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Trip report Tanzania March 08

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Mar 29th, 2008, 10:13 AM
  #1
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Trip report Tanzania March 08

We got home last night from a truly amazing trip. I will start a trip report very soon. I am a little wired right now and I know jet lag will probably kick in later. Tanzania was more beautiful than I imagined, so green and lush. Saw lots of babies and were in the middle of the migration. Green Footprint was a wonderful company to deal with and we can't say enough good things about our guide.
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Mar 29th, 2008, 10:35 AM
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Whoopee, raelond! I eagerly anticipate your report. I just got back a week ago and have been posting my report under an unfortunately mis-dated title "Doohickey's Tanzania Safari March '07 Trip Report".

Get rested up and starting posting!

Cheers!

-doo
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Mar 29th, 2008, 01:18 PM
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Welcome home, raelond!
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Mar 29th, 2008, 01:30 PM
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Karibu nyumbani!
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Mar 29th, 2008, 01:36 PM
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Welcome back, Raelond! I eagerly await your trip report. And now the countdown is on for my trip
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Mar 29th, 2008, 04:02 PM
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The minute I saw your name, I said out loud, "Oh yeah, that's right." You were headed to Tanzania for the migration. And now you're back. Glad all went well.
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Mar 30th, 2008, 05:32 PM
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I have been home for almost 48 hours and jet lag has yet to kick in, so I assume the No Jet Lag pills worked. After our trip to Botswana and Zambia in June 2006, my husband and I knew we had to go back to Africa. I asked my husband what country we should go to and he picked Tanzania. I found researching Tanzania a lot more difficult as there are so many choices. Now after completing this trip I can say that there is nothing I would have done differently.

Our flight on KLM arrived on time in Amsterdam and we took the train to the central station and walked a block to our hotel. The Victoria Hotel is wonderfully located near the station and right across the street from the canel boat tours. It is a little on the high side in price, but we thought worth it as we had to leave early the next morning to caught our flight to Kiliamanjaro. Despite the cold day, we took a canel tour which was very interesting. We walked and saw the sights and had dinner at a Argentine steak house. After a good sleep we were up at 6:30 and had a great, but expensive buffet breakfast at the hotel. Back on the train to the airport and we were off to Africa. The flight was full as a flight to Kili through Nairobi had been cancelled and people were redirected to our flight. When we arrived at the airport in Kili, we were the first people off the plane via the back and were second in line for a visa. Were we ever happy as there was a huge lineup of people behind us. The visa for Canadians is still $50. We were out the door, meeting our guide in record time. We had been told that we would have Jackson from Green Footprint as our guide, but that had changed and Herman was now our guide. Herman proved to be a wonderful, knowledgeable guide. The warm, night air was wonderful as we made our way to Onsea House which was about a 45 minute drive. It is a bed and breakfast and the owners also have a restaurant on the premises. We had a snack and a glass of wine before being shown our room which was in a two room guest house. The guest house was away from the main house and very lovely and quiet. We didn't sleep well as we were too excited about being in Tanzania. I awoke early the next morning and opened the blinds. I couldn't believe how beautiful and lush the property was. We had our own balcony overlooking gardens filled with orange, banana and pomegranite trees together with numerous different types of flowering plants. There was a swimming pool in the middle of this paradise. We had breakfast and Nooje from Green Footprint met us to go over the itinerary. I asked Nooje if it would be possible to meet Jean, the owner of Green Footprint as I had a few e-mails with him over the last year. She said she would see what she could do. Herman picked us up at 9:00am and we were off to Arusha National Park.

We had heard about the bad roads in Tanzania and had our first experience with them on the road to Arusha National Park. We had a very comfortable Land Cruiser to ride in with a pop-up top. It was wonderful seeing blue monkeys, baboons and Colobus monkeys, along with many other animals. We had a lovely box lunch made by Onsea House with tuna salad, buns and cheese. We arrived at Momella Lake to be greeted by our canoe guides. One of the guides was Michael 2 who I heard about on Mydogkyle's trip report. I told Michael 2 he was now famous. He wanted to know Fodors website site to check it out himself. We paddled around the lake for about one and a half hours. It was very hot and I knew if we were out there any longer I would get burnt, as I am a redhead and burn easily. It was a lovely visit to the park. We got back to Onsea House about 5:00pm, had a dip in the pool and had a Kili beer and spent some time talking to a couple from Scotland. Dinner was trout and asparagus. We slept well despite the heavy rain during the night.
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Mar 31st, 2008, 09:56 AM
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Hi Raelond, welcome home! I'm so glad you had a great trip, and I'm looking forward to reading all about it.

