A Travellerspoint blog

Lake Manyara (Day 5)

35 °C

This was the park we liked the least. Mostly all we say were baboons. Me I love baboons and could watch them all day. ( I think I have mentioned that) Chris on the other hand was bored stiff with them.

Before we even got into the park there were baboons EVERYWHERE. We were walking about the entrance, and so were the baboons.
It was a mixture and excitement when one would run by you. One baboon ran behind Emily, wow can that girl scream. It was only about 1 foot behind her.

I LOVE how my husband encourages my first born to use himself as human bait to draw the baboons out. Such a proud moment!
I think this is a skull from an impalla
This is a departed warthog, and turtle
This use to be a giraffe.
The Box lunches start to go down hill quickly. The sadwich is two slices of dry bread with grated white cheese in the middle. It also included a very dry muffin of some sort, an apple that you have to remember to peel incase it was washed in tape water. Emily risked eating the peel and all, and live to tell the tale. Of course the lunch had bananas, Africa is never short of bananas!
Groucho Marx joined us for lunch!

The one animal on Landon's list he needed to see was an African Fish Eagle. I thought Maningo was pulling our leg when he said the bird call we were hearing was an African Fish Eagle. He backed the jeep up a bit, and sure enough there it was sitting in a tree. That is why you need an authentic Tanzanian guide!
Look can you see the little baboon riding cowboy style? So cute!
Chris got mad at me for taking this picture, but it still makes me laugh. He is such a proud baboon!
Views of Lake Manyara
One last view of the park before we head off to E Unoto, our lodge for the next two nights.

Another reason too book with a safari company, is I have no idea how anyone driving themselves ever finds these lodges we stayed at. You turn off the main road, not even onto a secondary road. You just drive off the main road and head straight out to no where. You pass a lot of Massai homes. You drive and drive to nowhere, down rocks that I am guess are supposed to be some kind of road, through herds of cattle, and poof you are at the most beautiful resort ever.
This is the view out of the door to a little porch in my hut.
Remember this view, it will be very important for tomorrows activities. Look beyond the lake, beyond the rice patties, beyond the banana grove, beyond the bend in the Rift Valley Wall, up the wall a little bit. That will be tomorrows "guided walk"
My Hut.
Chris's hut next door, my view was much better. My hut was a little higher up with a clear view, nothing in the way.
Look it is me on my porch. I made Kaleb jump off the side of the porch, climb down the hill a bit and take this picture. I didn't tell him about the snakes untill he climbed back up. It is great to have kids!
They had these beautiful game tables in each room, with these large leather chairs. Here is Landon deep in thought trying to remember his rules to his made up game of backgamon.
The kids took advantage of the free robes in the room when getting ready for the pool.IMG_0862.jpgIMG_0865.jpg
Isnt' that a great view of the pool?
It turns out that we were then only guests at this resort this night. We had the whole place to ourselves. It was a little uncomfortable having ALL the staff just sit and watch you at the pool.
My classy kids, of course gave them a little "Peden" entertainment.
All alone at dinner. A whole lodge full of staff just to serve us. This is when my daughter said "I wonder what my life would be like if I was a princess" then she looked around at the staff waiting to cater to her and said "humm pretty much like it is right now" So we spent the night wishing we lived liked this all the time. Kaleb suggested we sell everything in Canada and move to Africa and live like Kings.

Posted by dogtired 09:24 Archived in Tanzania Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

Tarangire National Park (Day 4)

36 °C

We went back to Tarangire for a morning Safari after breakfast.
Omelet with cheese, onions, and red peppers. Note for when you go to Africa, always ask that your eggs get cooked a little longer then they think they should be. This will help to not to have runny eggs.
Wow Hunter sure likes his sausage in the morning. If he eats any more sausages he just might turn into one.
OH NO!!! it happened, Hunter turned into "Sausage Boy" IMG_0709.jpg
Oh don't panic, I am kidding. Hunter just put on a few extra cooling neck wraps.

One of the most amazing things we saw on our trip was when we came accross two male giraffes necking.
It is kind of a dominance thing. On one of Landon's video games, African Safari, they had giraffes necking, but it was nothing like we saw. The force they used to hit eachother was incredible.


