Safari Day 3: To the Serengeti

(Out of cell phone / data range for a couple of days. This is for Sunday, July 31st)
We stayed in a so called campsite the night before, but it was more like a lodge for tents with pool and restaurant and large tourist groups. Disappointing, particularly because it wasn’t inside a park but rather on the edge of a town.

The only benefit was being able to go into town for a drink. The power was out in the town of a couple of thousand, but we found a bar with generator power. After a drink there, we found a place with a pool table and played doubles against some locals. They had a definite home court advantage because the table had narrow holes for snooker and the balls were smaller than usual. However, we came back after falling far behind and almost won.

In the morning, after the standard Tanzanian breakfast of super thin omelet, crepe aka pancake, and hot dogs, we head out for a long, bumpy drive to the Serengeti. We passed many towns and Masai villages along the way. It’s a poor area, and the Masai and the locals try to make the most of the tourist dollar. It’s $50 to visit a Masai village, and money is expected if you take anyone’s photo. I know it’d be annoying for strangers to be sticking their cameras at you all the time, so good for them, but I’m abstaining, which means I hardly have any photos of people. The Masai usually are dressed in red with ornate jewelry, and we saw some adolescent boys along the road all in black with white face paint. I was dying to take a photo but didn’t.

Pens are coveted items in this part of the country. One man wanted to barter jewelry for a pen, and in another town a boy straight out asked me for one. Apparently a good, working pen is hard to come by. I can’t deny children who just want to be able to write at school, and all my pens were soon gone. I’ll be bringing a box of Bics if I return.

We stopped at the Olduvai Gorge along the way, where footprints of precursors to homo sapiens had been found preserved in volcanic ash.

We entered the Serengeti around 1. We were going to the North of the park and had several hours to go, but at least this part of the journey was like a fast game drive. The highlight for me was a river fillled with at least 30 hippos flapping their tails and occasionally honking. Also saw 3 lions relaxing in the grass.

We made it to the Lobo lodge around 5:30. It was a spectacular setting on a small rocky hill. There was a baby giraffe, zebras, and Thomson gazelles in view of our room – awesome. The main lodge building was made of a lovely warm wood, and there was a pool and view area overlooking the plains of the Serengeti. Especially after a couple nights in a tent, it was very luxurious.

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