HOW TO REMAIN INTACT WHILE ROCKETING THROUGH THE SERENGETI
It’s taken three days but I’ve finally figured out how to brace myself while we’re rocking and rolling and shaking and shimmying in our “Jeep” 1 so that I avoid lower back spasms. First I grip the arm rest of the seat next to me with my left hand – about 12 inches away, jam my elbow into my seatback, then with my right hand I grip the handhold below the window if it’s only moderate terrain or the one above the window if it’s truly automatic washing machine rough terrain. This stance allows me to relax my back while still preventing me from bashing my brains out against the walls of the Jeep yet not putting my back at risk for spasms and great pain. I call it the “flexible, back spasm prevention brace position” and it seems to work.
But I have to tell you the game seeking tracks are truly spine wrenching at times particularly since the short rains (sudden, short showers) have come and the tracks are rutted up to the axles at times. We got stuck the other day at the leopard harassing celebration attempting to leave the scene of 12 Jeeps lining the track mucking through some deep mud. Guy in a green Land Cruiser from a rival safari company gave us a push.
We had a brief stop at the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater – magnificent! – and are now making our way across the Serengeti plains. Because of the rains – we ran into one shower – the entire expanse is clothed in a light green wash. It really is gorgeous. Last time I was here in 2000 it was hot, dry, dusty as hell and a monotone brown. While I had believed that the Ngorongoro Crater was the largest in the world, Musawe informed me that it's the third largest - two others in Japan have greater diameters - but that it's the largest INTACT crater on the planet. Whatever - it is truly one of the greatest sights I've ever seen.
- All of the Safari Vehicles are called “Jeeps” even though there’s not a single, bonifides Jeep around. Every vehicle I’ve seen is a Toyota Land Cruiser. Mainly in desert beige and forest green. I have seen one orange one and I’ve got to assume that one belongs to the LGBT Safari company. According to Musawe, used to be all Mercedes Defenders (saw an article recently that Mercedes Benz ceased production of the Defender this year), but they were too expensive to maintain. Then came the Range Rovers that, as Musawe described it, just fell apart. So now, given Toyota’s world wide reputation for quality, all the Safari companies use the Land Cruiser and have been for a decade now.