Certainly, 35 USD entrance fee per day, Tarangire wouldn’t be a long term stay for backpackers. Yet, we were rich enough to even spoil us with two days stay in a luxury tenting lodge, 70 USD per night, including all meals. And, it was well worth every single dollar. Tented lodging may mean to sleep in a palm leave roof house which walls are like thick mosquito nets. With withdraw curtains beside the real beds it’s a little bit like sleeping out door, and it’s nice and impressive to watch the small deer called Tuktuk or the baboons walking just beside the bed. A veranda with chairs, electricity and well as good functioning hot and cold shower make the stay very comfortable.
We have coffee at sunrise; watch the river meandering through the green steep underneath the hill on which the lodge is situated. It is time for the first game drive, we pack the crash and on the roof of the jeep and hop on. Ethel carefully maneuvers the Landcruiser on the bumpy dirt road leading us through the high grass of the vast green area. Some lone giant Baobab trees, white tower clouds on blue sky, acacias and numerous beautifully colored birds everywhere we look.
Whenever the car stops, plenty of CC flies raid us, unimpressed by our repellents. Ostriches, antelopes, giraffes! We reach an elephant herd, stop and wait for them to pass by in front of the jeep. After a decent breakfast Silvio and I walk out the restaurant to have a smoke at the terrace of the lodge’s main building. There are two brown animals on the sandbank beside the river. Silvio goes and gets the binoculars, and tells the friends. Then, we can clearly see that these brown spots are actually two lion ladies, lazily lying in the sun. After a while, they cross the river, slowly moving towards a couple of waterholes with a small flock of Tuktuks. We all stare at the scenery. Yet, no kill – the lion ladies don’t seem to be hungry. Well, we already had breakfast as well. We move back to our tents, keep observing the lions crossing the river once again, and slowly coming closer. With a gunmen who charges 10 USD each, we walk towards them, getting as close as 50 meters to the beasts. They watch the colorful strange apes with quite some interest.
We leave the Tarangire Safari Lodge the day after before lunch, curious for another little game drive before going back to Mbulu. A small pond with white flowers and a Baobab behind – very picturesque! We stop for a picture, turn the car around and sink it in the mud beside the road. First attempts to get out – no success, the car is stuck. Well, uff, shi*! We get out of the car, become easy victims for all the CC flies that have been waiting for their chance in the high noon sun. Two vultures take off from their Baobab and fly away. We try to free the wheels for an hour or so, put sticks underneath them – no still no success. At least the CC flies have gone, and there are no further lions around. At last, we have to call our lodge again. An hour later, the owner comes with his Defender cabriolet on balloon wheels and drags us out of the misery. We are happy about the wordless but kind help. On the way out of the park, we bump into the biggest herd of elephants we have seen so far. Placid giants with baby elephants, three of four dozens of them slowly pass by. Bye bye Tarangire.
On the way back to Mbulu we stop at a little shop for refreshment, and hear about the latest news. A major power cut happened in the area. Heavy rain falls in the past few days have rinsed and knocked over a power pole two days ago. Some estimate the power to be back in about 5 days. The frozen meat and cheese provisions worth a 100 USD are silently melting in Silvio’s freezer. Reason enough to schedule big BBQs for the next few days to make the best out of it.