Friday, November 22, 2019

2019 06 Tanzania Day Thirteen and Fourteen

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Our group of eager and early risers were up at 4:45 a.m., drinking tea at 5:15 a.m. and at the jeep to greet Festo at 6:00 a.m. The plan is to get Butati to the airport for his 8:00 a.m. flight back home.

We have time to take a short game drive around the airport area before his flight out. Festo, our outstanding guide, stopped at one point and said something is up. He noticed that the giraffes were not looking at us. They were looking at a greater danger. We waited...and here is what we saw:

This leopard had dreams of bringing down the giraffe. When he disappeared in the grass, Festo drove around and headed him off and sure enough...the leopard popped out of the bush again.

When we got to the Karibu Msembe Airstrip, I had some time to do some "on the ground" photos.

Now it was time to say good bye to our new friend Butati.

Photo on Denice's cell taken by a kind stranger at the airport
Becky, Butati, Don, Denice, Marijeanne, Chris, Me, Festo

Because our plane was going out after Butati's flight, we had time for a very short game drive around the airport. Note in these photos that you can see the airport housing behind the herd.

The last photo of the wonderful animals of Tanzania

We took off on the Auric Air flight to Dar es Salaam and as we lifted at the end of the airstrip we had to bank left in order to avoid the giraffe standing on the airstrip. That seemed like a fitting reminder of who actually owns the territory in the bush.

For our return flight, we flew to Iringa again but this time we were prepared to go through security in order to use the restrooms. Our next stop was in a small village that I did not get the name of...but the pilot had to taxi down the runway to scare off the animals before we could go back and lift off.

By noon we were in Dar es Salaam. On Emirates flight to Dubai did not leave until 4:45 p.m. After 5 and 1/2 hours we were in Dubai and off to the Emirates hotel for our layover.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Our Emirates flight from Dubai departed at 9:40 a.m. Sixteen hours later we were in Chicago's O'Hare Airport were we caught the Coach USA bus back to Milwaukee. A short taxi ride later and we were home to pet our cats...not quite the beasts of the bush but at least they can be petted.

Denice and I want to thank Rebecca (Becky) Ney for leading us on this trip to the bush of Tanzania. Thanks go to Ernest and Festo, our amazing guides and the staff at both lodges we stayed in on this trip. We also want to thank Chis, Marijeanne and Don for being great travel companions on this amazing adventure.

I am pretty sure Denice and I may have had the most extraordinary adventure of our life on this trip.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

2019 06 Tanzania Day Twelve

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Our group was eager and early risers once again so we are up at 4:45 a.m., drinking tea at 5:15 a.m. and at the jeep to greet Festo at 6:00 a.m.

We were cold every morning on the ride out

We have a mission today: he has been told of a three day old elephant kill by a pride of lions. We want to find that spot.

Here is what we saw:

After our morning game drive, we arrive back to the lodge for cold towels and juice refreshers. Then it is time to clean up and get ready for our 1:00 p.m. lunch.

After lunch we all retreated to our cabins to do the packing we need to do for tomorrow’s departure. I had time to read a book before heading down to the lodge for our last evening game drive.

We were out on the range with Festo by 6:00 p.m.

Here is what we saw:

Nothing made me feel more like I was in the bush than the Baobab trees, some of which can be a 1,000 years old.

We found these cool birds nests...

...which Butati was willing to model.

Tonight was a night for elephants. Our first find was a family group feeding past our Land Rover.

Then we come across a very shy little deer.

We came upon a herd of elephant in a river bed that was split into three groups. The group on the far side of the river never really cared that we were there. Two female elephants in the group in the middle of the river bed eventually gave up rooting for water because we were there.

The third group had a female who decided to mock charge the Land Rover. This attack was from such a distance and never really had much ferocity to it but it was still upsetting to all of us. Up till now we thought we had all got along so it was disturbing to be the cause of elephant anxiety.

As we drove on down the elephant forest we came down a small incline to where the path veered to the left and to our right was a small herd feeding on a fruit tree. As we understood it later, the alpha female wanted us to go away so they could feed. She would not retreat. We could not retreat back up the hill especially when Festo shut off the engine. It led to a rather ferocious series of mock charges that climaxed with a charge that brought the elephant with 10 feet of the Land Rover.

Here are the videos from Butati's cell phone.

That was the end. She backed up. We went forward. She did not chase us. Nobody was happy.

After the pissed off elephants, it was nice to find some of the quieter residents of the bush.

We met Becky’s safari and Instagram friends Ian and Shannon who are staying at a different lodge and just got in on this day. While we were sharing stories, the sunset was spectacular.

Because we were all drinking drinks and talking so much, we were late in starting the drive home. We arrived back at 7:20 p.m. where we were greeted with a warm towel and some Bailey’s.

After a quick clean up, we all headed up to the Lodge for drinks and dinner which was the usual elegant supper provided by the Lodge’s great chef.

Tonight we want to go to bed early again as we have one last game drive in the morning.