Tangire Land

      Comments Off on Tangire Land

Day 2

Pat and I take melatonin to sleep but we awake at 5 am which gave us both 6.5 hours sleep.  Not enough to function completely normally but an improvement over the previous day.  This is just as well as we leave at 7 and need to pack our luggage and eat  Our breakfast buffet is sturdy oatmeal, at our request, eggs to order, some hot meat and vegetables, and fruit.  And then we are checked out of our lodge and on our way in our jeeps to our first National Park, Tangire. 

Masai Herdsman Outside Tangire National Park

The land before the entrance to the park belongs to its traditional land custodians, the members of the Masai tribe.  We see young boys, following the old way of life, who are expected to herd the family animals, dressed in their draped colorful cloth.  The older men often dress in red or bright blue cloth, thrown over one shoulder, standing straight and tall with their staff in hand.  Our guide who is Masai tells us that boys are given their own animal when they are 8 or 9 to start learning the craft of a herdsman.  The large number of young herders we see in a small area seems to confirm this as still part of childrearing here.  At least for males. 

At the main gate, we take a rest stop, and head off into the Tangire protected land known for its bird life, elephants and zebras.  And we see them all, some at a distance and some very near our jeeps, along with eland, warthogs, wildebeest, and a plethora of birds.  Davis, our on-team birder, is trying to identify all of them but it is hard to do as there are so many that are mostly new to him.

There are of course other safari jeeps around us as we travel in the park but often we are by ourselves or join 1 or 2 stopped in a position to watch some animal in action.   The guides and drivers speak to each other on some form of walkie-talkie system letting each other know when there is a choice spotting.   And although not a solo experience, the park arrangements here seem better managed and less crowded than parks in other African countries I have been in.

A dazzle of Zebras in a long line

Our lunch was memorable as we were spread out at a long table in a park-managed picnic site but, unbeknownst to us, there were monkeys in the tree overhanging one end.  Suddenly a monkey jumped down, snatched Nina’s food (she had eaten most of it already) and in the process of jumping back up, knocked over Larry’s bottle of coca cola, which exploded in a big splash all over him, seriously wetting his shirt and pants. My water was knocked over as well soaking the table cloth.  One of those camping experiences that stand out long after the event.

What stands out as memorable from our first safari day:

Varya: What stands out for me are the amazing Baobab trees, often standing alone and proud, bare branches like an intricately woven umbrella crowning the ancient tree.  And with a smile I thought they looked exactly like the main Baobab sculpture at the entrance to Disney’s Animal Planet in Florida.

And when I asked the others:

Judy:   My highlight was the elephants in the water with the baby elephant chasing a bird.  Pretty Amazing.

Davis:  Dik-diks.  I was excited to see one because I didn’t think we would find one on this tour.  It is like a small dog, the smallest antelope in the world.

Pat:  The Masai herders prevalence, how many there were, all over the area.  And the fact there are still nomadic herders  people who might live in one area and then have to leave for new agricultural land for their animals.  Unique dress with colorful material.

Marge:  The first Zebra that stared at me — the first wild animal that I saw.

Larry:  I was also amazed at the Dik-diks, I did’t know such small animals existed. I was struck by the Masai herders and the amazing control they have over the animals just by waving a stick .

Nina:   Sheer volume of animals seen within just a few hours was astounding.  I felt like a voyeur, I was embarrassed to be next to an elephant and watching it.  I did not feel comfortable but understand this is the way I has to be.

Dhara:  A highlight was enjoying the enthusiasm of the children seeing the animals and taking pictures and telling the jeep to stop saying in Swahili “Si-mama”  (“Stop”) to take more photos.  I enjoyed seeing the animals through their eyes.

Rae:  The colleagues I work with about light told me to send the light to the animals. The elephants were beautiful and I am very struck by the knowledge of the drivers and birds.  The colors of the giraffes are all different which surprised me. I also noticed the attendants in the female restrooms who really worked to keep them clean.

Ann: I liked seeing the elephants up close.

Shira: As much as I loved getting to see the animals, I think my favorite parts of the day was getting to play fun games on the way back from the park like Botticelli and telephone.

Drake: i liked seeing all the wildlife and elephants and one of my favorites was when we saw a baby elephant chasing a bird. I liked seeing the giraffes and standing on the seat of the jeep. I liked using the camera with a zoo lens to take picture of different animals.

What a wonderful group! A good dinner at our very nice resort in the town of Karatu and then an attempt to sleep.

Joseph and our group at a Baobab Tree in Tangire National Park