(And now I'm shamed into really trying to finish my trip report soon, since I've been home for almost 6 months!)

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Mar 31st, 2008, 10:52 AM
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Welcome back, raelond! Looking forward to more.
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Mar 31st, 2008, 06:19 PM
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This Herman?

http://www.pbase.com/leelygoes/image/78976418
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Mar 31st, 2008, 07:53 PM
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Yes, that is our guide Herman. Was he your guide just for the canoe portion?
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Mar 31st, 2008, 08:22 PM
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raelond, yes, he was our canoe/guide for the day at Arusha NP. Later on that same trip we had a guide through Nomad Tanzania who also knew Herman because Squack (Nomad TZ) had been camp manager at Mahale and Herman had been a guide there. We *all* loved him.
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Mar 31st, 2008, 08:38 PM
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If I were computer literate enough, I could post an almost identical picture of my wife and Herman in their canoe, except Mt. Kilimanjaro is in the background, and my wife has her paddle near (but not quite in) the water.
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Mar 31st, 2008, 09:16 PM
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Ah, Leely, it's so green! Was it like that for you too, Raelond? When we were there the area around the lakes was as brown as our California hills.

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Apr 1st, 2008, 06:03 PM
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Herman picked us up at Onsea House about 8:00am, after a breakfast of cheese, bread, yogurt and wonderful fresh fruit. Herman informed us that Jean, the owner of Green Footprint would like to meet us at his home. Driving through Arusha was an experience, like organized chaos. We spent about 40 minutes visiting with Jean and having a cup of tea. Jean is just finishing up 5 new shows for Animal Planet and his wife runs a small school on their property. I asked Herman if we could stop and do some shopping as I didn't know if we would have a chance later. I was surprised at the cost of cravings, as in Zambia they were very cheap. We bought a few things and then headed to Manyara Park. The drive to the park was very scenic, through green, lush land. Manyara Park is beautiful with the vegetation changing throughout the park. Flamingos could be seen off in the distance. We came upon 3 elephants bathing which was a wonderful sight. We must have seen about 200 elephants in total. It was amazing. The baboons were great fun to watch, especially the babies. We saw about 50 giraffe and found the animals to be less skittish than they were in Botswana and Zambia. We saw a dik dik which we have never seen before. This one was very near and stood still while we took some great pictures. We saw meercats, banded mongoose, blue monkey, vevert monkey, jackal, water monitor and many other animals. My husband was so excited with all the many birds we saw. We loved Manyara Park and reluctantly left at 5:30. We stopped at another shop on the way to Kirurumu and bought a few more things. Drinks of gin and tonic in the lounge area, was followed by a lovely chicken (capone) dinner. A group of singers entertained us after dinner and we bought their CD. It had been a wonderful day and we retired to our large tent to dream of this beautiful land.
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Apr 2nd, 2008, 05:54 PM
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The additional info on Green Footprint is nice.

You saw meerkats in Lake Manyara? That is remarkable. I feel like it was a hidden 4-01 April Fool. I have not heard of that before. Is there a sandy area where they live?

Fifty giraffe aren't bad either. Maybe it was an omen for a good journey. (get it?)
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Apr 2nd, 2008, 06:03 PM
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"I was surprised at the cost of cravings, as in Zambia they were very cheap."
Cravings=carvings=Freudian slip?

It's great to get more Green Footprint info. We really liked the day trip we had with them. And of course we all liked Herman, especially my friend's mother who let him do all the paddling.

Sounds like an excellent visit to Manyara. I agree that it's interesting to see so many "landscapes" in such a small park.

