“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

TravelHaven Journal – African Safari 10

Tarangire Camp

We drive about an hour and a half Lake Manyara to Tarangire.

At Tarangire, we see our first baobab trees, which look like they are growing upside down. Legend says that when the world was young the Baobabs were upright and proud, but they lorded it over the lesser growths. The gods became angry at their prideful spirit and uprooted the Baobabs, thrusting them back into the ground, root upwards. Evil spirits now haunt the sweet white flowers and anyone who picks one will be killed by a lion.

Once again, we did a game drive on the way to our new camp. It seemed a very long ride. Just as I was beginning to think we would never get there, our guide, Peter, pointed out a leopard in a tree! This was very special, since most people don’t see leopards. They are very shy and very well camouflaged. After making a kill, they carry their prey into a tree to eat it. Apparently, this leopard had finished dinner and was just hanging out among the branches. We watched it for a while, trying to get pictures through the leaves of the tree. Even knowing it was there, we still couldn’t make it out very well, because of the pattern of its coat. Then, it started climbing down out of the tree. It was spectacular! So graceful! We got a much better view of it then and were thrilled to have seen it so clearly.

The camp at Tarangire was a Bedouin-style camp. The sleeping area was like a tent inside a tent—again, very different from the other camps we had stayed at. You can see some photos on the website here: http://www.nomad-tanzania.com/camps/nomad_tarangire.html

On our second game drive at Tarangire we see a pride of lions—a lioness, six cubs, and, after a bit, the male. They were rather sleepy in the heat of the day, so we watch the cubs stretch and play a little, while Mama keeps an eye on them. They’re only about eight feet from us, so we can observe them easily and get some great pictures. One of Cyndi’s fondest hopes before we set out for Africa was to see a pride of lions, so I was glad she got her wish.

Tarangire is known for the abundance of its elephants, and it did not disappoint. We saw tons (literally) of elephants. And seeing them in their natural environment brings really reveals their nature. They are such good protectors. The males are pretty much loners, so the females all hang out together. And when they feel threatened, they really close ranks around the babies. As all the females face outward ready for any danger, the babies are shuffled to the middle of the herd until you can’t even see them! Peter said it was the saddest thing he had ever seen when the females were mourning the loss of a baby. They keen and mourn for months.