A Travellerspoint blog

Ndutu Day II Part II (Wedding Anniversary)

Finally, some cats


View The Howards' 40th Anniversary Tour 2017 on Grete Howard's travel map.

We're ready to roll for another afternoon of exciting adventures in the African wilderness.

large_Calabash_V..Tented_Camp.jpg

large_Speckled_Mousebird.jpg

large_Mousebird__Speckled_1.jpg

large_5518B5AA983A3D84BDDAE8832C3EC6CB.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_61.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_62.jpg

Dik diks mate for life, so more often than not you find two together or even three, like here with their offspring.

large_Dik_Dik_63.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_64.jpg

large_Lesser_Masked_Weaver.jpg

large_Weaver__Lesser_Masked_1.jpg

large_5A2DA3CA9C767722239D238321545DA9.jpg

large_Giraffes_61.jpg

large_Giraffes_62.jpg

“Sit down and close your window!” comes the urgent call from Malisa as we find ourselves right in the middle of a swarm of bees flying from one nest to another. Phew, that could have been nasty!

large_Black_Faced_Vervet_Monkey.jpg

large_Monkeys__B..ed_Vervet_1.jpg

large_Monkeys__B..ed_Vervet_2.jpg

large_5A6C2D360130A38084E072768EDCCF4B.jpg

large_Secretary_Bird_42.jpg

large_Vultures.jpg

We see three different vultures (Lappet Faced, African White backed and Hooded) sitting in a tree and wonder if there is a kill somewhere.

large_Vultures__..__Hooded__1.jpg

It's mid-afternoon and we still haven't seen any cats today.

large_5B0C3E0D9ED41FC8C664AE51D645DACA.jpg

large_Eagle__Tawny_42.jpg

large_5B4AA755BD7FDA88011156D0A9B14142.jpg

Cute little baby, some 3-4 months old. Later we see an adult wildebeest, on his own, limping badly. I cannot help to think he will be someone's dinner tonight.

large_Wildebeest_61.jpg

large_White_Bellied_Bustard.jpg

large_Bustard__White_Bellied_2.jpg

There's a lot of dust around this afternoon and I am seriously worried about my lungs. They do not feel good. I am therefore grateful when the skies start getting darker and more threatening.

large_Stormy_Weather.jpg

With a strange light, dark clouds and rain on the horizon; it looks like we are in for some inclement weather.

large_Stormy_Clo..er_Ndutu_51.jpg

I am hoping for a dramatic thunder storm.

large_Stormy_Weather_at_Ndutu_3.jpg

No such luck though. The rain is somewhat localised, and fortunately not in our locale.

large_Stormy_Clo..er_Ndutu_52.jpg

large_Stormy_Clo..er_Ndutu_41.jpg

But I guess it is best to start heading towards the camp.

large_Stormy_Clo..er_Ndutu_42.jpg

Before long, the skies are blue with pretty pink clouds. Talk about changeable!

large_Blue_Skies_over_Ndutu_1.jpg

large_5D212AC1EF3C22AD779CBE436E26EBFC.jpg

Time is getting on, the light is fading fast, and we have given up all hope of seeing any big cats today, which means these two lions are a real bonus.

large_Lion_75.jpg

Not that they do much, but enough to get a few nice photos to round the day off nicely.

large_Lion_65.jpg

large_Lion_71.jpg

large_Lion_74.jpg

She is greatly bothered by flies, and tries to wipe them off with her paw.

large_Lion_69.jpg

It doesn't last long, however.

large_Lion_77B.jpg

large_Lion_78.jpg

Time is moving on, the lions are tired and we really should be getting back to camp.

large_Lion_86.jpg

large_Lion_88.jpg

large_Lion_72.jpg

large_Lion_76.jpg

large_829610EFD33604AC033E53D120490B68.jpg

On the way we see a lone buffalo in the sunset.

large_Buffalo_23.jpg

large_Buffalo_22.jpg

And then another.

large_Buffalo_24.jpg

large_Black_Brea..Snake_Eagle.jpg

large_Eagle__Bla..ted_Snake_1.jpg

large_83E4FF21AC2F1382E39E40AC004764C5.jpg

large_Sunset_Over_Ndutu_72.jpg

large_Sunset_Over_Ndutu_73.jpg

large_Sunset_Over_Ndutu_74.jpg

large_Night_Sky.jpg

One of the things I love about a safari in Africa is that we get well away from any light pollution, making the stars all the more visible at night. I am very surprised, and delighted, that we are able to see any stars at all this evening after all the thick, dark clouds that covered the sky just a couple of hours ago.

The downside of being in the wilderness, of course, is the fact that we are surrounded by wild and dangerous animals, which means I can't stray far from the lodge and the armed askari guards.

Setting up my tripod just outside the entrance to the lodge means I do get some stray light from behind, but we can still see the milky way quite clearly.

large_Stars_over_Lake_Masek_21.jpg

large_Wedding_Anniversary.jpg

As I said in the very first blog post from this trip, the reason for being here in our favourite part of the world at this time, is to celebrate forty years of married bliss.

We brought with us a bottle of bubbly from the UK, which Nina, the waiter, kindly opens for us at dinner.

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_1.jpg

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_2.jpg

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_3.jpg

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_4.jpg

I clear my throat, bring out a scroll tied with red ribbon, unroll it and begin to read:

large_Scroll_1.jpg

Ode to marriage

The year was 1974
In Wembley near London Town
A boy wooed a girl with flowers and more
He wanted to settle down

The girl was from Norway, her English not good
He loved her accent and eyes
Always a gentleman, just as he should
Much better than other guys

She was so young and impressed by his car
Just 16 years old, in her prime
He chatted her up in the Century bar
Into his Lotus she'd climb

Education finished, she left her school
To Norway she must return
If he let her go, he would be a fool
He knew he would always yearn

He told her he loved her and would she be his?
She said “yes” straight away
They must stay together, she surely agrees
“Let's get married, without delay”

Friday the 13th the engagement took place
But the very next day she left
He jacked in his job and took up the chase
To Norway, feeling bereft

Friday the 13th, such a special date
“Let's see when the next one is”
The following year was the estimate
To enter married bliss

By 1977 they wed
In Oslo Town Hall it was
From the bright lights of London to Bristol they fled
In a fancy car of course

They easily settled as husband and wife
Both working as hard as they could
To pay for their major passion in life
Exploring the neighbourhood

Their travels took them to near and far
A never-ending quest
From Antarctica, to China to Zanzibar
They were totally obsessed

The years quickly passed amid work and fun
And travels to faraway lands
A number of bucket list items were done
Scuba, canoeing, and boarding on sands

Work in IT and banking, a means to an end
For funding the thrill-seekers' aim
Rafting and driving a tank round the bend
Quite the daredevils they became

Zeppelin, bobsleigh and bamboo raft
Plus driving a Formula Ford
They sailed and quad-biked and often laughed
Even bungy, but never bored

DIY, cars and cycling too
Always busy, he loved to be
Participating in local voodoo
He even learned to ski

Her passions are cooking and photography
And travelling as much as she can
Sociable, smiling and very carefree
She idolises her man

Old age has crept up, with health not so great
But they're only as young as they feel
Troubles are easy when shared with your mate
Which was always part of the deal

To mark this occasion, where should they be?
A favourite haunt for sure
Tanzania of course, for a safari
Such a wonderful place to explore

As they sit here tonight, celebrating their love
Memories plenty to look back on
They thank their stars and heavens above
For the 40 years that have gone

It's 40 years since she gave him her heart
And she loves him more than ever
She said she's be with him “till death us do part”
And even then it's forever

By the time I am finished there is not a dry eye in the house, even the waiter has to wipe away a tear.

large_ACA22F60E53BBAA2FD1414941E5856E9.jpg

As was the case at lunch, a selection of several dishes are brought to our table: stir fried chicken, curried vegetables, lentils, potatoes and rice, preceded by soup and followed by fresh fruit.

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_6.jpg

large_Celebration_Cake.jpg

Malisa also has a surprise up his sleeve: he has arranged for the lodge to make us a cake. The entire staff of the lodge accompany it is brought out, singing traditional Tanzanian songs and keeping the rhythm by banging kitchen utensils. Love it!

large_Wedding_An..ebrations_7.jpg

.

Who would have thought, all those years ago, that this young couple would be here in the African wilderness forty years later, drinking champagne and eating celebration cake.

large_The_Wedding.jpg

Calabash Adventures really are the best, thank you so much for all the arrangements.

large_AD7CE4CDE2B1505AD1736FA3FE3F135B.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 15:09 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds monkeys rain elephants cake clouds africa safari tanzania celebrations birding lions vultures weaver wildebeest bird_watching bustard ndutu calabash_adventures ngorongoro_conservation_area lake_masek_tented_camp dik_dik wedding_anniversary champage mousebird stormy_weather Comments (4)

Ndutu Day II Part I (Mist, Dung Beetle and Elephant Mudbath)

From misty beginnings


View The Howards' 40th Anniversary Tour 2017 on Grete Howard's travel map.

I drag myself out of our tent at 05:45 only to find that the world outside is enveloped in a thick mist this morning.

large_Mist_2A.jpg

It is not easy to spot any animals in the thick pea-soup surrounding us. These hartebeest are so close to the vehicle it would be hard to miss them, but goodness knows what else is hiding behind nature's grey cloak.

large_Hartebeest_in_the_Mist_1.jpg

large_Hartebeest_in_the_Mist_2.jpg

The sun is trying its best to burn off the low cloud, which it manages eventually, but meanwhile it turns the mist a delicate shade of pink.

large_Misty_Morning_5A.jpg

large_Misty_Morning_7.jpg

large_Misty_Morning_8.jpg

large_Misty_Morning_9.jpg

The morning mist has also ensured that dew drops on the spider's webs glow delicately in the low sun.

large_Spider_s_Web_1.jpg

large_Kittlitz_s_Plover.jpg

large_Plover_Kittlitz_1.jpg

large_Plover_Kittlitz_3.jpg

large_Blacksmith_Plover.jpg

large_Plover__Blacksmith_21.jpg

large_Plover__Blacksmith_22.jpg

large_Plover__Blacksmith_24.jpg

large_Bat_Eared_Fox.jpg

large_Fox__Bat_Eared_22.jpg

large_Fox__Bat_Eared_26.jpg

large_Fox__Bat_Eared_28.jpg

large_Fox__Bat_Eared_29.jpg

large_Two_Banded_Courser.jpg

large_Courser__Two_Banded_1.jpg

large_F4065494CE00FB5CA58FCF411C40F6DC.jpg

large_Eagle__Brown_Snake_11.jpg

large_Giraffe.jpg

large_Giraffe_21.jpg

large_F4598820B341A42664E62A028A24D5AD.jpg

large_F45F680FC345C65928CD780BBE8079C4.jpg

large_Helmeted_Guineafowl.jpg

With cute little babies.

large_Guineafowl__Helmeted_11.jpg

large_Guineafowl__Helmeted_12.jpg

large_Guineafowl__Helmeted_13.jpg

large_Guineafowl__Helmeted_14.jpg

large_Guineafowl__Helmeted_15.jpg

large_Long_Crested_Eagle.jpg

large_Eagle__Long_Crested.jpg

large_F5746519DCB0C9E9034BE510F0F3D097.jpg

Life is always more colourful with a Lilac Breasted Roller

large_Roller__Lilac_Breasted_25.jpg

large_Roller__Lilac_Breasted_27.jpg

large_F5EF19ACE80D575C682A14F7CA4021B3.jpg

Another one. They're common as muck around here.

large_Eagle__Brown_Snake_31.jpg

large_138AEB7FF1427E1498F305AA34F26177.jpg

We find a suitable place in the shade of a tree, with no obvious predators in the vicinity, to stop and have our breakfast.

large_Breakfast_..3th_May___6.jpg

large_Breakfast_..3th_May___1.jpg

large_Breakfast_..3th_May___5.jpg

large_Breakfast_..3th_May___3.jpg

David doing his artistic bit

large_Breakfast_..3th_May___8.jpg

large_14AF82F1B2ADB50D3501C29DE4B7344F.jpg

We are soon on our way again “to see what nature has to offer us” out here on the Short Grass Plains.

large_Time_to_Move_On.jpg

large_1525C75FE89840FC567A367EBD75733E.jpg

large_Jackal__Black_backed_32.jpg

large_Jackal__Black_backed_34.jpg

large_155301F7D93C68B33791D0AD71474D2F.jpg

With a tiny baby, no more than than two weeks old.

large_Gazelle__Grant_s_31.jpg

large_Wildebeest_Migration.jpg

The wildebeest have scent glands in their hooves helping the others to follow the leader. The theory is: if their man (beast) at the front gets through, then it must be safe.

large_165FBD2A9274068AFB722F6521372A33.jpg

That is why you often see them walking in a single file, keeping their heads down.

large_Wildebeest_Migration_2.jpg

large_Wildebeest_Migration_3.jpg

large_Wildebeest_Migration_4.jpg

large_Wildebeest_Migration_5.jpg

As always, lots of dust being kicked up.

large_Wildebeest_Migration_6.jpg

large_Wildebeest_Migration_7.jpg

large_Wildebeest_Migration_9.jpg

large_Ostrich.jpg

large_Ostrich_32.jpg

large_18F5E60A0B009EEABFC6452C8EAF7BC9.jpg

It makes such a pleasant change to see these ungulates standing still rather than running away from us for dear life.

large_Eland_31.jpg

large_192A2A0DA8E973A3B046CBCB41DA4A82.jpg

large_Zebra_31.jpg

large_Zebra_32.jpg

large_Zebra_33.jpg

large_1958224FE0C92B864F70EF2366F01599.jpg

Or rather, just her eggs. I have no idea how Malisa manages to spot these things as he is driving along, they are so well camouflaged!

large_Plover__Crowned_Eggs_1.jpg

large_Eastern_Chanting_Goshawk.jpg

large_Goshawk__E.._Chanting_2.jpg

large_Goshawk__E.._Chanting_1.jpg

large_1EF80EDDA4FD8F4DB3BD5D0A2030C5C8.jpg

large_Steenbok_31.jpg

large_Steenbok_32.jpg

large_470CBF9DE5F5C4AC86486F5A11279438.jpg

Those of you who followed my blog from Tanzania last year, will probably remember my fascination with dung beetles.

large_Dung_Beetle_1.jpg

This little stretch of land is Dung Beetle Central! Everywhere you look there is a beetle rolling its prized poo ball across the plains.

large_Dung_Beetle_4.jpg

large_Dung_Beetle_5.jpg

So what's the collective noun for a gang of dung beetles? Shitload. Not sure if that is the official term, but it sure fits!

large_Dung_Beetle_6.jpg

As the original recyclers, dung beetles are probably the most industrious resident on the savannah, clearing up the mess left behind by other animals.

large_Dung_Beetle_7.jpg

Imagining the savannah knee-deep in excrement, makes you appreciate the importance of these tiny animals.

large_Dung_Beetle_8.jpg

large_479387330ACED31FAFF8276A6C596524.jpg

“Let me whisper sweet nothings in your ear...”

large_Zebra_42.jpg

“Lean on me”

large_47A518D4AE1F81D1553FAA096D01CB1B.jpg

large_47A993B2D148A6D84DF461E9651ECC20.jpg

large_47CDAA5593C5FB57D3D78F7E5BDE2F37.jpg

large_Helmetshri..e_Rumped_41.jpg

large_Hyena.jpg

We see a hyena hiding in the undergrowth and drive nearer to take a better look, by which time she has completely disappeared, so I guess she has a den hidden somewhere in the grass.

large_47DEE78BC45B2A3A0032B0EEBA9F2499.jpg

Keen to locate a big cat of some sort, Malisa drives from tree to tree, copse to copse to check out what is hiding in the shade, but no luck.

