First of all, let me begin by saying that the "virgin" thing evolved into a way of identification but is really getting annoying. So, from now on it's "Anita".
I'll begin my report with the necessary itinerary details but then will stray from the traditional day-to-day format. (That's in part because I neglected to keep up with my journal and also because I'm a story writer at heart.) I'll, also, do this in installments because I'm writing slowly... So, here goes.
My trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar was planned and arranged by Sharon Taylor, Shop out of Africa. Sharon plans one trip per year for herself and 11 others. She plans with intelligence, experience, care and detail. I do not exaggerate when I say that the trip was flawless.
9/8 arrived Kilimanjaro airport. Stayed overnight Moivaro Lodge.
9/9-10 Sinya Private Reserve, Kambi ya Tembo Camp
9/11-12 Tarangire National Park, Maramboi Tented Camp
9/13 travel up Rift Valley. Visit Rift Valley Children's Village (orphanage) and Maasai village on way to Ngorongoro Crater, Sopa Lodge
9/14 Ngorongoro Crater, Sopa Lodge
9/15 travel to Serengeti, mobile tented camp. Visit Oldupai Gorge and Maasai Women's Cooperative
9/16-17 northern Serengeti
9/17-18 southern Serengeti, mobile tented camp
9/19 leave Serengeti, fly to Arusha, ending safari portion of trip
OK, first story/anecdote. Hope someone enjoys...
Party at The Pond
By the time we got to Tarangire on our third day, we’d already seen a satisfying variety of wildlife - lots of eles, giraffes, assorted gazelles, zebras, birds, etc. Certainly, for a newbie, enough to keep me excited. But none of it prepared me for The Pond.
Sure, I watch Pete’s Pond and get all excited when I’m lucky enough to catch some elephants and gazelles, and the pond in Tarangire was a puddle by comparison. But it was one hell of a puddle.
At first glance, all I really noticed were the storks, dozens of them in the water flapping and fishing and bathing. Photo op. Then I started noticing the other, smaller birds everywhere, in the trees, the water and on the sand. In tiptoes a Grants gazelle, making his way to the water’s edge. Photo op. Next come seven warthogs, running on stiff little legs, tails high, right up and into the water. One immediately flips on his back, legs flailing in the air. Photo op. Next arrive a group of monkeys, picking at each other and the bright green plants by the water’s edge. Photo op. Cue stage right; small ele herd with adorable babies shuffles in. Photo op. Stage left brings zebras, startling nervously as always. Now the pond was bustling with activity and energy – in a complete state of calm and normalcy.
At this point, I realized I was in the presence of a miracle and put away my camera. Until that moment, I never understood or appreciated the true harmony and tranquility that is Africa. Yes, the arrival of a lion or hyena would have changed the dynamic, but only briefly – and, that too, is part of the harmony.
I don’t know how to express it without sounding clichéd or trite. Africa is a model, a message, a reminder. Africa is one of the last places on this planet where it is the way it’s supposed to be – there and everywhere.
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