Sunday, February 28, 2016


We had a 5:00 am wake up call, got some quick coffee and headed out in the jeeps to do sunrise in the Crater. The rain had made everything so fresh and crisp. It was beautiful sight as we headed down the long steep side of the crater, we got to the bottom just as the sun was peeking over the rim. The animals were out in full force. We have seen many African animals, but in a different environment, they take on a new look.  Our two traveling companions are both doctors, and one majored in Zoology, andthe other  in Biology,so along with our driver and guide (both locals) we had everything covered. We counted,and ended up seeing about 35 species of animals and birds that we could definetly identify, including jackels and hyenas that we had never seen before.
We stopped at a Hippo pond to eat a "bush breakfast". The Pond was full of Hippoes and so many different birds around the water.mWe even had hot coffee, which tasted so good.  There are 5 lion prides in the crater and we ended up spotting 4 of them. We had a great time, and laughed as we tried to teach our guide some English colloquials, like "raining cats and dog" "sucking hind tit" and a few others. He and the driver would speak in Swahili, and I wonder what they were saying with big grins on their faces.
After 6 hours we headed back, and thank goodness there was a one way road back up the crater wall. It was plenty steep with hairpin curves.
Our lodge is actually nestled into,the side of,the crater and made out of river rocks( well, they look like it, anyway). Inside and out. All the rooms have spectacular views of the whole crater, with indivdual private decks. There is a nice bar and we are headed there for a Masai dancing show...oh oh...I am going to hang back! Haha! This is still Masai country and they are allowed to bring their herds into the crater for water. There is a big Masai village outside the lodge property and we are going to visit it tomorrow on our way to Oldavai Gorge. 
Flamingoes in the ponds..thousands of them!

Some people took a 2 hr walking tour today with a guide. Since the animals can and do climb the crater walls, we could not go "walk about" by ourselves. We actually stayed in and enjoyed a few hours of quiet and rest.


We left Arusha this am and headed into Masai territory.  The landscape opened up with less vegetation, and we started seeing the familiar Masai houses and young men herding their cattle and goats.  It's been photographed endlessly, but it is still so pictureseque and beautiful.  We thought it would be fun to do something non touristy ,so our guide told us that every week, the local Masai gather to buy and sell cattle and goats nearby. We stopped at the brick herding pens  and took a look. Only men in this brick enclosures, and lots  of socializing and bargaining.  They didn't seem to mind that we were hanging on the fence and watching.
We stopped at a local,art gallery and then headed for the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater. It Is such a magnificant World Heritage site. We climbed the Crater Wall to go to a resturant perched high on the rim. It was a warm afternoon and we tried the local beer...Killamanjaro, and had a lunch of fresh Nile Perch and salad bar.
We were headed to Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge for a few nights, but wanted to see the crater from the highest point first. There were huge dark clouds gathering, and we barely stood out on the crater rim view point when all hell broke loose and it stared pouring. Torrential downpour. We got wet just going a few steps to the jeep. George is our driver and he is good. He had to drive in this heavy downpour on a steep,rutted red dirt road, while all the windows fogged up and dodging 4 wheelers coming UP the steep climb. I didnt think it was all that much fun and was very relieved when we drove into our accomodations. We freshed up, hit the bar, watched a crazy great "African aerobatic show" put on by some of the young men of the staff...had a nice dinner and fell into bed!
View of the Crater out side on our room deck.

Friday, February 26, 2016


After a very lazy morning, we  met with our guide to talk about the general plan for the next two weeks.  Our guide is a native of Arusha and named Maolidi... We call him "Chairman Mao". And he is as easy going and enjoyable as one can get. We met our driver, George, who is also native to this area and will be with us everyday.  He proved his patience this late afternoon as we slowly slogged through what is Arusha going home traffic. One never worries about dangerous animals, malaria, or anything else after a few hours on the road in Africa.
We took off after lunch and headed to Arusha National Park, which is very close (1 hr) away and filled with all kinds of birds and game. We were hoping to see a leopard, but  that did not happen. Many of the bird species and animals we saw , we have already seen In Uganda, which shares a boarder with Tanzania. We couldnt get too excited over them, but did see two species of monkey that we have never seen, the Collabus and Blue monkies. There were only 4 of us in our jeep. Two pediatricians, and us. Did I mention we have 4 doctors and one nurse on board? Guess we have the medical stuff  covered. Last night at thenTulip,,which has been an exceptional restful place.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


African  names have lodged in my imagination since I was a small girl. My mother would read me stories of the "dark continent" ; Kilamanjaro, Entebbe, Mombassa, Timbucktu, Dar es Salam, and these unfamiliar names would lodge in my memory and facinate me all my life. I have been lucky to travel to some of these countries and cities in Africa. Everything Africa interests me and has for a long time. This will be our 4th trip to the continent and the first to the Eastern side. Tanzania and Zanzibar will be the countries that we explore. Because we left Sequim the day before our flight, we have been on a ( two day plus) journey to the City of Arusha in Tanzania to begin a trek to see the migrating herds of the Seringheti, Ngorongoro Crater, and many more historical and cultural things of this area. 

I am sitting in a plane once more, having left Istanbul and and flying south over Africa to Tanzania. Because of the time changes, plane changes and  everything else...I do not even know what time it is for real.... Steve keeps saying it is "such and such" time back home, which only makes it worse. I like to just get on board with the time when we land and take it from there. So we land at 1:05 AM. We need to go thru customs, pay the Visa, find our guide and get to the hotel. Steve already has a sleeping mask on and a blankie.   I am enjoying a 2nd glass of wine. I am figuring it will be a long night, or morning...or whatever it is.....

29 hours of travel and still hanging in there.