We do see a few other birds and animals though.

large_47EC1508EF32A85DCE35066C52FFA2FB.jpg

large_Eagle__Long_Crested_41.jpg

large_47EDB5B50C526709572668AA66D40C4C.jpg

It is strange how the distribution of animals is so different from this same week last year – so far we have seen more steenbok in the first couple of days than we saw on the entire trip in 2016.

large_Steenbok_41.jpg

large_47EC1508EF32A85DCE35066C52FFA2FB.jpg

Another Long Crested Eagle – this one is having a bad hair day.

large_Eagle__Long_Crested_42.jpg

large_483821F6ADF2BC07E2807596FD7128D1.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_41.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_42.jpg

large_Dik_Dik_43.jpg

large_Lake_Ndutu.jpg

large_Lake_Ndutu_21.jpg

large_Lesser_Flamingo.jpg

large_Flamingo__Lesser_21.jpg

When eating, the flamingo shift their legs up and down to disturb the algae, a movement Malisa likens to a dance. To me it looks more like little kids hopping from leg to leg shouting: “Mum, I need to pee!” Malisa agrees with me and finds my analogy particularly amusing.

large_Flamingo__Lesser_22.jpg

large_Marsh_Sandpiper.jpg

large_Sandpiper__Marsh.jpg

large_48A49EF2904632F92779A898DE5C792C.jpg

The elephants love to cover themselves in mud as this helps to get rid of any ticks.

large_Elephant_Mudbath_3.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_6.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_11.jpg

The small herd look like they are really enjoying their wallow – I expect the mud is nice and cooling in the midday sun too.

large_Elephant_Mudbath_2.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_4.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_8.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_9.jpg

They are so ungainly when they try to get out of the water!

large_Elephant_Mudbath_12.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_15.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_16.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_17.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_22.jpg

This little one is rubbing her belly on the ground to ensure the mud sticks.

large_Elephant_Mudbath_18.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_19.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_20.jpg

large_Elephant_Mudbath_21.jpg

large_495ADF14DD1914A890F5631CFD1219C5.jpg

large_498579E7F319DEDFC6D4D57C1E2C9216.jpg

large_Giraffe_43.jpg

large_Giraffe_57.jpg

large_Blue_Naped_Mousebird.jpg

large_Mousebird__Blue_Naped_1.jpg

large_Mousebird__Blue_Naped_2.jpg

large_Black_Winged_Red_Bishop.jpg

In their breeding plumage. Here seen with a Blue Capped Cordon Bleu.

large_Bishop__Bl..rdon_Bleu_1.jpg

large_49A655FFFE2D17D55D33A18D0F624028.jpg

To me, this is the quintessential African safari scene – zebra and giraffe grazing on a dry, flat savannah.

large_Zebra_and_Giraffe_1.jpg

large_Zebra_and_Giraffe_2.jpg

large_Zebra_and_Giraffe_4.jpg

large_49C1FFA390B99AD64F6580411BD6E500.jpg

large_Zebra_46.jpg

Nothing worse than being photobombed by a giraffe.

large_Zebra_and_Giraffe_5.jpg

large_4A001FBFEA40966B931EEA13B2BFF4DA.jpg

large_4A114D44F4C45F443B84A1502EBD2B8E.jpg

large_Warthogs_22.jpg

large_4A411089B0B2838ABFB8B7602D8F260A.jpg

It always amuses me the way they have to kneel when they eat because their neck isn't long enough to reach the ground.

large_Warthogs_25.jpg

large_Warthogs_26.jpg

Apart from this guy at the back who seems to have perfected the art of eating standing up.

large_Warthogs_29.jpg

Another giraffe photobomb.

large_Giraffe_55.jpg

Giraffe are at their most vulnerable when drinking. Despite their long necks, they have to get themselves into a very awkward yoga pose in order to reach the water. Not only do they then struggle to get up again, they are also not able to keep a close eye on any predators that may be approaching.

large_Giraffe_Drinking_1.jpg

Not that it looks like there is much water there.

large_Giraffe_Drinking_2.jpg

As soon as the giraffe stands up, a number of oxpeckers fly off.

large_Giraffe_Drinking_4.jpg

large_4F501137EC313ABD52B1E37E1C1806A7.jpg

The oxpecker has a symbiotic relationship with many of the larger animals on the savannah, cleaning its host by feeding on the ticks, horsefly larvae and other parasites that make their home on the skin. The bird also acts as an early warning signal, alerting the other animals to danger by making loud chirping and hissing noises.

large_Oxpecker__Red_Billed_22.jpg

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath.jpg

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath_1.jpg

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath_2.jpg

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath_6.jpg

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath_7.jpg

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath_10.jpg

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath_12.jpg

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath_14.jpg

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath_15.jpg

It seems they are enjoying themselves.

large_Zebra_Dust_Bath_17.jpg

large_531693CD05B275EDCC91BE5081AF93B7.jpg

large_Buzzard__Augur_32.jpg

large_Hippo.jpg

In Lake Masek

large_Hippo_31.jpg

large_538CB4A1CAE2DACCA7D8536FC9D56CA1.jpg

Normally we like to stay out all day, taking a picnic box with us for both breakfast and lunch, but today I thought it would be nice to go back to the camp for a meal in the middle of the day as it is our wedding anniversary.

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_25.jpg

There is only us staying here these last two nights, but they have made us an impressive spread with a choice of dishes: spaghetti with a bolognaise sauce, okra curry with rice and mixed vegetables. Soup to start and fresh fruit to finish.

large_Lunch_at_L..Tented_Camp.jpg

After another amazing morning's safari with Calabash Adventures, it is time for a short break before we go out exploring again.

large_877911C6FD83125866CD00268040C5F4.jpg

large_53F3BA2DBDFC69D371AB7176A3DD9178.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 03:11 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals birds travel adventure africa safari tanzania zebra giraffe bird_watching african_safari ndutu calabash_adventures ngorongoro_conservation_area Comments (1)

Ndutu - Day I Part III (Elephants, Vultures and Lion)

What a memory!

semi-overcast 27 °C
View The Howards' 40th Anniversary Tour 2017 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Having left the cheetah versus lion stand-off behind, we continue in our search of wildlife experiences. Our first encounter is a lone elephant with one tusk.

large_Elephant_13.jpg

large_Elephant_12.jpg

Followed by an Egyptian Goose family.

large_Geese__Egyptian_11.jpg

large_A_Memory_of_Elephants.jpg

In the distance, in amongst the trees, we see a couple more elephants and go to investigate. It turns out to be a large memory (the collective noun for elephants) of at least 32 animals, including several youngsters and a randy old bull.

large_Elephants_11.jpg

large_Elephants_16.jpg

large_Elephants_15.jpg

large_Elephants_14.jpg

We follow them as they work their way through the forest, decimating bushes and trees in their wake.

large_Elephants_18.jpg

large_Elephants_23.jpg

large_Elephants_50.jpg

When they are not eating, they try to keep in the shade as much as possible. I don't blame them, that sun is mighty hot!

large_Elephants_19.jpg

The elephants are so huge, yet so amazingly silent; mainly because the soles of their feet have built in shock absorbers so it is like they are walking on sponges.

large_Elephants_30.jpg

large_Elephants_35.jpg

large_Elephants_40.jpg

With this area being very much drier than normal (despite this being the wet season), the elephants stir up a great amount of dust, as they slowly meander amongst the trees.

large_AC0FB040B57899033AEC3B184F004D5B.jpg

large_AC11EEC7DC2330C7D82B132632D7D5C8.jpg

The dust is playing havoc with my already-suffering lungs, and I try to cover my mouth and nose with a bandana so as not to breathe in any more dirt particles than I have to.

large_AC1519D4E4F00625219067AC49BA3EB3.jpg

large_Elephants_70.jpg

This little guy certainly isn't helping!

large_Elephants_67.jpg

large_Elephants_68.jpg

large_Elephants_69.jpg

Having spent a magical 40 minutes just observing these gentle giants as the go about their daily life, we leave them to their clouds of dust and go to “see what else nature has to offer us.”

large_Elephants_42.jpg

large_Elephants_45.jpg

large_Elephants_47.jpg

large_Elephants_48.jpg

large_Elephants_55.jpg

large_Elephants_56.jpg

large_Elephants_58.jpg

large_Lilac_Breasted_Roller.jpg

One of my favourite African birds!

large_Roller__Lilac_Breasted_1.jpg

large_White_Rumped_Helmetshrike.jpg

large_Shrike__Wh..ed_Helmet_1.jpg

large_Vulture_Mayhem.jpg

Feasting on the carcass of a zebra who died of natural causes, a plethora of vultures are accompanied by a few storks.

large_Vultures_a..ead_Zebra_2.jpg

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_1.jpg
Rueppell's Griffon

large_Stork__Marabou_1.jpg
Marabou Stork

large_Vulture__A..te_Backed_1.jpg
African White Backed Vulture

What a racket! They sound like a huge flock of sheep as they squabble over the meat.

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_3.jpg

large_Vulture__A..s_Griffon_2.jpg

Check out the short video clip below to hear the commotion a few birds can make!

.

There is a distinct pecking order, and some of the birds are very aggressive. This guy is beating a newcomer to a pulp.

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_5.jpg

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_6.jpg

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_8.jpg

Meanwhile, other vultures move in on the dining table and take his place, which means he has to fight them off too before he can dine. And so it goes on.

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_11.jpg

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_12.jpg

After a while it turns into massive free-for-all brawl. Like Bristol on a Saturday night.

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_15.jpg

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_14.jpg

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_17.jpg

More and more birds arrive, hoping to get a small piece of the action. Failing that, some food.

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_13.jpg

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_4.jpg

large_Stork__Marabou_2.jpg

You can see who gets to eat.

large_Griffon__Rueppell_s_16A.jpg

large_Little_Bee_Eater.jpg

Further along, a much more peaceful scene, this gorgeous little bee eater just sitting around minding his own business.

large_Bee_Eater__Little.jpg

large_DE30F959B7F43D78740D248B834F462E.jpg

large_Secreatray_Bird_11.jpg

large_A_Lion_s_Dinner.jpg

Warning – the following photographs contain gory images

In the shade of a tree, we find a lioness feasting on a baby wildebeest.

large_Lion_with_..st_Dinner_1.jpg

By the looks of the flies on her dinner, the kill is probably not fresh, so we guess it was an opportunist grab from a cheetah.

large_Lion_with_..t_Dinner_12.jpg

large_Lion_with_..st_Dinner_4.jpg

large_Lion_with_..t_Dinner_14.jpg

large_E1951906B38216FB3A17F24F9840B898.jpg

Fed up with having an audience while she eats, the lioness decides to move her dinner elsewhere.

large_Lion_with_..t_Dinner_19.jpg

large_Lion_with_..t_Dinner_20.jpg

Heading for the long grass, she cleverly hides herself and her dinner.

large_Lion_with_..t_Dinner_23.jpg

large_Lion_with_..t_Dinner_22.jpg

large_Lion_with_..t_Dinner_21.jpg

It is time for us to head back to camp as the light fades and evening draws in. Government rules state that we have to leave the park by sundown, which is around 18:30.

large_Spotted_Flycatcher.jpg

large_Flycatcher__Spotted_1.jpg

large_D_Arnaud_s_Barbet.jpg

large_Barbet__D_Arnaud_s_1.jpg

large_Black_backed_jackal.jpg

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_11.jpg

large_Zebra.jpg

large_E36CAC69B536AAAA7EA35BD9ACF8F8E7.jpg

large_Steenbok.jpg

As is common when the soil is parched like this, as soon as we stop the car, the dust from the wheels seems to catch up with us, hanging heavily in the air.

large_Steenbok_in_the_Dust_1.jpg

Waiting a couple of minutes sees the dust clearing. Normally a very skittish antelope, it is extremely unusual to see one standing still, just looking at us.

large_E55C5B20DF6E9E2C96A3EC76BCFFC123.jpg

As soon as we get back to the camp I jump in the shower, then start to get ready for dinner. I feel totally knocked out by this chest infection with absolutely no energy: all I want to do is sleep. I don't physically have the energy to get dressed, so I make my excuses and send David down to meet Malisa for dinner on his own. I immediately fall into a restless sleep, punctuated by coughing fits and recurring bad dreams. Oh joy.

Yet another wonderful day on safari with Calabash Adventures.

large_E59B22D7BD3D8D80AED1AC8360C22B15.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 16:44 Archived in Tanzania Tagged travel elephants africa safari tanzania lion ngorongoro vultures geese goose lilac_breasted_roller ndutu calabash_adventures ngorongoro_conservation_area memory_of_elephants vulture_mayhem Comments (2)

Ndutu Day I Part II (Honey Badger and Cheetah)

OMG! It's the elusive honey badger!


