Safari – Day 1

Thursday morning we got up and had breakfast together. Following breakfast it was time to say good bye to the Maycrofts – not because they are leaving yet but because the rest of us are going on a 2-day safari. When we return on Friday night it is very likely that the Maycrofts will have already left for the airport. They leave for home on Friday evening. The flight out leaves about 9 pm for about an hour flight to another city. It will be cleaned while they remain on the plane before it takes off for the 8 plus hour flight to Amsterdam. Please remember them in your prayers and especially baby Moses. It has been a real blessing to have them out with us.

This morning Warren brought Sue, Tamara and Moses in to Arusha for a women’s Bible Study. We hope that went well. Dave, Lori, Sara, Liz, Kathy and Julie left about the same time for safari. That left Kyle at the SCV with the TZ staff. I can’t wait to hear how he did communicating with them! I am guessing there will be a humorous story or two. The safari group made a stop in Arusha to pick up box lunches and then hit the road again. By the way, the normal way we get to the SCV via Mbuguni is a mud hole so we have been taking the back way in and out. It is a longer and rougher ride but at least we are able to get through. As we drove to the National Park we were stopped by the police. I was not real thrilled with that and wondered how it would go. It turned out that our driver, David, knows the guy. He is also a pastor and David introduces us. He showed me some photos on his phone. David was trying to leave but he wasn’t done showing me the photos so David had to learn a little more patience.

Just before we entered the park David saw a dung beetle on the dirt road. We stopped to check it out. He had a small ball he was rolling along. If you want to know more about it you should do an internet search. Once we arrived at the park we had a brief stop to stretch while David took care of the entrance requirements. Then we put up the top and began our search for animals. It wasn’t long and we spotted Impalas and then a lot of elephants. After that we stopped at the picnic area for lunch. As we drove up we saw a monkey steal some food from someone at one of the tables. Lori and Dave both know what that is like. The monkeys are very brave at the picnic area and we needed to chase them away a couple of times. After lunch we told David he did a great job with the elephants and now we wanted him to tell the giraffes that it was time for us to visit. He said he would call them. No sooner had he said that than he spotted a couple by the river. Of course he took full credit for them being there. Off we went to get a ton of photographs. It was amazing how close we were able to get. We saw a few of the other smaller animals and birds but the elephants and giraffes were the main ones we were looking for at this park. Tomorrow we plan to go down into the crater (Ngorongoro Park) were there are tons of animals.

We drove close to the entrance gate (about 30 minute drive in the morning) and stopped at the Country Lodge in Karato (where Dave has taken the other groups). It is a very nice lodge. We were warmly welcomed by the staff and shown to our rooms. After a short time we made our way back to the main building for supper. It was a wonderful meal of carrot salad, spinach soup, green salad, fancy pork and also chicken, roasted potatoes, garlic green beans, stir fried vegies, cooked rice and lemon meringue pie. They came around with the food and we were able to take as much or as little as we wanted of each item. We felt pretty spoiled.

It is quite a contrast with other areas of the country. The tourist industry is very important for the economy of Tanzania. Even though the Ebola situation is thousands of miles away, the tourist industry has taken a real hit because of it. Lori and I were surprised at how few vehicles there were in the park. Hopefully now that the Ebola situation has been reduced the tourist will return.

Our plan for tomorrow is an early morning start with leaving the Lodge at 5:40 am. We plan to bring boxed breakfast with us and then return to the lodge for a late lunch as we make our way back to the SCV. The internet access is slow here but I have been able to get on and post this blog. Thank you for remembering us in your prayers. Driving on the roads of Tanzania is always an experience – and not always a good experience. Please continue to pray.