Grab your passport, camera and anti malaria tablets, we’re off to Tanzania for the next adventure.
As Ian and I have significant birthdays this year and next, we finally booked a safari trip to Tanzania. As part of my presents, I bought a nice new camera, a Nikon D7200, and some decent lenses, and boy! I’m so glad I did.
Our entry to Tanzania was Mwanza airport, a shabby dis-organised affair, and then we were met by our guide, Mbasha, from Explore! and met the rest of our party, Robert, Ann and Amanda, and set off along the road to our first camp. This was a 2 hour drive, and the road is lined almost all of the way with stalls and huts selling assorted produce. If Britain is a nation of shopkeepers, Tanzania is a nation of stall holders.
We arrived at the camp, which is set at the edge of the marshes on the Speke Bay in Lake Victoria.
Our accommodation was a tented banda, one of 5, with a comfortable bed, set under trees full of weaver bird nests.
As we had all had a long day, we chilled out in the camp, started some bird watching and enjoyed a beautiful sunset. Ian spotted a monitor lizard enjoying a frog for lunch.
The next morning we were up before sunrise for coffee, then set off to visit a local fishing village for the morning market.
The fishermen are out on the lake through the night, with lamps to attract the fish, and then return at dawn to sell their fish. Even if they are married, their fish are sold to the highest buyer among the women, who then sell on smaller bundles of the fish to local people and traders. Most of the catch are whitebait, but also some lungfish, catfish and their favourite, tilapia. The small fish are either cooked in a stew, or dried.
The fishermen have an assortment of boat, some with sails, a few with motors and the rest rowing boats, all painted bright colours.
We returned to camp for a lazy afternoon, then set off in a handmade canoe for a trip along the canals cut into the reeds by the fishermen.
Lots of birds to see, as we paddled between the reed and papyrus.
As the sun set back at camp a pair of grey crowned cranes settled in nearby trees.
Our sleep was again disturbed by the sound of nearby farmers scaring elephants from their plots with whistles and shouting, but we never saw the elephants around.
On Wednesday, we were again up at dawn for breakfast, then set off in the jeep to Serengeti Park.
We saw lots of animals and birds, including Thompson gazelles, impala, wildebeest, water buffalo, eland, topi, Hippo, crocodiles, tortoise, baboon, Vervet monkey, giraffe, zebra, warthog, dwarf mongoose, banded mongoose, black backed jackal, hyena and a hare.
We also saw many many beautiful birds, and decided that as they are all so colourful, they are names for any monochrome part they might have, so a kingfisher with bright turquoise wings is called a grey headed kingfisher.
Our luckiest siting was as we watched Hippos from a bridge over a watering hole, and Amanda noticed a leopard resting on the bank the other side of the jeep. It crept away once we had seen it, but not before i got a quick shot of it.
As we travelled on, we came into a large open area with a clear watering hole, full of all types of animal, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, impala etc, plus storks, cranes and geese.
As time was passing we set off back for camp, saying we were still missing a few animals, like Lion, Rhino and Cheetah, but as we approached the gate, I spotted a female lion and 2 cubs by the road. We quickly stopped the jeep and reversed, but she took the cubs into the bush. However Mbasha noticed a young male lion hiding in the bushes.
So we left the park happy, and returned to camp just before a thunderstorm.
Next morning we set off after coffee for a boat trip on the Lake.
Our brunch was served at the top of the lookout tower, with a view to the camp and across the Serengeti Park in the distance.
An afternoon walk gave more bird watching opportunity before the dark clouds and rainbow sent us back to camp for our last dinner in this camp, ready for our travel to the Selous Park. Back soon for that adventure.