View The Howards' 40th Anniversary Tour 2017 on Grete Howard's travel map.

large_Stormy_Clouds_1.jpg

After breakfast we go and check on the lion cubs we saw earlier, to find they are all asleep; so we leave them to it and go to “see what nature will offer us”. This is one of Malisa's favourite sayings, and I love it!

.

large_White_Browed_Coucal.jpg

large_Coucal__White_Browed_1.jpg

large_Lesser_Spotted_Thick_Knee.jpg

We all get very excited when Malisa spots a Lesser Spotted Thick Knee in the undergrowth. I know it is a crappy picture, but this is a lifer for us (first time we have seen one, to be added to the Life List). He is gone before I manage to get a better photo unfortunately.

large_Thick_Knee..r_Spotted_1.jpg

large_Crowned_Plover.jpg

Mummy Plover is fiercely protecting her eggs, which are in a nest within a shallow hole on the Short Grass Plains of Serengeti, without any cover or other protection. We could so easily have run the nest over if Malisa wasn't so observant.

large_Plover__Crowned_1.jpg

large_Plover__Crowned_3.jpg

large_Plover__Crowned_4.jpg

Malisa explains that this area is the best place to see cheetah. Mind you, he said the same last year; and we didn't see any then either.

Although we can see jackals, hyenas, eland and Thomson's gazelles in the distance; I really struggle to keep awake.

large_Honey_Badgers.jpg

I certainly wake up and feel a surge of adrenalin when I see something in the distance and we discover they are a pair of honey badgers! Malisa races off at speed across the savannah, and I try to hold on for dear life while taking photos of the badgers. Unsuccessfully. The photography, that is, not holding on to my life.

large_Badgers__Honey_1.jpg
Trust me, these are honey badgers. Yes, really.

Here are some better pictures:

large_Badgers__Honey_3.jpg

A Thomson's Gazelle joins in with the race, just because.

large_Badgers__Honey_4.jpg

The badgers make several twists and turns to try and shake us off, but Malisa is determined not to lose them.

large_Badgers__Honey_6.jpg

Before we know it, they run into their little sett and are gone.

large_Badgers__Honey_8.jpg

What an amazing sighting: these beast are extremely rare to spot; in fact it is only Malisa's second time! Wow!

large_Badgers__Honey_10.jpg

Check out David's video showing the honey badgers in action.

.

large_Hidden_Valley.jpg

This was one of my favourite places on the 2016 safari. What a difference a year makes! Last year the valley was lush and the waterhole was full of literally tens of thousands of animals drinking and bathing. This year the valley is dusty and the waterhole dry. And not a single animal!

large_Hidden_Valley_Comparison.jpg

large_Reedbuck.jpg

I feel very deflated and quite disappointed that Hidden Valley is devoid of life. I guess unpredictable rains will have this effect on nature. However, seeing a pair of reedbucks, normally very shy animals, partly makes up for it.

large_256B7005F7AEF4A271FA87FA8599768E.jpg

They stand and look at us for a short moment before fleeing.

large_267AD845C8553B78CD04F31F1BFDD3B8.jpg

large_Reedbuck_4.jpg

large_267CD696C929EE2399F9A629D6494A9F.jpg

large_Reedbuck_5.jpg

large_269A6D66E01694A08F3ECBE9D00CC1B4.jpg

A few hardy zebra eventually arrive at the desolate valley.

large_Zebra_11.jpg

large_Zebra_12.jpg

Despite being fascinated by the unusual cloud formation; I find myself feeling more and more sleepy as we cross the short grass plains towards the Small Marsh, an area famed for being a good breeding site for both cheetah and lions. My chest infection has now turned into bronchitis, and I started a course of antibiotics this morning, which seems to have completely knocked me out. All my body wants to do is sleep. All my mind, heart and photography finger want to do is to see animals. Right now my body wins, and I drift into a peaceful slumber.

large_26D7B3AE93C2F1AEA41AB0CE4AE102F8.jpg

The renowned cats in this area are certainly not around today; just a few zebra and giraffes graze quietly here this morning.

large_Giraffe_11.jpg

large_Zebra_13.jpg

Having our breakfast with the lions this morning meant we were unable to leave the vehicle to 'mark our territory'; and by now I am getting pretty desperate. I guess there not being many dangerous animals around is a benefit as I get my Shewee out and seek shelter and privacy to pee behind the car.

I am not quite sure how to explain this without going in to graphic detail, and trust me, you don't want to know. Suffice to say, I have a massive shewee fail. So here I am, in the middle of the wilderness of the Serengeti, changing my underwear; with a very bemused giraffe looking on! The adventures of the Howards are never boring! Sorry – or thankfully in my case – there are no pictures.

large_Giraffe_12.jpg

large_Dik_Dik.jpg

large_4298F9F9A46741DB13ED67F4113B8603.jpg

large_Lion.jpg

So, Malisa was right after all (of course), this is a good place for lions. Considering a couple of minutes ago I was outside the vehicle wearing very little, this blog could have had a very different story - or even ending - to it.

large_43E95516BC946CDF7701B5EF4463CB1B.jpg

large_Cheetah.jpg

Not only do we see a lion, just a short distance away is also a lone female cheetah. Acutely aware of the lion down on the marsh, she rests uneasily in the shade of a bush.

large_43CB14B6F27DCE3544DC4DD7B2D88468.jpg

Although lions are not considered predators as far as cheetahs go, they can and will attack cheetahs as they are considered competitors within the food chain. Probably hiding babies in a bush somewhere, the cheetah is constantly on the move, trying to shake the lion off.

large_4417F9C7CF72F4FCEE02A32A2D986A8A.jpg

As usual, we follow her and eventually she settles down, at least for a while.

large_46830442F330A3156F3AB412CD069494.jpg

She is still very much alert, looking left and right to ensure she is safe.

large_46112F87C31F0112C967500DBCCF3C2E.jpg

large_Cheetah_5.jpg

It's tiring work dodging lions.

large_46C34F91B463E5D508C6722DC010ABB9.jpg

large_Cheetah_8.jpg

There is no chance of relaxing though.

large_Cheetah_10.jpg

With a jolt, this beautiful slender cat stands up, having obviously spotted something.

large_Cheetah_13.jpg

The reason for her sudden unease soon becomes clear.

large_47CE7A51043B02AAA02D9FA33689D3E8.jpg

The Cheetah keeps a very close eye on the lioness as she gets nearer.

large_Cheetah_15.jpg

The lioness, however, does not appear to be heading for the cheetah. The cheetah is on our left, whereas the lioness is heading to our right.

large_47E21FAFA7343BF4E64A10DB6CBCFFF9.jpg

For a long time nothing happens, as they are both settled into an uneasy truce, the cheetah some ten metres to our left, the lion – hidden in the bushes – about the same distance on our right side. We take lunch here, with another car picnic.

The cheetah is taking no chances though, and moves further into the bush. We follow of course, hoping she will lead us her to her babies; who by the looks of her teats, are very young.

large_Cheetah_16.jpg

large_Cheetah_17.jpg

large_Cheetah_18.jpg

large_Cheetah_19.jpg

She is constantly checking to see if she is being followed.

large_Cheetah_20.jpg

large_Cheetah_21.jpg

Eventually she walks down to the marsh where she settles down. No babies to see this time.

large_Cheetah_22.jpg

large_Cheetah_23.jpg

large_Cheetah_24.jpg

It is time for us to move on and "see what else nature has to offer us". Be sure to read the next instalment to see what else we saw this first day on the plains of Ndutu. Thank you to the team at Calabash Adventures for putting together an amazing safari for us.

large_562E6CD49D49E8F24EAC0D3716F59600.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 05:35 Archived in Tanzania Tagged africa safari tanzania cheetah lion giraffe ngorongoro honey_badger calabash_adventures ngorongoro_conservation_area coucal dik_dik Comments (1)

Ndutu - Day I Part I (the Marsh Pride)

Cuteness overload!


View The Howards' 40th Anniversary Tour 2017 on Grete Howard's travel map.

After a quick coffee, we leave the lodge dead on 06:00 this morning, while it is still dark.

large_BC2CFCD50FADB1135F37678ADFF7F49B.jpg

large_Jackal.jpg

We can barely see the surroundings, but just about manage to make out this black backed jackal in the darkness.

large_Jackal__Black_Backed_1.jpg

large_Tawny_Eagle.jpg

large_Eagle__Tawny_1.jpg

large_BB94376EFE8172441B3F9B5C3EDEA334.jpg

Just as the sun is rising, an elephant walks by. As they do.

large_B7059EC0FA59EBA4AA44CF9768FA964E.jpg

large_BBBB3F10EC85D94618AE68D8F3C11013.jpg

large_BBBF9F9AD202D6248E6B4A43D2FEF6B7.jpg

He gets mighty close to the car.

large_Elephant_4.jpg

large_Elephant_3A.jpg

large_DB41ABCC9588D77C82FF1F6E89CDDB5E.jpg

As soon as we approach, they make a run for it.

large_DB460A51CD6B15CF6CBF119C6D0FDB01.jpg

large_DBA18456A4BC9D747C7E06CD100B55E9.jpg

large_Buzzard__Augus_1.jpg

large_DBF1923AB8F3BFE437E368CE6EC3EE15.jpg

large_DBF55497FC3B6E9CC12903C8285723D9.jpg

Talk about bad hair day!

large_Secretary_Bird_2.jpg

large_Red_Necked_Spurfowl.jpg

large_Spurfowl__Red_Necked_2.jpg

large_Spurfowl__Red_Necked_1.jpg

large_DC5086C4F63F1BC567B55E244C554059.jpg

large_DC5BDAD4A80B7DE5DF868D027D02660D.jpg

large_Lion_cuba_of_Ndutu.jpg

Malisa wants to go down on the Big Marsh to look for the lion cubs who live around that area.

large_Malisa_ith_Binoculars_2.jpg

It doesn't take him long to find them.

large_Lion_Cubs_1.jpg

There were six of them, to two mothers, but sadly one was eaten by a python.

large_Lion_Cubs_2.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_19.jpg

The mischievous little cubs – they are 2½ months old now – spend their time playing, suckling and having fun.

large_Lion_Cubs_5.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_6.jpg

When they start to make their way across the marsh, mum keeps stopping to make sure they are all keeping up.

large_Lion_Cubs_11.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_12.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_16.jpg

Occasionally she stops and looks straight at us, and I wonder what is going through her mind at this time. Irritation? Fear? Curiosity? Breakfast?

large_Lion_Cubs_17.jpg

The cubs find a small dead bush and investigate.

large_Lion_Cubs_23.jpg

Before continuing on their way.

large_Lion_Cubs_26.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_28.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_30.jpg

The group leave the open marsh and head into the wilderness to explore. We follow. That is the beauty of the Ndutu area, it is one of the few places in the Tanzanian parks where safari vehicles are permitted to drive off the marked tracks.

large_Lion_Cubs_33.jpg

Like most kids, the cubs are into everything and explore high and low. This tree proves an irresistible challenge.

large_Lion_Cubs_34.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_36.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_37.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_38.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_41.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_44.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_46.jpg

Soon they're on the move again!

large_Lion_Cubs_49.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_51.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_53.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_55.jpg

Mum doesn't notice that one of her babies is underneath her as she tries to sit down.

large_Lion_Cubs_56.jpg

The cub manages to escape just in time to avoid being squashed.

large_Lion_Cubs_57.jpg

The two females share the parenting of all the cubs, so if one mum is busy or disinterested, the cubs can just go to the other to suckle.

large_Lion_Cubs_58.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_61.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_63.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_59.jpg

Although mum doesn't always seem to be quite so thrilled by the arrangement.

large_Lion_Cubs_64.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_68.jpg

Mum wants to move on, junior wants to eat!

large_Lion_Cubs_69.jpg

In fact, mum wants to eat too, but before she goes out hunting, she has to find a safe place to hide her cubs from predators.

large_Lion_Cubs_72.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_73.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_75.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_79.jpg

Mum heads for a large bush and the babies settle down to feed. Again.

large_Lion_Cubs_81.jpg

Another car arrives, and drives too close to the den for comfort, revving its engine as it does. Mum is not happy.

large_Lion_Cubs_82.jpg

When her darlings have had their fill, she leaves the den in her hunt for breakfast.

large_Lion_Cubs_84.jpg

Her offspring try to follow, but somehow she appears to communicate to them that they should stay put while she goes off hunting.

large_Lion_Cubs_86.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_85.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_87.jpg

As the cubs obediently settle down near the den, I get an overwhelming sense of privilege and gratitude, with a perception of being part of a wildlife documentary. I have to pinch myself to make sure this really is me having this incredible experience, not some kind of parallel universe.

large_Lion_Cubs_88.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_89.jpg

Nothing can beat watching wild animals in their natural habitat!

large_Lion_Cubs_90.jpg

We too leave the cubs behind and follow the females for a while, to see what they get up to.

large_Lion_Cubs_92.jpg

large_Lion_Cubs_93.jpg

When it becomes evident that they are in no hurry to go chasing prey; we decide to have a break and open our breakfast box while we wait for any action.

large_Lion_Cubs_95.jpg

large_Breakfast_Picnic.jpg

Lots of lovely fruit in today's breakfast box, as well as egg, bacon, sausage and yogurt. Plus a cake. We are certainly not going to starve on this trip!

large_Breakfast_Box_1.jpg

What an exciting morning, and it is only 09:15! Be sure to read the next instalment to see more of our experiences in Tanzania with Calabash Adventures.

large_203A5F669BAD79AB613FD2B9C9967E62.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 00:43 Archived in Tanzania Tagged animals elephants africa safari tanzania lions lion_cubs ngorongoro ndutu calabash_adventures ngorongoro_conservation_area Comments (4)

Ngorongoro - Ndutu

Lake Masek Tented Camp

rain
View The Howards' 40th Anniversary Tour 2017 on Grete Howard's travel map.

large_84DE9CAB9DBEE04A5346D05070C69643.jpg

Having left Ngorongoro Crater behind, we make our way to our overnight accommodation at Ndutu, driving across the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. When they hear the name Ngorongoro, most people think only of the crater; but that is a just very small part of the overall reserve as the map below shows.

large_Ngorongoro.._with_Ndutu.jpg

As we make our way across the highlands we can once again see the Maasai tending to their cattle.

large_4D9E5171ABA07D734D810ABEFA055D01.jpg

large_Maasai_Cattle_2.jpg

After not having slept much last night and still struggling with being able to breathe, I am feeling extremely sleepy as we bump along the rough track, drifting into a lovely long snooze while Malisa negotiates the road to Ndutu. I don't wake up until we reach the beginning of the Ndutu Plains, some two hours later.

large_Hyenas.jpg

large_8918B746D1319C697ED7DDA1CEA3D657.jpg

It looks like this one feels about as sleepy as I do.

large_891BE3D1D2BF0114E1C1473A7EAEB668.jpg

large_Hyena_6.jpg

large_Giraffes.jpg

large_A87E041CBCFD982FBCE25EA54F52D368.jpg

large_Giraffe_2.jpg

large_Ostriches.jpg

Ostriches live in harems, with the male having several females such as these ten here. The male will mate with all of them and the females will share the babysitting duties.

large_Ostriches_2.jpg

large_Ostriches_3.jpg

large_Capped_Wheatear.jpg

large_Wheatear__Capped_1.jpg

large_Impala.jpg

large_A86104570089F78C3A867097D5432683.jpg

large_Grant_s_Gazelle.jpg

large_Gazelle__Grants_1.jpg

large_Giraffes.jpg

It is raining quite heavily now, and these giraffes look super miserable at getting wet.

large_Giraffe_in_the_Rain_1.jpg

large_Giraffe_in_the_Rain_3.jpg

Bad hair day?

large_Giraffe_in_the_Rain_2.jpg

large_Brown_Snake_eagle.jpg

large_Eagle__Brown_Snake_1.jpg

large_Fischer_s_Lovebirds.jpg

Sheltering from the rain

large_A8B2B7E3AE808E410EC39285CEC6A8F4.jpg

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp.jpg

Not only has it stopped raining by the time we reach our accommodation for the night; it is still daylight.

