Four days into Becky’s October Square with the theme of kind.
Three of a kind, male impalas
Four days into Becky’s October Square with the theme of kind.
Three of a kind, male impalas
Cee’s new photo challenge that she puts out every Wednesday is On the Hunt for Joy. This week the topic is Jump for Joy. Cee says that for this topic,
Here are a few ideas to get you going.
Anyone jumping, hopping or skipping
exercising for fun
animals who jump or hop
Tip from Ingrid Fetell Lee: Jump for Joy: The photographer Philippe Halsman took photos of everyone who was anyone in his day, from Marilyn Monroe to Audrey Hepburn to Richard Nixon, and he always made them jump. He believed that jumping helped people drop their masks and release the joyful self inside. To get the same effect, jump on the bed, bounce on a trampoline, or do jumping jacks.
Exercising for fun:
German teenaged girls doing a dance routine in Würzburg
Video: Samba on Avenida Paulista in São Paulo, Brazil:
Little jumping guy – Av. Paulista, São Paulo:
Animals that jump:
Hazel playing & pouncing
For, Becky’s October Squares challenge: Squares & Lines, here is a rear view of a zebra in Tanzania…
the lines that ring a genet’s tail,
lines on a lizard,
lines that encircle an owl’s face,
wrinkled lines on elephant trunks and bodies,
ridge lines on impala horns and black markings on their rears and tails,
markings and horns of a male gazelle,
and stripes and fringe on the necks of wildebeest.
And all these photos are square!
All photos taken in Tanzania in February 2018. Check my archives for more photos and stories of these and other marvelous animals!
Feb. 13, 2018
Our last day in Tanzania was spent in transit. We had a nice breakfast at Ang’ata Camp and bid farewell to the staff. A group photo was taken, while the drivers packed the vehicles with our luggage.
We were headed toward the Serengeti NP Visitors’ Center and the airport, where we would catch a flight back to Arusha (one hour flight vs 9 hours by car!).
Along the way, once again on the dirt roads in the park, we saw more animals:
Lovebirds in an acacia tree
Male cheetah – he’s filled his belly so he’s not hunting now!Lots of impalas, including this beautiful maleTopi and zebraVervet monkey in an acacia tree
The tree the monkey was in was full of puffy white seeds or blooms.
Time allowed for us to observe another hippo pond. There were two males either fighting, or play fighting.
We arrived at the Visitors’ Center with a little time to look around. The Visitors’ Center is built around a kopje (rocky outcrop), so that we saw hyraxes very close up (not only in the rocks – they ran along all the paths and sunned themselves on a deck). From there, we also had a view of the Serengeti Plain beyond.
I spotted this colorful lizard basking on a sunny patch of rock.
There was a collection of animal bones, which David (our guide) identified for us.There were also metal sculptures of a lion and a dung beetle.
In fact, though, the ride was unexpectedly smooth and we were able to look down at the places we had traversed – the landscapes were beautiful!
Arriving in Arusha, we were taken to the Kibo Palace Hotel, where we were assigned day
rooms – this was a luxurious hotel, unlike the accommodations we had been used to! Our safari lodgings had better views though! Even so, we were greeted the same way as we had at each accommodation: People saying, Karibu! (welcome) to us, giving us hot towels to refresh ourselves and small glasses of fruit juice.
We had a three course luncheon on the patio of the hotel’s restaurant. Service was not fast – which was not expected, but I was getting antsy: I was anxious to take a shower and have time to spend at the craft market as we had been promised.
Dale and I, along with two others from our group, walked to the market, about six blocks away. We had a very successful shopping trip! I bought a skirt, a “dashiki” shirt, pants with an elephant print, and another pair of shorter pants. We also bought Tanzanian coffee and souvenirs for our kids.
The market was large, with a labyrinth of alleys lined with shops. At each one, whether we went in – or even showed interest – or not, the vendors called out to us, “Lady, please come in! We have just what you are looking for!” Some of them were more aggressive than others, and I felt bad having to say no to any of them! But actually, many of the shops had similar merchandise, so once I’d bought something, I didn’t want to buy more of the same thing. The vendors would observe what we’d bought at the shop next door and immediately hold up a similar item from their shop, waving it at us and imploring us to come in and buy something at their shop, too! We were always polite and smiled, as David had reminded us to be; sometimes we’d stop and chat with this or that vendor. I noticed sewing machines at several of the shops that sold women’s clothing. When I was looking at a pair of pants that was gathered at the ankles, I expressed that I didn’t really want that style. Immediately, the vendor would offer to take out the elastic and before I could refuse, she was hard at work removing stitches!
Back in the hotel room, we both took showers and charged our phones and tablets. We logged into the hotel’s WiFi to update our friends back home on our travels, posting photos on Facebook.
