania Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Cultural Day At E Unoto (Day 6)

sunny 35 °C

We enjoyed a nice private breakfast. This was the first time we saw french toast and we all enjoyed it. Everywhere seems to serve pancakes but no syrup. Here was no different, french toast but no pancakes. We ate them with a bit of butter and a sprinkle of sugar, well kaleb had mounds of sugar, but the rest of us did the sprinkle of sugar.
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After breakfast we get read for our "guided walk"
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Remember this view? If you look just beyond the lake there is like a mini mountain between the two bigger looking mountians, we are going to hike somewhere beyond that to see a waterfall. Why I agreed to go on this hike I will never know, it even looked far! I didn't want to be a spoil sport, so I thought I would be a team player and join the family.
So off we go.
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In front of us was our "guy" from the lodge. Not sure what to call him, I missed his name, but he was sort of assigned to us, he served us, went on outings with us, got things for our room, I just like to call him our "guy".
I dont' think he is really a Maasai, I think it is more of a uniform he wears for work, because later when we went to a real Maasai market he changed into shorts and a t-shirt. We were also joined by a REAL Maasai Warrior, he came with his walking stick, spear and machete. We didn't know he was coming with us, and he kind of just appeared be hind me. At first I didn't know if he was supposed to be with us or what. I think he was actually there for our protection.
As we walked we found some kind of large rat looking animal that was split right in two. We were told that a baboon would have done this. As we stood in baboon poop looking at these two parts of an animal, we are told that a baboon can rip a leopord in half. Fantastic, it was so comforting to hear the screams of baboons all around us. I sure hope that guy behind me can work that spear.
We walk a little further down what I think they call a path, more just openings in the jungle, when all of a sudden the guy in front stops. He has a bit of a worried look on his face, says something in swahili to guy Massai guy behind me, he runs into the forest with spear in hand. FANTASTIC, what added excitment to my little "guided walk". The maasai comes out fot he thick bush says something to "our guy" in swahili, and "our guy" says with a big smile, just a lizzard. Some how I am not comforted by that. A little ways past the "near lizzard attack" I am told this is a good place to take a picture of the view of the lodge.
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At the top of the ridge you can sort of see the huts. As you can see we are just at the side of the lake we saw from the view from my room.
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Here is a zoomed in picture of the lodge.
We continue our hike. We walk though a banana grove, where we run into a farmer or two, with little cut open jugs of water. I don't know what they do with these little jugs that hold no more then a few cups of water. I would love to ask, but actually I am too bloody hot, tired, sweaty and out of breath to really care. I sure hope they are not watering the banana trees with them, that might take a while! After the banana grove, we cut accross a corner of the rice patties, I have never seen a rice patty this close before. Too bad I was too hot and tired to care, it could have been interesting. We continue on our walk, feels more like the walk from "The Green Mile" because I am sure at the end I will die! Out here in the middle of nowhere, we find a hut with a mother and her two small children sitting outside. It seemed so weird for them to be living way out here, close to nothing. How different from our life. She would have to walk alot farther then I just did just to get to a village. The thought of that makes me suck up my pitty trip and walk on. We cross a few little streams, ah water! The waterfall must be close. Our path starts to get a little rockier, I am sure glad I wore runners today, not like when we went for our "hike" up Kilimanjaro. The rocks start to get bigger, and bigger. They then leave the rock stage and enter the boulder stage. Now I am no longer just walking up and down paths on the side of a mountian, now I am scaling bloody boulders. Fantastic! I am getting a hang of these boulders, my pace is picking up a bit. Then it happens, I was too confident. Over I went, right off the side of the boulder. Oh and of course the boulder was right beside a HUGE thron bush. Right away the two guides with us rush to my aid, as half my family was laughing. My dear sweet Hunters says, " I knew it was going to happen, I just wasn't sure when" Nice! The maasai warrior picked all the thorns out of me. My right side too all the damage. I actually had blood soaking through the sleave of my shirt!
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This picture was actually taken 3 or 4 days later. I had a few punctures that really hurt, one in the base of my pinky and one at my wrist.
You would think this would stop me, but no I sucked it up and carried on. I whispered to Chris a few times "these better be one hell of a waterfall!" The boulders seem to be growing in size, and getting harder to get over. Not just because of the size of them, but because the Massai warrior would NOT let go of my hand. He insisted on holding my hand for the rest of the hike. It is very hard to climb a boulder when someone has a death grip on your wrist! After a ways "our guy" says not too much further (he has said this often) he pointed through some trees to the side of the mountain and said see there is the waterfall. Between me and the waterfall was a fair bit of distance with a hell of a lot of big boulders. That was it, my breaking point. I gave Chris my camera and said take pictures of the waterfall, if you need me I will be on this rock. I sat down and said I would take my chances with the baboons. My loving family said, "ok see ya" and off they went to the waterfall. As much as I was willing to take my chances with the baboons, I was glad when the Maasai warrior with the spear sat with me on my little rock. So there I was sitting with a man who can't speak any english in the middle of the jungle in the heart of Tanzania. Every so often the Maasai would say "sorry" in a very broken english. The only english words I heard him speak. I wish I could have told him it was ok, I always fall and hurt myself. He just kept on repeating "sorry" "sorry" "sorry".
After a while my family came back. I asked to see pictures of these wonderful waterfalls I nearly risked my life to see.
So here it is.
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If you look really closely you might almost see the water! Good lord! I am glad I didn't go all the way. Can you see the boulders? That was the path, looks easy doesn't it? NOT!
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This is the Maasai Warrior that stayed behind with me, we sat just facing where this picture was taken. That was the boulder I didn't want to climb to continue on, do you blame me?
Now the fun part, we walk back to the lodge. Oh of course, my new buddy insists on holding my hand. You would think at some point my husband would offer to take over, but nope, he sure didn't! For all I know holding hands for that long could be a Maasai marriage ceremony!
Here is a nice family picture.
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oh wait I am not in it, I am off taking a picture while holding a mans hand!