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_26.jpg

We last stayed here in 2011, when we arrived after dark and left again the following morning before daybreak. This time we have three nights here, and it is lovely to be able to actually see what the camp looks like.

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_27.jpg

The camp consists of 20 tents set on wooden platforms, linked by gravel paths, staggered for privacy and most (ours at least) overlooking the lake of the same name.

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_1.jpg

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_22.jpg

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_18.jpg

There is also a large dining tent with a bar, restaurant and a wonderful terrace with sweeping views.

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_24.jpg

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_17.jpg

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_13.jpg

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_14.jpg

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_15.jpg

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_16.jpg

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_11.jpg

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_12.jpg

large_Our_Tent.jpg

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_2.jpg

This 'room' even brings glamping to a new dimension.

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_21.jpg

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_10.jpg

Outside the main tent, but still protected from the bugs by mosquito netting, is a cool terrace with comfy chairs and a great view. The perfect place for a sundowner.

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_3.jpg

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_20.jpg

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_19.jpg

The room itself features a huge four poster bed, bedside tables, a chest of drawers, two spacious luggage racks and a writing desk with chair.

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_4.jpg

There is a telephone, torch, whistle to attract attention in case of emergency, 24 hour electricity, plug sockets for charging phones and a very handy water dispenser for cold drinking water as well as hot water for making tea and coffee.

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_5.jpg

And the bathroom... what can I say? Twin vanity basins, a free-standing bath, bathrobe and hair drier, a wardrobe (with safety deposit box inside), and separate toilet and shower rooms.

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_6.jpg

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_7.jpg

The highlight is having a shower in the outside cubicle – nothing can beat a hot shower in cool rain under a starry sky!

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_8.jpg

David is most disappointed with his shower and complains that I have used up all the cold water: by the time he goes in (or rather out), it has stopped raining.

large_Lake_Masek_Tented_Camp_9.jpg

We have to call an askari (Maasai warrior) to come and collect us from our tent when we go to the restaurant. Dinner is a quiet affair, the only other guests are a German group of four, and the food consists of a 'buffet' brought to our table. As is usual on safari, we don't linger after dinner, and return to our tent around 21:00. The askari chooses his weapon ( simple spear) and escorts us safely to our room.

large_Maasai_Spears.jpg

And so ends another amazing day on safari with Calabash Adventures.

large_AA697C0808845539C13E9667ABF45E7E.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 16:27 Archived in Tanzania Tagged lake africa tanzania luxury giraffe ngorongoro hyena glamping impala safai ndutu calabash calabash_adventures ngorongoro_conservation_area _masek lake_masek_tented_camp askari Comments (2)

Ngorongoro Crater

The Eighth Wonder of the the World?


View The Howards' 40th Anniversary Tour 2017 on Grete Howard's travel map.

At 02:00 I wake in a mad panic with a feeling of being unable to breathe. My head is spinning, the floor is moving like ocean waves and my heart is beating so fast it feels like I have just run a marathon (not that I am ever likely to know what that feels like).

I walk to the bathroom, having to hold on to the furniture along the way so as not to stumble, and by the time I return to bed I feel exhausted. As soon as I lie back down again, I start coughing. Thanks David for giving me your cold. Having spent the first three months of the year being very ill / hospitalised with pneumonia, and having to cancel a holiday in February, I was so looking forward to this trip. I really don't want to be sick!

A large group of tourists are leaving the lodge at the same time as us this morning (06:00), but Malisa has conveniently placed himself in the car park rather than just outside the door, so we get away before they do, which means we enter the Crater as the very fist vehicle this morning.

large_Ngorongoro.._the_Rim_21.jpg
Ngorongoro crater as seen from the rim

large_Ngorongoro_Crater.jpg

Like an African safari in miniature, the Ngorongoro Crater is an iconic soup bowl filled with animals and wrapped in superlatives. As the largest un-filled, un-broken caldera in the world, the crater boasts a number of 'records', including the densest animal population in Africa. No wonder it is dubbed as the 8th Wonder of the World. Created some three million years ago when a large volcano exploded, the caldera is ca 20 km across and 610 metres deep; and contains all the 'Big Five' as well as a number of other plains game. Only the giraffe is absent, as the caldera walls are too steep for them to climb.

Also absent these days is the Maasai cattle, having recently been banned from the caldera. When we first started coming to Tanzania some ten years ago, the cattle were only permitted on the caldera walls, but over the years they have been spreading themselves further and further down, and last year we were quite surprised to see them on the crater floor itself. No more. They are not permitted into the caldera at all now.

large_Sunrise_over_the_Crater_1.jpg

large_Cape_Buffalo.jpg

Instead of Maasai cattle, we see a number of Cape Buffalo on the crater walls this morning. Considered one of the Big Five, this is an aggressive and dangerous animal, responsible for a number of human deaths each year.

large_Buffalo_21.jpg

large_AC33A436D188D1C697D76FB852AB34A7.jpg

large_AC3032A399E453FB002531E97F05BA8E.jpg

large_Buffalo_3.jpg

large_ACB13C2ADB73749DFC00D6839CAAE520.jpg

large_Sunrise_over_the_Crater_3.jpg

large_Sunrise_over_the_Crater_4.jpg

large_AEAAC677AD93F7C88BC576E21D70A297.jpg

We spot our very first lions about half way down the descent road, and we follow the two females all the way to the bottom, where they move off the road in their continued quest for breakfast.

large_Lions_6.jpg

large_AEC36C51ECB23032538EF042B6128152.jpg

large_AEC8AF9FC3DA2CA9E4481D515333D5B4.jpg

large_Lions_9.jpg

large_Warthog.jpg

In the distance we – and the lionesses – have spotted a warthog. He too is very aware of the predators approaching.

large_B00E8E6CC5AE1295A0F1684284C1B91E.jpg

What to do now? The clever hog finds himself a hole in the ground and goes into hiding by 'reversing' into the crevice.

large_Warthog_2.jpg

We hold our breaths as the lionesses arrive in the area the warthog is lurking, looking in a few of the small ravines for the breakfast they know is hiding somewhere close by.

large_Lions_21.jpg

large_Lions_22.jpg

Unfortunately for the lionesses, but fortunately for the warthog, they never do discover his hiding place. Well played Mr Hogg, well played!

large_Lions_23.jpg

We follow the lionesses for a little while longer, hoping they might lead us to their babies.

large_Lions_24.jpg

No such luck, and we join the baboons in looking at the lions disappear into the forest.

large_Lions_25.jpg
Wise advice

large_B7614885DF453723D1D9AC352CD37422.jpg

large_B76389C0D5CAF3A1C3CD02A4A3607D99.jpg

large_More_Lions.jpg

When Malisa spots a lone lioness in the distance, we stay a while watching to see if the gazelles spot her before she spots them as potential breakfast.

large_Lion_and_Gazelles_1A.jpg

Again nothing happens, another lion foregoes breakfast and we - and the gazelles - move on the pastures new.

large_Secretary_Bird.jpg

Endemic to the open grasslands in sub-Saharan Africa, the Secretary Bird stands around four feet tall and is so named because of the quill-like crest on the backs of its heads that resemble 18th century clerks with pens tucked into their wigs.

large_BC64AD8C0C9A4CF9087550C5F6F27024.jpg

Unlike most birds of prey, the Secretary Bird doesn't swoop down to catch its prey, rather he hunts on foot, jumping up and down to flush out his intended breakfast (snakes and lizards mainly) and then kills them with a force five times his own weight.

large_Secretary_Bird_15.jpg

large_BD899B3CE7A7DBE76B9277244C15ED87.jpg

When we met up with Tillya yesterday, her told me I have to take some award-winning photos on this trip; and I asked him if there was anything in particular he had in mind. “Zebras fighting” was his reply.

large_Zebras_9.jpg

large_Zebras_8.jpg

Fortunately, these two very cooperative zebras do seem to have received the memo and put on an obliging display for me.

large_BDA2CBE1C050289EE578EA289509456C.jpg

large_Zebras_2.jpg

large_Zebras_3.jpg

large_Zebras_4.jpg

large_Zebras_5.jpg

large_Zebras_6.jpg

large_Zebras_7.jpg

large_Lake_Magadi.jpg

More zebras down by Lake Magadi.

large_Zebras_10.jpg

large_Zebras_13.jpg

As well as wildebeest and a hyena.

large_DAA3EDEBB0CD73A8F03A04160AE20EFE.jpg

large_DA9FA3C7EC00050759931DE904A25C84.jpg

large_DC4FC947D7E1837374FF58BEFC88D61E.jpg

large_Hyena_and_Wildebeest_1.jpg

And a very cute baby Thomson's Gazelle.

large_Gazelle__Thomson_s_2.jpg

The lake is also home to a number of Lesser Flamingos.

large_Lake_Magadi_Flamingos_1.jpg

large_Flamingos__Lesser_2.jpg

large_Flamingos__Lesser_5.jpg

large_Elephant.jpg

large_DD31AF45F9ED4129C17A903738E4AF3D.jpg

large_Elephant_2.jpg

large_Weather.jpg

To say the weather is changeable today is an understatement; the lifting roof has come down and gone up more times than a hooker's undergarments this morning already. Each rain shower lasts only a few minutes and is not heavy, but the wind makes sure that everything inside the car gets soaked.

It does make for some dramatic skies though.

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_11.jpg

large_Hammerkop.jpg

large_Hammerkop_2.jpg

large_Hammerkop_1.jpg

large_Kori_Bustard.jpg

As Africa's heaviest flying birds, the Kori Bustard can weigh up to 19kg and stands at around 120cm tall. During courtship displays, the male inflates his neck and dances for the female, although this guy is obviously a little confused, as we cannot see any females around. Perhaps he is just practising.

large_Bustard__K.._Display__2.jpg

large_Bustard__K.._Display__3.jpg

large_Black_Rhino.jpg

On all our previous visits to Ngorongoro, we have only ever seen the rhino from a great distance, so when Malisa asked me about my wish list this year, seeing a rhino up close was mentioned.

And there he is!

large_Rhino__Black_1.jpg

Black rhino are on the Critically Endangered conservation status list, so I feel quite honoured to see one of the 30 or so rhinos that inhabit the caldera.

large_Rhino__Black_2.jpg

large_Rhino__Black_3.jpg

large_E48B142EAFAC300E156352C0A8097DCD.jpg

We see eight lions in the distance, mainly sleeping.

large_Lions_31.jpg

large_Lions_32.jpg

large_Lions_33.jpg

large_Lions_34.jpg

large_Elephant.jpg

This old male of around 55-60 years old (it is mostly males who live in the crater) likes to stay close to the swamp as he has lost his last molars so favours the soft grass found here. Look at those impressive tusks though! I think they are the longest tusks I have ever seen!

large_Elephant_31.jpg

large_Elephant_36.jpg

large_Grey_Crowned_Cranes.jpg

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_13.jpg

large_Crane__Grey_Crowned_11.jpg

large_Crane__Gre..h_chicks__2.jpg

large_Crane__Gre..h_chicks__3.jpg

large_Hippo_with_Baby.jpg

large_EDD0A348A50985DCF1A12B79DE2FC04E.jpg

large_EDF00F21B61F62E7CDEDF7B80439095C.jpg

large_Wildebeest.jpg

large_Wildebeest_22.jpg

Mum is accompanied by her baby, who is around 3½-4 months old.

large_Wildebeest_21.jpg

large_Augur_Buzzard.jpg

large_Buzzard__Augur_1.jpg

large_Green_Season.jpg

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_43.jpg

May is considered part of the 'Green Season' (otherwise known as the 'Rainy Season', but obviously tour operators feel that 'Green' sounds better than 'Rainy'), and as such the prices are lower and there are fewer people around.

