Safari Day 2 (Friday)

This morning we needed to be up early. Our driver, David, wanted us to be ready to go by 5:30 am so that we could be at the park gate when it opened at 6:00. After the park gate there is another hour drive up the rim of the crater and then down into it. It was a cool foggy day as we drove up the rim. After we got down into the crater and looked up we could see that we were not in fog but in the clouds. The day was cool and cloudy all day which made for a great day of sight-seeing. Once we were down in the crater we were blessed with a wide variety of animals. We began with a highlight of seeing lions who walked right up to where we were parked. There were about 6 females and it was great to get close-up pictures of them. It was also interesting to watch the other animals keep their attention on where the lions were going. From there we drove around through the park seeing wildebeests, gazelles, zebras, water buffalo, elephants, monkeys, and a wide variety of birds. We stopped about 10:30 for our “boxed breakfast” by a watering hole and saw a lot of hippos. After lunch we told David we wanted to see a rhino and before we left we saw a couple that were quite a distance away but then also a couple that were relatively close. One of which had a baby alongside. We also heard from another driver that there were male lions lying down not far from us so we hurried over there and saw them resting comfortably. Later as we drove, Julie spotted a couple lions coming toward us and it turned out to be a female and cub. We watched her hid her cub, in fact, we were not sure where her cub ended up. She sat on the trail and let us take her picture for a while. Then Liz saw another lion coming our way. It was another female. This trip we had more animals closer than what we have had in the past. It was great! As we were beginning to leave the park Liz spotted a serval cat, which is pretty rare. We did not get any great pictures of it because it was jumping away but it was fun to see something that was so rare. The other rare cat we were hoping to see was the leopard. That one we still have not seen. After leaving the park we stopped back at the Country Inn in Karatu for lunch and to drop off the breakfast supplies. About 3 pm we headed back to the SCV. On the drive home we had to slow down for donkeys crossing the road. It is common to see cows and goats grazing right alongside the road. The group also recognized that it was Dave and Lori’s anniversary and offered their congratulations and cards. As we drove back to the SCV one of the reflections was on the tremendous difference we experienced as tourist on safari verses living in Mbuguni. At the one we experienced more of a pampered life and at the other more of the struggle to provide. Another blessing of the day was the amount of time we were able to spend on tar roads instead of the rough dirt/rock road we drive from Arusha to Mbuguni. We arrived at the SCV just in time to say good bye to the Maycrofts.  Please remember them in your prayers as they travel home.  Tomorrow (Saturday) we plan to spend most of the day at the SCV.  Dave and Lori plan to visit with Lori Kovich during the afternoon and Sue and Laurence have a meeting in Arusha about the government’s plan to change children’s homes.  Sunday we also plan to spend time at the SCV and have a meal at Sister Lydia’s around 2 pm until ???  Monday’s plan is to go to Arusha.  Tuesday’s plan is for Machame.  Wednesday at the SCV and head home.  Thanks for remembering us in your prayers.