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Bill_H Feb 1st, 2007 12:40 PM

back from Tanzania - current conditions
Returned from Tanzania early this morning (Feb 1) and thought Id give an update on conditions since many were worried about access and road conditions after the massive December rains.

* roads were fine at Lake Manyara (2 nights) and pretty good in the Ndutu area (7 nights). We had to be careful around Ndutu near some muddy spots but were never turned back. Also drove to Gol kopjes (east of Naabi Hill) and had zero problems with access there as well. We never got stuck on this trip.

* roads in Ngorongoro crater (3 nights) were awful, very rutted and muddy and we had problems accessing some areas. Even driving on the main roads was very slow due to ruts and detours. Several jeeps got stuck at one point and one was left overnight, with their passengers hitching a ride with us to the rim as they missed their connection to Seronera and had to stay an extra night at Ngorongoro. We tried canceling our last two nights at Ngorongoro and going to Manyara instead but were unable to get refunds from the NCA or the lodge so ended up staying.

* we were allowed to stay in the crater all day if we wished so the 6 hour limit is not in force right now.

* in 12 days we only covered the roof due to rains once for about 10 minutes while photographing (two more times while in transit), so the rains were no problem for us. YMMV.

* the plains and crater were extremely green and beautiful, as you might expect after all the Nov Dec rains. Incredibly beautiful and lush.

* estimated 300,000 flamingos at Lake Manyara (we had not seen any there last Jan and April) but too far away to photograph up close. Maybe 1,000 flamingos near Ndutu (lakes Masek and Ndutu) and we were able to take close-up photos of some of these.

* cats, cats, cats will try to post our 20 favorite cat pics from this trip by tomorrow, but Ill just say we were very impressed with all the cats we saw at Manyara we saw zero lions (for the first time ever) but saw two leopards (for the first time ever at Manyara) and a cheetah chasing impalas. In the Ndutu area we had 127 lion sightings in 7 days, 71 unique lions and 56 repeaters (multiple sightings of the same lions). Also saw 14 cheetahs near Ndutu and three more at Gol. At the crater, despite bad roads, we had another 43 sightings of 29 lions (14 repeats) and two more cheetahs.

So the total big cat sightings were 170 lions (100 unique), 20 cheetahs, 2 leopards and several smaller cats (serval and African wildcats). Many more than we saw last year on either our January or April trips.

* photographed many birds (as usual), including the rare Narina trogon at Manyara.

* many people had cancelled, especially at Ndutu, but as it turns out that may have been a mistake. I wished we could have stayed even longer.

More later, including pics.


Patty Feb 1st, 2007 12:57 PM

Welcome back, Bill! Thanks for the update. An incredible amount of cat sighting, wow. Looking forward to your photos.

atravelynn Feb 1st, 2007 01:24 PM

Welcome home from an exciting trip.

Calo Feb 1st, 2007 03:24 PM

Welcome back, Bill....can't wait for the pictures.

hguy47 Feb 1st, 2007 03:47 PM

Thanks for the update, we will be there in about 4 weeks and are glad to get a fairly good road report and a very good game viewing report.

stakerk Feb 1st, 2007 05:36 PM

thanks for reporting

santharamhari Feb 1st, 2007 06:11 PM


Awesome!!! Thanks.....

20 cheetah on your trip is fantastic....


jczinn Feb 2nd, 2007 10:23 AM

Still trying to catch my breath after viewing the cat pics in the other thread...but now you've whetted my appetite about the bird pics as well. Can't wait to see them!

Welcome home!

jules39 Feb 2nd, 2007 11:25 AM

We leave Tuesday so thanks for this update. Can't wait!


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