TANZANIA SAFARI CONTINUED
BABOONS, ELEPHANTS, WILDEBEEST AND GAZELLES
It’s morning at the Bougainville Tented Camp with not a tent in sight. Nice place but nowhere near as wonderful as last night’s. But it’s good – pool, nice rooms in small buildings, big bathrooms, lots of flowering trees and plants. Last night’s Sangaiwe Tented Lodge, however, also featured singing hyenas during the night. While I’ve heard hyenas before I’ve never heard them quite as musical before. There must have been two groups some distance apart and the one closer to us was the more musical. Sounded like a small pipe organ. Even our guide/driver Musawe commented on them next morning.
Right now we are waiting for Musawe to pick us up at 9:00. He stayed somewhere else last night. We are off to Lake Manyara today hoping to see more animals and then later off to the Serengeti. The ideal safari experience is witnessing a “kill” i.e. a lion, leopard, cheetah or hyena chasing and downing a dik-dik, gazelle, wildebeest, zebra or other fast food victim. It’s kind of odd when you think about it; here we are lurching up and down hills and across rutted plains in “jeeps” (Toyota Land Cruisers to be accurate) looking for death.
What’s readily apparent, though, is how much the animals here are in their environment – we are the intruders. There is a calmness and serenity to the thousands of zebra, Thompson Gazelles, red deer, buffalo and wildebeests calmly chomping grasses as they slowly wander across the grassy plains. Even the elephants who stick more to the edge of the plains where there are trees for them to strip, (Acacia’s, the plain’s most populous tree are not elephant friendly) are as far removed from the nervously pacing zoo specimens we are familiar with. Same with the screeching monkeys and baboons you see in zoos back home. Not so here. Elephants and baboons move in quiet family groups and most often shy away from the noisy Jeeps and clicking camera shutters wielded by the ogling tourists. The zebra, wildebeest, deer and gazelle stretch across the plains pretty much intermingled. But it’s all good. No matter how many times you’ve seen all these magnificent creatures on National Geographic or in your local zoo, there really is nothing like seeing elephants, baboons, zebras, giraffes, hyenas and warthogs just doing what they do naturally.
Today we are leaving Lake Manyara for the Serengeti.