In the afternoon we came accross a dry riverbed with a small herd of zerbras crossing.
On the bank of the river was a very young zebra who was too scared to go down the bank. He was left by the herd until we pulled up, then he mother came back for him to help him cross.
The mother zebra tried a few different spots for the young zebra to go down, but all were to scary for him. All of us in the truck could see where he should go down, but they didn't see it. After around 10 min he finally made it down. We all cheered in the truck, I am sure that impressed the zebras!

Baobab trees, are big beautiful trees. They are hundreds and hundreds of years old. In the dry season they lose all their leaves and all their limbs look like roots of a tree, so it looks like the tree is planted up side down. Nothing seems to kill these trees. They will be almost hollowed out and they still thrive.
Maningo told us that poachers would use trees like this to hide in while they did their dirty deeds! I never tried to go in it, Chris said it smelled like a lot of things must have died in it or used it as a bathroom. I suspect if they looked up they would have seen alot of bats! Just a guess.
Just outside our camp, we would always find these Marabou Storks. I called them "the undertakers" because they rememinded me of an undertaker from a Flintstones episode.
The view from my room, through the tent window.
Chris and Kaleb went for a "Bush Walk" while sadly I had to stay back with Landon who still wasn't feeling well. Ok I wasn't sad at all it was bloody hot. Chris and Kaleb came back after an hour and a bit. Chris said it was a damn good thing I didn't go. He said the "Bush Walk" consisted of himself, Kaleb and a Maasai warrior (and his spear) went walking straight out into nothing, no bush, just wide open nothing. You know the kind from the movies, where you can actually see the heat rising from the ground? Chris said they walked and walked and once in a while the Maasai man would point to the ground and say "hyena tracks" or "zebra tracks" or pointed at a dead zebra and said "dead zebra" (Kaleb thinks the zebra died of heat stroke and dehydration, I think Kaleb thought he would go the same way) Chris said after 40 min or so walking at a quick pace, the massai man said "we go back now" so they turned around and walked back. Gee I'm sure sad I missed THAT walk!

Posted by dogtired 14:44 Archived in Tanzania Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

Tarangire National Park (Day 3)

sunny 35 °C

Now that we have the warnings out of the way, time to begin our Tarangire Safari.
We spot our first elephant up close.
What a feeling to be so close to such a massive animal.
All along the roads you see these incredible termite mounds.IMG_0392.jpgIMG_0391.jpg
To me they look like little cities, and I guess to the termites they are!
How cute are Dik Diks? Like little dogs.
I thought a close up picture of the giraffes skin would be cool, and to me it did turn out cool!
More warthogs!
Box lunch. At this point the box lunches are still good! (can you feel the forshadowing here?)
We had some extra guests for lunch. I don't think they liked us much as on of them pooped on Maningo!
The views are just breathtaking.
Sausage trees. How cool are they? Reminds me of Spenelli's (an italian market downtown Edmonton) with the pepperoni hanging above the deli counter.
Maningo calls these "McDonalds" because of the M's on their butts.IMG_0373.jpg
Next we came up to a Baboon hang out.
Kaleb got into a staring contest with a baboon, I think the baboon won.
This turned out to be one of my favorite pictures.

Just at the end of the day, Maningo spots our first lion. Can you see it under the bush?
And look, she just finished lunch.
On the way to Maramboi Tented Camp, I took a few pictures from the moving jeep.
I loved seeing the school children in uniform walking on the road. To me it seemed like you saw them at all hours of the day. I wonder if they have set times for classes, or is it just when ever they show up?
Maasia woman.
Maasia housing.
Maramboi Tented Camp
Wildabeast just ourside our tents.
We promised the kids they could play in the pool when we returned from our safari. Turns out the pool didn't have any water, but a promise is a promise!

