Second day in the park. More tembo, this park is known for its elephants. We have seen a lot of elephants which are amazing to us, but there is no shortage of other animals either. Waterbuck and Impala are in abundance. This morning it seems to be the day for ostrich, there are one or two singles and pairs and a few ‘flocks?’.
Yesterday Pascal said that knowing where to go to find animals is like fishing a stream well known to you. It is a gamble but an educated one. There are signs like another Landcruiser or two parked on the side of the track but it is pretty much luck. I am amazed that there are enough animals in the park that there are some standing, eating or whatever within 10 meters of the side of the road.
Today we see our first lions, there are a group of three under a tree. We have to use the binoculars to see them. Three heads with six ears lounging and taking in the day. Back on the road and a few more elephants, ho hum. There seem to be more herds of the giant beasts today. They hold our undivided attention. The trunk goes down wraps around a tuft of grass, a strong tug and into the back of the mouth. Two steps and repeat. For such huge animals they move with complete grace not making any sound whatsoever when their foot falls. They are in no hurry, not much to do except eat I guess.
We spot a few different animals like a couple of jackals, a marshall eagle, a troop of mongoose, and a springbok. The double trail dirt track leads us along an almost dry riverbed and we spot an entire convention of safari trucks. Some gathered high on the north bank and some gathered low on the south bank. With that much commotion there must be something special. Turns out there are a couple of points of interest.
First, one of the drivers managed to get his truck stuck in the only 3M dia. mud hole within sight, right up to the axles. Every guide knowing that it will one day happen to them, they are all willing to pitch in and help.Then, Pascal points out an Impala in a tree about 6M off the ground. It was dead of course; as far as anyone knows Impalas keep to the ground but it is a sure sign there is leopard about. Leopards are somewhat shy and like to eat in private so when a gaggle of humans show up the leopard hides. The grass in the area is tall and leopard colored so there is not much chance of seeing it but to see its dinner was something unusual.
We only have 24hrs within the park and our permit will expire so it is time to head for the exit. We are not far but the road is not good so we cannot rely on speed to get us out by our deadline. As we head north Pascal says ‘lion’. There on the side of road maybe 10M away perched on a mound for good vision was a female lion chillin’ for the day.
Out the gates and on to the highway, out of fantasyland and into reality. Outside the gate is as interesting as inside, in a different way of course, but it is what is inside the National Parks that is the reason we are ½ around the world.
We show up for the cultural Maasi dance and we four are the only ones who show up. The massi out numbered us 2 to 1. They dance and it is worthwhile to see what they do. I loved the musicality of their singing. We felt ackward being the only ones there. We are taken aback when they brought around a tip basket as we have been told that all tips go into a communal tip box, and between the four of us, we only have 5,000 Tshilling ($3.30 Cdn).
Tomorrow is a trip into the Ngorongoro Conservation area, another day of animals. There are some different types of beasts there; with some luck we will see a rhinoceros. It is quite strange, even though the animals are within a few feet of the car we do not feel in danger at all. I’m sure a rhino could put a huge dent in the side of the Toyota but I am not the slightest bit apprehensive about encountering the beast.
This will be the last post for a couple of days. Stay tuned.