It was a spectacular dawn over Tarangire National Park.
Tarangire National Park – a Morning Game Drive.
Although the basic colours of the countryside had not changed and it was still a hilly area the scenery seemed quite different. We were often high up and looking down into a dusty valley. More acacia trees were scattered below, close to the river. The landrover stopped and Kanuth pointed down to a corner of the valley. There he could see a lioness walking through the savanna. It took us a few minutes before we could see her but then we watched her walking through the acacia. She turned off to her left to head up the hill towards us, but she did not come up to the top. Instead she walked through a small acacia copse and we waited until she came out the other side and walked on.
We headed off, winding up and down the sandy hills of Tarangire National Park, across the river and on to the flatter plains.
Tarangire National Park – it’s just like Jungle Book!
We stopped frequently to get close views at various animals, or groups of animals. Sometimes zebra, impala, dik dik and baboons all sharing the same area. Buffalo were to be seen everywhere, always curious when we stopped. Soon it was time for our packed lunch and as we wound up the hills again, through very arid savanna. We saw a family of elephants walking along in single file (photo below). The elephants had the luxury of being able to walk in a straight line whereas we had to wind around the vehicle track. But we could see them all the time, heading somewhere with a purpose it seemed. “They are going to the river to drink,” said our guide. Minutes later, way on top of a hill we parked at a picnic spot with a panoramic view over the Tarangire River. It was marvellous to see so many different animals below us and spreading out way into the distance. Just minutes after we arrived we saw “our” family of elephants walk down to the river and drink! That was a special treat as was our much needed picnic lunch.
Tarangire National Park – oh no, we soon have to leave!
Our morning game drive was almost over. After lunch we would take a long route back to the camp as we wanted to stay in a backpacker lodge near Lake Manyara that night.
On the way back we saw a small group of vehicles parked in a bunch close to a sausage tree. Kanuth edged up to the other vehicles and we had a very good view of the tree, under which lay a dead impala.
“There must be a leopard in the tree,” said Kanuth. It is waiting for us all to leave before it carries its prey up into the tree. Like us the other safari travellers were not willing to leave before they could see the leopard. One truck was bubbling with excitement and its passengers were all smiling and pointing up to the tree. They could see it. Kanuth edged the car around the entire group and was the first to get a really good view. But could we see it? No! It took us a good fifteen minutes before we could catch a glimpse of his paw, or his tail, and then his face.
Having spotted it through the dense vegetation we were keen for it to move and after a shortwhile he oblidged us with a slow walk out onto a limb (see photo). In Tarangire National Park we had now seen four of the big five and were very happy. In Ngorongoro Crater we hope to see the fifth: a rhino.
We left the leopard after lots of good viewing and headed back to camp. Gabriel was waiting for us with everything packed and ready to head off towards Lake Manyara.