Posted by dogtired 10:06 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Arusha National Park (Day 2)

sunny 35 °C

We are all set for our first Safari. We are at Arusha National park.
Before we even enter the park we spot our first wild animal.
Ok so maybe not so wild, infact I had to chase him to get his picture, he was a little scared of me.
At the entrance of the park you get a beautiful view of Mount Meru, a far more difficult climb then Kilimanjaro.IMG_0250.jpg
Chris spotted our first animals inside the park. They were so far away, but we were thrilled. I am sure Maningo thought we were crazy for being excited as he knew we would get to see more far closer during our safari.IMG_0263.jpgIMG_0264.jpg
Just after our excitement of those first giraffes we rounded a corner and came to what Maningo called "The Little Serengeti" WOW is all we could say. The kids were blown away, so many different animals all hanging out together. What a sight.IMG_0287.jpgIMG_0290.jpgIMG_0286.jpg
It is very exciting when a giraffe crosses the road infront of you!

I like how this picture shows how close the Giraffe is too us. Maybe 15 feet.IMG_0269.jpg
It is some times hard to pull yourself away from something so beautiful, but eventually you do. There is so much more to see, but I don't think we will ever forget this first sight.
Overhead we spotted some monkeys and baboons. They were jumping from tree to tree right above our open roof. I can just watch monkeys all day, they are so fun!
These here are Waterbucks
It was this family of warthogs that made me fall in love with all warthogs. They are wonderful little creatures. They are so fun to watch. The kids run around playing, every once in a while the mother will chase them. Wow they are fast too, they can run like the wind. After a hard time playing the break for lunch!
Then it was time for lunch.
Maningo picked the spot, and the kids checked out the view, and they approved!
Lunch was deepfried. EVERYTHING was deep fried but the juice box! It was actually very good!
After lunch we spotted Kirk's Dik Dik, not not some guy name Kirk stopping for a pee break, but the cutest little deers. At the shoulder they stand around 12-18" and only weigh 6-14 pounds.
I think it was a week and a bit before Landon realised that these were adult Dik Diks. He thought we were always spotting babies. His reaction on his face was priceless, truely jaw dropping for him!
Acacia Tree with long thorns. Giraffe LOVE to eat the sweet leaves of this plant. They can strip the leaves off the branches with their long tongues with out hurting the giraffe. (Cliff Clavin Moment: Did you know a Giraffe tongue is so long it can wrap clear around your head?)
We saw many jeeps with only one passenger. We discovered one major drawback from travelling alone with your guide. When the battery on the jeep dies, there is only you to push it to get it going! We came upon just such a case. Chris and Maningo got out to help push start it. Chris said Toyota Landrovers are VERY HEAVY!

Posted by dogtired 07:27 Archived in Tanzania Tagged family_travel Comments (6)

Kilimanjaro Day Hike & Chagga Village Visit (Day 1)

Today Karen at Access2Tanzania has us going on a hike around the base of Kilimanjaro where we will hike past three villages.
On the Drive we got a glimps of Mount Kilimanjaro through the clouds. We are told we are lucky to get this view as the mountain is usually thickly covered in clouds.

Our hike begins at a church and a school.
(Sorry about the exposure on these ones, new camera. I think I have figured it out for the rest of the trip. It was very sunny)
I think it was at the first village (I didn't even know we were at a village, as I guess all the homes were in the jungle somwhere) We stopped at a local bar.
The solid building is where the Banana Beer is locked in, and the see through hut was the bar.
This is where the local men come to drink after a long work day. We were told that the beer costs $0.02. Everyone was still at work while we stopped to chat in the coolness of the shaded bar.
The path was beautiful, the bridges not so much. (by bridge I mean two logs with planks nailed on them over long drops.)
The first bridge I had no problem with, low and short.
Then they got, longer and higher up, and just a bit more scary! As someone who has a habbit of falling off logs, I moved quickly.

This young fellow who got in a family picture walked with me much of the way.
I am not sure what he thought of me. When ever I would fall behind (as I often did, I mean in my defence technically we were climbing Mount Kilimangaro!) he would stop and wait with me.
I asked Eric, our guide for the day, what the locals thought of us. He said they thought of us as good for them. They associate us with Christian missionaries, out to do good for them. He said they tend to like "Europeans" as we are concidered, more then people who look like they are from the Middle East, as they think they will try to turn them into Muslims (like in Zanzibar)
After hiking up, up, down a section, then up, up and up some more, I came to the most beautiful sight.
Our jeep and Maningo waiting for us! The whole time I was killing my self climbing up I was thinking, Good Lord, I am going to have to get back down!
It was amazing one minute in the jungle, next you are on a street!
Look it is a Coke truck! Coke is everywhere, Diet Coke is not! Eric told us that people in the area drink a lot of soda, that they don't realize that bottle water would be a better choice.