We love it. Not only do we often have the animal sightings completely to ourselves, we also enjoy all the flowers and lush vegetation around at this time of year.

large_Purple_Flowers_1.jpg

large_Ostrich_2.jpg

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_52.jpg

large_Yellow_Flowers_71.jpg

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_56.jpg

large_0CFF830FE95E3EB27A0365196B98373E.jpg

large_0C27ED0A09141B216D1152874BF7B12B.jpg

large_0D14D729A607505DEAA0443811CC2A6D.jpg

large_Zebra_45.jpg

large_Zebra_47.jpg

large_Zebra_48.jpg

large_Zebra_43.jpg

large_Ngoitoktok.jpg

This area beside a spring of the same name is popular with tourists, and we too stop here for breakfast.

large_Ngoitoktok_Picnic_Site_6.jpg

large_Ngoitoktok_Picnic_Site_5.jpg

It's times like these that I am glad we are travelling on a private safari.

large_Ngoitoktok_Picnic_Site_3.jpg

We have company, eyeing up the leftover breakfast.

large_Guineafowl__Helmeted_1.jpg
Helmeted Guineafowl

large_Weaver__Rufous_Tailed_1.jpg
Rufous Tailed Weaver

large_Starling__Superb_1.jpg
Superb Starling

large_Ngoitoktok_Picnic_Site_7.jpg

large_Ibis__Sacred_2.jpg
Sacred Ibis

Meaning “water coming from the ground”, the spring is favoured by hippos as well as tourists.

large_Ngoitoktok.._-_Hippos_1.jpg

large_Ngoitoktok_Picnic_Site_8.jpg

large_10C8E58BE77D8A7206FD3AF4CD40893D.jpg

large_Hippo_4.jpg

large_1260FE39E528220DE2E4040A6DB55774.jpg

large_Warthogs_4.jpg

Warthogs have to be some of the ugliest animals around, but look at those legs: they look like an elegant lady's with stiletto heels!

large_Warthogs_7.jpg

large_Crown_Crane_Courtship.jpg

The male puts on an impressive display for his intended female, with some elegant dance moves.

large_Crane_Combo_5.jpg

large_Olive_Baboons.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_23.jpg

I love the way it looks as if these baboons are picking up the flowers to take in the wonderful aroma.

large_Baboon__Olive_21.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_24.jpg

large_Baboon__Olive_25.jpg

large_237AD5539CC95C56D0C7FE7391526FC8.jpg

And everyone should have an elephant or two in their flower bed!

large_Elephant_67.jpg

This one is even wearing flowers in his hair!

large_Elephant_69.jpg

large_263E060DC92BAEB5182E225C883E8C6D.jpg

We encounter a large breeding herd of Cape Buffalo.

large_Buffalo_42.jpg

I do find their menacing stare somewhat intimidating.

large_Buffalo_46.jpg

large_Buffalo_53.jpg

Although some do look more like country yokels than inner city thugs.

large_Buffalo_55.jpg

But the babies are cute. As most babies are. This one is very young, just one or two days old.

large_Buffalo_47.jpg

Look at the flies!

large_Buffalo_50.jpg

The buffalo are joined by an elephant.

large_Buffalo_and_Elephants_1.jpg

large_Buffalo_and_Elephants_3.jpg

My camera seems to be malfunctioning at this stage, refusing to focus or fire and the viewfinder becoming very dark. I feel a growing sense of panic until I remove the battery grip and find it works fine again. Phew.

large_Oxpeckers.jpg

Wherever the buffalo go, the Yellow Billed Oxpeckers follow.

large_Oxpeckers_..ow_Billed_2.jpg

The birds enjoy a symbiotic relationship with the buffalo (as well as other animals here); where the animal provides a 'home' for the birds, while the oxpeckers assist the buffalo by removing the ticks and flies.

large_Oxpeckers_..ow_Billed_4.jpg

large_Swallows.jpg

And in the trees, the Barn Swallows gather.

large_Swallows__Wire_Tailed_1.jpg

large_Swallows__Wire_Tailed_3.jpg

large_Social_Weavers.jpg

So called because they like to live in close proximity to each other, these small birds have filled this tree to beyond recognition with their elaborate nests!

large_Social_Weaver_Nests_1.jpg

large_Social_Weaver_Nests_2.jpg

large_444617BDA9376FD941EE5E49CC075EF1.jpg

This enormous bird stands around 1.5m (5 ft) tall and can weigh up to 19kg (42 lbs).

large_Bustard__Kori_22.jpg

large_Hippo_Pool.jpg

large_Hippo_82.jpg

The pool doesn't just attract hippos, we also see a few birds here:

large_Egret__Cattle_1.jpg
Cattle Egret

large_5224F666E6321C3EB47B567D6992BF61.jpg
African Spoonbills hiding those beautiful beaks of theirs

large_Goose__Egyptian_1.jpg
Egyptian Goose

large_Plover__Blacksmith_1.jpg
Blacksmith Plover

large_454AD9D8D664986805B4376B85298638.jpg
Red Bishop

large_Hammerkop_72.jpg
Hammerkop

large_Ibis__Sacred_81.jpg
Sacred Ibis

large_Eland.jpg

This is one seriously big antelope, standing at around 180cm (6 feet) tall at the shoulders. It is also one of the most skittish of the plains game; mainly as a result of being extensively hunted for their delicious meat.

large_46F80032A395ED23B5159BF8F2969DFB.jpg

As a result they are therefore usually seen running away as soon as we approach, so it makes a very pleasant change to be able to photograph them actually standing still.

large_Eland_5.jpg

large_474550E5BC7A3D3F32CD6DDEF935834C.jpg

The older they get, the greyer they become (just like humans) and the larger the dewlap grows. This guy is a seriously old dude by the looks of it. Notice how all the youngsters stare at us while the old man carries on eating, totally oblivious.

large_47488081DB087CDD2B10C0AE80659553.jpg

large_4780C2D6088D7632165907F62435D42D.jpg

We become a little concerned when we see a baby zebra lying in the middle of the road with no apparent urge to move as we get closer.

large_Zebra_85.jpg

Mum soon arrives on the scene to 'rescue' her little darling...

large_Zebra_86.jpg

... who promptly throws a tantrum. "I don't wanna move!"

large_Zebra_87.jpg

But mum's having none of it and marches him out of harm's way.

large_Zebra_83.jpg
Less than a week old, he is just too adorable!

large_48022F09C3554F9459E3BB2047951512.jpg

In these pictures you can easily see the facial warts that have given this animal its name.

large_Warthog_81.jpg

large_Warthog_83.jpg

large_Ascent.jpg

As we say goodbye to Ngorongoro Crater, I can easily appreciate why it is often dubbed the 8th Wonder of the World.

Once back up on the rim, I can yet again feel the effect of the altitude on my chest. I did have some temporary relief down in the crater, which is over 600m lower than the surrounding area.

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_91.jpg

Coughing madly and struggling to breathe, I curse David for bringing a cold with him on this trip.

large_Ngorongoro_Crater_92.jpg

We take one last look at the crater below before we make our way to our next destination and new adventures.

This amazing experience was made a reality by the wonderful staff at Calabash African Adventures.

large_48804133BEE36D7BFEDDA6FD24FFAFB5.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 06:56 Archived in Tanzania Tagged elephant africa safari tanzania zebra buffalo lion rhino black_rhino ngorongoro hyena warthog ngorongoro_crater kori_bustard bustard rhinocerous calabash calabash_adventures hammerkop cape_buffalo secretary_bird zebras_fighting giant_tusk long_tusked_elephant Comments (7)

Kilimanjaro - Ngorongoro

Let the adventure begin


View The Howards' 40th Anniversary Tour 2017 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Much too excited to sleep, I wake early this morning. Far too early. It's going to be a long day having had a mere two hours sleep.

We take breakfast in the lodge before Tillya and Malisa arrive to whisk us away on the start of our adventure. The first stop is in Arusha, at a different supermarket to the one we usually use. To David's horror they don't stock Savanna Cider!

While Malisa goes off to get us some brand new tyres for the safari vehicle, we enjoy a leisurely coffee.

large_Mbusi_Coffees_1.jpg

large_New_Tyres.jpg
Nice wheels!

Having not slept well for the last three nights, I dose on and off as we make our way from Arusha towards Ngorongoro. This journey is becoming very familiar – it is now the fifth time we have driven this stretch over the years.

large_Kisongo_Market_1.jpg
Kisongo Market

large_Kisongo_Market_3.jpg
Kisongo Market

large_Kisongo_Market_4.jpg
Kisongo Market

Along the way we see three funeral cars for the children killed in the horrendous accident last week involving a school bus that plunged down a ravine killing 36 children. Later on in our journey we pass the exact spot it happened, but unlike some other safari vehicles, I request Malisa does not stop as I really don't feel the scene of such devastation should be treated as a tourist attraction.

large_Cattle_Crossing_1.jpg
Cattle Crossing

large_Stork__Yellow_Billed_1.jpg
Yellow Billed Storks nesting at Mto Wa Mbu

large_Stork__Yellow_Billed_2.jpg
Yellow Billed Storks nesting at Mto Wa Mbu

large_Stork__Yellow_Billed_3.jpg
Yellow Billed Storks nesting at Mto Wa Mbu

large_Butterflies_2.jpg
Butterflies at Mto Wa Mbu

large_Lunch_at_Kudu_Lodge.jpg

Although we usually have a picnic lunch box, today Tillya has arranged for us to take lunch in Karatu, at Kudu Lodge.

large_Kudu_Lodge_5.jpg
Dining room

large_Vegetable_Soup.jpg
Vegetable soup - lovely and peppery

large_Creamy_Coc..icken_Curry.jpg
Creamy coconut chicken curry - delicious!

large_Kudu_Lodge_41.jpg
You know it's a decent place when the public toilets have individual terry towels

large_Sunbird__Variable_7.jpg
The lodge has beautiful grounds with this stunning Variable Sunbird flitting around

large_Lodoare_Gate.jpg

After lunch we continue on our way, entering the Ngorongoro Conservation Area at Lodoare Gate and drive to my all time favourite view over the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater.

large_7B78A94D0202D00B7180675502C2FA1C.jpg
Entering the Ngorongoro Conservation Area

large_7B705424DF2E03BC2C8C38848103D227.jpg
View over the crater from the rim

large_Ngorongoro..Viewpoint_2.jpg

large_5_Lions.jpg
Malisa assures us these are in fact lions. We take his word for it.

Malisa tries to speak with these Maasai women, but they either don't know, or refuse to understand, Swahili, only talking in their own Maa language.

large_Women_Carrying_Firewood_1.jpg

large_Women_Carrying_Firewood_2.jpg

large_Women_Carrying_Firewood_3.jpg

large_Ngorongoro_Serena_Lodge.jpg

As we are arriving at our lodge during daylight hours for a change, we quickly shower and change, and head for the bar to wait for sunset and maybe even some stars later. I can really feel the altitude this time (we are at 2,326m/7,633 feet here), and with my lungs still being rather weak from the recent bout of pneumonia, I actually struggle to walk. I am therefore very grateful when the staff take pity on me and give us the room nearest the reception (which is still down two flights of stairs, but at least it is on the same level as the bar!).

large_Ngorongoro..na_Lodge_31.jpg
Our room

large_Ngorongoro..na_Lodge_33.jpg
Great view from the bed!

large_Ngorongoro_Serena_Lodge_1.jpg
The outside terrace of the bar

Choosing an appropriately named Ruby Cabernet (it is our 40th wedding anniversary tour after all!), we settle down to watch the clouds roll in and the shadows getting longer across this mesmerising vista.

large_Ruby_Cabernet.jpg

large_Ngorongoro..m_the_Bar_1.jpg
Great view

large_Ngorongoro_Serena_Lodge_2.jpg
Great wine

large_Ngorongoro..he_Crater_3.jpg

large_Ngorongoro..he_Crater_4.jpg

large_Ngorongoro..he_Crater_5.jpg

The sunset is a total non-event, but the moonrise more than makes up for it.

large_87FCC821EEB0C96C3B87516D1B893464.jpg

large_Moonrise_4.jpg

large_Moonrise_2.jpg

large_Ngorongoro..Moonlight_1.jpg

large_883852BC9E5D51895E71178DE8237EC3.jpg

For dinner I choose a local dish called Kuku Wa Kupaka (Traditional Swahili favourite chicken simmered in coconut curry sauce served with naan, boiled and Tamu Tamu Rice), while David has the poached red snapper in garlic sauce.

large_Ngorongoro_Serena_Lodge_3.jpg

large_Kuku_Wa_Kupaka.jpg
Chicken Curry

large_Poached_Re..arlic_Sauce.jpg
Red Snapper

large_Cream_and_..olate_sauce.jpg
Cream and Yogurt Mousse Cake with Chocolate Sauce

At this altitude the air is really quite cold tonight and I am feeling very grateful for the hot water bottle I discover in my bed when we return from dinner.

large_Hot_Water_Bottle.jpg

This amazing adventure was made possible thanks to Calabash African Adventures.

large_7059AEEAE0A05737D28D9FF08D129CFE.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 02:21 Archived in Tanzania Tagged children adventure africa safari tanzania moonlight moonrise stars ngorongoro cider ngorongoro_crater night_sky african_safari african_food moon_rise calabash calabash_adventures ngrongoro_serena ngorongoro_conservation_area moonshine starry_night Comments (1)

Bristol - Birmingham - Istanbul - Tanzania

The Howard's 40th Anniversary Tour


View The Howards' 40th Anniversary Tour 2017 on Grete Howard's travel map.

large_The_Howard..ersary_Tour.jpg

“It has to be a safari,” David stated without hesitation when I asked him a while back where he would like to celebrate our Ruby wedding anniversary. Seeing as photographing animals in their natural habitat is one of my favourite pastimes, I didn’t need any encouragement or persuasion; and immediately booked a couple of flights. Tanzania it is then.

large_40_Years__no_bliss_.jpg

Where have those 40 years gone? It doesn’t seem that long ago that a starry eyed teenager met a fancy man with an even fancier car who whisked her off to a fancy dinner at the Post Office Tower in London for her 17th birthday.

large_Lotus.jpg

large_Post_Office_Tower.jpg

And the rest is history as they say.

