Sunday, May 29, 2011

T.I.A. Baby: this is africa

Blog 1:

Sorry for the lack of posts. I have been out of the bush for days now, but between recovering from safari, learning about Wylie, flying overnight to not only a new continent, culture, and city to say that my heads a bit of a blur is an understatement. This will the first of two posts on the safari.
I sadly left Zanzibar and flew in the smallest plane I've ever been in, about 14 people in all. I do the usual meet with the group, meet my roomate/tent-mate for the week. There's 10 of us, a nice mixture of English, Irish, American, and a canadian. On Sunday we get up early and head to lake manyara start our game drives.  We start with a culture walk through town and a local lunch. I, unfortunately, was not feeling well and did not enjoy either a great deal. Fortified with cispro and coke I forged ahead for the game drive, because, really that's what this journey is all about.  I was not disappointed. In 3 hours I saw 5 different herds of elephants, from mature to babies. Almost to a point where you were like oh, more elephants? Hm, ok. They were close enough to touch!! They eat pretty much all day, as much as 300lbs per day.  Elephants actually do a lot of damage to the trees from using them to scratch themselves, which is a funny site to behold. Other animals we saw were several different types of monkeys, including black faced monkeys. They should be called blue balled monkeys because they literally have bright blue balls, no joke!  Lake manyara is known for it's flamingo population. You don't get close enough to see them but the lake has a pink streak throughout it. It was an amazing first day, filled with lots of exclamations and excitement from the group every time we saw any animal. The trucks that they use are specially made for safaris. They are 9 passenger trucks, with the backseats slightly raised from the front with large sliding glass windows, and a roof that can be raised, perfect for everyone's animal viewing pleasures!
The next day and another early morning (no sleeping in in Africa!), we start with a Masai village visit. They did a welcoming dance and song for us which we got to participate in. The men have to jump, whoever jumps highest gets more wives. That's right, wives, they are polygamists and the husband and his wives live in different huts all clustered together. This "village" had about 5 huts in it with the cows segregated in the middle. There was definitely an odor to the place and the flies were abundant. The Masai didn't seem to mind the flies, which at times kind of grossed me out. Anyways, back to the dancing! The women wear necklaces that are about 2 inches wide, made stiff from wire and beads. They do this head bobbing thing to make the necklace bob to the beat of the drum. None of us were very good at that. All in all, a very interesting look into Masai life.
Afterwards, we made our way to the Ngorongoro rim and entered the Serengeti park.
Serengeti in Masai means "endless plains", which is a very accurate description. This is what I pictured Africa to look like. Try to imagine looking out and seeing all around for what appears to forever, gold-green swaying grass dotted occasionally with acaia trees the bluest sky, and the whitest clouds. It was quite breathtaking. What astounded me the most about the Serengeti was the large number of animals we saw. We didn't see one or two zebra, we saw hundreds and very close to the trucks. Same for wildebeest, gazelle, and water buffalo and they all kind of hang out together. The zebra would stare at you, down their long stripped noses, kind of wondering what you were doing over there. The gazelle were scared off, with their tails constantly swishing back and forth. The wildebeest do this funny head bobbing motion, especially when they run. More giraffes, baboons, and birds were spotted as well. Then we hit the jack pot at a bush in the middle of nothing: a pregnant lion with another lioness and her two 1 month old cubs! When we pulled up the lioness stood up and wandered over to out trucks to check things out and decided to head back into the bush for safety with her cubs. Not before her cubs followed her, prancing around a little while following mommy. This was like 6 feet away from us! The safari could have ended there and I would have gone home happy, but there was more, much more to follow...

1 comment:

  1. Hark, lover! Was your lover leaping like a gazelle? lol