Jenn's Adventures in Africa (Tanzania- August, 2006)

Old Sep 29th, 2006, 06:03 AM
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I take it back -- I'm not really like Arielle. I get anxious about things, but I'm not tardy, and I'm not high maintenance, and I would NEVER tell my roommate that she should get rabies!

It sounds like you were a real trooper. I can hardly wait to hear the rest of your report.
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Old Sep 29th, 2006, 07:52 AM
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Hi, Jenn--
I'm loving your report, and I check the boards two or three times a day to see if you've added another segment. I'm interested in your safari experiences, of course, but I think among the main draws is all that drama with Arielle. Can't wait to see what happens next with her, and I'll be interested to learn whether you two will ever be in touch again. Also interested to know if SHE knows about these boards. Whoa!
I have to give you a lot of credit. It seems that yours was the Murphy's Law of all safaris, but you were able to get past the unexpected and sometimes disappointing changes in your itinerary, all the while dealing with a freak of a travel partner, and were able to focus on the positives. Says a lot about your character.
BTW, I'm forwarding this thread to my own travel partner, Jeri, as new segments come through. Being retired, I have more access to the computer than she has (she's still teaching, but will retire in June). She's enjoying the report, too. It brings back a lot of memories of our own trip to Kenya and Tanzania a year ago July. Fortunately, our own trip to Africa went pretty much without a hitch, but we've traveled to many other places over the years and situations have arisen from time to time where we've just had to "roll with it". We've learned that it isn't productive in most cases to get all fussed up over things we can't control. In MOST cases. One phrase which has served us well over the years is, "Oh, well.... On to Plan B". Of course, we've been very compatible travel partners and haven't had to deal with paranoia in each other. I think a self-absorbed, controlling hypochondriac of a partner would just about do it for me.
Looking forward to the rest of your report, AND looking forward to our return to Africa in September, 2007, when Jeri will be retired. This time to Botswana.
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Old Sep 29th, 2006, 08:37 AM
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<font color="green"><i>LEOPARD TO HIMSELF: Uh oh, I better get out of this tree and hide, Jenn &amp; Arielle are coming! </i></font>

I am really glad you didn't get rabies Jenn

I also saw a lion with a radio collar in the Serengeti.
waynehazleDOTcom/eastafrica/serengeti/roll15/005_2.html
I think this was one, you just can't see it from this angle.

When are they going to develop collars that aren't so big and clunky? I know they have to be uncomfortable and they alter the behavior of any animal wearing them.

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Old Sep 29th, 2006, 08:50 AM
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I'm glad that I'm enteraining everyone with my trip report.

In all fairness to Arielle, I can be quite a smart ass sometimes, so I probably wasn't as nice to her at all times as I could have been. In fact I think I may have said something to the effect of &quot;there would actually have to be a bat in the bathroom for me to get rabies&quot; as I honestly didn 't see and/or think there was anything in there.

Also, we come from radically different backgrounds. I grew up in a beautiful smaller community in Oregon where outdoor activities are an everyday part of life. On top of that I have three brothers, so spent my childhood hiking, biking, fishing, camping and all sorts of other things with them.

She grew up in Brooklyn and is the youngest of 3 girls. I think she may have been camping once in her life before going to Africa.

The hardest thing for me was the paranoia about everything. I haven't even wrote about half the things she was scared of.


Jenn
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Old Sep 29th, 2006, 01:02 PM
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Jenn, I totally agree with you on the Maasai boma visit, though I went to a manyatta versus a boma. Very fake and not worth the $50 I paid. I would not recommend that people visit these places.

I wanted to tell them to stop jumping and chanting and go back to doing whatever you were doing before I got here. I doubt women really wear that much jewelry in a normal village. All the jewelry displayed in the middle of the village for sale was cheesy. Then I go over to see the 'school' (I'm not even convinced this structure is really used as a school) and coincidentally, the kids are singing songs. I look on the blackboard and it said &quot;1+1=2, 2+2=4&quot; and so on... I thought, oh give me a break.

