We’re driving along the road from Arusha to the town of Mto Wa Mbu near Lake Manyara Tanzania. Maasai dressed in red shukas pull their bikes to the side of the road when our driver, Elissa, beeps his horn. The last few days have been very busy but fun.
After spending a couple wet nights on Kilimanjaro, I went up to Nairobi to pick up the family. We sat in terrible traffic on our way to the city but had a nice stay at Nairobi Serena Hotel. My advice: leave yourself plenty of time if you need to get to town. We flew a new airline Fly540 to Kilimanjaro which was good.
In Arusha, we had a lovely stay at Arusha Coffee Lodge. Thanks to Elewana for hosting us. The rooms are really large and the public areas are comfortable. Best of all they had a pool and a playground that the boys really enjoyed, and a kids menu with choices like lollipop chicken. Traffic in Arusha is bad too and they now have one stoplight but otherwise things looked much the same from years past.
Tarangire National Park, our first safari stop, was green and beautiful despite below normal rainfall which will likely cause hardships this dry season for both wildlife and people. Within 30 minutes, we saw waterbuck, impala, warthog and vervet monkeys, which the boys call sugar monkeys because of their habit of stealing sugar off the tables. Later we saw banded mongoose, Verreaux’s eagle owl, ostrich and giraffes, and a big heard of buffaloes, one of whom mock charged the car. Best of all were the elephants. In two days we must have seen 400 to 500 elephants from tiny babies to huge bulls looking for romance with one of the cows. Of course, the many baobab trees created an exotic setting for photos. Thanks to Jon and Annette Simoson for hosting us at Tarangire Safari Lodge where the adults enjoyed the view and kids enjoyed the pool. In addition to tents for two guests, they also have family chalets sleeping three. Olivers Camp, now in its second season, at its new location in the center of the park, was also looking good.
Since I started writing this, we have already made it past Lake Manyara to the agricultural Mecca of Karatu for lunch at Gibbs Farm. Lunch at Gibbs Farm was delicious and the gardens look beautiful as always. The rooms are looking especially nice since they have expanded them. They boys enjoyed seeing the calves and piglets, although Tate was surprised to learn that in a year or so they could be what’s for dinner! Next up: Ngorongoro Crater.