Here's a few pictures of our journey together through 40 years of marriage:

large_History.jpg
On a Mediterranean cruise 1984

large_Photobooth_1.jpg
Having fun in a photobooth 1979

large_Lillehammer_1976.jpg
In a friend's cabin in Lillehammer 1976

large_Susan_s_Wedding.jpg
At a friend's wedding 1982

large_Grete___David_1975.jpg
1975

large_Blandford_Close.jpg
In our first home, 1977

large_7DA198959A6B2484C1EB14C18D7C0B28.jpg
In Amish County, USA 2000

large_Animal_Faces.jpg
Having fun in a safari park 2013

large_Christmas_Taberma_Valley.jpg
Celebrating Christmas camping in Taberma Valley, Togo 2006

Christmas__Goa_2003.jpg
Goa 2003

large_7DA91892C06C791DA07199CB0C6EA81B.jpg
Sea Trek, Jamaica 2004

large_Gyatsola_Pass.jpg
Gyatsola Pass, Tibet 2005

large_Holi.jpg
Celebrating the Indian festival of colours, Jaipur 2014

large_Hong_Kong.jpg
Hong Kong 2010

large_Icicles.jpg
Collecting ice for my nightcap, Antarctica 2004

large_Tobago.jpg
Tobago 2012

large_Sydney_Har..ridge_Climb.jpg
Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb 2002

40 years of marriage, 40 years of shared fun, 40 years of travel, to all corners of the earth and some of the world’s most amazing places.

large_200_Trips.jpg

Not only will we be celebrating our 40th anniversary on this holiday, it will also be our 200th trip abroad together (making an average of 5 foreign trips every year of marriage - plus another 100+ domestic trips).

Travel is a humbling experience. I consider myself extremely privileged to be able to indulge my obsession to the extent I do. I am fortunate that I can experience the way of life of other civilisations and I regard it as an honour to be invited to learn about their traditions and customs. Travel has a way of making me feel blessed – not just because I can see for myself all these far-flung exotic destinations, but also because it makes me appreciate what I have back home. I am the luckiest girl alive: being married to the best travel companion anyone could wish for.

large_A_Lifetime_of_Holidays.jpg

We have been lucky enough to visit 138 countries on all seven continents (148 if you count East Germany, Macau and Hong Kong (all countries in their own right when we visited), Tahiti, Tibet, Palestine, Antarctica, Martinique, Greenland and Transdniestr).

large_138_Countries.jpg

We are often asked if we have a favourite country. Much as we love almost every place we have been to, there are two countries that stick their head above all the others for us: India and Tanzania.

large_Love_Tanzania.jpg

So here we are, jetting off on yet another African adventure.

The Tanzanian visa caused me a few moment of concern this year. Following the Brexit Vote, they appear to have changed the wording on their website:

”A Photocopy of Residence Permit or Visa (is required) for non-British and EU countries passport holders”

Having lived in this country for 43½ years, and married to a Brit for 40 of those, I do not have a Residency Permit, nor do I require one. Hopefully the Tanzanian High Commission would be aware of that too, but just in case they were not, I enclosed a screen shot of the gov.org website confirming that I have Infinite Leave to Remain.

large_Residency_Permit.jpg

Thankfully the visa came back without any issues, and as always with the Embassy of Tanzania, very quickly.

large_Tanzania_V..17__Grete_1.jpg

Having stayed overnight just a few miles away, the idea was to arrive at Birmingham Airport refreshed and raring to go for our flight to Kilimanjaro Airport via Istanbul.

large_Istanbul_Airport_3.jpg

There is plenty of legroom on the flight, the food is good and we soon find ourselves arriving in Tanzania.

large_Turkish_Airlines_Legroom.jpg
Plenty of legroom

large_Istanbul_from_the_Air_2.jpg
Istanbul from the air

large_Turkish_Airlines_Food.jpg
Tasty pasta and a chocolate mousse to die for.

As we exit the baggage claim at Kilimanjaro airport, we spot a smiling gentleman holding a welcoming sign bearing the word GRETE. That'll be me then.

large_Kia_Lodge.jpg

Kia Lodge is the official airport hotel for Kilimanjaro, and as such is within the grounds of the airport, a mere five minute drive away. This is not your average airport hotel though, Kia Lodge is a series of rondavels laid out in lush grounds, more akin to a safari lodge.

large_Kia_Lodge_32.jpg

large_Kia_Lodge_21.jpg

After a very welcoming welcome drink, we are shown to our room and collapse in bed. It is 2am, and we are meeting Tillya and Malisa at 8am.

large_Kia_Lodge_-_Our_Room_2.jpg

This amazing adventure was made possible thanks to Calabash African Adventures.

large_7059AEEAE0A05737D28D9FF08D129CFE.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 23:24 Archived in Tanzania Tagged wedding history travel flight istanbul anniversary holiday africa safari tanzania journey airline nostalgia turkish_airlines birmingham_airport kilimanjaro_aiport Comments (4)

Tanzania Safari Highlights 2016

A round-up of the amazing experiences we had on our 2016 safari


View The Gowler African Adventure - Kenya & Tanzania 2016 on Grete Howard's travel map.

By popular demand, and to remind ourselves of things to come for our next safari, I have created this résumé of everything we experienced on this safari of a lifetime in 2016!

We started the trip as it was to carry on - in luxury - at the No 1 Executive Lounge at Birmingham Airport.

large_DAAF0708D6373D20D080BE751D00224F.jpg

The flights were a pleasure, with room to spread out.

large_DAEFCF79EE5F19667852F9AB1CCE4ECB.jpg

~~NAIROBI~~

The hotel in Nairobi - especially picked out by Tillya - was amazing.

large_DAFE8DACF804296E92C1BF7ACD546842.jpg

Some serious snogging going on at the Giraffe Centre

large_DB12D10AC9D4678A12D6CD44D8208FBA.jpg

Followed by a very interesting nature trail

large_DB27FED6CECCEDAA4A5438C35AE7819D.jpg

The baby elephants being fed at the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage were beyond cute.

large_David_Shel..rphanage_6A.jpg

At Utamaduni Craft Centre we had lunch, photographed some beautiful birds and browsed handicrafts.

large_DB596380EE585D2AE67EC69A665A58F4.jpg

We saw flip flops being turned into beautiful works of art at Marula Studios

large_Marula_Studios_2.jpg

Followed by a guided tour of Karen Blixen's House.

large_DB7209FF91517754F5F6134E1810996F.jpg

This very exciting first day was finished with a Feast of the Beast at Carnivore Restaurant.

large_DB8468D3C80111EE7D7B5463BA24D977.jpg

A 'special' mention must go to our new culinary experience: bulls' testicles!

large_F4BCA905A054B7CCF65EB6E31954C7BB.jpg

~~TANZANIA~~

Fantastic view of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru from the flight to Kilimanjaro Airport

large_Kenya_Airw..ount_Meru_1.jpg

David's highlight: buying Savanna Cider!

large_F4D39D31D2D133609096D0AF015509AE.jpg

~~MARAMBOI~~

We could have spent all day just watching the animals from our balcony at Maramboi Tented Lodge

large_F40BAFE6AF2C8C4B0ECC261910EEF746.jpg

But we had sunsets to see and beers to drink - Sundowners by Lake Manyara

large_F41D750C9A2830C63C973ADDDD09AAA2.jpg

Lyn, with a little help from Tillya, arranged for a cake to celebrate our wedding anniversary

large_F426E1A2EFC7C510BAE483399E23923E.jpg

The next morning saw our first big cat sightings within yards of the lodge, long before sunrise or hitting the national park.

large_F431F89FD03BE94E248488B7046B314C.jpg

~~TARANGIRE~~

The large herds of elephants who walked right by our car

large_Elephants_5-16.jpg

The little baby elephant hiding behind his mummy's legs and then triumphantly emerging

large_F4503965C4971FE0B2781F6802887A11.jpg

The Savannah Monitor - a new species to us

large_F45C4A399513A7F87C7E6CC30816B935.jpg

Tillya arranging for us to have lunch at Tarangire River Lodge as a surprise for our wedding anniversary

large_F4695E13C59CE54493235B35F2AD8DF3.jpg

The angry elephant who blocked our road

large_F478AD1DD4F7B108A1E9019155344B23.jpg

And finally the beautiful sunset

large_F4834219B8723685389C4C81DDF0262B.jpg

Leaving Tarangire behind and heading for Ngorongoro, an honourable mention has to go to Chris' Zebra.

large_F49430E8FE3982E3B592B6EAB8490EDD.jpg

Trying red bananas at Mto Wa Mbu

large_F4DDD921A0CB175100F51429497419B2.jpg

The breeding site for storks and pelicans

large_F4E52BC9ABDF97766AC6FF1559D009F4.jpg

The view back out over Lake Manyara

large_F4EE9C5CFC12B99340670CD32DBA798A.jpg

Another special mention: Malisa's sandals, made from recycled motorbike tyres.

large_F4F62004D8F65014B7F28BA0A4CE23A0.jpg

The information Centre at Loduare Gate, the entrance to Ngorongoro Conservation Area

large_F49F56DCD9A403C6318C91471050CBDB.jpg

The view from the rim over the Ngorongoro Crater, and more importantly, Chris' reaction when he first saw it!

large_F4AE18779A61B483B141396C4099ABB5.jpg

The beautiful flower-covered hillsides of the Malanja Depression

large_F50390CA08FED5DE88F5121DC15A1A76.jpg

~~NGORONGORO CRATER~~

The crater floor in the Green Season was stunning with carpets of flowers

large_F513CEFFE8429F78860D671350A929AC.jpg

Zebra dust bath

large_Zebra_6-9.jpg

The one-tusked elephant and his family

large_F526E91592130777C94858BD9B8FA05A.jpg

The tree full of baby starlings

large_F52DC136D9D5FD5365E7700900320C86.jpg

The suckling lion cubs who entertained us for the best part of an hour

large_Lion_6-27.jpg

Malisa finally finding his Rasta Lion

large_F580606398F0C30F644C06C9889E8141.jpg

Maasai dancing at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

large_F587AB7EE9422094C016F6F5C18AD56D.jpg

The sunrise over Ngorongoro Crater

large_F598EE5ABB2212BC72EF4030D3848840.jpg

~~Ngorongoro Conservation Area~~

Walking safari with Yohana

large_F5A0F120D8DE62165F76D519C00B9B97.jpg

Maasai boys with traditional painted faces following their circumcision

large_F5A834C0C2C2C17ED07745AB46A248FE.jpg

The enormous tower of giraffes, which even beat Malisa's previous record

large_F5B24E60A74D836695997DACA0288569.jpg

Visiting Elerai Maasai Boma, and Chris participating in the 'jumping dance'.

large_F5BFF141F5FF55CB75361C6BD26F7AD7.jpg

The children in the kindergarten

large_F5CA2D7E068295642CCC880EA8446ED8.jpg

Oldupai Gorge

large_77C40398AB34D359429639FB5E428BB4.jpg

And the Cradle of Civilisation Museum dedicated to Louis Leakey's anthropological finds

large_77C609D2AF9EFA35B0403257F54EA8B8.jpg

The mysterious Shifting Sands

large_7800F599BAAB2BEFBA8DB1BD141B0C38.jpg

The battle of wits between vultures and a jackal

large_78078B9EC99AB02DA31478AA695B8E93.jpg

Kori Bustard

large_780F9159BCA100398A9042FD282DA785.jpg

The jumpy Spotted Hyena

large_7823F0D9FC701629753C3CEA690B4178.jpg

Golden Jackal

large_782821120B4CC12F242C7B0EA8C5C6E4.jpg

The Dung Beetles who rolled their treasure across the savannah for us

large_782A8D87F401D1932772F14B7AAE108B.jpg

The majestic Eland

large_7811AB08BDFAF2871A561AC30A28A576.jpg

The pregnant hyena who was just about to give birth

large_D8733E3AAF0300C8A4277AAE378142E6.jpg

Golden Jackal

large_D8956D31FF99BEAC2E3AF704DDCB7BC8.jpg

Ostriches

large_D89C5ABDD2957D6B015077EC2CAF5D53.jpg

Zebra

large_Zebra_7-12.jpg

Grant's Gazelle

large_Gazelle__Grant_s_7-15.jpg

Tawny Eagle

large_D8C9652CE7AD612EC44012AEE1905E16.jpg

~~NDUTU~~

The pride of nine lions

large_D8CCBEFBC098315D3370D56AE4F370B9.jpg

Feasting on a zebra carcass

large_D91C25F2ACD8633A5851CEBC41694D32.jpg

Sunset over Lake Ndutu

large_D93E0327C38B35C60388600B07321A23.jpg

Small Spotted Genet in the rafters of Ndutu Lodge

large_D941AA24918A399C9C02D4B17A44321C.jpg

Dik Dik in the grounds of the lodge

large_D94549DF95109067B977C0127869AC00.jpg

Sunrise over Lake Ndutu the following morning

large_A6E1A863FDD06F30198F0D2407F50512.jpg

Bat Eared Fox

large_A6F01661D8FD8DAC63DE2AA10964F2EE.jpg

Verreaux's Eagle Owl

large_A6F672A7B485D8DE7CCB8F7177008FA2.jpg

Black Backed Jackal kicking up the dust in the early morning light

large_A701222BCF77B63C03A4FD4E72237D4D.jpg

Pale Tawny Eagle

large_A7087E9302B0731636C1120FB39ED279.jpg

Giraffe

large_Giraffe_8-1.jpg

Coqui Francolin - a new species for us

large_A7388848C90475804EDC155089982725.jpg

Grey Breasted Spurfowl

large_Spurfowl__..reasted_8-2.jpg

The cheetah mum with her four cubs who we followed for ages

large_A741ECBFE78D20861FDD3DEC7DD841B3.jpg

Lappet Faced Vulture

large_A74A8253DA9495D4C814FC0C3E2F2B7D.jpg

Black Shouldered Kite

large_Kite__Blac..uldered_8-2.jpg

Yellow Throated Sandgrouse

large_A76119C5DC531550BCD7D5BDFFDF5EBE.jpg

Two male lions down at the flats by the lake

large_Lion_8-13.jpg

Coke's Hartebeest, one of whom had lost a horn in a fight

large_A7747802BCB716AF1CEB927033A2B83A.jpg

Fischer's Lovebirds

large_A7770BC7F86833E7E3F068CB5C2746DA.jpg

Dark Chanting Goshawk

large_A778DC999A45FBAA51F6828E7C8E95BE.jpg

Grey Headed Kingfisher

large_A77AEF3BCFBF325747A62DE32F8D2912.jpg

Picnic Breakfast

large_A7924993FFAC863F8066C01CF31C9473.jpg

David made friends with a hairy caterpillar, which thankfully did not give him a rash as Malisa predicted

large_A7954EDFE653589CFF392A5E40393BA1.jpg

Two Banded Plover

large_A79ED780D35F9DB983C43D7C06DD817B.jpg

Two more male lions

large_A7A5DA63C5735CE42CE60EAD9564827E.jpg

Hooded Vulture

large_A7A119E9C8CF8878E719B362230AE707.jpg

A lazy spotted hyena who briefly got up from the puddle before lying down again

large_A7B4ADC9D5EF33318103E8CAF4BFBE11.jpg

Ostriches

large_Ostrich_8-1.jpg

Hidden Valley with hundreds of thousands of zebra and wildebeest

large_A7CC0549D07CC8516C28A3C3BCC558F9.jpg

Female lions resting in the shade

large_200275A0AFCC23D052FBBAAE395C00EA.jpg

Bird Watching back at Ndutu Safari Lodge at lunchtime

large_BirdWatching_Ndutu.jpg

Lesser Flamingo at Lake Ndutu

large_4466F946E2FD3AB11690C9F944931EAF.jpg

Spotted Thick Knee

large_446460EF9CF1C08D256CE6535111CEA0.jpg

More lions

large_447249070C028723C40EA9594463C05A.jpg

Last night's zebra carcass eaten clean by the lions and later vultures, and now the flies had moved in

large_4474B5BDE21EB935CA3B6324ECE1C5C3.jpg

Caracal - a very rare sighting, and only Malisa's third!

