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Back From Tanzania!

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Hi Everyone!
First I want to say thanks to all of you who were sooo helpful with advice about everything Africa. Fred and I just got back from a 2 week safari in Tanzania that was spectacular! From the very moment we arrived, excitement followed us daily. It took us 5 airports and about 30 hours in travel time to get to Kilamanjaro (we overnighted in Nairobi since we flew British Airways from London)but we were up and running almost immediately.

We took a 4-seater Cessna from JRO to the Seronera Airstrip in the Western Serengeti and it was fabulous!! Thanks to all who encouraged me to do that. We flew over an active volcano, swooped down to see the flamingos on Lake Natron and saw our first glimpse of the Great Migration from the air.

We met our guide, Sem, from Africa Dream Safaris, and climbed into our huge Landrover--just the two of us and our driver guide. We were so glad that we chose a private safari!!! So much flexibility and freedom. We weren't even 15 minutes out of the airport when we found ourselves right in the middle of the Migration!!!! Literally, thousand of widlebeests and zebras thundering across the road in front of our vehicle!!! We were speechless. The animals were so close and the sounds and smells were all around us. Several of the zebras stopped to take a dust bath in the road and we saw so many little ones! I still don't know how such little wildebeests can run with the herd!

Sem told us about the "Big Five" and how everyone hopes to see them. He also told us that the most elusive is the leopard and the rarest is the black rhino. Guess what??? We saw 4 of the five in the first 3.5 hours that we were in Tanzania!!!! First, a female lion climbing up a tree and stretching out on the limb followed by her 2 teenage male cubs!!! All 3 in the tree about 10 feet from our truck. Those golden eyes!!! As I'm snapping away with my new Nikon with the 300mm lens, Sem cries out, "Oh, you are so lucky. We're going to see a leopard!" He had spotted on in a tree about half a mile away with his binoculars. By the way, this guy had eyes like an eagle and could see a lion's ear 50 yards away in the tall grass!

On our way to the Mbalagetti Lodge, we saw a herd of elephants and several Cape buffalo, completing 4 out of 5. We also saw a pack of baboons eating white flowers in a huge field along the side of the road, followed by ostriches, impala and topi. All on our first day!! By the time we got to the lodge, and were greeted with juice and cold wash clothes, we were ready for a nice wind down. What an experience and we were only on Day 1.

I'll continue tomorrow...and hopefully, will figure out how to download some of our wonderul pics from the Easy Share cds. Does anyone know how to do this? I'm a real dope when it comes to this stuff!! To be continued...

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