We arrived in Arusha on a free bus ride with rest of the Gap group which was handy and then made our way to a cheaper hotel in the centre.We then spent the rest of the day looking for a safari to do and ended up joining two other guys for a five day safari as we got a good deal and we still had plenty of animals that we still wanted to see.The only concern was that Aaron might not be in a fit state to enjoy it as he was still suffering some side affects from the altitude.However the next morning he was feeling a little better and glad to be going off on the safari to take his mind of it.
We were picked up on time and headed to the safari place to pay.Strange to hand over a million shillings a lot of notes in our hands and it took a while to count.We then met our travel companion's two vegetarian Dutch guys.Seems aaron would have another few days without meat.We had plenty of time to get to know them while the guides tinkered with van on African time and after a few hours we were set to go.
We drove to Tarangire Park first we had no expectations but were very pleased when we got there.We saw so many elephants they covered the relatively small park.The best site was the millions of elephants drinking and playing in the river below.They were joined by other zebras and wilder beast all happy to find the one place they could get fresh water.We could have watched them for hours.We were then rewarded with an attempted lion kill.We watched the lioness stalk along the river bank waiting for that one opportunity when the Zebra decided to head for a drink.One zebra made its way away from the rest of the pack and the lioness saw its chance.She was very quick but so were the zebras.He made contact with it but it slipped away.Aaron managed to get an excellent shot just as the contact was made.This made our day in my heart I was glad the zebra had a lucky escape don't think Aaron felt the same.The last thing we saw was an elephant playing at the water and squirting the water over him this was great fun to watch.
That evening we headed off for Mto Wa Mbu the town we were staying for the night.This translates for river of mosquitoes not a good sign.However we didn't get too many bites and the next morning we were up early and heading into Lake Manyara National park.Straight away we were surrounded by blue monkeys playing around in the trees and devouring all the flowers they had to offer.Then we swa some hornbills high in the trees feeding the babies that were hidden inside.We saw many more elephants something that was a rarity on the Kenyan side.The baboons then amused us later especially the two babies who were happily playing among themselves.Unfortunately no cats today but lots of other wildlife including lots more lazy hippos, the photo of one with one with his mouth open is looking very unlikely.Then it was time to move on again and head to the Serengeti.
We spent the night camped inside I think Aaron was hoping for one of the most dangerous animals to find its way to the camp something that worried most normal people!We went in to the park for a couple of hours that night something that turned out to be a highlight. Our first viewing was a pride of lionesses with over 13 cubs and a male lion staying back on lookout.Then we saw the cheetah what a beautiful animal.It was just walking around and went straight in front of the van a very rare thing to see.Aaron was so pleased as this is the one animal he really wanted to catch a site of.We were then rushed off to view a hyena escaping from the crowds with its kill.He wasn't letting anyone share it especially the leopard he stole it from.The sound of it crunching the bones was chilling not a pleasant looking animal after hearing that sound.The last thing we saw was some banded mongoose but they were not hanging around for any photos.That evening we checked out our photos on Walters and Zanders laptop they weren't bad! Then we got an early night so we would be up early in the morning for another chance in the Serengeti.That night the sound of the hyenas could be heard but nothing ventured into the camp.
The next day was no disappointment either.We saw a herd of elephants sleeping then they all began to wake up as we watched they get up quite quick sticking their trunks in the air and off they go on their endless march probably for food and water.The next few hours were very slow but we did see some male lions lazing in the grass they were not moving for anyone.Then we spotted a lioness and her three cubs she also still looked pregnant or maybe full from a recent meal.Again there was a male hanging back but as we followed it the male also followed us. The best was yet to come though we saw a cheetah in a tree that was very close to the path and clearly visible.We watched it wake up slowly then make its way down the tree and then go onto walking across and in front of the many vans that had now congregated.He seemed to quite like being photographed.I think we could have all watch ed it all day but time was running out.Glad we left when we did though as we then saw another cheetah run across with an impala tightly between its jaws.It headed for a tree right next to another group of impalas who hastily made a run for it.Just before camp Zander spotted another cat (this made up for the cat he saw earlier which turned out to be grass).It was a Saval cat but it wasn't moving for anyone it was keeping cool under a log quite a distance away.
It was then time to set off for our last camp on the Ngorongoro Crater Rim.The one place that We really wanted to visit in the first place. The views were not disappointing.It is strange to think that it was once a mountain that towered above nearly the scale of Kili.It was also the place where we were reunited with our friends from Kili.That night we drank wine and played cards withthe guys.I was shaken up at one point when I headed for the toilet and heard a stampede behind me it tuned out to be a herd of Zebras but my heart still skipped a beat. Hyenans could also be heard again that night and an elephant came to drink at our watering hole.
We got up early to beat the crowd, but in the end saved no time as we had to change a tyre at the park enterance while other jeeps went passed us. This was not the best spot to do it as at one point it felt like we were going to lose the jeep to the crater as it toppled when it was jacked up. Unfotunately at that point I was also sturggling to free myself from it. We did however fix and were on our way. The crater itself was spectacular but the wildlife was not was good as we had expected.We did however see n ostrich guarding her eggs as a few hyenas and a Jackel lay in the grass nearby but I don't think they were much danger to her at that present moment.We saw lots more Zebras and wilder beast and some lions lazing at the waters edge.We then spent a few hours in search of black rhino that were clearly hiding from the wind.No sightings today the guide was disappointed more than us I think. Lunch was eaten in the van as we were surrounded by hungry monkeys.At one point they tried to make a steal sneaking up on our van but Aaron made lots of noise and gestures and they sulked away.Then back to camp to pack up and head back to Arusha.
That night we had a good meal with guys and some wine then headed back for a good nights sleep.We were so glad that we chose the five day option but I was definitely looking forward to heading for Zanzibar for some well deserved time relaxing in the sun.