I made my way out of the Serengeti through Ngorongoro Conservancy once more having paid the outrages transit fee. Stopped for a brief lunch at the overlook and headed for Panorama Camp that overlooks Lake Manyara. I spent the next day catching up on laundry and I managed, thanks to Paolo, arrange a day trip to the crater. And then the email that made my day. Vincent and Nikita were close to Arusha. After a brief convo they changed their plans and would drive to camp and join in on the day trip but continue on to the Serengeti. Yay! The best news in some time. And they were going to buy me some cheese too! Now that’s friendship, enabling your friends cheese addiction, lol.
I was so excited after the phone call I didn’t look were I was stepping and stepped right on a massive buffalo thorn that had no issues going through my sandals and deep into my foot. I tried to pull it out but only managed to get skin stuck in the sandal. Hopping into the dinning room, Paolo the assistant at the camp, approached me. He faked concern to distract me and in the process ripped the thorn out. I was grateful he did it as quickly as he did but wanted to deck him anyway. That sucker was deep and it hurt. But it was out. Another hobble to the car to clean the wound etc. That one took almost a month to heal.
Foot injury notwithstanding, the day was getting better. The Dynamic Duo were on their way. This would be our last get together as they head for Rwanda/DRC and I start to head south. But what fun we would have in Ngorongoro. Well, about that, you see I’ve may have angered some monkey or donkey or elephant or animal or something because my luck although it’s not bad it’s not necessarily good either. If it makes you say “are you kidding me” it’ll happen to me on this trip. And that held true. I felt bad and still feel bad for including my friends in my world of crazy.
We left the following morning for Ngorongoro Crater. A quick stop in town for the banking aspect and we should be on our way and at the crater by 11ish. It’s open until 1800 so that’s a decent amount of time. In realty we did not get to the crater until after 2 pm. Ya, seems like the safari car wanted nothing to do with the bad roads. The first flat tire, which then also had to be repaired. Then the second flat tire and odd smell from the safari car. You get the idea, the car wanted nothing to do with crater. And to complicate things, I had to be out of the whole park, not just the crater by 6 so that meant leaving even earlier. Sadly, we only had 3 hours in the crater. But those 3 hours were spectacular.
We quickly came upon an amazing seen. Dozens of hyena at the sight of a cape buffalo kill and two lions trying to keep them at bay as they gorged themselves. They were barely hanging on when from the distance the 3 other brothers came to their aid. The first to arrive was just far too hot to do much more then stay in the shade of the vehicles. A moronic incident occurred that I inadvertently photographed, this would play a role when I left the park. All in all the crater is amazing with a very high population of hyenas and herbivores. We all thoroughly enjoyed our brief time. Time came for me to apparently get into a different vehicle which was far worse for the ware then the one we drove in. Quick goodbye with the dynamic duo and I was on my way out with 30 min to make it out and they headed for the wonder that is the Serengeti. I have since learned the crazy continued and got much worse after I left and the car well it continued to protest for the entirety of the trip. Once again, sorry guys! My own issues happened when I arrived at the gate and the incident had reached the rangers. I was worried they would keep my pictures but instead they just wanted to see what I had on film of the incident in question as serious consequences were to go down. Not for me but for the moron involved. That sorted I was headed back to Panorama Safari Camp and a day trip self drive to Lake Manyara in the morning. Fingers crossed for tree climbing lions as Lake Manyara supposedly is the home for them.
Lake Manyara offered many amazing sightings but no tree lions. Just another reason to go back to the Serengeti. I drove the majority of the park trying desperately to see a carnivore in a tree. I didn’t find a carnivore let alone in a tree. Still a wonderful day had. Off to Tarangire in the morning.
The drive to Tarangire was quick and camp was frustrating without water although abundant ablution blocks. As soon as you enter, the birds, which in the wet season, are spectacular and very unique in Tarangire. Not quite there yet in the dry season but to be greeted by Lovebirds is a fantastic way to start.
The park was very dry even the river was quite low. But that didn’t hinder the sightings any.
The next day started off very well. I drove around a corner to find this lovely group of boys. And in the process met a group of lovely ladies from Holland. They were grateful for the sighting and kindly invited me for dinner as they were staying at the camp too, but with a chef. Ramen noodles were less than appealing for a second night and I happily agreed. We would keep running into each other through out the day.
Dinner was wonderful and I met a friend of Jackie’s son. Lovely conversation and an early start to make my way back to Marangu Hotel before heading to Dar Es Salaam.