Does the word Safari conjure up images of bwana’s with guns accompanyied by scads of African porters heading off into the bush to kill large animals? Yeah, me too. Actually this is sorta like that, except we take cameras and drive in Land Rovers on dirt roads. It’s a Girrafic Park!
Each Land Rover has a driver and a cook. Depending on your budget, you either stay in lodges or camp. The drivers communicate with each other using radio, and when a large animal is spotted, the Land Rovers converge. The camping facilities vary, but are not up to western park standards. In other words, they may be built but may not work properly, anything from doors not staying shut to there being no toilet paper.
Ours was a four day Safari shared with two other gals, making four of us in the Land Rover sharing the costs. I feel this is a good number, as six people would have been tight. The cost was $700 each and is inclusive of park fees, pickup and drop off at your hotel, food and transportation. Tipping the guide and cook are expected at the end and can add another $60 to the cost.
If you don’t want to experience too much developing world conditions, fly into Kilimajaro international airport. If you fly into Dar Es Saalam, you will need to take an eight hour bus to Moshi. You will still need to stay in Moshi, and could find it challenging.
We went with African Scenic Safaris and had David as our guide and Charles as our cook. David was polite, very knoweledagble, and spoke english well. He handled disputes between Sage with courtesy. Charles our cook was wonderful and we had plenty to eat.
The roads are dirt, often deeply rutted and wasboarded. Do not expect a smooth ride. You will get shaken around a lot despite the skills of the drivers.
We started in Lake Manyara. I am using my new cheap camera on Safari, but at least I have one!
Our Land Rover with a popped roof.
Right after entering the park area we saw our first elephant- a baby, right by the side of the road.
The feeling in some places was of deep jungle.
There were lots of baboons.
Zebra’s were common.
Inside the Range Rover with the popped top.
Baboon by the roadside. It was fascinating how acclimated the animals are to the Land Rovers. They don’t even look at them. They don’t blink or run or do anything- just go right on with what they were doing. This was one of the most fascinating parts- You can have a dozen Range Rovers with clicking cameras 50 feet from an elephant, and the elephant doesn’t even look. The trick is to stay in the Range Rover- if they see a human walking, their behaviour changes completely.