After our Kilimanjaro climb, we wanted to go on a safari for few days. I was not sure about the number of days that we should spend on the safari. Looking through the Trip Adviser and going through the opinions of a number of other travelers, I got more confused than I got the answer. There are people who just go into a park and get out in two or three days, and also there are some who spend about ten to fourteen days in the safari. I wanted to cover most of the national parks in Tanzania because this may be my first and last trip to Tanzania (because there are other places to cover in the world). Decided to spend seven days in safari to cover the main parks with less time spent on driving around, so decided to visits the parks with the following schedule:
- One day Tarangire National Park
- Two days Ndutu Conservation Area
- Two days Serengeti National Park
- One day Ngorongoro
- One day Lake Manyara and drive back to Arusha to get the flight back home.
Day One - Tarangire NP
Day Two - Ndutu
One great thing about Ndutu game drive is that off-road driving and during the game drive we saw thousands of wilder beasts and zebras grazing. The highlight of the day way was watching the thousands of wilder beasts crossing the river. After spent some time with a pack of lions just less than 10 feet away, headed back to our tent around 530 pm. This camp site had a lot more people than the previous camp site. I really think that the hype about it's the busy season and you won't be able to find place to stay is just to get you committed early, if you are flexible, you should be able to find a place to stay.
Day Three - Ndutu
At the breakfast, the camp operators were talking about a pack of lions crossing our campsite around 3 am and when our guide arrived, he also indicated about five lions near his camping site. Couple of interesting things like giraffe's private moment with its partner, hundreds of wilder beast running down a slope and pack of six lions relaxing. Also, saw a group of cheetahs very close to a number of giraffes and we were hoping to see a kill, but the cheetahs were not in a hurry. The cheetahs will go towards the giraffes and the giraffes will move away, this was going on for more than 90 minutes and after that we stopped following the cheetahs. We saw a more number of lions today and our guide was able to park the vehicle very close to the lions but the lions do not seem to be bothered about us.
The vehicle supposed to have two spare tires but we started our safari with one bad tire and with the flat today, we didn't have any spares. The guide was planning to fix the tires in Serengeti and I was hoping that we won't have any problem with the tires while going off road the next day.
Day 4 - Drive to Serengeti
Day 5 - Serengeti
Day 6 - Ngorongoro
One thing about all of the tourist vehicle drivers is that they are very patient and help each other.
Gorge and the Vehicle in the Ditch
Before Ngorongo, we had to stop in the Olduvai Gorge, to see and learn about our ancestors' known home. The tour of the Olduvai Gorge was very informative and the museum is not anything great but fine. Also, we were in a hurry to reach the Ngorongoro crater so not much interest in learning anything at that point. Within a few minutes after leaving Olduvai Gorge, our vehicle start to have problem, could not climb the slope and stopped. When the driver tried to let the vehicle roll down the slope to start the vehicle, we ended up in the ditch at the side of the road. When another tourist vehicle tried to help us to get out of the ditch by pushing the vehicle from the back, it didn't work and by that time another Basecamp tourist vehicle going toward Serengeti stopped to help us.
Garden of Eden
We left early from the Sopa lodge and started the game drive in the Lake Manyara before noon. This is the only day, I wish I had applied sun screen and all other previous days were cooler that we didn't need sun screen. We saw a huge family of elephants and they were walking inches away from our vehicle and it was so scary that I closed my window fearing that it could pull me away from the vehicle. The guide said that as long as we don't make any noise, we should be fine, but even by accident if an elephant moved its butt, the vehicle would have gone into a ditch...;-) We spent the whole morning looking for the tree climbing lions, we were able to spot the lions but saw a number of bird species. Looks like it's hard to spot lions in December and looked like it is the month of birds.