Jenny’s Tanzania Trip Report – Part 1

November 6, 2012  By: Gretchen

Safari specialist Jenny Salentine is enjoying her second visit to Tanzania in as many months.  This visit she’s checking out the highlights of the northern safari circuit.  Here is her initial trip report.

I managed to snag a few precious hours of sleep on the way over – just the right amount so I’ll be able to sleep tonight! The boxes with the donated Kili gear arrived safely (photo -left…nearly 200lbs of cold-weather gear donated by friends & family), but we did have a small struggle getting it through customs. However, we persisted, and it warms our hearts that we will be able to deliver the goods to our partner guides and porters to ensure they have some warm clothes and footwear! Thanks to everyone’s kind generosity to make this happen.

This evening, I arrived at Serena Mountain Village after about a 45 minute drive. SMV is located right next to Lake Duluti Lodge just outside of Arusha. The welcome was warm & friendly and I had some delicious mango juice before being shown to my room. The room is spacious and comfortable, with an especially large bathroom! Looking forward to exploring more around here tomorrow.

November 1, 2012

After a quick walk about the very well-maintained grounds of Serena Mountain Village, it was time to set out for our first full day of site inspections. I met the other group members and we departed for the parks. It was a beautiful day, lots of sunshine and a bit hot even. Everywhere we went we were greeted warmly and the managers were able to indulge our questions. Always wonderful to meet our partners and reconnect with Africa. After a full day (8 site inspections today!) we finally arrived at Oliver’s Camp, and just in time.

The short rains came right on time this year, and started about 7:00pm in the evening. But the pre-show was fantastic – we had gorgeous, dramatic skies as we drove through Tarangire National Park to Oliver’s camp, with the lightning striking along the swamp as the zebras galloped through to the wooded areas and the elephants continued their slow swagger. What an incredible welcome!

We arrived to camp just in time as the heavens opened, giving much needed moisture to the earth. The rain provided a wonderful background for our delicious dinner. Thankfully, it broke a bit when it was time to be escorted to our tents for sleep. It was great fun heading back with my escort and his torch, looking for elephants, honey badgers and leopards. Safely back in the tent, we settled in for the night, as the rains came again, lulling us to sleep.

November 2, 2012

There are few times in my life when I actually enjoy walking up early – these time always include when I’m on safari! In the morning, all was new again as the drops fell from the tent and the birds chirped happily. I laid in bed watching the sun come up over the park, watching the yellows, greens and browns come alive. The outside shower at Oliver’s camp was the perfect soothing way to start the day and to reconnect with the bush!

Our main priority was site inspections, but we had excellent game viewing throughout the day. Some of our favorite sightings included: bat eared fox, cerval cat, 2 lionesses, a group of Tarangire’s famous bull elephants, a mother giraffe with baby, zebra, waterbuck, impala, scorpions with babies (wow!), terrapin, leopard tortoise, warthog, hartbeest, wildebeest, male & female ostriches with chicks, mongoose, and many birds.

Oliver’s Camp is very well-positioned inside Tarangire National Park for optimal game viewing, nature walks and night game drives. Today, we had a mix of sunny skies along with the short rains.  This is a great time of year to visit, as you get wonderful weather interspersed with brief, blustery storms.  Seeing the storms roll in over the plains is incredible – and they’re gone just as quickly!  The animals are healthy, things are turning green, and there are fewer people as it’s not a peak visiting time.  Visitors should have a rain jacket and sunglasses with you, as the weather is quickly changable!

We were able to enjoy stories of the day around the fire tonight before dinner. Another great day at Oliver’s Camp.

Are you interested in planning a Custom Safari to Tanzania?