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Sleeping with Shrews - Nairobi, Tanzania Safari, & Zanzibar, June 2007

Sleeping with Shrews - Nairobi, Tanzania Safari, & Zanzibar, June 2007

Jul 12th, 2007, 05:50 PM
  #21  
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SERENGETI , PART 3

For the third night in a row, I woke up with the sensation that something was poking me through the bedcovers. It was no dream; I could really feel it. The wind had lain down and I could hear skittering noises on the outside of the tent. Then, I heard them inside the tent. I jumped up, turned on my light, and saw what I thought was a mouse on the tent wall. I chased it out a grommet hole, then plugged it up. A few minutes later, I heard it again. Now, I saw another one trying to get OUT the hole I just plugged! I got a good look at it this time and saw that it was an elephant shrew. The little buggers had been snuggling with me for three nights! The next night I taped up the grommet holes, stuffed socks where the zippers came together, and finally got a full night’s sleep. Elephants? Great! Elephant shrews? No thanks!

We had seen LOTS of lions, but no cheetahs, so we headed for the Simba Kopjes to see if we could spot some. What we saw were…lions. One lioness had fun scattering a herd of Tommies trying to get to a waterhole for a drink. In the afternoon, we drove northwest of camp to a rarely traveled plain and saw a huge herd of elands, but still no cheetahs. Once again, we saw a lioness in a tree (third time.) I wonder if all the lions around the Migration might have caused the cheetahs to move out of the area. This was our last night in camp and the chef fixed traditional Tanzanian dishes. Each night around the campfire, Peter had shared with us some aspect of Tanzania: its people, customs or wildlife. Now it was our turn to share our thoughts and impressions. Yes, we have nine more Africa addicts!

Four of the ladies were scheduled for the hot air balloon trip our last morning. Hearing a “HALLOOO!” one lady got up and started to get ready. Then, she realized it was only 2:30am. When she heard the “greeting” a second time, she realized it was a hyena, not her wake-up call. The ballooners had a great ride and bush breakfast. They finally saw a cheetah from the air. The rest of us took a game drive and saw a large male lion on a freshly killed wildebeest with vultures and jackals waiting nearby. We were flying out of Seronera to Arusha and met the ballooners at the airstrip. My sister was quite ill by this time, and we debated staying in Arusha and seeing a doctor there. Phone calls to our German contact in Zanzibar convinced us to go on there, however.
ShayTay is offline  
Jul 12th, 2007, 06:30 PM
  #22  
 
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cool bedmate! they eat the creepy crawlies so he/she kept you safe from bug bites, and you shoo him off?? Shame on you!
Great report!
matnikstym is offline  
Jul 13th, 2007, 05:10 AM
  #23  
 
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Good thing you all were fit enough to keep up with the unexpected Hadzabe hunt.

Did you have to pay extra for the elephant shrew nightime companions? Or do they come compliments from Kibo?

When you mention only 10 cheetah left in the crater is that because they are leaving by choice? Are lions killing them? Was any explanation given?

That's a good lesson on the luggage, to look if the bag merely fell off the carousel. Hope the 5-day delay for the other bag did not cause too much inconvenience.

I laughed out loud at the hyena Halooo wake up call for ballooning.

Sorry your sister was ill. Did I see in another post that you thought it was the malerone? Your suggestion (I thought it was yours) of a malerone trial run before the trip is a good one.

You mentioned the campsites. Are these Kibo campsites? Do you know how many they have? Do you have an approximate cost for using these?
atravelynn is offline  
Jul 13th, 2007, 07:36 AM
  #24  
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The shrews were free, complements of the Serengeti NP.

The campsites are designated areas in the National Park for mobile camps. You can't set up a camp just anywhere. Eben has them mapped out on his website, www.go-safari.com.

I'm not sure if the cheetah population in the Crater is increasing, decreasing, or remaining stable. There is a Cheetah Watch Campaign in Tanzania which seeks to identify individual cheetahs via photos taken by guests. I guess I won't have any to submit this year.

Yes, it would be a good idea to have the baggage guys at JRO check outside to see if a missing bag might still be out there. We never thought of that! For the other lady, she borrowed a few tops and did some shopping in Arusha. Her travel insurance should cover her purchases. I think KLM was also supposed to pay her a certain amount, but I haven't heard if they ever did.

Yes, my sister's and another of our traveler's nausea and dizziness was traced to the Malarone. Despite Scop patches, Dramamine, etc. their symptoms kept increasing. It was only after stopping the Malarone that those symptoms went away. They were tested for other problems, but none were found. My sister's body did not rid itself of the Malarone very fast, so she stayed sick for quite a while. In the other thread, I wasn't trying to discourage people from taking Malarone, only trying to point out that there are possible side effects that they should be aware of. While Malarone has fewer side effects than Larium, it's still possible to have them. In clinical trials, only 1% of persons taking Malarone as a prophylaxis had severe enough symptoms to stop taking it prematurely. That's a low percentage, but 2 of our 8 people taking it were in that category.
ShayTay is offline  
Jul 13th, 2007, 10:52 AM
  #25  
 
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I can't believe you kicked the shrews out of bed!
Patty is offline  
Jul 13th, 2007, 11:43 AM
  #26  
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Hey, I'm single and just wasn't used to having to share the blankets!
ShayTay is offline  
Jul 13th, 2007, 01:58 PM
  #27  
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The final chapter until I can get photos online...