Next Maningo drove us to the Chagga Village. Here they have a rotation with 5 woman who get to make a little extra cash by hosting a visit to their home.
Eric told us a about her farm. Showed us how she dried the Maize so that it could be ground into flour.
We went on a little tour of her farm. She showed us what she grew, and how she weeds.
Then she gave us a tour of her home. It is considered to have a modern roof, because it is metal.
The house was broken up into three rooms. Where the cows and the goats live. (not a great picture it was so dark I didn't know what I was taking a picture of) but you can see a cow in the back ground. There was a small area where the parents sleep. (beside the goat)
This was the "living room" where they would entertain guests. It is also used as a place for the kids to sleep, as well as an area to store kitchen utensils.
In the middle of the hut, was the cooking area. It is made up of three stones and a pot. This is where she made our lunch.
While lunch was being made, my kids and her kids shared stories through Eric.IMG_0190.jpg
Each child shared their name, their age, their favoirte school subject, and what they like to do for fun.IMG_0191.jpg
Emily shared the little mini album we brought of our life back home. That was a big hit. They thought it was very funny we had a pet cat named Princess.
Then lunch was served. Eric explained that we should not eat everything we are served, only taste it. Have a few spoonfulls. Thank goodness for that! It wasn't bad food, just nothing like anything we have ever eaten. I am very proud of my kids, they all (excluding Landon) tried everything they were offered.
This was the first dish. It was a sort thick stew. It was made with bananas and beef (there might have been ground corn in it too, I can't remember). Chris and I were served in these wooden carved bowls that were used for special guests. We were told this was a special dish, and would normally only be eaten at special occasions.
The next dish was one they would eat all the time, Eric said it was as common as crackers to us. It was a beans and bananas. It seemed so strange to be eating bananas in a savory dish, the types used were more like potatoes then bananas we are use to.
Kaleb almost cleaned his bowl with this dish. I am not sure what came over him. He said he would try everthing while in Africa, and he meant it. At home we have offered him cash to eat beans and he won't!IMG_0206.jpg
The last dish was the only one Landon actually ate. I think he liked it the best because it was salty. It was like a beef broth with bananas and chunks of meat.
My kids thought this little kid was funny, when she was given the first dish she spit out the hut and took off. I guess she didn't like it much!
This was the oldest daughter, around 17 years old.
The family structure of the Chagga is very complicated, and I am not sure I understood most of it. Depending on the order a child is born, determins who they live with. I am not sure what stage of life they move in with the family member. For an example the First born daughter would live with the grandmother, first born son would live with an uncle, thrid born would live with the parents.....and so on. (I may have gotten wrong who lives with who, but it gives you an idea)
We were also told about the marriage proccesss. Poligamy is practiced here, as in much of rural Tanzania. When a young man feels he is ready to marry, he builds a hut with the help of his family. Then he finds a girl and "highjacks" her (Erics word for it), and if he can keep her for two days without her family finding her, he gets to keep her. After two days, her family sort of disowns her, and won't take her back even if she were to return. At some point a member of the grooms family will go to the family of the girl and tell them that "something" that they are missing (could be a chicken, could be your daughter) is fine and will be starting a family soon.
Later the kids were taught a song and dance.
The kids then played a game that is a cross between Dodge Ball and Pig in the Middle.

My kids then presented the family with gifts from us. Emily gave the oldest daughter a bag of school supplies (pencils, erasers, notebooks, and pencil sharpeners) and Kaleb gave the oldest Son a Calander with images of Canada. We then said good-bye, and headed back home.
On the way home, in the town of Mohsi (I think) a truck with a live band followed by a wedding car passed us. It was a lucky off chance it crossed our paths. It sure got the kids excited!

Posted by dogtired 05:50 Archived in Tanzania Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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