Awesome trip!!! Part II

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Oct 7th, 2002, 02:48 AM
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Susan
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Awesome trip!!! Part II

After crossing the Namanga border, which was a very simple process, we drove to Arusha, a bustling city that is experiencing phenomenal growth. The Rwandan genocide trials are being held at the conference centre there, so subsequently there are U.N. people all over the city. Anyway, we spent the night at the Moivaro Coffee Plantation, which was clean and functional for one night's stay. We dined with friends at the Impala Hotel and had a wonderful meal. The next morning we left for the 2 hour drive to the Ngorongoro Crater. The drive was fun and we made several pit-stops in some villages to look for souvenirs. Word of advice: barter, barter, barter. It is expected that you haggle over prices, and is, in fact, customary. Have fun with it!! We did!!! The crater, like Amboseli and the Mara, was extremely dry. It had four permanent water sources, however, and those are a beacon for the animals. It was in the crater that we first experienced the onslaught of tourism. At one time we counted 29 vehicles that had surrounded two lionesses who were carefully studying some zebra across the waterway. Having said that, the crater was still a fantastic place. We saw several rhino from over a mile away. Binoculars particularly came in handy! The rangers are fiercly protective of the rhinos - for obvious reasons - and blocked off some of the roads which lead to their favorite haunts. So, do not expect to see the rhinos up close and personal. If you do, it is just a bonus. We spent one night at the Ngorogoro Serena, which was nice. Definitely more along the lines of a hotel, but nicely furnished rooms with large bathrooms. The food was good, and as we found all over Kenya and Tanzania, the service was excellent. The next night we stayed - thanks to a surprise from some friends - at the Crater Lodge. What can one say about the Crater Lodge?? Luxury beyond compare, almost decadent. Fireplace, with a sitting area, where there are decanters of sherry. A bathroom where the focal point is a wonderful cast iron tub adorned by roses. His and her pedestal sinks, separated by an open-air shower. Bathrobes and slippers are carefully placed by the tub. After dinner, we returned to our room to find a fire burning in the fireplace and rose petals spread on the floor, leading to the tub. Petals were placed on the rim of the tub, and a steaming bubble bath was awaiting us. There was also a bottle of wine next to the tub. Like I said, it was luxurious and my husband was particularly psyched about the dual-control electric blankets!! After two nights at the crater, we departed and drove south to Tarangire National Park. What a gem!! Had I known more about it, I would have planned for a two or three night stay!!We stayed at the Tarangire Safari Lodge, which was adequate. I would recommend some other lodge or camp. While it has an unsurpassed view, it is older and a bit run down. Now, I will say that I insisted we stay there. Roy Safaris warned us, but I was adamant and figured it was only for one night. It was the only place we stayed where I had my husband check under the bed for anything that did not belong there, i.e. snakes, etc. The park itself is fantastic! Loads of elephant, lions, zebras, giraffe, etc. At one point, we stopped alongside the road and we happily watched a male giraffe eat accacia leaves. We were almost under the tree itself, and the giraffe towered over us. Some of the leaves from the giraffe's mouth actually fell on top of us while it was eating. We were slimmed by a giraffe and loved every second of it!!!! With its permanent water source during the dry season, the Tarangire River is a beacon for the park's wildlife. I don't think we took one picture in which there weren't at least two or three different kinds of animals in the frame. Wonderful!!! From Tarangire we drove back to Arusha where we caught our plane and flew to Selous Game Reserve for three nights ...
 
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