Day 17: Our last day in Africa

Tonight, is the last night. We have been in Africa for three weeks, and have seen a million strange and wonderful things. We have been bounced around in a Land Cruiser for a thousand kilometres, been on several different small aircraft with varying degrees of comfort, stayed in eight different beautiful lodges and ate way too much fabulous food. I’m tired and sore. Stiff from the travel, stinging from more than a few Tse Tse fly bites and sick and tired of wearing the same few clothes (laundered along the way).

But nowhere near ready to leave. Just now I heard a hyena calling in the night. On the drive to tonight’s lodge we saw lions and a black rhino, ostriches, and so much game I can’t process it all. We are in a lodge at Nairobi National Park. Forty minutes drive to the airport, through a nature preserve in an 870 square km urban park. Before the flight we will do one last game drive, and see a thousand wonderful sights and probably take a couple hundred more photos. I can see and hear airplanes taking off. Can see the bright lights of the city just over the hill that obscures the modern world from the natural cornucopia we have been feeding from. I don’t want to leave. Kwaheri and asante sano. Goodbye and thank you very much.

We WILL be back!

Day 6: Ngorongoro Crater!

Early Morning 

It’s 5 in the morning and the world is slowly starting to come to life. We are in a tented camp on the rim of the Ngorongoro crater. It is still dark and the only sound is birdsong. Soon the group will gather for a quick bite before getting in our Land Cruisers for the drive to the crater floor. This is one of those moments when you realize exactly where you are and what us about to occur. Everyone knows this place. When I was a kid I saw photos and THIS place was Africa to me.

Late Afternoon 

WOW!!!

That was like drinking from a firehose. Every type of African wildlife you can think of. Except giraffes. Herd after herd of zebra, wildebeest, and buffalo. Gazelles and antelope of every description. Rhinoceros were in the distance- shy like only a two ton beast can be. A few elephants dotted an immense landscape. The largest clan of hyenas I have ever seen lazing around a waterhole with hippopotamus looking like rocks in the hot, hot sun. And the star of the show-Lions!!! One person in our group counted 17 different animals. All of this encompassed by the towering crater walls. 

Evening

Everyone is weary but excited from the adventures of the day. We sit around the fire watching the bush TV and listening to men from the camp singing in Swahili before sitting down to a fabulous dinner that magically appeared from the tiny kitchen in our bush camp. We are blown away by our staff singing and dancing. I look around and everyone has the biggest smile I have ever seen.

What a day.

Days 2 to 4 : Tarangire National Park

An African trip seemingly is on everyone’s bucket list. Safaris, travel to Egypt, South African wine tours. Whatever it is many people have a dream to travel there. Until you’ve been there, and then you need to go back. Is it the sights? Yes. Is it the sounds? Yes. Is it the heat? Oh yes. Is it the wildlife? Very much yes! But it’s the people that captivate. The crowds, the bustle, the smiles and the welcome you get from a truly grateful people. Yes there is poverty and you see it and it hurts, but you also see the indomitable spirt and it gives you hope. I’m back, and I’ve missed this place.