Wednesday, Oct 25 (Tarangire—Kikoti)

I slept very well last night. I woke up to the sun and birdsong—very peaceful and quiet. I got up and took some pictures. It was the nicest morning that I’ve experienced yet. They delivered two buckets of warm water for each of us (a total of four buckets), so Jorge and I could each take a warm morning shower. There was the traditional breakfast buffet—eggs, sausage, bacon, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, and a bunch of other stuff. I didn’t bring my camera to breakfast, but I wish I had. They had a bird feeder out, and there were lots of little birds there.

The lodge has a pet ostrich. They had two, but one was killed by a leopard a few weeks ago. Our hostess described them by saying that their eyes were bigger than their brains. I guess they aren’t too swift.


Today was more of the same—driving around and looking for animals. In hindsight, doing this makes perfect sense as you could not cover nearly enough ground on foot (not to mention for safety). (For some reason, I pictured the safari more like a birding trip with us getting out of the vehicles and walking around to get a closer look at the animals.) I have to say that driving slowly down a dusty and bumpy road, with my head and shoulders out of the top, made me feel like a tank command in North Africa during WWII.

Probably the highlight of the day was seeing a leopard on two different occasions. They were really flat cats. The first was in the shady side of a termite mound. I guess it didn’t like the attention we were giving it, because after a short while it sauntered out into the (not so tall) grass. Then it sort of sank down into the grass and *disappeared*. It was amazing. The second one was lying on a tree limb with its paws and tail hanging down on either side. If it were any more relaxed, I think would have stopped breathing.

Lunch was the standard cheese sandwich, chicken, muffin, mandarin tangerine, and juice box. But to be different, this one also included a hard boiled egg and some sort of stuffed bread.

We also saw a pair of dust devils in the distance. These were like mini-tornados, and they only lasted a few minutes before fading away.

There is a short sunset hike in about 15 minutes, and tonight is dinner with traditional Maasai dancing.


We walked down the road with the owner giving us commentary on the various trees, tracks, and other tidbits along the way. He carried a rifle, although there was also a Maasai tribesman, one of our escorts, who was carrying a bow and several arrows.

Eventually, we reached a little pavilion on the edge of the ridge facing east. There was a big plain, then Mount Meru and Arusha. While we were there, we got the beverage of our choice (at our cost), we watched the sunset, and then we were driven back. The vehicles sat three across in sort of stadium seating, so that each row was higher than the row in front of it. This way, everyone got a good view forward. There was one very strange seat for a guard above front left bumper/fender.

The Maasai dancing seems to consist of a number of guys chanting, and then one at a time, one guy would come forward and jump up and down. Eventually, they pulled the guest at the end out and had him jump. Then they proceeded to go down the line of guests. Interestingly, they only chose men. I guess women don’t do that sort of thing. I had plenty of warning, so I could put my camera stuff down, then go out and jump. When all of the guys were done, they pulled out the women en-masse and did sort of a line dance with them. This was all before dinner.

After dinner, I stopped at John’s bungalow to empty my camera’s flash onto his hard drive. Afterwards, I could not find an escort to take me to mine. The wind was picking up, and I was concerned that it might start to rain, so I decided to chance it alone…

I knew that 99.9 percent of the time, there should be no problem, but I was also paranoid that the one time someone would get attacked was the one time I was breaking the rules. I tried to be extra vigilant, but it was rather dark and I only had a small light.

I made it all of the way to the walkway to my bungalow when I found an animal in headlamps—between me and the door. It stood up on its hind legs, and its eye glowed green in the light beam.

It appeared to be a large rabbit or hare. I advanced, and it scampered off. Then I was safe in my room.

Right now, the wind has picked up again, and it feels like just before a storm. This is some of my favorite weather.

Up to Kilimanjaro main page

Back to October 24: Arusha/Moivaro to Tarangire/Kikoti

Forward to October 26: Tarangire/Kikoti to Ngorongoro/Serena