Tarangire National Park – Cue Up the Theme to “The Lion King”

Warning:  Photo-heavy postIMG_1292

After an incredibly rewarding week in Singida and a wonderful day in Katesh we arrived at Maramboi Tented Camp.  The place was everything that you think of when thinking “safari”.  We enjoyed dinner together and spent the time unwinding and decompressing from all that we had experienced.  We also had ventured back into the land of  wi-fi so I was able to Facetime with Dusty.  After about a week of not being able to communicate except for short texts I was very glad to see my family!

Thanks to the abundance of hot water and water pressure I had the best shower ever, collapsed into a very comfortable bed, and was asleep in no time.  The next thing I remember is waking up to the loud sound of something outside my tent.  Now these were permanent structures but they walls were still canvas.  I sat up in bed and listened.  The staff had assured us that everything was very safe, but I’m still thinking, “Great…I will be the first causality in the history of this place when this huge lion tears through my wall!”  Whatever was outside the tent kept moving around in the bushes and then it made a snorting sound like a pig.  A warthog had woke me up at 5 AM!  Now I was getting mildly annoyed.  I was awake and couldn’t go back to sleep because of Pumbaa.  I decided to just enjoy the experience.  How many of you can say that you’ve been woke up by a warthog?

Sunday morning dawned bright, warm, & beautiful.  We sat on the large deck overlooking the area.  Hundreds, possibly thousands of flamingos formed a pink line of the far side of the distant lake.  A warthog and her wartlets rummaged around our deck.  I told my new friends that I missed seeing my church family today, but what a treat to see God’s creation in this way!

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We loaded up in our Land Rover’s and headed a short distance away to Tarangire National Park.  Immanuel, our driver, would help to make this day even more special.  He was so full of enthusiasm; as if he was seeing all of this for the first time also.  I mean you have to love a driver that will stop the vehicle and back it up just to show you a huge millipede on the road.

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We entered Tarangire and for the next 4 hours I got to see wildlife that I had only seen in zoos.  It was incredible.  It may sound a bit cheesy, but the word I can think of to describe it was “glee”.  I was like a wide-eyed kid.  We saw more warthogs (or as Immanuel called them “lion sausage”) giraffes, baboons, zebras, lions, elephants, and so much more.  There were birds of all sizes and colors.  Immanuel was pointing out animals, looking up pictures for us in his guidebooks, and giving us all kinds of facts about what we were seeing.  All the time with that contagious level of joy and enthusiasm.

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We stopped for a picnic lunch and had even more fun.  If you travel to the beach you have to deal with pesky birds trying to steal your food.  Well on safari you have to watch the pesky monkeys trying to grab a snack.  Several of our group’s lunches fell victim to sneaky monkeys.

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The day was picture perfect.  The scenery was breathtaking.  Even though I tried my best there is no way to capture in a photo or on video the scope of the beautiful landscape.  Simply put it’s a day that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Here’s a few video clips….including the naughty monkeys!

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