Once we get back to the lodge we all head to the pool. We spend a few hours here just floating around, after lunch we will go to a Maasai Market.

Ah, the Maasai Market. Another adventure gone wrong, but an adventure non the less.
We are told we are going to a local Maasai market. Emily is excited to go as she is hoping to buy stuff there. I told her that I don't think they will have souvenirs there, as we are out in the middle of nowhere and we haven't seen any tourists.
As soon as we get out of the jeep we are surrounded by Maasia. Four Maasai woman grab at Hunter and Landon as the exit the van, and hug them. A nice gesture I am sure, but scared the hell out of the boys. "our guy" tells us that the woman have asked if I can take their picture so they can see it in the display. So I take the picture and show them. Now these lovely woman start demanding money for me taking their picture. "our guy" tells them that they can not ask to have their picture taken then demand money. "Our guy" tells them they will not be paid. Well this starts a pushing and shoving match, with me as a main player. Ya I could have just handed them some shillings and moved on, but I didn't think this behaviour should be rewarded with money, so I stood firm.
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The kids said I should delete the picture to make them go away. I didn't do that either. The crowd grew bigger, some supporting us, some supporting the woman. Some how we won, and escaped the woman with my free picture.
"Our guy" takes us on a quick tour of the market. We pass a few huts that have livestock for sale. The next hut is where they butcher the livestock, and gut it. ( I passed this hut quickly) the next hut is where they have the butchered goat over a fire, this would be the restraunt of the market. The market was mostly local grown produce and animals, oh and banana beer. Banana beer was being sold at nearly every "stall", it turns out most of the people at the market are drunk (including the four woman at the begining of this adventure) Whatever money they make selling their produce they spend it on beer. During our whole tour of the market we are followed by a handful of locals selling souvenirs. Now we diding' think they would have souvenirs, so we were not prepared to buy anything. All of our money was in a large wad inside the camera bag Just over $800 000shillings ($700US) Chris was not about to expose this wad of money to the crowd so we declined everyone. Guess what? This started another fight. Fantastic! At this point Landon and Emily are scared, near tears and asking to just go home. They are now yelling at "our guy" and getting mad at him because he isn't encouraging us to buy anything. We finally make it back to the jeep and head back to the lodge. It seems only Kaleb enjoyed this outing, as he and Maningo were in their own little world enjoying the drunks stumble around the market. I am trying to convince the kids that this was still a good part of the trip, even though they hate to remember it. It was an experiance, one we will never forget.

Our private lodge is no more. While we were at the market, around 20 people checked in. We no longer had the pool to ourselves but had to share it with a European family in speedos. The kids desided to let the Europeans have the pool, they didn't feel there was enough fabric between them and the European's "parts".

Even though these two days were full of all kinds of crazy events, this was one of our favorite resorts for sure.
Tomorrow we are off to Ngorongoro Crater.

Posted by dogtired 11:16 Archived in Tanzania Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

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