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Trip Report Tanzania Safari report October 09/ wildebeest migration Mara River

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I found so much amazing information on this site to plan my safari last October that I thought that I would share my trip with anyone who is planning to go in the Fall.

I took a year to plan, reading the many blogs on this and other sites and am a terrible internet google junkie for all the information that I can gather. I think that the planning is half the fun! We arrived in Arusha early October and immediately went to 'Good Hope' Orphanage school just outside of Arusha to deliver some school supplies and the $600 that I had raised at the last minute. I had googled this orphanage and emailed back and forth a bit and found out that they needed this amount of money to connect the pipes from the well to the the orphanage for drinking water. It will save them a lot of time from carrying the buckets to and fro. This was such a great way to start off our trip and were so glad that we had done this.

Spent the night at the Mountain Village Hotel which was amazing. The rooms staff and food were all top notch and the grounds made me feel like I was in Hawaii.

We booked our Safari with Vintage Africa Tours based in Nairobi and they used Grumetti for the drivers and trucks. My husband and I booked a private safari and were so glad that we did. Our driver Samson was wonderful, very knowledgeable friendly ,patient, and his english was terrific. We drove to our first park Tarangire and arrived just before lunch. As soon as we got inside the park we saw zebras and were so excited and took lots of pictures. I am sure that Samson thought we were nuts, as zebras are absolutely everywhere in all the parks and we got so many better photo ops along the way. We stayed at the Tarangire Sopa lodge. Nice hotel, not high end but clean and they had a pool which was nice. This was the only place that I felt we really needed a pool as this was the 'hottest' park . Went on another game drive which was very exciting to us as it was our first day. The only time we were really bothered by teese flys was here in Tarangire. Just make sure to wear long sleeves and dont wear blue clothing. We saw tree climbing leopards twice in the park which was a highlight.

Our next park was Manyara and we stayed at the Kirumuru tented lodge. The tents are permanent and it was a lovely place. The highlight was dinner time when the local church gospel singers came and serenaded us all night. They were wonderful. Driving to and from the camp little children would run out from the bushes and wave and shout 'Jambo' to us with huge smiles. After I asked, our driver said that they are hoping for pencils and things, so we would hand out pencils, pens, sharpeners, flash cards and books as we drove by. They were extremely appreciative.

The next day we went to Ngorongoro. Up to this point Ngorongoro was our favorite park. A huge concentration of animals and the first place we saw lions. Lots of them. Mating lions, cubs, moms. The hippos were amazing too. I loved everything about this park.

Spent two nights at Lemala Luxury Tents. Highly recommend them!! The best part of our trip. Real canvas tents with large king size beds, flush toilet and the sink and shower work with water that is from bags filled every morning and the lights are all solar. The meals that came from the Mess tent were amazing. We would sit around the fire at night and talk about our day with the other travellers. Only eight tents so not many others there. It is right on the rim of the crater. At night we had to stay in our tents after we finished dinner and all, and would be guarded by a Masaai Warrior with a spear because there were animals that came through the camp at night.

We visited a Masaai village close to our camp. We were treated to the traditional dancing and singing with the men and women both jumping high in the air. The chief's son gave us a tour, just my husband and I there at that time. We went into one of the homes and he told us of life in the village. It was very hot and smoky inside. There is a fire in the middle of the home with sleeping pods off to each corner. The huts are made by the women and are made of cow dung, urine and straw. As you can imagine there was a terrible fly problem. The pictures you see of the kids in those ads for sponsorship of orphans, well they all look like that here. One young baby was so covered in flys that you could barely see his face. This is a fact of life here tho and they didnt seem to like it, but were certainly not as bothered as I was. Much to my dismay, a small tour bus arrived with around 20 people. The dancing and singing started again and then the tourists (of couse we are not tourists!) looked at the local crafts and were in and out in less than 1/2 hour. My husband and I stayed for a couple of hours and asked many questions, got a tour of the kindergaarten, serenaded by the children and had some fun with the local people there. Of course we bought a few thing and paid way too much money for them but that is half the fun. Gave some gifts to the chief and the kindergaarten and continued on with our incredible safari.

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