ZANZIBAR

ZanAir threw us a loop when they moved our flight from the Arusha Airport to Kilimanjaro AND moved up the flight time. Again, Kibo stepped in and saved the day. They were monitoring our departing flights and discovered the change. Realizing that we didn’t have time to get to JRO via road, they paid for five of us to fly to JRO from Arusha (four of us to Zanzibar and another lady to Nairobi.) I managed to fall when I stepped on the box that Regional Air had placed at the bottom of the plane’s steps. It flipped over and I went down, catching the railing under my arm. Despite the popping sounds I was hearing, I didn’t crack or break anything…just some strained and pulled muscles.

We arrived in Zanzibar and were met by Ocean Tours Zanzibar’s Operations Manager, Nicole Engesser. She took us directly to the hospital that she uses and my sister saw two doctors (GP and ENT) and had blood and urine tests done. (Yes, we saw them take the syringe out of an unopened package.) She didn’t have malaria, wasn’t particularly dehydrated, and nothing else indicated, other than the Malarone she was taking. The doctor recommended stopping the Malarone and gave her a prescription for the nausea. The total bill was $43. The two ladies accompanying us were retired Navy nurses, so we felt like we had a couple of guardian angels with us.

Our beach lodge was the Shooting Star Lodge on the northeast coast. Their sea view cottages are air conditioned, for which my sister was grateful. The lodge is perched on a cliff overlooking a small bay. The locals could be seen there at low tide, hunting for octopus, fishing, and farming seaweed. The rooms were comfortable and clean. The infinity pool up on the cliff had its own sandy beach and overlooked the ocean. I enjoyed two days of just doing nothing but reading and taking an occasional stroll on the beach. Breakfast and dinner were included and the food was good. I’ve stayed at Pongwe before and I would say that Shooting Star compares favorably to that resort…perhaps a bit better because of the AC and pool. Pongwe’s advantage would be their outstanding cuisine and being right down on the beach.

On Monday, our guide Masoud and our driver picked us up and took us to a local spice farm for a tour. This was my third trip to Zanzibar and Masoud has been my guide each time. I can’t believe how I can never tell those spices apart! The tour always ends with a “Butterfly” up a coconut palm. Usually they name one “Spice Queen”, (whoever named the most spices correctly) but this time all four of us were dressed up as queens. We called ourselves the “Spice Girls” and danced the morning away. I especially enjoyed sampling some of the exotic fruit they grow there. We had lunch at Mangapwani Beach Club and then drove into Stone Town. After we checked in to the Tembo House, Masoud led three of us on a tour of Stone Town (my sister opted out.) The nurses had lived in Egypt and Morocco and Stone Town reminded them greatly of those places. The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) and the accompanying music festival were in full swing while we were there, so the town was crowded with guests. After sundowners at the Serena, we had dinner at the Monsoon Restaurant.

My sister and I flew out of Zanzibar early the next morning for Nairobi and our flights home (via Johannesburg…gotta love those frequent flier tickets!) Kennedy took good care of us, as my sister needed a bed instead of a tour. The YWCA had the town booked solid, but we got in at the Flora Hostel, a Catholic guest house for persons of faith. The nurses were on the late evening KLM flight out of Dar, so they had a free day in Stone Town. Rather than have them sitting around the Dar airport for hours, I had a driver meet them and take them to the Kili Hotel for a nice dinner. We’re now home and my sister is slowly recovering. Nothing has shown up on a multitude of tests, so it appears that it was the Malarone that she was reacting to…’nuff said about that.

I truly enjoyed taking a group to Tanzania and introducing them to a very special corner of the world. Now my big decision is…where in Africa to go next?
ShayTay is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 11:27 AM
  #28  
 
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I noticed that you changed your original lodging from Maramboi to Lake Burunge Tented Camp. Just wondering about your thoughts on these camps as we are planning on 2 nights at Maramboi. I'm getting a little concerned about the drive time into Tarangire. Thanks!
QueenofDaNile is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 11:37 AM
  #29  
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Maramboi Camp is a lot closer to the entrance of Tarangire, perhaps about 30 minutes away. The terrain is quite different, with palm trees instead of acacia woodlands and is close to the eastern shore of Lake Manyara. I think you'll enjoy it.
ShayTay is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 11:46 AM
  #30  
 
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Thank you for your quick response - puts my mind at ease. I'll stop the second guessing!
QueenofDaNile is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 11:53 AM
  #31  
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You can see some photos of Maramboi on Eben's website, www.go-safari.com.
ShayTay is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 05:40 PM
  #32  
 
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That's great Kibo came to the rescue with the flight changes. That's what you need an agent for and that's how you want them to act when a problem arises. Kudos Kibo.

I am cringing at the thought of you flipping over the exit box. And popping sounds! You must have been terrified for a moment.

The beach accommodations you describe appear to be lovely.

Thanks for the camping info.
atravelynn is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 08:10 AM
  #33  
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Yes, Kibo is a great safari outfitter. I think they have some of the best guides in Tanzania, as well. They aren't mentioned as often as Roy's and the others, but I would highly recommend them.
ShayTay is offline  

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