Following the climb I then spent three days on Safari, again, all organised by Private Expeditions with my brilliant guide Silver!
Will add a few photos in here ASAP.
One tip for anyone going on Safari – take a good pair of binoculars – my wife, Wendy, bought me a pair made by Hawke – Nature Trek 10 x 50 and they proved invaluable to pickup animals and birds at a distance. Without these I would have missed a lot even with my “eagle eyed” guide Silver spotting for me!
Jim had to go back to Kampala to get back to work so we dropped him off at the airport and I was transported down to Arusha in preparation for the Safari commencing on Sunday. So Saturday was spent relaxing, eating, having a beer or two (or three!) plus some time in the hotel pool to recovery from the climb.
On Sunday Silver picked me up at 8:00 and we set off for Tarangire National Park about 3 hours drive. As it was Sunday things were quite quiet but fascinating watching the churchgoers in their beautiful and colourful “Sunday Best” along with seeing Maasai tribes people herding their cattle and goats and following traditional agricultural practices that probably have not changed for centuries including ploughing with donkeys and cattle.
All somewhat brought up to date by many walking along using their mobile phones!
Day 1: Tarangire National Park – well worth a visit and we saw lots of wildlife including a very relaxed looking leopard snoozing in a tree and lions within feet of our vehicle. Herds of elephant were pretty much everywhere along with ostriches, giraffe and too many different bird species to remember or count.
Night 1: Osupuko Lodge – see http://www.osupukolodges.com/ this is a brilliant place to stay and you are guarded and escorted to and from your lodge by Maasia tribesmen and the welcome and food is excellent. I have written a full report on tripadvisor.
Day 2: Ngorongoro Crater – if you only ever go to one place on Safari this has to be it! A longish drive (3-4 hours) to get there through some varied and interesting country but well worth it. This is the closest you are likely to get to the “Lost World” – a completely unique and closed in crater simply brimming with wildlife. Zebra, wildebeest, lion, rhino, hippos, hyaena, gazelle, hartebeest, buffalo, jackal and more plus birds galore. All this in one day! Having watched no end of David Attenborough on TV actually seeing this all “for real” is an eye opener and brings it all to life.
Night 2: Bougainvillea Safari Lodge, Karatu – see http://www.bougainvillealodge.net/ a good 3 star stop over – if you want 5 star not for you but suited me and food was excellent with plenty of it served at your table. Welcome and service spot on. Full report on Trip Advisor.
Day 3 – Lake Manyara National Park – the smallest park we visited for just half a day but stunning setting as it is part of the Great Rift Valley with a large sodium lake. Saw many different species of wildlife with monkeys and birds too many to count to remember! Not really full season for the flamingoes but even so you could see the pink line across the lake and with binoculars pick up hundreds if not thousands of them.
All in all three days really well spent and many thanks to Silver for his patience and expert knowledge of the birds and wildlife. If I get the time I will write up all the different species I saw.
Then back to the airport for a short flight to Nairobi and overnight flight to London and back to Cornwall on the train!
And so the trip ended but even as I write this some weeks later it is still all sinking in and no doubt a “trip of a lifetime”.