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Old Sep 30th, 2006, 06:43 PM
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Kevin- I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't really enjoy the Maasai visit.


Jenn
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Old Sep 30th, 2006, 06:49 PM
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August 15, 2006

I wake up this morning at the ungodly hour of 5 am for some inexplicable reason since we donít have to be ready to go until 9 this morning. I stay in bed and tried to go back to sleep, but finally give up and get up around 6. I sneak into the forbidden bathroom and take a shower, hoping that the sounds of the velcro and zippers donít wake Arielle. I clean up my ankle carefully and put a fresh bandage on. The swelling is looking a little better this morning and it doesnít hurt too much, so thatís a good sign. I try to put my sneakers on but they press right on the worst spot, so I just settle for flip flops. I am very happy to see Arielle is still asleep when I come back out so she canít say any nonsense to me. I quickly pack my things up so they will be ready to go for later.

I head out to the reception area with a book and grab a cup of hot tea. The manager comes over to me and asks how my ankle is and tells me I should have it elevated. There are not many people around, so I had some quiet time to read and relax while I sat outside. As it gets later our group starts trickling out of their tents. The Italians have chosen to leave a little earlier than us this morning, so they set off around 8:30 while we are still eating breakfast. We are all ready to go on time though and weíre off not far behind them at 9:00.

Iíve been keeping score and up until now itís Leopards- 2 and Our Vehicle- big fat 0. We are determined to turn that around, so as we set off we tell Muro we must find that elusive leopard today. He just smiles and tells us he will do his best. We are heading back up to the Seronera area today, so we have a little bit of a drive. On the way we stop at the river and we three baby warthogs drinking. They are alone, but Muro says they are big enough to survive on their own. They are very cute if you like warthogs . We also saw a small crocodile in the river and a monitor lizard near the river. Iíve been really hoping to see a big crocodile, but we havenít had any luck so far.

As we continue driving we come upon a lone lioness walking along the road. Muro tells us that she looks like she is old. As we get closer we can see that she has a big gash on her right side and we feel bad for her. We follow her for a while and she just keeps walking and walking taking no notice of the cars. We finally leave her and a little bit later we see a couple of more lions. They are far away and you canít see them very good in the tall grass, so we donít stay too long.

We stop fairly early today for lunch at a nice picnic spot. The bathrooms were really yucky, but it is nice to be the only people here. We are almost finished eating when we hear ďMuro, MuroĒ on the radio from Godfrey. Muro goes to answer and comes back so relaxed we think it couldnít have been anything exciting. I canít believe it when he tells us they have found another leopard! That Godfrey is a professional leopard spotter I tell you. We are all excited and we clean up very quickly. Muro is laughing because he says he doesnít think he has seen us move this fast before. We hop in the car and speed off determined not to miss another leopard sighting.

Apparently luck is on our side today because the leopard is still there when we arrive! I think we all cheered when we saw it. Itís a little bit far away, but you can see it clearly sleeping in the tree. I am so happy to finally see one, I donít really care how far away it is . The light is terrible for pictures, but I still take a million anyway. We stay for quite a long time watching him/her just sleep. I know itís not very exciting, but they are very beautiful. It seems like he/she might get up a few times and changes positions a little, but then he/she just keeps on sleeping. After a long time we decide we would like to go around to the other side as it looks the cars on that side are closer. Muro tells us he doesnít think it will be good over there, but we want to try, so he heads over there. Once we get over there we realize the view here is terrible, so we donít stay long on this side.

After that we head towards the visitorís center for a little rest stop. We all use the bathroom and have a cold drink which is nice as we had been sitting in the hot sun for quite some time watching that leopard. We learn we are splitting up today as our group is staying at Mbalegeti and the Italians are staying at the Sopa Lodge. We have quite a drive to reach Mbalegeti, so we soon set off.

