Friday, March 25, 2011

That Would Make a Nice Hat

As Fauntleroy pointed out at our usual Thursday night soirée, I have yet to write about our Tanzanian safari. After our time on the mountain we spent a relatively relaxing 4 days spying on, for the most part, majestic animals in various national parks around the country.

Indeed there were lions, but no tigers or bears, but in lieu of them, oh my, we saw cheetah, elephants, rhinoceros, a silva (silba?) cat, hippopotamus, ostrich, giraffe, monkeys, gazelles, water buffalo, zebra, hyena (ugly little things), jackals, numerous birds (I can’t name one except for vultures) and just about everything else Noah loaded on the Ark.

Without question, my favourite picture is the one of the giraffe with the umbrella acacia tree in the background. Shade from those trees looked so inviting that I just wanted to crawl under and take a nap. Fear of waking up missing a limb or appendage kept me firmly in my seat.

The animal I was most impressed with was the black rhino. Not that they ever got very close, but that we saw 14 of them in one day where most people are lucky to see one. Sad to think that the poor things are on their last legs because people want their horns for who knows what. Ditto for the elephants but there seems to be an abundance of them. And yes, I know, its tusks not horns, but the end result is still the same. A close second were the two cheetahs we saw stalking a gazelle. They gave it the old college try, but move as they may, lunch made a clean getaway and so did their blue ribbon for 'Most Impressive'. We wanted blood and carnage, but that prize went to 47 vultures feasting on some poor carcass. There were so many of them, and the smell so wretched, we didn't stick around to make out what it was they were devouring.

Biggest giggle award, and it doesn’t take much I know, were the monkey’s with the, literally, blue balls. It made me think back to Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins saying animal ‘x’ has a plume, main, colour etc in order to attract a mate. I get the banging on the chest and chasing away the competition to establish your dominance. And the bright colour thing, sure, who doesn’t want to look at something pretty when your surroundings are all dry and beige. But robin’s egg blue balls?

And how many times do the females fall for that? “Oh hey, Betty, look at what Charlie has over there. Let’s go check it out.”

Animals aside, the lodges we stayed in were a delight after the tents on the mountain. The most interesting feature in the first Sopa Lodge, was that at night you had to have a security guard escort you to your little bungalow after sunset. Apparently, lions and leopards like to use the pool under the cover of darkness.

The Ngorongoro Serena Lodge, perched on the edge of the crater that bares the same name, was everyone’s top pick. The lack of an infinity pool was made up in spades by the view! After a day in the crater, add Ricard and a spectacular sunset to the lounge, and you have an experience you won’t soon forget.


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