We headed down on the shuttle bus from Nairobi to the safari hub of Arusha in Tanzania. It took us longer than expected as some poor unfortunate had a problem at the border with Tanzania and had to be left behind and it was certainly no place to be stranded.
Our first night accommodation was deep in a local community down an unlit mud road with even the taxi driver getting worried. Run by two brothers the ‘White House Tanzania’ was a good rest stop to sit in the courtyard and eat rolled crepes with cabbage before our 5 day safari. The next day we found out that in a tour vehicle for seven it was just the two of us – private tour, fantastic!
Our driver Lanzaro had a phrase ‘a good start and a good finish’ and we had a fantastic start in Tarangire National Park just a few hours outside Arusha.
We came across a lioness eating the hind quarters of a giraffe. The giraffe had been dead a while with flies and maggots all over it and the smell downwind was absolutely horrific. Apparently Lions have a constitution which enables them to eat partially putrified meat.
The lioness was really going at it tearing strips off until she got up and stood to attention and made bellowing calls. Out of the long grass three little cubs playfully and shyly appeared to answer the mothers call. We knew we had stumbled on something unusual when the guide himself was taking photos on his phone.
Just around the corner we ran into a herd of elephants just munching away, with just us and the guide we were able to just wait for the elephants to wander toward the car and the huge matriarch to come within a few metres completely unbothered by us.
Heading back to what we thought would be a tent for the night we passed wildebeest and zebra hanging around the lodge. We had booked through ‘Africa Budget Safari’ and it definitely gave a new meaning to ‘budget’.
Our budget misconceptions were washed overboard in the infinity pool overlooking the wildebeest migration by Lake Manyara. Our ‘tented’ lodge was a full chalet with tarpaulin zip sides giving access to the veranda overlooking the lake.
It hits home that this is wild Africa when to get to dinner a call to reception to send a guide with a stick is required. Apparently there were five lions in the area – after seeing the lioness in action earlier I’m not sure our fate would stand or fall based on the stick but it felt like we were really on safari and definitely on for a good start!