Flap necked chameleon on Toroye’s bow
Smiles after spotting the lion family
Sunset at Oldonyo
At the waterhole watching giraffes coming to drink
Walking in the Elephant's Ear
Wow, what fun experiences this season! Stalking up on warthogs rooting around... Jumping buffalo bursting through the bush... And along the Tarangire River literally zigzagging our way around elephants. On one walk, we spotted three lions finishing off a waterbuck dinner and we walked steadily up to them until they moved off, hearing their grumbles and grunts.
Update from the Waterhole
The dry season usually finds us down in our secret wilderness in the Maasai Steppe at the un-named waterholes. A busy season it was! The treenest was in full swing and the waterhole very active. The 'treenest' is our best imitation of a grand chimp nest: a massive gathering of sturdy sticks and branches stacked atop a strong gardenia tree on the edge of a waterhole. On most trips we spend a night up top with comfortable mattresses and bedding laid out for us (not quite chimp style...). With some cocktails and a clear night sky we lay back and listen to the sounds of the waterhole at night. On several safaris this season we watched upwards of 300 elephants come in to drink, their splashing, happy, argumentative family reunions always noisy if not downright chaotic! One trip gave us a full moon under which the elephants were virtually under spotlight. Another trip gave us a wallowing old bull buffalo under our tree and on our final trip, a couple eles eating branches from our tree and literally under our butts.
2 week exploration of Ruaha National Park
As any of you who have been with us on safari know, we tend to prefer the places safely considered 'way out there'. In order to find these areas, which cannot just be remote, but which also must have outstanding wilderness and wildlife qualities to them, we spend a great amount of our so-called 'down time' exploring, often on 2 week exploratory trips, where we leave the comforts behind and do a fair amount of bush-bashing to source new rivers, waterholes and camping and walking locations. This year we headed south to the mighty Ruaha National Park in southern Tanzania. Only a mere sliver of the park is actively used for tourism, and the rest is simply wilderness. Ruaha, together with the adjacent Rungwa and Kisigo Game Reserves, creates one of the largest unbroken wilderness areas in East and Southern Africa.
After two weeks and 14 flat tires, we had penetrated the inner depths of the park, where even the park rangers had not been in two years. We came across lion at a bend in the river, the obligatory pods of hippos and lounging crocs, and some of the most beautiful river environments for walking. This part of Ruaha is one of the few places one can see the Big Three of the antelope species: greater kudu, sable and roan, all big horned, majestic and powerful animals and a treat for a wildlife connoisseur or first time traveller all the same. And this is serious walking country for the purest. It is rugged and requires a good week to explore it properly, but the reward for the intrepid is to go back in time into what wilderness was 100 years ago.