WPC: Hit the Road!

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…


Me and Dale in a safari vehicle

2-5 Sue & Dale at vehicle-Tarangire

Dale and my cousin Susan (at the door) with one of the vehicles.

and watching creatures great…SONY DSCand small…

2-5 caterpillar of silk moth

and in between.


I’d rather watch egrets congregating on the banks of a lake…


and male impalas grazing.2-5 male impalas
I’d rather be photographing birds, such as this ground hornbill with a snake in its mouth…SONY DSCor this crowned plover looking for bugs next to our vehicle.SONY DSC

I’d rather be spotting animals in the distance, such as a group of oryxes (the only oryxes we saw during our safari)…SONY DSCor a male ostrich….SONY DSC
and a female ostrich.SONY DSCI’d rather be at Tarangire Safari Lodge, watching the sunrise…
20180205_064801or sleeping in our tent cabin.
2-5 Tarangire Safari LodgeSo how soon ’til we hit the road again??!



CFFC: Sunrise, Sunset

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is sunrises/sunsets/night photos. Africa is a great place for sunrises and sunsets! Even on the plane, which arrived at Kilimanjaro after dark, I captured a pretty sunset:
2-2 sunset on airplaneSunset over Tarangire National Park, taken with Samsung Galaxy 7:
2-5 sunset over TarangireThat same sunset (this is classic!) taken with my camera, Sony 380:SONY DSCOne morning, we got up before sunrise to see animals early in the morning. This is the sunrise over Ngorongoro Crater, using Samsung Galaxy 7:2-7 sunrise-Ngorongoro
Southern Serengeti sunset (Sony 380)SONY DSCA few minutes later, after the sun went down:SONY DSCSunset that same day (Sony 380):SONY DSC

2-11 sunset over Serengeti

Where the Tall Grass Grows

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:SONY DSC
A young impala also has cover, but prefers to raise her head and look around:
SONY DSCOn 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!
SONY DSCWarthogs are also very common, usually seen in groups called “sounders.”  SONY DSC
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). SONY DSC
Half-hidden in the tall grass, young warthogs playfully wrestle with each other.
SONY DSCAdult warthogs are mostly bald, while the young have tufts of hair along the back of their necks. SONY DSCWarthogs make their dens in holes dug by aardvarks. Female warthogs will fiercely defend their young if threatened.SONY DSC
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.SONY DSC
Also appearing among the grasses were guinea fowl…SONY DSCmonkeys,

SONY DSCand shy, diminutive dikdiks.
What are these two vultures doing in the grass?
SONY DSCWhere 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,SONY DSCa pair of go-away birds,


a marabou stork standing at the very top of a tree,
SONY DSCsuperb starlings with their flashy colored feathers,DSC03584.JPG

a grey-headed kingfisher,

a Von der Decken hornbill,
DSC03613.JPGa red and yellow barbetSONY DSC
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.!


Giants of Tarangire

Elephants are fascinating and intelligent animals. We saw many on our safari: in herds, small groups, and alone. They are social animals and usually travel in matriarchal herds, consisting of several females and their offspring of varying ages.
Male elephants leave the herd when they are adolescents. They are sometimes alone, like this  young bull, or in groups with other young males.

At maturity, they will find a herd to join. Size matters! The largest male is more likely to be accepted into the herd.
2-4 elephant-Tarangire
Elephants enjoy a good mud wallow!
We see a herd crossing the Tarangire River.
SONY DSCSome stop to drink and spray themselves with water before crossing.SONY DSCOops! A calf seems to have trouble making it up the opposite bank!
Mom pushes him up the muddy slope.
SONY DSCMaybe he isn’t having trouble – maybe he enjoys lying in the mud next to the river! Meanwhile, he’s causing a traffic jam! Mom’s onto the scheme and tells him to get up! SONY DSC
He still doesn’t get up! Mom pushes harder…
Finally, “Look, Mom – see? I can get up all by myself!” he seems to be saying with satisfaction!SONY DSC
On the other side of the river, we hear a loud trumpeting sound. A male elephant missing half a tusk has charged one of the other young bulls!SONY DSC
The two tussle.
The aggressor seems to be in pain! He is finally driven off and he goes off into the forest making loud grunting sounds.
Later, a more peaceful scene: a young calf suckles from its mother.
The young do not grow tusks until after their first year.
All is well in this calf’s life!
I hope you have enjoyed this “slice of life” of these (mostly) gentle giants of Tarangire!




CFFC: Birds of Tanzania: Arusha and Tarangire National Parks

I did not expect to see so many beautiful birds while on safari in Tanzania! It was hard to choose the best of these, and I will showcase more birds in future posts that we encountered on our safari. The birds included here were sighted at Arusha National Park and Tarangire National Park.

One of the prettiest birds, which became a favorite with our group, was the lilac breasted roller.SONY DSC

Here’s another of this species in flight:

Red and yellow barbet

SONY DSCA common bird is the Egyptian goose.SONY DSC

At water’s edge, the blue heron rests.

Other birds near the water are more active – such as these storks fighting over a carcass!DSC03532.JPGAnd a vulture patiently waits.
DSC03528.JPGSome water birds are always found in large groups. Most of these flamingos are not fully grown – they gain their brilliant pink color as adults.SONY DSCSuperb starlings are ubiquitous, but I loved their shiny feathers!
I’d never seen a kingfisher with a red beak, but Tanzanian birds surprised and delighted me!
DSC03597.JPGAnother hornbill species

I believe this is an ibis.
We came across an egret convention while searching for hippos! They had gathered on both shores of a lake.
DSC03658.JPGThey were even up in this tree!DSC03669.JPG
Secretary birds are more often seen in the grass.
Where there’s a female ostrich…DSC03697.JPG
…you usually find a male ostrich.  Actually these two were part of a larger group, which is normal – ostriches usually travel in groups of 8 to 10 birds.DSC03698.JPG
Finally, another bird found in the grasslands of Tarangire National Park is the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill. This one has a piece of a snake – its favorite food – hanging from its beak!

Cee’s Fun foto Challenge, 2/20/18