(And to MyDogKyle, yes Arusha NP was ultra-lush and green when we were there. It's difficult for me to imagine it any other way.)
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Apr 5th, 2008, 10:31 AM
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After a great breakfast at Kirurumu we headed for Lake Eyasi. A short drive on the main road we then turned off and drove through coffee plants and thick vegetation. We passed many village and the road (if you can call it that) got increasing worse. Large ruts and rocks that had you holding on. I had heard that the road was bad so we were prepared. We finally arrived at our camp three hours later. The camp (Kisima Ngeda) is in a beautiful setting, overlooking the lake. There of hundreds of palm and acacia trees and the seven large tents overlook the water which was about 1/2km away. We had a wonderful lunch of lasagna, green beans and the best fruit salad I've ever had. We decided to relax in the afternoon as it was very hot, about 32C, with high humidity. There were some clouds today and every evening so far we have heard and seen thunder and lightening in the distance. We spent the afternoon going for a walk to the lake and sitting in the shade. We were visited by 5 boys from a nearby village. They spoke no english, but we let them take turns using our binoculars and they got a kick out of seeing their pictures. There are man-made pools near the camp with fish in them. We saw a python curled up in the water which was about 3 meters long. After a short nap and shower we went with Herman up a rock formation which overlooked the lake. Here we had sundowers and drinks as the sun set. Another wonderful experience! Dinner was pork chops. We spent some time talking to the owner, Nanny who is from Argentina and a delightful woman. After spending a little time at the fire and listening to a local play a marimba and sing, we headed for bed where we were kept awake by the wind and the noise of what seemed like thousands of insects. This is a very peaceful camp and worth saying more than one night. There are lots of birds here. We awoke at 6:30am, had breakfast and headed off to visit the Hadzabe people. We decided on a visit rather than hunting with them. We picked up our interpretor and continued driving on what can only be described as a dry riverbed. The drive was more brutual than the drive to the camp. After about an hour we left the vehicle and hiked for about 30 minutes. We found a group of boys sitting under an outcropping of rocks making arrows. It was an amazing sight. They make small huts from branches when the weather is good and then move to caves or outcroppings of rock when the rains start. They had a small fire burning and a small dog with 3 puppies was lying by the fire. One of the young men had a baboon hat on and another had a baboon vest. They wore western style shorts and nothing else. They seemed eager to show us how they make their arrows. Each one carved a special design in their arrows. They then showed up how to make fire with a stick and a piece of wood at the base of the stick. They were able to produce smoke within 30 seconds. My husband tryed, but was unsuccessful. They gave him a stick and wood base to take home. We visited with some of the men who demonstrated shooting their arrows into a tree. They make metal, barbed arrows which they cover in poison. It was amazing to see how fast the arrows went. The women showed us how they smoke a pipe which was made from a bone of an animal. The interpretor told us that they smoke mariujana. We spent almost two hours with them and were able to take lots of pictures, including a wonderful one of a young mother and her baby. The visit with these people was very fasinating and educational. When we got back to the camp another couple had gone hunting with another group of Hadzabe and had followed the hunters for two hours before they shot a baboon. We had a great lunch and left Kisima Ngeda at 1:00. The road back to the main road seemed to take even longer, maybe because it was hot and we had been up since 6:30.

Once we got on the main road the drive to the crater was lovely, passing villages and lush vegetation everywhere. After Herman registered at the entrance to the conservation area we had no soon proceeded when we saw lots of baboons. We stopped the vehicle and I was looking out the side window where my husband was sitting. I glanced around to look out my window (which was open) when I was shocked to see a baboon crawling through the window. I screamed in surprise and the baboon took off. Too funny! Our first sight of the crater cannot be described in words. One has to experience it. We arrived at Serena Lodge and were surprised that our guide wasn't allowed to eat with us. Our room was nice, but the bed was rock hard. The food here was just ok and we both had some stomach problems at this time, so eating wasn't a priority. We made it an early night as we planned to be in the crater at 6:30 the next morning.
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Apr 5th, 2008, 10:40 AM
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Thanks for the account of your day with the Hadzabe. A great visit.
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Apr 7th, 2008, 01:15 PM
  #20
 
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Raelond,
When I read ďthere is nothing I would have done differentlyĒ I knew you had a great trip. Being in the middle of the migration, with lots of wildie babies- I canít wait for that installment.

Onsea House sounds charming, although you donít say much about Arusha National Park. MyDogKyle described it as the Garden of Eden I believe. You saw a wide variety of wildlife at Manyara National Park, a good spot I understand for a bird lover. How did you like Kirurumu? Iíve been reading some mixed reviews about it lately.

Thanks for telling us about Kisima Ngeda, which Iíve not heard of before, and your visit with the Hadzabe. Your description of your first sight of the Crater is what I felt the first time I saw it from the rim. It is breathtaking.

Iím looking forward to hearing about your sightings in the Crater and for the migration portion.
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