The drive down was pretty much the same as the drive yesterday to Ikoma as we see lots and lots of zebras, wildebeest, gazelleís and giraffes along the way. Funny how we are so used to seeing these by now, that they seem normal to us. Weíre lucky to come upon a herd of zebras and wildebeest drinking from the river though. They are so funny to watch as they all come down and drink for about 60 seconds and then all run away. Then they turn around and all come back to have a drink again and then run away. They keep repeating this over and over again. We stay and watch for quite a while and take lots of pictures.

Although the drive was enjoyable, Iím very happy when finally reach the turn off for Mbalegeti as Iím tired of driving by now. We see a pair of bat eared foxes as we are approaching Mbalegeti, but they are very shy and run away quickly.

We reach Mbalegeti and are greeted warmly with nice cold wash clothes and drinks. We sit down and have a proper briefing with the manager to learn all about the property. He is very serious about telling us everything. I get a case of the giggles and I donít think he appreciates that very much. We have to decide what time would like to eat dinner and breakfast the next morning so they can send someone to collect us at our rooms at the right time. We also get to chose from a menu what we want for our lunch box tomorrow, so that is very nice.

We finally get through all of the briefing and are shown to our rooms. The rooms are very nice and Iím happy to see there are so many outlets here! I can charge up my ipod and my camera batteries at the same time. There is also an outlet in the bathroom that you can use a hair dryer with!

Arielle decides she wants to take a shower and freshen up before dinner, so I go to look around the property. The property here is fairly big and everything is quite spread out. There are these nice trails and itís very nice to walk around.. I wish I didnít have a bum ankle, as it would be very easy and nice to go for a run here.

After I am finished looking around, I head to the reception area to use the computer. I want to check my e-mail to see if my new nephew has been born yet and check in with my family in general. I try for about 20 minutes, but I canít get logged into my e-mail, so I finally give up and head back to my room. I take a quick shower before dinner as I am very dirty today. They have one of those rain showerheads here, so it is a very enjoyable shower .

Everyone else is ready before me and have left to look around the property, so I am alone when the askari comes to collect me for dinner. He speaks very good English and itís a long walk to the dining room, so we have a nice conversation on the way. I meet up with the other ladies at the bar and we sit down for dinner soon after.

We chose to dine outside and we get a very nice table right by the swimming pool. Itís Thai night here at Mbalegeti, so we have a selection of Thai foods for dinner. Itís very odd for me to be eating Thai food in the middle of the Serengeti We get to order what we want for an appetizer, soup and dessert, but the main courses are served family style and shared amongst all of us. The food was kind of mixed as some of the dishes were very good, but some werenít that great. After dinner we all head back to our rooms and turn in for the night. We have a very long day of driving tomorrow and are supposed to be ready to go by 7:00. The beds here are very comfortable and I get a good nights sleep. Iím even allowed to use the bathroom here as much as I want as there donít appear to be any bats
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Old Sep 30th, 2006, 06:58 PM
  #48  
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Hi Jenn,

I literally dropped my morning toast from my fingers, when i read the thai dinner in the Serengeti!!! My goodness!!!

I'm sure you enjoyed the Mbalageti very much. Like i said, i'm enjoying your trip report. Thanks.....

Hari
 
Old Sep 30th, 2006, 07:06 PM
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Hari- Thai food in the Serengeti was very strange indeed! I certainly wasn't expecting it.

Jenn
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Old Oct 1st, 2006, 04:36 AM
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Hi Jenn,
Just want to let you know that I'm enjoying your report. I admire any woman your age who seeks the unknown - there's just so much out there to discover.

Also, we had some really good Chinese food in the Serengeti. It was much different from most of the Chinese food I've had in the States or even China.

I just find it amazing that these guys in the Serengeti can obtain the needed ingredients and cook at all in some of those spare kitchens.
I'd probably just serve up power bars

Look forward to hearing more.
Sherry
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Old Oct 1st, 2006, 06:19 AM
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Great, you found the leopard! Some bat eared foxes are a nice addition too. I am sure were relieve that your ankle was improving. Those things either go one way or another.

Hari,
I hope you've swept up your toast crumbs.
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Old Oct 1st, 2006, 06:25 AM
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Haha, yes.....Lynn.
 
