Tarangire National Park
Getting to Tarangire National Park
It was time to leave the Ngorongoro Crater and make our way, by car, to the last stop on our journey. Tarangire National Park. So far, our stays in Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti, and the Ngorongoro Crater were so much more than we had ever imagined. We couldn't wait to see what Tarangire National Park had in store for us.
The trip was an easy two and a half hours door to door. The drive was on paved roads which made things so much easier (no dust and bumps!) En route to Tarangire, we passed through the vast Tanzanian countryside as well as Karatu again. I love watching people's daily routines and activities. On this drive there was lots to take in.
The Tanzanian Countryside
While driving through Karatu, I again could not get over all the spectacular colours in Tanzania. There are explosions of bright yellow, red, orange, green...everywhere. So beautiful.
As you can see by the photos, Coke and Pepsi play a big role in the building supplies used on the exteriors of the shops.
The Maramboi Tented Camp
Like our stays in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, our accommodations in Tarangire were part of the Tanganyika Wilderness camps. This time, we were staying at the beautiful Maramboi Tented Camps. The camp was the perfect combination of the tents we stayed in in the Serengeti and the Lodge we stayed in at the Ngorongoro Crater. Boardwalks connected all the public areas while paths led to each of the sleeping "tents." A highlight was a pool area that overlooked Lake Manyara which featured animals grazing only a few arm lengths away while you swam. It was breathtaking. As in each of our stays, the staff could not have been more polite and helpful and the food was very good. After sunset, it was mandatory to be walked back to your unit by the night watchmen. This was to help prevent any unwelcome encounter with the magnificent creatures we so loved seeing during the day. It's not a joke-the watchmen say they see lions frequently! Thankfully we did not.
Lake Manyara Walk
A walk around Lake Manyara (no driving required) had been planned for our first afternoon. I could tell the boys were not overly excited about the thought of a walk and birdwatching. However, with not too much complaining, they made their way to the lobby.
There we met up with our guide Nelly - a local member of the Masai Tribe. This is where things got a whole lot better for the boys. Nelly was so cool resulting in the boys instantly liking him. Straight after our introductions, he gave each of the boys a long stick and told them it was a toy of every Masai boy. When they asked what you do with it, he replied, "hit each other" and then laughed. This sentence was music to the boys' ears. He also showed them the knife around his waist that they had been eyeing. Nelly had won the boys over :-)
As we made our way to the lake, Nelly told us lots of information about the drying Manyara Lake, the wildlife that depends on it, the thousands of birds that were surrounding us, and life as a Masai. The most uncomfortable information he shared with us was how a boy graduates into a Masai Warrior at age 14. With my own children in this age bracket, it was hard to hear. I'll let you take your own visit to find out the answer.
We walked for hours around the lake. Listening to Nelly's stories, quietly watching the thousands of birds who call the lake home, playing games with the sticks, and watching the sunset over the lake. It truly was a beautiful afternoon and Nelly was someone we will never forget.
Listening to Nelly and quiet contemplation
The birds and sunset of Lake Manyara
The fun games with Nelly and the sticks
Tarangire National Park
Tarangire is another big game park in Tanzania. It is home to a large range of animals including elephants, wildebeest, lions, and giraffe. On the day we went, we saw many many elephants, which I love, but the highlight for me was all the zebras. We were able to get quite close to them and see at close range how beautifully detailed their skin is. We also got so close to the elephants we could clearly see the deep wrinkles in their skin and enormity of their tusks. There really is only one place an elephants tusk should be, and that is on an elephant!
While we saw many beautiful animals in Tarangire, it was hard to compete with the Serengeti. The animals were very beautiful to watch but they did not seem quite as majestic as in our first park. Not to take away from the beauty of Tarangire as it is definitley worth a visit.
Mongoose, gazelles, wildebeest
The gorgeous giraffe
Masai Boma Visit
The last major stop on our visit to Tanzania was at a Masai Boma (a group of Masai huts.) Many, many Masai Boma speckle the Tanzanian countryside near the park. We were able to stop in one Boma and have a tour. On our visit, the Masai greeted us with a song and dance ceremony followed by a cultural tour including making fire, a tour of their huts, beadwork, and games with their children. The men of the village asked Rob why he had only one wife, reasoning that he must be a poor man with not enough money or cattle to purchase more wives. His response that I was all he wanted was met with gales of laughter. (Obviously, it wasn't the funniest joke I have ever heard.) The more we learned about the Masai the more challenging it was to accept this way of life. While I appreciated the opportunity to see the Masai and how they live, it is not a way of life I would recommend to others. Altogether, it was an experience that we will not forget.
Many Masai Boma in Tanzania
Building fire, visiting the Masai huts, and learning about traditions
The Masai people
Our Safari Comes to an End
Sadly, this marked the end of our time in Tanzania. We had one more beautiful evening at the Maramboi camp before being on the road bright and early in the morning for the airport. I enjoyed these last moments by looking out the window and soaking up the last bits of Tanzania we would see for awhile. At the airport, we said a big goodbye to our super guide, Danny. Before we knew it, we were on our way back to Dubai.
(If you decide to go on a safari to Tanzania I can highly recommend Access to Tanzania to organize it for you and also highly recommend Danny as your guide. I'm sure you will not be disappointed.) Asante Tanzania!