large_447853D59A22CDFDACC3E75AF5DFD35B.jpg

Giraffe

large_447CF8F6A1515F663F44D6F9FCF85843.jpg

Lesser Flamingo at lake Masek

large_448EBB03EAB499AB4FEFACB48C612E7F.jpg

African Hoopoe

large_449052B5C6C10F162F0FE1EF199B55D5.jpg

Speckled Mousebird

large_44926398BA3BA0C6D90B1369FC5AAC6F.jpg

Common Stilt

large_Stilt__Common_8-1.jpg

Hippo

large_4498234CE96F6E77A9A5C2219D356331.jpg

Elephants

large_Elephants_8-10.jpg

A crested eagle silhouetted against the orange sky

large_44C0E996AD23C98D97F76A757BD66BF1.jpg

Sunset at Ndutu

large_44C77FE1C0DA84EC77E24D784269E966.jpg

More bird watching at Ndutu Lodge the following morning

large_0E73F4BAE6C6B4908C0C1ACD88BC24CF.jpg

Followed by another nice sunrise

large_0E7095DAF4698B11FE33421B668EB2B7.jpg

Giraffe

large_0E854B669CD7CF1235CEBE3B3B40C8EC.jpg

Playing host to an Oxpecker

large_Oxpecker__..Billed_9-10.jpg

Black Faced Vervet Monkeys frolicking in the trees

large_Black_Face..Monkeys_9-5.jpg

Dik Dik

large_0F03E762B0A59C3F376D4C1CDC44EA9F.jpg

Secretary Bird

large_0F06CA99DA528B3EF6A445F956DA31F5.jpg

Spotted Hyena

large_0F099050A22A6FEF645EC389CCCA087C.jpg

A very close lion encounter

large_Lions_and_Chris__1_.jpg

Woolly Necked Vultures

large_0F32F57FFFF76EE2F16AA508C2B2E710.jpg

Tawny Eagle

large_Eagle__Tawny_9-1.jpg

A broken wire in the car engine was fixed in no time by our driver-guide Malisa who is also a trained mechanic

large_0F3882A7C403C7900D4C7638B2B74E0C.jpg

~~SHORT GRASS PLAINS~~

Grant's Gazelles

large_0F3C9529ADE9560CD0EFB3520E4A3463.jpg

Zebra

large_0F95F72E07EC3E0647F2DF26F0913237.jpg

Panicked ostriches running around like headless chickens

large_0F9ACADDC8AC7E0B0AA311B068D11DE8.jpg

Lappet Faced Vulture

large_0F9DE3DEDEAA6AAF643FDAEFDC12AA57.jpg

Giraffe Drinking

large_Giraffe_9-55.jpg

~~NAABI HILL~~

Great views over the Serengeti

large_Naabi_Hill_9-7.jpg

Here we find a number of lizards

large_Liazrds_Combo.jpg

And some great birds

large_Bird_Combo.jpg

~~SERENGETI~~

Giraffe

large_10815B34CB3745FBDE996F071AE4592E.jpg

Warthogs

large_1085D90D032B1C6FF2C8EAFF96744C47.jpg

Steppe Eagle picking up what we initially thought was a snake, which turned out to be 'just' a stick

large_1089A90E05D988254146414E92E5D4DE.jpg

Gabar Goshawk

large_Goshawk__Gabar_9-1.jpg

~~THE BEAUTIFUL GOL KOPJES (rocky outcrops)~~

large_1102C831D4941199F3621492059E48A7.jpg

Marabou Stork

large_1105BF839A4945B81B16472FEBE8A35C.jpg

The kopjes are home to a number of lions

large_Lions_at_Gol_Kopjes_9-7.jpg

Thomson's Gazelle

large_115DD34D96E5F828AD4BC561B4CD1805.jpg

Golden Jackal

large_11601ED1FBD81E591BE0CC6A62A824D2.jpg

Topi

large_11623CEEFA98C86C1DB861A69829C971.jpg

Tawny Eagle

large_11651631B157A8F2D1B578B524EB4113.jpg

Coke's Hartebeest

large_1167798BA79FF8DF434D87094B8F1BE2.jpg

More Lions

large_11EE11ED9C2C13FE5CD50B2873C2BCB6.jpg

Gabar Goshawk

large_Goshawk__Gabar_9-2.jpg

Steppe Eagle

large_11F3BCB0C936A4063F0E3786333CF4AE.jpg

Picnic Lunch at Gol Kopjes - are there any lions hiding at this one?

large_11F8785CA5790CD4421DFD9B1D56DA61.jpg

Topi

large_Topi_9-1__2_.jpg

Migratory White Stork

large_12889114D597F7EA635CEC178D8B625E.jpg

~~CENTRAL SERENGETI~~

A lost and emancipated baby wildebeest

large_128C1438920F7321FC384580D597094E.jpg

4WD required on the muddy tracks!

large_12947AD9E88BFC3143A35843D137D018.jpg

Cape Buffalo

large_12981DD1FB025CAF47AA353419C4187E.jpg

Wildebeest

large_12907BC6BB6F5199775F32EC922CDBE7.jpg

Bateleur Eagle

large_129AB60C0B00528F56DDC42CBA8510D2.jpg

White Bellied Bustard

large_129E0652C31F0191D768298564AD8B95.jpg

Maasai Kopjes

large_1305813AB95F05ACAA99333B08AB8511.jpg

More Lions

large_12FF35DFB4661523F33752EE52DC02E6.jpg

Dik Dik

large_Dik_Dik_9-1__2_.jpg

The rarely seen White Headed Vulture

large_Eagle__White_Headed_9-2.jpg

Hippo in the river

large_130FEFAFCDB0B5C094E57FEAC3AC62D9.jpg

Pin Tailed Swallow

large_13377CC7F478D5DF2115BA53A161F7C4.jpg

Greater Blue Eared Starling

large_133AB542C934199423DE06755E89583A.jpg

Defassa Waterbuck

large_133E69D2F4866B85B6A3A7B2392E8875.jpg

Zebra

large_Zebra_9-40.jpg

Tawny Eagle

large_Eagle__Tawny_9-61.jpg

Lappet Faced Vulture

large_DE9F67150B153DCBCC747C21618544EF.jpg

Coqui Francolin

large_DEA16BEBFF5163BBDCE5A43BF322FF6B.jpg

Giraffe under stormy clouds

large_DEA51B4FF350949ED52FB477FB0D9964.jpg

White Rumped Helmetshrike

large_DEA7E66BC053111B48F326F1236A0CF7.jpg

Klipspringer

large_DEAC0109FC696083F22F467310F7ACE1.jpg

Rainbow

large_DEB04639940A9E36E5A809B19A587ECC.jpg

Mbuzi Mawe - the very luxurious tented camp which Tillya surprised us with

large_DEB7E804E312561B9B9E75F134E8FB13.jpg

Cape Buffalo right outside our tent the following morning

large_DF00C9F9F06E799CDB62E66C03220027.jpg

~~TOGORO PLAINS~~

Sunrise

large_DF04007AD00534CADEFBEAB56F8B7CA4.jpg

The pride of nine lions on Togoro Plains, squabbling over a kill and mock stalking the passing wildebeest

large_Lions_10-43.jpg

Almost a chase

large_DF09391FFE94C94E0B1DAAD030EEE72A.jpg

A Hooded Vulture waiting and hoping for a kill

large_DF0B90D5099C53284B24154BD2330435.jpg

The jackal who finally managed to grab a piece of meat from the vultures, and was successful in chasing them off

