Thursday, January 20, 2011

December 29, 2010

***From here on out, posts relate to the safari. The climb is completely over at this point so now it's time to focus on all the AMAZING animals we saw while we were there. I will warn you, there will be LOTS of pictures and videos in these coming posts. We took so many pictures and videos because of how many animals we saw. We ended up having three times as many pictures and videos that related to the safari than we did on the climb. Enjoy!***

December 29, 2010

BEST.SLEEP.EVER!!!!! That's the best sleep I've gotten since the 13 hour sleep I got in Amsterdam, despite the rock hard beds! (For some reason, all the beds we slept in while in Africa were hard as a rock. I don't know if it's an Africa thing, or just a Tanzania thing). We woke up and had a great breakfast. I was finally able to eat a little bit, some eggs and pineapple mainly. My stomach is still hurting though. I'm told that it's because of the African foods and how they cook them. They cook everything in very different oils and spices and its tearing up my stomach big time. Hopefully it will get better. We're about to leave Moshi to drive to Arusha and we're having lunch at the Arusha Hotel before leaving to head to the airport for our flight to the Serengeti!

We've arrived at the Arusha "airport". Arusha is about two hours away from Moshi and is the closest city with a small airport to transfer us to the Serengeti. It's basically a house with patio furniture. Our plane to the Serengeti is TINY. All 15 of us can't fit into one plane, so three of us are having to wait and catch the next one. Security is a joke. Steve was able to bring his lighter on the plane without getting it taken up. Why do they even have a metal detector and security screening for bags if they aren't going to do anything about items they find? Crazy! We're now sitting in the waiting area just hanging out waiting for our plane to board.

WORST FLIGHT EVER!!! I seriously thought I was going to puke. I'm actually starting to think that I may be claustrophobic. I got this same feeling one night while I was sleeping in my mummy sleeping bag. If I can't move very much, I get anxious. I just don't do well with small spaces, and trust me, this plane is very small on the inside. Justin wanted to sit in the front row because we could see the pilot and his controls from our seats. (For those of you that don't know, Justin plans to get his pilot's license later in life and plans on buying a plane, so that's why he's so interested in seeing the pilot and overall why he loves flying). I wasn't the only one that got sick though. Joel (the ortho doctor) also was feeling bad and even said that he was one by one pulling his leg hair out so that he wouldn't think about how sick he was. Justin and I were dying laughing when he told us that.

Our safari guides met us at the Serengeti "airport". The airport consists of a dirt runway and a building similar to the one in Arusha. We had three safari vehicles waiting on us so we had to split up our large group into three smaller groups. Two families were part of our group so it was obvious they'd be together, so our group consisted of me and Justin, Mike and Nicole, and Ang Jangbu. Our safari driver is Stephen. We hope we get him the rest of the time because he is VERY informative about all the animals!

We saw SO much in the small two hours it took us to get from the Serengeti airport to the Serengeti Sopa Lodge, our hotel for our first night on the safari. First, we saw a ton of giraffes. Then it started raining a bit, but that didn't keep the elephants away! We saw three elephants with two babies eating bark in the rain. (Most people that see the pictures of these elephants in the rain feel bad for them, but as Stephen told us, they LOVE the rain. Because their skin is 3mm thick, it needs LOTS of moisturizer and rain does that for them, so they really love the rain.)

We also saw a ton of baboons and even a leopard! The leopard story is interesting. We were just driving slowly and stopping whenever we saw any kind of animal at all to take pictures and observe. Our guides all had radios and would radio to each other back and forth when one of them saw something big so that the other groups could come see it. (Let me answer what questions I'm sure you have about this information: 1. Our three guides didn't stick together. We all kind of drove different ways to get to the lodges we stayed at each night, so sometimes we ran into the other groups, but most of the time, we were all out and about separately. 2. When I say "saw something big" it means one of the "Big 5". The big 5, nicknamed BRELL, consist of Buffalo, Rhino, Elephant, Lion and Leopard. All but the elephant and buffalo are actually hard to find so if one group saw one, they would radio in and tell the other groups their coordinates). So Stephen got a call from one of the other guides that there was a leopard by the road, so Stephen asked us to sit down and hold on because he was going to go as fast as possible and not stop for anything in the process no matter what it was because he knew that this would probably be the only chance we'd get to see a leopard. We did make it to the location in time to see the leopard and even saw it chase down a rabbit for a snack, but he didn't catch the rabbit...at that time at least. After a while, our group left and moved on to other animals, but another group stayed and said that eventually the leopard did indeed catch, kill and eat the rabbit. I started off saying that I didn't want to see any animals get hurt on this safari, but after watching the leopard chase down the rabbit, I changed my mind. It was so exciting to see the circle of life in action and I wanted to see more!! (We did see lots more "circle of life" action. Stories to come in future blogs).