Although I took several pictures in Arusha, I lost them all when I lost my phone! Late in the afternoon, a driver was hired to take us to Kilimanjaro Airport, an hour’s drive away. One other couple from our group was with us, because they were taking the same flight to Amsterdam, where we would part company. We had a quick dinner/snack with them in the airport, and they rushed off to the waiting area, even though they had more than two hours before the flight was due to board! Dale wanted to follow them, so I grabbed the food I had just been served “to go”, gathered up my camera bag, mini purse, and backpack and followed him.
It was an overnight flight and I didn’t notice until we were about to arrive in Amsterdam that my phone was missing. We searched the whole area around our seats and the flight attendants did an additional search as they were cleaning up, but it was not found!
in Amsterdam we had a long layover, so I went online on my tablet. There was an email from Sprint to confirm that I had changed my password on Feb. 13 in Tanzania, which of course I had not done! I called Sprint and had the phone blocked so that whoever picked it up would not be able to access my data. Theft of cellphones is rampant in Tanzania, but I don’t think it was stolen – I think in my rush to leave the restaurant at the airport, I left it behind or it fell out of my purse and someone picked it up.
Usually Google uploads my photos automatically so they can be accessed anywhere, but for some reason, it had not done that the entire time I was in Tanzania. So I lost a lot of photos. Fortunately, my best photos were on my camera and I was also able to retrieve the ones I had posted on Facebook.
I bear no ill will toward Tanzania or the Tanzanian people due to the loss of my cellphone (and my Fitbit, as I noticed later also). I LOVED my time there and would gladly go back. In fact, I’ve already done research on other safaris in Tanzania and other countries in southern Africa!
Safaris get into your soul. Seeing all those animals in the wild and getting close up photographs of them was amazing. Taking the time to observe animal behaviors in their natural environment. Admiring the beauty of the land. Appreciating the welcoming friendliness of the Tanzanian people.
I don’t think I can go to a zoo again for a long, long time.
*kwaheri – good-bye in Swahili
ASANTE SANA, TANZANIA! I hope to return someday…
Feb. 11, 2018
Although we’ve been on the Serengeti Plain since we arrived in Ndutu, we were officially in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Today we would enter Serengeti National Park. A song has been going through my head since we got to Tanzania, one that I like from several years ago. The “one hit wonder” band, Toto made no. 1 on the charts with their song Africa. It has this line: “I miss the rains down in Africa.” It also says, “Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti.” I’m a bit disappointed in the song now because Kilimanjaro DOESN’T rise above the Serengeti. You can’t see the mountain from anywhere in the Serengeti. Have those guys ever even been in Africa?? (On the other hand, maybe if you are on Kilimanjaro, you CAN see the Serengeti, even if the reverse is not the case.)
Today was special, however, for a couple of reasons. First, we had the opportunity to go on a hike with an (armed) guide, just like at Arusha. This walk, however, was shorter and more leisurely. It gave us the opportunity to notice little things, like a giraffe footprint,
flowers close up,
and dung beetles busily carrying out the amazing feat of rolling balls of dung much larger than themselves to holes they have dug, where they lay their eggs in them.
We also got to examine weavers’ nests close up.
We stopped for gas and paperwork shortly after entering the national park. Apparently it’s also a bus stop, because there were a couple of buses there loading and unloading passengers, and there were many local people milling around.
There was also a café and well-kept toilets. I headed for the latter, carrying my camera case, which had become like a purse – I used it every day and keep a lot of things in it. There was a slab of cement to create a bit of a ramp for the step up to the sidewalk that led to the bathroom. I don’t know why – I didn’t trip on anything, even my own feet – but suddenly I lost my equilibrium and fell backward onto the cement of the parking lot – on my tailbone! My camera case also hit the ground, but fortunately due to the padding around the camera and the extra lens, there was no damage.
I was mentally checking myself for injuries when finally two people from our group came over and reached out hands to help me up. I stood, with their help, but with difficulty and tremendous pain in my buttocks. I figured there would be a huge bruise but it didn’t seem as though I had any fractures. They asked me how I was and I lied, saying, “Fine” – I didn’t want anyone else to worry about me. I felt like a klutz and an idiot.
We continued on, along bumpy roads and I was in pain – I’d fallen on my tailbone. I was not about to complain, however, even though I winced at every major jolt and when I stood up or sat down.
However, I wasn’t going to let this spoil the day for me. I nearly forgot my pain when we spotted animals close to our vehicle.
But the most special animal that we saw today was the elusive leopard! Actually, we saw two! The safari drivers communicate with each other in Swahili, but also in code. They call a leopard “spots above” (because it’s usually spotted in trees).
Not much later, we saw Leopard #2.