Old Oct 1st, 2006, 07:12 AM
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Hello Jenn,
I too am enjoying your report. Reading about Arielle makes me even more convinced that solo travel is the way to go. She sounds like a real travel problem, unlike lunch boxes not being gourmet standard etc. Though it seems like you managed to have a wonderful trip anyway.
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Old Oct 1st, 2006, 02:37 PM
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Sherry- I'm glad you are enjoying my trip report, thanks for reading!

Lynn- The ankle was more annoying than anything. The scrape had one part that was pretty deep, so I was worried about it getting infected.

The bat eared foxes were very cute, I wish we could have watched them longer. Forgot to mention I impressed my guide by identifying them correctly before he saw them I guess all of that time I've spent here on fodors looking at other peoples pictures helped me out

Nyamera- I'm glad you are enjoying the trip report. I am fine traveling by myself, but I have to admit it is nice to have someone to eat meals with and stuff. I got along really well with the rest of the group though. I'm sure Arielle's trip report says that I am the one who is a complete pain in the ass


Jenn

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Old Oct 1st, 2006, 03:54 PM
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Jenn,
I'm really enjoying your trip report. Your writing style is fabulous and the details are fun. I also have to admit, I thought I was the only one who did things like fall off the seats.
Shari
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Old Oct 2nd, 2006, 07:46 AM
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Jenn: thanks for putting so much time and energy into your report. I'm glad you had lots of cat sightings in between your roomate issues. If only she knew the 'bat' could have eliminated the bugs that she was afraid of she could have eliminated half her fears.

Wayne: the size of the telemetery collars are based on the size of the battery. The largest battery possible is usually desired by researchers because the longer it lasts the more data they can gather without having to handle the animal again wich is better for the animal as well as more cost effective on the research budget. There are actually battery weight limits for each species based on their size and the intent of the limits is to minimize any impacts to the animal. I've worked with really small animals (tiger salamanders) where you can implant the transmitter because its so small but the battery life is short. An example is I have collared jumping mice with a little wire whip collar but the batter weight they can carry is so light that the batter life is only 30-60 days whereas a collar on a lion could last 2 years or more. Collars will get smaller as lighter batteries with longer life continue to be developed but also new computerized features being added are off setting some gains in battery weight.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2006, 07:58 AM
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Hi Jenn,
Enjoying your trip report too! You sound like alot of fun to travel with. I am in a similar predicament as far as traveling solo or finding a tentmate, so after reading your experiences I am leaning towards going solo. Can you provide more details on the small group you joined, did it have a name, how many days, etc. This is something I may consider. Thanks.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2006, 08:57 AM
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Jenn,

I gotta scour the net and other travel boards. Somewhere I will find:

<b>Arielle's Adventures in Africa:</b>
<font color="green"><i>Jenn nearly caused me to get rabies by letting giant vampire bats in our room... I can't believe I took this trip with her...</i></font>

PredatorBiologist: Thanks for the info! I really hope they get to work on those smaller more powerful batteries. Those big thick collars chafe the neck

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Old Oct 2nd, 2006, 01:27 PM
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I'm leaving in a week for Safari, and can't wait to meet my own room-mate. I've been lucky in the past. But either way, you will all hear about it when I return, LOL.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2006, 03:27 PM
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Shari- You are definitely not the only one, I can always find something to trip on or fall off of at least once during vacation I'm glad you are enjoying the report, thanks for reading!

Predator- I am glad we got to see so many cats as well, especially the cheetahs! I just love those cheetahs. Thanks for the info about the lion collars! I'm glad you are enjoying the report .


Carla- I'm glad you are enjoying the report and thanks for the compliment! I think in general I'm a fun person to travel with, but we all have our bad days . I think the key to traveling with a small group is to make sure you pack your sense of humor! Where are you thinking of traveling by yourself?

Wayne- LOL, let me know if you find that trip report!

Ann- I didn't realize you hadn't met your roommate yet! You are braver than me Honestly though, Arielle and I did share some fun times too. We had many a conversation about dating and men in general at night before going to sleep


Jenn
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