large_A8385548FEC2A6654EDB8FB2D8DA748F.jpg

Topi

large_A8427F86A953A53347D6C545E4DC43DB.jpg

Wildebeest Rutting - fighting over a female

large_A844FB9B09F0D13536E6E93F611DAA6A.jpg

Picnic breakfast on Togoro Plains

large_A8494D28D6E97E9579B2CC7771A29E7A.jpg

Klipspringer

large_A8564723C4B90DA17F57BC26D0E6537B.jpg

Red Duiker

large_A85A2A92E691AB1B097134054CC43EFE.jpg

Cape Buffalo

large_A85D423994117DD9DC902B50F6C167CD.jpg

Impala

large_A863EAEAC2295F946247161BEC8B97E1.jpg

Giraffe

large_A87730C6EC77D5A8DCFD279083443417.jpg

Black Faced Vervet Monkeys

large_A87C105EED539E2AD71B7732B37E4E9D.jpg

~~CENTRAL SERENGETI~~

Hippos in the Orangi River

large_A8804487E180EEEF6079BF2C1ADD851E.jpg

Olive Baboons

large_A8866E72C0FC1896E79E4665DDB73B2F.jpg

African Fish Eagle

large_A8AAE266B41FDAEA09105428AC698A4C.jpg

Warthogs

large_A8B424E19AD3E3C5E2813DD65CCFB605.jpg

Nile Crocodile

large_Crocodile__Nile_10-1.jpg

Bare Faced Go Away Bird

large_A8B744AE003015E95F119DD896CDAD81.jpg

Helmeted Guineafowl

large_Guineafowl..mleted_10-1.jpg

Magpie Shrike

large_A8E98D94BCF569AAE5CE688CE3E75993.jpg

Tree Python

large_A8ED1C21D9F2114FCA1F676018A71C5E.jpg

Black Chested Snake Eagle

large_A8F09DD1CD9662F4B89EE5EFD6600D0E.jpg

Little Bee Eater

large_A905A9C99F5761F36BAA6ADF4752BC61.jpg

Black Headed Heron

large_A908165DB3D98C9A729A9B2E03B4C25A.jpg

Serval

large_A90B98F2DEEFB41A606B0F6D16EA20B2.jpg

Elephants - lots of them

large_A9F70909E1C3454260D3D1C87F41B6E3.jpg

Lunch at Mawe Mupe Picnic Site

large_A912767DCAB661816FA832AE678C3712.jpg

Birds at Mawe Meupe Picnic Site

large_Birds_at_M..Picnic_Site.jpg

Giraffe

large_A9FA4B34A84CE0185F30C918222BA1E4.jpg

A leopard mum and son in a tree

large_582EC0DDA2F5DE327A605FFDAFB415FD.jpg

Olive Baboons

large_583EF9AAAC1DFF7BC2F5821F3617073C.jpg

Elephants

large_5842EEDDF19038C2445F6021530D7DD2.jpg

Giraffe

large_5846DD32A03AB291802A48F17A9C37C0.jpg

A yawning hippo on land - it's unusual to see them out of the water

large_584C7719982770B0717C8CCDE7402AAF.jpg

Brown Snake Eagle

large_5855B67BFCB97C3C18328315713DAC3A.jpg

Retima Hippo Pool

large_5851E3EA03A8A9E5E77AF0DC81C7D750.jpg

'White' Giraffe with Leucism

large_5874DFBEB2DF14932D87B2B50183B48A.jpg

Sunset over Kimasi Kopje

large_58799A4CEDD5950D34C49172F29A3DDC.jpg

Wildebeest Migration

large_58844EC5EEB7E9716911A72353D8DB4D.jpg

Balloon over Serengeti - we just watched from the ground

large_Balloons_o..engeti_11-3.jpg

Grey Headed Kingfisher

large_588AC754DC08F742022F94AC8B374434.jpg

Lappet Faced Vulture

large_58944753C03BD3D53062B8C3D586EF76.jpg

Zebra

large_5895DB1CFCFBD4D3492F973A9DDC109C.jpg

Cheetah

large_58980A49FDCFE03767FB3B321B23D61A.jpg

Olive Baboon

large_58A6C59CAB153B679484E070ADA9969C.jpg

Giraffe

large_58AAB060C0CAEC93D1D20C2027A53A8F.jpg

~~SERENGETI VISITORS CENTRE~~

Banded Mongoose

large_58AE1000D14D7975781130B8C78695B4.jpg

Tree Hyrax

large_58B025CCA39E77A2EADAA1052B304A9C.jpg

Grey Capped Social Weaver

large_58B24604CDD91720EBEA61E49382F552.jpg

Team Photo

large_58B64F59000E7FD63030B8EA586A0BF6.jpg

Guided tour of the centre

large_58D6AB53B6F034E5CD9E428458AC2471.jpg

Rock Hyrax

large_58DA71C9A5B27B419F69F79780EA6762.jpg

~~HEADING SOUTH~~

Black Faced Vervet Monkeys

large_AE243FDFC988830FCB18E09B23663C99.jpg

Hippos

large_AE2706A8C6ADCB3243D2BE79D5A42379.jpg

Black Headed Heron

large_AE290E42C4352CCACC381C1ADE6C990F.jpg

Wire Tailed Swallow

large_AE32A2C506ADD96296C1931069F38553.jpg

Spotted Flycatcher

large_AE349A9CD07DA73F615A934D5D2F1309.jpg

Giraffes

large_AE372F74B3D81877932030C20CDADC38.jpg

A large herd of 31 elephants walked right by our car

large_AEE954F007A97B69B742EA6BCA880CC8.jpg

White Browed Coucal

large_Coucal__White_Browed_11-2.jpg

Impala

large_AEF1A5B29DF48BFD96B3C67EC469E841.jpg

Lions in a tree

large_Lions_in_a_Tree_11-106.jpg

Rueppel's Long Tailed Starling

large_62D9B562953E6EABA838B94C7002CDAF.jpg

Grey Backed Shrike

large_62DBE982EB5450BEC6A52983F17301B9.jpg

Lake Magadi

large_Lake_Magadi_11-3.jpg

White Winged Black and Whiskered Terns

large_62EA709EFE7C34F59478436791DB53AC.jpg

Banded Mongoose

large_62F0B0BBA7031844ADE84985E34BD348.jpg

Cape Buffalo

large_62F37129CB71A0F99163D02DF24632DD.jpg

~~MORU KOPJES~~

large_63157346D4D24432E3250F10F43A8C82.jpg

Masai Ostrich

large_Ostrich_11-24.jpg

Gong Rock

large_630B7A2AF107F0C6C6FBC84CAB569400.jpg

Ancient Maasai Rock Art

large_63105A6EA7FA277A15DCE5E22E39F6AF.jpg

Rhino Project Information Centre

large_63365779F1C1C986D4C2282785025D61.jpg

Dark Chanting Goshawk

large_63399EDFF305C0541241776182A999E3.jpg

Nile Crocodile

large_633AD443EB172300671F9999ACFE4878.jpg

Hamerkop Nest

large_633C4FA9AB53BF62CC613606098F0562.jpg

~~HEADING NORTH AGAIN~~

Giraffe

large_633FB4329BE18D46CC0FE8397AEC002E.jpg

Black Backed Jackal

large_Jackal__Bl..acked_11-31.jpg

Rain

large_Rain_and_Mist_11-1.jpg

Lions in the rain

large_635F7381971A21987BD2A5502D75BABF.jpg

Rainbow

large_636D293BA39E705CEC4ACBAC7306CBD5.jpg

I wanted a giraffe as a foreground for the rainbow, but all Malisa could manage was this elephant

large_63713B30C3420A10831BCAED5D61CD41.jpg

Spotted Hyena

large_6368E2B4F1F7FAB3E1DB10C7D58CA758.jpg

Stunning Sunset

large_637F4E2FBD5C31A38D24F8A7DA2877AE.jpg

Bush Baby in a tree at Serengeti Serena Lodge

large_63859B94A9DF0F470262A68BDFC1EC40.jpg

Brown Snake Eagle

large_5BAEBD239F5A7E375221C4B6339B50ED.jpg

Spotted Hyenas

large_5BB26BF79BCF142FB37EA288A7E1602A.jpg

Sunrise

large_Sunrise_12-3.jpg

Topi

large_5BB968C2DE429FE650CA9DDB9A03C477.jpg

Wildebeest waiting to cross Seronera River

large_5BD7F908DD2E620DB604221D2086E0C6.jpg

Vultures waiting for the crocodiles to attack the wildebeest crossing Seronera River

large_5BD469DE0B9DCF3D64ED2C3508E8D40F.jpg

Martial Eagle

large_5BDA05CEA2528258A9D36402207DF780.jpg

Grey Heron

large_5BDC2F29F770A78ED5EDED6F0A2E653D.jpg

Goliath Heron

large_5BDE623BDFA30F018FE8B221B47F2DFF.jpg

Hot Air Balloon

large_5BE117C3054A226591633BB93FAA29BE.jpg

Hippo

large_5BF67219D57ED6B8AC121F201CC67980.jpg

White Browed Coucal

large_5BF92D9AFFC90B4C30264AC03A2E98E3.jpg

Olive Baboons

large_5BFC2098BAD128BC5EE914A89A29029B.jpg

Lions - she was on heat, he wasn't interested

large_5C194670B866087DC23ACB1E63212ECF.jpg

Tawny Eagle

large_5C1BC5FFEEAC45D170442BF1F629F1C7.jpg

Elephants

large_5C1EA62FA2F167C3CF8736CA927CF5DE.jpg

Lion at the appropriately named Simba Kopjes

large_5C21A1F6B4BA7FAB7A4180BE259F7A60.jpg

Zebra

large_5C5B19B2BF13D739E85C9E0BBF90EC16.jpg

Rock Martin at Naabi Hill

large_Martin__Rock_12-2.jpg

~~LEAVING THE SERENGETI FOR THE NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA~~

Kori Bustard

large_Bustard__Kori_12-3.jpg

White Stork

large_5C664C92ACC8A74C1EA0315079BBB322.jpg

Vultures feasting on a zebra

large_5C7D3222F88A61F1711644A74E1CFDA7.jpg

~~BACK IN ARUSHA~~

Lake Duluti Lodge - another one of Tillya's luxury surprises

large_15A4C3F8E490332EB831DAEA23308BC9.jpg

Cultural Heritage Centre Art Exhibition

large_506A291D047606AECC8A209F78E0AFC7.jpg

And shopping opportunities

large_506172A9AB4902C9283DBD2009BEA52B.jpg

An informative demonstration of the Tanzanite gems unique to Tanzania

large_507B48910422808015D78A2F97E9657B.jpg

More shopping opportunities at Mount Meru Market

large_5090FBE2DAF8AED446E41E9B2EE37E71.jpg

A guided tour of Shanga Shangaa workshop for disabled people

large_509F90540EB3F9A32A8E7C20418CE338.jpg

Followed by a traditional African buffet lunch

large_Jikoni_Afr..estaurant_7.jpg

Accompanied by African music

large_50AA2E3FAAE28853BE2DCEEA22705CC7.jpg

We took a tour of the coffee estate with a very informative guide

large_50BF7F80B06EDDAF03EB2CD7BDFDE8DD.jpg

And were able to taste the produce

large_50C1E382952FFCBB5F812E9B0850EC24.jpg

~~THE END~~

That marked the end of our African Adventure, as arranged by Calabash African Adventures, a small, locally owned and run company based in Arusha. They come highly recommended for their professionalism, calibre of their driver-guides, reliability, trustworthiness, passion for the environment and last but not least, their very competitive pricing. This was the fourth time we used their services for arranging our Tanzania safaris, and as soon as we returned to the UK we booked the next one for the following year. And I can guarantee that won't be the last!

For those of you who are interested in a similar trip, below is a copy of our itinerary.

large_Overview_for_Blog.jpg

Thank you for reading and have a nice day!

large_A_Grete_Howard_Production.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 05:47 Archived in Tanzania Comments (3)

Atlanta - London - Bristol

Home, sweet Home


View Fet Gede - Haiti's Day of the Dead 2016 on Grete Howard's travel map.

large_62516B55A649A6AAB5EC8C19650852FF.jpg

After a long overnight flight from Atlanta, we arrive at London Heathrow before 7am, still carrying the wall mask now known as Ram Ram. The customs here in the UK are totally disinterested and we sail through.

Having stayed overnight on our way out in a hotel near Terminal 5 and now arriving back to Terminal 3, we have to use the Heathrow Express Train to get back to the hotel and our car. I think next time we will probably splash out a little more and have the valet parking again where the driver meets us outside the arrival terminal with our car. It would have been especially good this time as we are carrying such a large item.

large_Heathrow_Express_1.jpg

large_Heathrow_Express_2.jpg

From Terminal 3 to the hotel we also have to negotiate the Heathrow Hotel Hoppa shuttle bus, which fortunately is not full.

large_Heathrow_Hotel_Hoppa_1.jpg

Back home, we carefully undress Ram Ram, who thankfully survived the journey in one piece and is now well settled in his forever home along with a couple of his Haitian friends.

large_Ram_Ram_12.jpg

large_Ram_Ram_13.jpg

large_Ram_Ram_14.jpg

large_Ram_Ram_15.jpg

large_Ram_Ram_16.jpg

large_Ram_Ram_17.jpg

large_62A73D8ED6065F48DE446816D7B76F3F.jpg

And so ends our adventure to Haiti.

Thank you to Voyages Lumiere for all the ground arrangements in Haiti.

large_FCBF28F1E0655BC93A7DFE253D7ACA0C.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 13:19 Archived in England Comments (0)

Port au Prince - Atlanta

The long journey home


View Fet Gede - Haiti's Day of the Dead 2016 on Grete Howard's travel map.

large_Port_au_Pr..to_AQtlanta.jpg

Today is going to be a very long day. Having got up at 04:20 to travel to the airport, we are dismayed to find that when we get there the terminal building is not even open yet, and there is already a long queue of passengers outside waiting to get in.

A small team of officials are on hand to ensure we all form an orderly queue, and to quickly admonish any would-be queue-jumpers. Suddenly there is a hive of activity, and before we know it, a porter grabs our bags and leads us past the long line of waiting passengers and in through the door. Although I am a little embarrassed by the unexpected and somewhat unnecessary VIP treatment, I am not exactly doing anything to prevent it happening either.

At the Delta check in desk I am told that Ram Ram – our beautifully wrapped wall sculpture (see yesterday's entry for details) – has to travel in the hold, and that it is going to cost me $108 through to London. I quibble that we have a free second bag from Atlanta to London and it can't possibly cost that much just from Port au Prince to Atlanta. She argues that this is the cost. We battle back and forth for some time, with me insisting to speak to the supervisor, and her insisting she is the supervisor.

Eventually, after a lot of pleading, shouting and threatening, I 'throw my toys out of the pram'. The supervisor agrees to let me try to take Ram Ram as hand luggage but warns that I am likely to be stopped at the gate and sent back to check him in. It is a risk I am willing to take, and we move on to obstacle number two: security screening (which also is not open yet). When we finally get to the front of the queue, Ram Ram is no problem at all and we breathe a sigh of relief.

large_Ram_Ram_at..nce_Airport.jpg

At passport control David and I go to different booths, and I am through in no time. I sit down at the gate to wait for David, and I am surprised at how long he is taking. It turns out that because we are travelling through the US, he is asked for the ESTA form (Visa Waiver Program). Despite having checked our ESTA for the security check before even being able to join the queue for check-in, as well as during the actual check-in process, and the boarding card being denoted with that fact; they won't let David go without seeing his physical ESTA form (so much for it being an Electronic System for Travel Authorization; thankfully had the sense to print it out!). There is, however, a slight problem there: I have that form and David has no way of contacting me to come back for him. Oops. They finally let him through, albeit reluctantly.

I think they have just delivered my consignment of Duty Free rum.

large_5CFCA58492770B10653DCBA12988A6C5.jpg

When it is time to board the aircraft I notice that the same lady who checked us in is on duty and I do wonder if she is going to block Ram Ram for the sake of it so 'save face'. She doesn't. Ram Ram gets taken off for special screening, but is found to be harmless and he is allowed onto the aircraft with us. The crew put him in the coat cupboard in the first class cabin for the flight – they all love him.

Security Checks

In order to get as far as the aircraft seat we have had a number of checks, as follows:

1. Passport and tickets checked in order to be allowed to enter the terminal building.

2. Passport and ESTA documents closely examined before being allowed to join the queue for check in.

3. Passport, ticket and ESTA inspected on check-in.

4. Boarding cards checked at security, shoes off, bags x-rayed and passengers screened.

5. Passport control – passport and boarding card for me, plus the aforementioned ESTA check for David.

6. Passport and boarding card at the gate.

7. Manual pat-down and bag check before being allowed to board the plane.

8. Boarding card check on entering the plane.

Port au Prince - Atlanta

The flight is unremarkable, we have three seats for the two of us and can spread out.

At Atlanta there is a long queue for immigration, and David yet again doesn't pass through the automated self-check, but we have plenty of time (nearly six hours) here, so it doesn't really matter.

At least we don't have to collect our checked in luggage – as a 'favour' the supervisor in Port au Prince checked our bags in all the way to London (I didn't even know that was possible), and gave us a 'golden ticket' to show to staff here.

large_ITI_1.jpg

We are not even given a second glance at customs in to the US, but as usual the body scanner causes all sorts of issues. The scary thing is that my panty-liners showed up but not the mobile phone I'd forgotten in my pocket!

At Homeland Security Ram Ram is undressed and re-dressed by a charming official with a sense of humour (they are few and far between!). He is even swabbed for drugs but again found to be completely innocent. The possibility had occurred to me that maybe the artist had been using drugs and some traces had somehow remained on the sculpture, but I needn't have worried. Ram Ram even gets a 'seal of approval' in the form of an 'INSPECTED' tape.

large_Inspected.jpg

After our last Atlanta Airport dining experience on the way back from Haiti in February (Read all about the most expensive pizza we ever ate here), we head straight for the airport train and the Food Court at Terminal E - still with Ram Ram in tow.

large_5EF59F79F482F3F1752EB6F251BD51A0.jpg

We settle for a TGI Friday's, where David is delighted to find they serve cider! Of course that is a pure coincidence, we don't read the menus of all the restaurants to check before deciding where to eat. Much.

large_5F22A5CCC2C3E2B135E820062EF0068B.jpg

The food is pretty good too, we both have Sizzling Chicken and Cheese, and it is nice to have mashed potato for a change rather than the ubiquitous fries which come with almost every meal in the hotel restaurants in Haiti. The bill is a fraction of what we paid last time too, so we are on to a winner here.

large_Sizzling_C.._and_Cheese.jpg

Later we even stop for a cinnamon bun, but although it is nice, it is just not a Cinnabon!

large_Cinnamon_Roll.jpg

After a long and boring wait here at Atlanta, we finally get to board the Virgin Airways flight for the next leg of the journey home, just as the sun goes down.

large_5F727BDFD07DEF9CD115C24049D80751.jpg

large_5F7CBADEC54FC77F8AFFD1AA77CC7232.jpg

Posted by Grete Howard 04:06 Archived in USA Tagged flight caribbean tickets atlanta delta air_travel passports haiti port_au_prince security_check voyages_lumiere delta_airways passport-control homeland_security virgina_airlines Comments (1)

(Entries 97 - 108 of 390) « Page .. 4 5 6 7 8 [9] 10 11 12 13 14 .. »