After the people in our vehicle had spent all the time we needed taking photos and looking through binoculars, Elias started the engine again and we went on searching for other wildlife.
Not long after that, Elias got a message over his radio: “Spots above” (Leopard #2) had come down from the tree! He turned the vehicle around and we went back to the tree where we had first spotted the second leopard. There must have been 10 or more vehicles, including Livingstone’s with the rest of our group, stopped there! Some drivers were rude: One began to honk at another truck and then wormed its way in between two others, obstructing the view of those who’d been there first.
The leopard was sitting at the base of the tree, a little intimidated by so many vehicles around her. We were told that as soon as she came down from the tree, she urinated around it to claim it as her territory. Now she sat looking around and waiting. In spite of so many people watching her, everyone was totally quiet.
Finally she chose her safest path. She got up and started walking toward us, passing within five feet of our vehicle!
It was quiet enough to hear the sound of camera shutters clicking like at a politician’s press conference. It was amazing how close that leopard was to us – not more than a few feet from where we were leaning out of the top of our Land Cruiser!
In addition, we saw lots of impalas as well as vervet monkeys in a tree. Some of them scampered down the tree trunk to have a look at the impalas.
One young impala had a tête-a-tête with a monkey perched on a mound of twigs next to a small tree! When they were practically nose to nose, the monkey jumped up and scampered away, but was soon back again. I think both of them were ready to play together!
In this area of the Serengeti, for the first time since Arusha, there were palm trees scattered here and there. The grass here is tall, good for hiding. We saw herds of elephants (including very small babies),
an African hare (the first one we’d seen),
and a pond with hippos.
One of the hippos seemed to be giving me the evil eye.
He decided to show off his dominance.
We watched the hippos for quite awhile, then headed back to our camp, Ang’ata Safari Camp, where we had already checked in earlier. Ang’ata was our last lodgings on the safari.
On the way back, we saw beautiful sunsets and animals in trees silhouetted against the sky.
Ang’ata was not only our last lodgings, but also the smallest. There was only one other guest there besides us, a Danish man from Copenhagen, and the camp was full!
At dinner, we had a long table (actually, several tables pushed together to make one, including a round table at the end), while at the only other table, set for two, was the Danish man, Lars, and his driver. Our drivers also sat with us at our table. Our group occupied all the tents except two – one for Lars and the other for the drivers, I suppose. We were truly out in the middle of nowhere!
That night, I heard animals passing by our tent. At least one was a hyena – the first sound he made I didn’t recognize and thought was a monkey, but then he made a series of other sounds including the “laughing” sound hyenas make. It creeped me out. I’m not fond of hyenas.
Feb. 5, 2018 Tarangire National Park, Day 2:
WP Weekly Photo Challenge this week is “I’d Rather Be…” Back in the winter (although admittedly mild) weather in Chicago, I look back on our sojourn to Tanzania with longing, as I do with any trip we take, so I’d Rather Be Traveling.
I’d rather be riding in a bumpy, dusty Land Cruiser…
and watching creatures great…and small…
and in between.
I’d rather watch egrets congregating on the banks of a lake…
and male impalas grazing.
I’d rather be photographing birds, such as this ground hornbill with a snake in its mouth…or this crowned plover looking for bugs next to our vehicle.
I’d rather be spotting animals in the distance, such as a group of oryxes (the only oryxes we saw during our safari)…or a male ostrich….
and a female ostrich.I’d rather be at Tarangire Safari Lodge, watching the sunrise…
or sleeping in our tent cabin.
So how soon ’til we hit the road again??!
Feb. 4, 2018
In Tarangire National Park, the tall grass offers cover for animals to hide. Today, in fact, we saw our FIRST LION! Here’s what we could see of what seems to be a young male:
A young impala also has cover, but prefers to raise her head and look around:
On our first drive in Tarangire, we saw a number of ‘new’ animals. Impalas are ubiquitous here. They are mostly found in all-female and all-male groups. Notice the warthog passing through a group of grazing female impalas!
Warthogs are also very common, usually seen in groups called “sounders.”
Like many of the other animals that live here, a sounder consists of adult females and their offspring, while males go off on their own and may join up with other males.
Warthogs are herbivorous and feed on short grasses during the rainy season (which starts in late January to early February).
Half-hidden in the tall grass, young warthogs playfully wrestle with each other.
Adult warthogs are mostly bald, while the young have tufts of hair along the back of their necks. Warthogs make their dens in holes dug by aardvarks. Female warthogs will fiercely defend their young if threatened.
I got most of this information about warthogs from Wikipedia. I always thought warthogs were rather ugly, but observing them in the wild, playing or running with their tails in the air, I thought they were rather cute!
Another animal that burrows in “homes” made by others is the dwarf mongoose, most often seen poking out of large termite mounds. Apparently the termites don’t bother them or have already abandoned these mounds.
