Monday, September 7, 2009

Tarangire and Ruaha Tanzania

Tarangire National Park is located south of Arusha and southeast of Lake Manyara. It is a tented lodge and campsites set among baobab trees and large acacia's.

We saw what was now the usual suspects: elephants, lions, antelope, giraffes etc. While we had seen these animals many times already when you are watching them in their natural environment it is so much more interesting and you never know what you will find.

For instance on one game drive we came upon this mother lioness walking along with her cubs. The park had roads that we had to stay on but, you the visitor, must still yield to all wildlife, including this.

Why walk in the brush when you can walk on the road.
We followed from a distance to see where they were headed.

We stayed in tented camps that were located across the top of a bluff. There was a path in front of the tents leading to the main lodge with a large patio and a swimming pool. At night you could hear the lions right below the bluffs roaring. A friend of mine decided to go swimming one afternoon inbetween game drives. It was a bit crowded but not too bad. Many people in the pool and an equal number sunning in the lounge chairs reading of talking with friends. We swam a little layed in the sun for a bit and then went back to our tent and got ready for the afternoon game drive.

We all met up in the lobby of the lodge with all our camera gear. As we were sitting there one of our drivers came in and asked, "Do you want to see a snake?" We all jumped up and said yes of course, and we followed him out. We got outside and everyone was running out of the pool area and people were yelling, " nyoka, nyoka, very bad" while we all ran into the pool area with our cameras ready to shoot. This is what we saw.

A baby cobra had come down from one of the trees IN the pool area where my friend and I had been just an hour ago. Which meant it was up there while we were laying there....the cobra hooded a bit and then went up and over the ledge you see on the right of the picture and it was gone.

It was then that I realized that some of the people in the pool area were not in fact tourists but park workers who blended in like tourists not to alarm anyone. But they were there to look out for nyoka's and other dangers that are where they don't belong and protect the visitors of the park.

We saw two other snakes on our trip. One was a baby python that was swooped up by a verreaux's eagle owl. The owl took it up to a tree, but the head off and sucked it up like a spaghetti noodle. The other was a very large cobra most likely a black necked spitting cobra that was crossing the road we were on. It made it across right in front of the vehicle, but its length stretched all the way across the road.

Tarangire features over 300 variety of birds. So if you are a birder this is a great park to visit.

Lilac breasted roller

Saddle-billed stork

It took a good couple of days to travel down to Ruaha National Park which is part of the southern circuit of Tanzania. We spent the night in Dodoma. The terrain of Ruaha is much different than that of other parts of Tanzania we visited. The park was wonderful, we stayed in tented camps along the Ruaha river. When we arrived at the park the river was dry.

This was our view from our tent when we arrived. It rained a few nights and that put some water in the river. We could then sit out on our veranda area and watch the animals come down to drink.

As you can see the scenery is quite different than other places we had been.


and I leave you with a Greater Kudu.

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