As we were pulling up to the Serengeti Sopa Lodge, Stephen was telling us that we seriously could just go home now because of how many animals we saw today. He said people come on safaris for two full weeks and don't see as much as we saw today. We saw all of the big 5 except for the Rhino, which we'll see in Ngorogoro Crater. We saw three lion cubs all playing together close to the road too. They were so stinkin adorable! I wanted to go pet them...but the 3 momma lions laying next to them would have torn me to shreds. We got to the lodge around sunset and my jaw dropped. This lodge is INCREDIBLE!!! The bathroom is my favorite part of our entire room! After using a hole in the ground as a bathroom for seven days, this bathroom was well deserved. It has the biggest shower I've ever seen made out of mosaic blue tiles. The beds are hard still, but I'm starting to guess that hard beds is an Africa thing.

We had dinner at the restaurant in the lobby and our group had a big table on the balcony overlooking the Serengeti. It was amazing. (I know I keep saying amazing..sorry about that. Apparently I was struggling for adjectives). I'm eating slightly better, but my stomach still hurts. I usually eat a lot of bread because it's the only thing that doesn't hurt when I eat it. Tonight they had pork chops and I was able to eat that. Now we're off to bed. Another day of animals and fun stories and pictures to come!

Enjoy all these, sorry there's so many, we just took so many great pictures and videos!!

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This is the Arusha "airport"

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The waiting area...full of patio furniture

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This is how small the inside of the plane was. You can even see Marcy (the other one) bending over at a 90 degree angle just to get into the plane!

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Our plane on the dirt runway in the Serengeti

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Me in front of our safari vehicle

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This guy was the first animal we saw. We ended up seeing TONS of baboons all over the place!

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Hippo!

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Then we saw giraffes...

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Elephants eating bark in the rain. If you ever go to a place where elephants roam, you may notice lots of trees that are bent over and it kind of looks like a tornado snapped the trees down. Nope, it's elephants. They knock over the trees in order to break the bark up so they can eat smaller pieces. Everywhere we drove we saw these knocked over trees. Evidence of elephants presence was truly all over the place!

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One of my favorite elephant pictures

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My other favorite elephant picture

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This tree was super cool! And I swear I didn't do any kind of editing to this picture...it just turned out like this.

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Mr. Leopard...or Miss...can't remember if it's a she or a he.

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Another shot of the leopard

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The lion cubs noticed us immediately. To answer a question I continuously get, these animals are very used to people and vehicles. Safari vehicles come through here on a daily basis and the animals are used to it.

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Our room at the Serengeti Sopa Lodge. Quite an upgrade from what we're used to!

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THE BATHROOM!!!!

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Justin on our balcony looking at Impala's and Gazelle below

And here's some videos from this day:









What you may notice as you see my pictures and blog posts about the safari is that not only did we see A TON of animals, but for every animal we saw, we saw at least one baby too (with exception to the leopard, we only saw that one and they usually migrate alone, they don't typically have packs like a lot of the other animals do). It was so cool to be able to see all the babies. I can't even explain how much fun I had on the safari! I would highly suggest everyone to put that on your bucket list!

2 comments:

Jenny said...

Loved seeing all the pictures of the animals! I love love love the elephants!!!!

The Langham's said...

Your whole trip seems like such an amazing adventure. I can't help but sing the Lion King soundtrack in my head while looking at these photos. These animals are so stinkin' cute.

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