According to Wikipedia, they are social animals that live in groups of 20-30, headed by the dominant pair. All adults help raise their pups.
Also appearing among the grasses were guinea fowl…monkeys,
and shy, diminutive dikdiks.
What are these two vultures doing in the grass?
Where there are vultures, there is a carcass to feed on – in this case, a hyena.
Up above were a wide variety of bird species, such as this white-headed buffalo weaver,a pair of go-away birds,
a marabou stork standing at the very top of a tree,
superb starlings with their flashy colored feathers,
a grey-headed kingfisher,
a Von der Decken hornbill,
a red and yellow barbet
and the all-black common drango.
By the time we returned to the Tarangire Safari Lodge, it was nearly dark and we had dinner late (even by safari standards) – at 8:45 p.m.!
We had about a 3-hour drive to our next destination, Tarangire National Park.
I took a few shots of the noisy colobus monkey that resides at Rivertrees Country Inn, but there were other monkeys too – blue monkeys and grey vervet monkeys. I was sad to leave – it seemed our stay here was so short. In my Mindful Travel Journal, I wrote about or drew each place we stayed. My observations about Rivertrees:
At 8:00 a.m., we were on our way. We drove through the city of Arusha, which has a population of about 1,000,000, stretched out along miles of road so that it looks more like a series of small towns, which perhaps it is – this population figure includes the metropolitan area.
This drive was a good chance for taking quick shots of people along the road. As it was Sunday, there were a lot of people dressed up in their best clothes for church. The women wore colorful wraps and the men wore Western style suits and ties. I also saw Muslim women, some covered head to toe, others wearing simple hijabs. About 40% of Tanzanians are Muslims; an equal percentage are Christians.
There were also a lot of markets being held, causing crowds and commotions in that section of the town.
Most of the dwellings we saw were quite poor – simple structures or shacks. There were also Maasai-type dwellings, which are round with thatched roofs.
I took a picture of a group of boys all dressed in black with white designs painted on their faces, who were standing along the side of the road. Before long, I saw more of these groups of boys.
David, our guide, said this is something very unusual to see. These boys are undergoing the Maasai coming-of-age ritual which includes isolation from the rest of the village and circumcision. They paint their faces so that they will not be recognized (supposedly) by others in the village and they live for about three months in huts isolated from the rest of the community. This ritual only takes place once every three years, so these boys range in age from 12 to 15.
Girls apparently do not undergo a similar ritual, and female circumcision is now officially illegal, although some traditional people still practice it.
We stopped at a modern shopping mall, most of which was closed because it was Sunday. Some people wanted to exchange money, so the rest of us either headed for the bathroom, or the supermarket (the only store open), or both. The only people we saw outside the supermarket were workers cleaning the hallways – mopping the floors of the corridors and in the bathrooms.
This is where only 15% of Tanzanians can afford to shop, I thought. Dale and I went into the supermarket and I casually perused the aisles full of neatly stacked merchandise. One aisle had school supplies and I decided to buy colored pencils to draw in my Mindful Travel Journal.
On our way again, we passed more villages, more colorfully dressed Maasai women fetching water, more groups of boys dressed in black, before finally reaching the national park. I thought I would spend at least part of this ride sleeping, but instead was wide awake conversing with the others in the group.
When we got to Tarangire Safari Lodge, we were given our tent assignments. Yes, literally tents! They are thatched structures with canvas walls and zipped screens at the front and back of the tent. There is a vertical zipper and two horizontal zippers.
There are no keys to lock the tent, just a “monkey lock” to keep the monkeys from coming in while guests are out! The monkeys have figured out how to use the zippers, but the lock is slightly too complicated for them: The lock consists of a small block of wood with three drilled holes, two of them connected, with a thick wire attached. The wire has a plug on the end. To lock it, first you loop the wire through the horizontal and vertical zipper tabs; then you insert the wire end into the big hole in the middle and slide it into the smaller hole so it doesn’t come out. Behind the tent itself is an add-on structure containing a bathroom and shower area. Electricity is only on in the morning from 6-10 am and in the evening from 6-11 pm. We have to charge our electronics during those hours in the main building by the bar.
We had only a short time before a drive through the park, after which we had dinner (about 8:45 pm!). We first stopped at the entrance to Tarangire National Park, where there were restroom facilities, a gift shop, artwork, informational signs, a large baobob tree, and a bold hornbill bird!
In Tarangire National Park, there were fewer giraffes, but lots of elephants and impalas. Here are several of the different animals we saw.
Then we saw OUR FIRST LION!! It was a young male lying in tall grass so we could only see the top of his head and his eyes.
This day was more awesome than yesterday – and each day would increase in awesomeness!!
Next: Elephant stories of Tarangire!